IndieFlicks: How did you get started in filmmaking?
Neil: Like a lot of people I didn’t really know how to actually get in to mainstream film making so I decided to take route one and make a film myself. I wrote a ten minute short called Zero Tolerance which we shot over one weekend in a locker room in a West London warehouse. ZT was part creative and part experimental but gave me the confidence to make two further shorts, On A Plate and Reco Men.
IF: Where did the idea for Stag Night of the Dead come from?
NJ: Making shorts is all very well but you soon learn that it’s commercially unviable (although can be a useful calling card). I wanted to step up to a feature and decided to make a no budget/one character/one location/small crew production. Then I came up with an idea during the first bird flu scare about a stag party being hunted down in a secret Government testing facility and I couldn’t shake it off.
IF: How long did the writing process take?
NJ: With rewrites and script editor help the script took about six weeks to write. The ending took nearly as long as i junked the original three pages after our main shoot and decided we needed a much bigger payoff.
IF: Would you cite any films as inspiration towards SNotD?
NJ: Easy - An American Werewolf in London which ties as my favourite film of all time (with North by Northwest). I’ve also included some nods to the best TV series ever, The Prisoner.
IF: What was your favourite scene to film in the entire production?
NJ: My favourite scene to shoot was the experimental centre where Candy and Dean discover the truth behind Zomball. It was probably the only occasion we were ahead of schedule and the department heads weren’t being beaten up to get to the next set up.
IF: What cameras did you use to shoot Stag Night on?
NJ: We used Sony Z1s with 35mm adapters for 90% of the shoot and the Sony A1, which is a great camera.
IF: Would you change anything if you could go back and make the film again?
NJ: I should have got a full time caterer on set…big mistake.
IF: What do you think of the current state of independent filmmaking in the UK?
NJ: I have the highest regard for every indie film maker out there putting themselves through the sheer hell of trying to make anything in the UK. We’re obsessive, like mad dogs (who should be put down out of kindness) that chase the dream. There’s no problem with the indie film scene, it’s the incestuous, bloated and self indulgent film funding agencies that are (supposedly) there to support us that are the problem.
IF: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
NJ: Well if I can avoid divorce and bankruptcy my next feature will be a straight horror called The Sigil which is in the vein of the original Wicker Man.
IF: Do you have any advice for any aspiring filmmakers out there?
NJ: Yes, don’t wait and don’t talk about it - make it.
For more information on SNotD please visit the official website - click