The Welder is scheduled to release on February 24th, and I'm dying to see it! I've heard such great things from trusty horror reviewers who got an early look, that I have no doubts it'll live up to the hype.
My friends over at You Run Podcast did an early review of it last spring and an interview with David Liz just a couple weeks ago. They were kind enough to put me in touch with David, who is the nicest guy! He's a writer and director, with The Welder being his first feature film release. He's a great example of someone with a dream and a passion, making it happen. It's exactly what fuels my love for the indie community and all the badass people in it!
Check out my interview with David below, and at the bottom, you'll find his socials and links to interviews he's done with You Run Podcast and Voices from the Mausoleum!
Did your desire to direct start young, or develop later on?
-My desire to direct came second, first came my desire to act. I was a theatre kid growing up and I was that one kid memorizing all the words to their favorite movies. I loved portraying characters, bringing life to words on a page. As I got older I worked as an Extra on movies and TV shows a bunch, and being on set really gave me an appreciation for the work being done behind the camera. I started playing with my home movie camera and filming skits with my friends; thank goodness YouTube didn't exist back then because those skits were terrible. By the time the end of high school came around I knew I wanted to work in film and specifically as a Writer/Director. Are there any specific directors you feel have influenced your style the most?
-I absolutely love the style of Terrence Malick. He's like fly on the wall meets the most beautifully natural cinematography ever. He doesn't make movies, he captures moments and edits them into the format of a movie. His style is just bonkers and I unapologetically imitate it every chance I get. How did you feel when you first saw yourself on IMDB? (I get super excited about anything and everything, so I’d probably lose my mind if that ever happened to me.)
-Well, in case you didn't know, you can make your own IMDB page. I was instructed to make mine in film school over 12 years ago now, I believe I got an A on that assignment. Everything that's on IMDB can be altered by the public, it's like the wikipedia for filmmakers. So I wish I could be more excited about it, but it was the equivalent of opening up an instagram/FB/Twitter account. I wish it was more challenging or exciting. (Note: I definitely did not know that, and now IMDB is a lot less fun😂)
What are some other milestones that have been really meaningful for you? -Making this feature film, The Welder, was such an incredibly meaningful milestone for me to reach. My first feature, I still can't believe it. I spent the better part of a decade trying to build a team, come up with a suitable idea, write a script, get an investor, and every step of the way held its own set of challenges that tested my resolve. There were really dark moments where I thought perhaps this was a pipedream. Perhaps a poor boy from an immigrant family could never achieve this dream, maybe it was too lofty? Maybe I should lower my standards? Somehow I ignored that little voice of doubt in my head and now we're here, crazy! It wasn't easy, and I knew it wouldn't be, but honestly I never expected it to be this hard and take this long; making this film come to life was a massive reality check. And now I'm ready for the next one.
Which part of the movie-making process did you feel was the biggest learning curve with The Welder?
-Distribution, Distribution, Distribution! I can make a film, I can tell a story, I can edit it together; I am an artist and I do artist things. However, distribution isn't an art, it's a straight up business. And it took some time to learn this business without falling into the pits it inherently possesses. Luckily, I've had a crash course in film distribution and we're in really good hands with Terror Films. Is there any advice you wish you had gotten before you started directing, that you want to pass on to anyone who might just be getting started?
-Time can be your friend on this journey: Coming out of film school the first thing on my to-do list was “Make a feature film”, and I had an asterisk next to it that read “and do it before any of your friends do”, so my goal was to make it within a year of graduating. And I had that confidence because in film school they give you all the provisions to execute: the school supplies all the fancy gear, the guidance through the teachers and staff, they even give you a film crew in the form of your fellow filmmaking peers. My amazing film school was a sanctuary of creativity meant to help us learn the craft. But once you’re out, reality sets in, and you have to fend for yourself. Gone were the days of shooting on a RED camera or having an entire crew at your disposal. In the real world you have to be scrappy and make stuff happen with whatever little resources you have. It took me all of 10 years to make my first feature, but at the end I needed that time to mature and become well rounded. In those ten years I was on countless sets learning everything from sound, to lighting, directing, and PA’ing; I met talented people who became my friends, co-collaborators, and even investors. Time turned out to be an ally that helped me develop into a better filmmaker and storyteller. And the journey is still ongoing, the clock is still ticking; I wonder what kind of artist I’ll be in another 10 years. I have no idea, but that’s the exciting part. How closely does the finished movie resemble your initial thoughts/writings? -I always say you write a movie three times: Once when you actually write it and put it to paper (or screen), second when you film it because production issues will inevitably cause you to have to on-set rewrites (especially in indie productions), and a final time when you edit because sometimes when you have all the footage at your fingertips you may rearrange the movie in ways you never imagined at the beginning of the process. So if you were to compare the original script to the final film you would see a resemblance, and you would see the soul, but it's very different in a lot of ways. The goal is to get to a level where what is written ends up surviving the rigor of the production process and making it to the end without landing on the cutting board.
What are some of your first memories of horror?
-My very first memory of horror movies is accidently watching the movie IT. I must have been about four or five years old and my non-english speaking Mother and I were flipping through the channels, when suddenly we land on this movie with a nice looking clown holding a red balloon. My mother, thinking she just found a kid's show for me to watch, ends up leaving me alone to go prepare some food in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to her, the next scene involved the famous scene with the bloody bathroom. Imagine seeing that as a young child, I screamed my lungs out and became pretty much traumatized. I never forgot that moment and now in retrospect I'm pleased I have a pretty cool origins story. Do you enjoy reading as much as watching movies?
-I have always been more of a movie watcher than a book reader, although I do enjoy reading scripts very much. I blame my ADD for that. When you’re watching/reading, what sort of setting and atmosphere feels the most eerie to you?
-I am totally and utterly freaked out by isolating environments. Being in the middle of nowhere without phone service or a friend to turn to is what nightmares are made of. I know we are born alone and die alone, but we live life with people, so the concept of being alone and far away from others is quite frightening to me. Or maybe that's just the extrovert in me talking. What are your favorite snacks when you take a trip to the movie theater?
-I love getting Reese's peanut butter cups while watching movies, it's my favorite. Boy oh boy Idk how I'm not 800 lbs right now. But there is nothing like some chocolatey and peanut buttery goodness to help you slip into the suspension of disbelief. What movies would you recommend to someone taking their first steps into horror? -Anybody trying to get into horror, I'd say go to the 70's and 80's and watch some classics like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, Carrie, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course the original IT mini-series. But if you're trying to watch something more modern, I'd recommend a new flick out there that's turning heads, you know where I'm going with this...The Welder!!!!
Find David and The Welder here: