CHOMP may be playing this Saturday (3:10 pm) and Sunday (7:15 pm) at the Nevermore Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, but that wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of many talented, dedicated folks. Here’s one of them. (The movie he wrote, Gave Up the Ghost, just also happens to be screening at Nevermore this weekend. More about that later.)
Jeff Strand (Associate Producer)
Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of such demented novels as Pressure, Dweller, Wolf Hunt, A Bad Day For Voodoo, and a bunch of others. His story “Gave Up The Ghost” was made into a short horror/comedy (mostly comedy) film, directed by Gregory Lamberson, as part of the anthology film Creepers. His novel Pressure is in development as a feature film. His “Associate Producer” credit in CHOMP basically meant that he bought food for the crew, hauled stuff to and from the van, ran the clapboard, took inaccurate notes on the sound recording, and sweated a lot in the really, really hot garage where filming took place. He is also married to the director, which explains a lot. Favorite zombie movie: Shaun of the Dead.
The Director Says: There are not enough words in the English language to tell you all the wonderful things Jeff did for me during the making of this movie. He became Craft Services, procuring all the yummy things we ate on set. He became Prop Master, running to Walmart at 2:00 am to get last-minute supplies needed for an 8:00 am call time. He logged miles just hauling stuff in and out of Sally’s garage. Most importantly, during crunch times, he made sure the cats didn’t starve and house didn’t collapse. He rocks.
Lynne’s Interview With Jeff Strand
Q: Why on earth did you agree to work with a new director on her very first short film? Are you insane?
A: As the spouse of the director, my choices in the matter were limited. Also, I am insane.
Q: Lots of things went wrong while making CHOMP. Tell me about one of the more memorable ones.
A: One of my most prestigious jobs was to pick up the ex-lead actor from the hotel where he’d stayed for a big high school drama festival. He, of course, was a no-show when I got there. For the next twenty minutes, I got to play the role of the Creepy 43-Year-Old Guy Wandering Around A Hotel Lobby Packed With Teenagers, with hotel staff asking “Uh, can we help you, sir?” multiple times. I was mad AND it was uncomfortable, which is a delightful combination.
Q: Lots of things went right while making CHOMP. Tell me about something that went right that surprised you.
A: Trevor Strong was an obvious choice to create a catchy little jingle for the show-within-a-movie, but the lyrics were already set: “It’s the Dr. Jon Croft, Pit Bulls & Zombies Hour!” All we needed was a tune and a professional recording. We knew he’d deliver…but the jingle is absolutely hilarious. I wouldn’t have expected something that was laugh-out-loud funny when he was just singing the pre-written lyric!
Q: Tell me about a time when you didn’t think CHOMP would ever get made.
A: I never thought it wouldn’t get made, but we did have two shooting days (in a movie that was only supposed to HAVE two shooting days) where we were suddenly told “[Crucial Actor] is going home.” Too much was invested in the movie by then to give up, but those were two great big “Oh, crap! What do we do?” moments. We stayed calm, shot what we could, and were lucky enough to have a crew who was willing to return on another day to finish it up.
Q: What’s one of the funniest things that happened while making CHOMP?
A: Kyle Porter was doing a scene where his character is screaming for help through an open window in the garage. He did this for several minutes, at full volume, and the whole time I was thinking, “Jeez, I sure hope none of the neighbors call the police.” He finished the scene and we moved on, and then it occurred to me that somebody can scream “Help! Help! I’m trapped! Somebody help me!” through an open window in a garage for several minutes without anybody bothering to call 911.
Q: Why do you think people will like CHOMP?
A: It’s funny, it’s weird, the acting is fantastic, the visuals are great, it’s got a couple of catchy tunes, and though you don’t see it in the actual movie, the handwriting on the clapboards was exquisite.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share or talk about?
I wrote the screenplay for a short film called GAVE UP THE GHOST which will also be part of the Nevermore Film Festival. It was directed by Gregory “SLIME CITY” Lamberson. It plays Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22 at 5:10 pm.
More details here.