I asked Andrew Sayre to do an interview with Following Films to help raise awareness of his indiegogo project, The Song the Zombie Sang based on a short story by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg.
How are you today?
I'm fine, thanks.
Where are you from?
New Hampshire originally. I grew up there and went to school there, and after school I spent fourteen years in Boston where I was active in the film community, both working on the films of others and making my own. After I made my first feature in 2010, I moved down to New York to continue my filmmaking career.
Are your parents involved in the arts?
My father is retired Air Force and my Mom is in computers. They are very cultured people, though, and have always been very supportive of me and what I do.
When did you discover film?
I remember the night when our family got its first VCR when I wasvery young. And the first movie we ever watched was 2001: a Space Odyssey. I was only five years old, so grasping the finer details of the movie was well beyond me, but i still was completely captivated by the film. I actually fell asleep before it finished because we started so late, but the next day I forced my Dad to set up the VCR again so I could watch it. So I guess it was kind of inevitable.
What was the first film that made you feel like you could be a film maker?
For the longest time I was running around talking about all these things I want to do and can do, but having no way to prove it. And you see a lot of people doing this. Everybody can be a great filmmaker if you just take their word for it. And one day I realized this is what I had been doing, and I was sick of it. So I cobbled together what little I could on my own and I made my first feature, Whatever Makes You Happy. And the fact that I was able to make this film on virtually nothing, and its not just watchable but very good. So when I was able to tell people what I can do, and what I wanted to do, and then point to this film showing that I can in fact do it, that might be the moment when I knew myself that I could be a filmmaker.
When did you first read The Song The Zombie Sang?
I first read this story in high school, and its been with me ever since. Whenever I read something, I always tend to think about how or even if I could make it into a film. And just like with any of the countless ideas I've ever had for something, most of the time they die on the vine pretty quick. But this one stuck, and has been dancing around in my head for over twenty years. Its been a dream of mine to be able to someday make this film. And I'm as shocked as anyone is that I'm actually getting a chance to do it now.
What are the challenges in adapting an existing property for film?
Adaptations are a tricky feat. Many of the things that a writer will do to get their idea through on the written page simply do not translate to film because the tools at your disposal are so different. Books can have long detailed inner monologues, for example. If you try to do that in film it wouldn't work, and if you just cut it out completely then you can lose incredible chunks of what makes the story worthwhile. And a lot of great works just should never be tried. I love Thomas Pynchon, but I'd never in a million years try to script out one of his books. I wouldn't even know how to approach the second half of Gravity's Rainbow.
And as much as you need to remain faithful to the original story, and you absolutely do, there has to be something in the story that you feel would benefit from the other medium, and you have to have an idea of how you could work to bring that out. Or perhaps you just want to put a different wrinkle on what the original author had done.
What camera will you shoot the film on?
That's up in the air. We could go for the full RED package, or we could go for a DSLR as we did for the pitch video. A lot of that is going to depend on the success of the campaign, to show us how good a set up we can afford to use. Not to mention a lot of the decision is going to be based on a long detailed conversation between myself and my DP. Ultimately its what he needs or what he wants that counts. having a good DP is more important than having great equipment, because a great DP can work wonders with anything- a bad one can't do anything no matter what you give him/ her to work with. Fortunately I have great DP to work with on this project.
Why have you chosen to crowd fund your project?
I've tried to go the more traditional route with this to start, but I wasn't getting anywhere with that, for whatever reason. Getting in touch with the right people is a long, and difficult process, and frankly half their job must be to keep people like me from finding them. So I scaled down the scope of what I'm trying to do, and decided to take it straight to the people, so to speak. Crowdfunding is an amazing new tool to try and get your foot through the door and utilize the worldwide community to help you make your dreams come true.
The only crew member I have in place is my DP, Jonathan Salvo, who was my gaffer/ grip on my last feature. He's an incredibly skilled and talented cameraman, and I feel like to have him on board.
Do you have any other projects you are currently working on?
Just this one. I am laser focused on getting this film made, and all other ideas are on hold until that happens
This is the Pitch for Andrews project. Give it a look and show him some support however you can.