Today we have Toby Poser in to talk about the indie film The Shoot which I reviewed a few days ago¹. Read on to hear about how the film got its start, what Toby is bringing to us next and how this film company is very much a family affair…
Hello, thanks for taking some time out to chat with me today!
Hi James! Thanks so much for reaching out to me.
That’s quite alright! Now I understand that the idea for The Shoot came from your partner (John Adams) spending time on fashion shoots years ago, how did that then evolve into the finished film we see today?
John had the fortune of being flown to some exotic (and often very remote) locations for these shoots. He always wondered how easy it might be to rob such a shoot. John loves to tell a good story, so the isolation, expensive equipment, and the colorful crew of characters got his mind percolating. We wanted to explore some new themes and genres with our third feature, plus we love shooting in the desert, so it was a good time to bring John’s old idea to life.
When writing together do you find that you’re best suited bouncing ideas off each other or working in solitude and then convening at the end of the day?
Our best thoughts come out during our hikes with our dog. We live in a rural part of Los Angeles, up against a mountainous state park which we like to call our “office”. By the time we hike to the top and back down, we’ve usually made some big decisions together.
And does that attitude continue onto the set, or do you work differently there?
We both wear so many hats in our productions, including the writer’s and director’s hats, so we both feel very close to the material. But when the camera is rolling we strive to keep the vocal direction simple, not cluttered with too many voices. If John and I still disagree over something, like the mood, intention, or flow of a scene, we shoot it both ways and move on.
That’s an interesting way to settle that dispute! This film has a lot of different sides to it, most obviously the comedic and thriller aspects… were there elements which you found more challenging to write and direct?
I find the dramatic moments easiest to direct, but not necessarily to write. The desert lends a hand; everyone feels a little smaller, humbler in its presence. Comedy is a challenge. What looks funny on the page doesn’t always translate on camera. But casting actors who are comfortable with us is key. We’re quite liberal with lines so there’s always room for making something one’s own, and our cast was filled with funny people.
Horror and comedy often go hand in hand, if only for the welcome release comedy offers. Or one accentuates the other…. But it’s tricky getting it right, making it believable. I like your word, ‘weave’. All the layers, textures and different stitches of threads coming together to form your canvas onscreen…. There’s always more to learn, and we’re enjoying the process of becoming good weavers!
Haha! And what about as an actress? Do you find certain characters or genres easier to lock into when on set?
When you’re not sleeping and trying to juggle the jobs of producer, co-director, actor, camera-operator, and mother (our kids are often on set with us, and we put them to work, too), drama comes pretty easily! Nothing like fatigue and a little stress to get those emotions close to the surface.
I hear that you and John are now working on a Western, is there anything you can tell us about that project?
I like detail, so I’m still having a love affair with all the research involved. But it’s a ghost story of sorts, set to the tune of a small family’s migration West in the late 1840s.
Sounds good to me as a big fan of Westerns! What else have you got coming up which we should keep our eyes open for?
Our first two features are widely available digitally on demand: Knuckle Jack and Rumblestrips. In the meantime, John has written a great screenplay we will be shooting this summer in upstate New York. It’s about a family of broken souls coming together to flip their middle finger at the odds. I can’t wait to shoot it.
I look forward to seeing them in the future, thanks again for chatting with me today!
Thank YOU. I appreciate the depth of your questions – really good ones! All the best in the new year!
Thank you, you too!
If you enjoyed this interview then please head on over to Toby and John Adams’ site: www.WonderWheelProductions.com – also be sure to leave a comment in the box below!