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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Adam Davis & Will Corona Pilgrim Interview, A Dan's Movie Report Exclusive! 'No Touching' Chat! (C) 2016


 Above Pic: Getty Images from Artemis film fest with
(Zoë Bell and Heidi Moneymaker

Web promo with Adam & Will!  https://youtu.be/YukfTSxbQ4k Get Exclusive on Dan's Movie Report!

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers, today we take a trip behind the camera and go inside the creative minds of Adam Davis and Will Corona Pilgrim. These two adventurous individuals wrote and directed on the fantastic short film 'No Touching'. 'No Touching' is a comedy/action/horror film in which two top flight stunt ladies, (Zoë Bell and Heidi Moneymaker) face off against over zealous haunted house people, intent on touching them, in places they do not want to be touched. 'No Touching' recently had a screening at the fantastic Artemis Film Fest, and soon will be touring the country at various festivals. Get ready, hang on to your costumes, and your sanity, time to take a haunted trip, with action and comedy, and much touching. Another Dan's Movie Report exclusive interview has commenced, 3-2-1-GO!

Describe the writing and conceptual process of 'No Touching' did you guys always have a short in mind?
We were working with Heidi on a feature script that she was to star in when the whole concept came about. We found out through working with Heidi that she was friends with Zoë so we wrote a tiny cameo for her in the feature. When things began to stall, the two of us pitched the idea to Heidi of a short starring her and Zoë and she said it sounded like a great idea. A month or so later we had this haunted house concept basically formed and pitched the two of them over sushi. And the rest is…well, the present.

Were the characters that Z Bell and Heidi play always destined for them, or did you get them involved later in the process.
One hundred percent Y-E-S. The biggest thing about that was as we were trying to come up with a concept for an action short that we both liked, a bunch of our friends were weighing in at the time, and it all tended to gravitate towards stories where Heidi and Zoë would face off and kick each others ass. They were all variations of that: assassins square off in an office and then fight each other, two fighters square off in a ring, etc, etc. It wasn’t until a buddy reminded us of those interactive haunted houses that our minds really started charging. The aesthetic was something that we loved, horror with a Halloween-inspired bent featuring all the fun costumes and sets you'd want, but the diamond in the center was this idea of these two friends who were attacked in the haunted house and had to protect themselves and each other. It gave us the opportunity to showcase Heidi and Zoë’s already natural off-screen friendship, as well as see them joined together on the same side, which helped push it into a much more positive female hero piece.

Very cool get to have Jake Busey, and Traci Thoms on set for minor roles, were they asked by Z Bell, or were they an idea you had.
Being fans of both Zoë AND Tracie from their roles in Death Proof, we had Tracie in our heads from very early on in development — we just didn’t know it was possible to become a reality until we started getting closer to the shoot date. Same with Jake and Doug Jones; these are heavy hitters that you put on a casting “wish list” which usually turns into casting someone “like” them when all is said and done - especially when asking them to work for barely any money. In this case however, we were spit-balling the outstanding roles we had left to cast with Zoë and Heidi, when Zoë mentioned knowing the same people the two of us had wish-listed on our own. And from there, after a few friendly text messages, everything just kind of magically fell into place.

Kevin Daniels was one of the fun additions since we had been familiar with his work on Modern Family but it wasn’t until Zoë pitched to include him that we jumped at the chance - he was a very easy sell for us. He ended up ad-libbing one of our favorite lines in the entire piece!
 

How many days total for principal photography. Same question for pre-vis for the action rehearsals etc...Discuss some of the challenges on filming on such a tight shooting schedule.
It was a rock ‘em sock ‘em three day shoot. We had two day shoots in the interior of the haunted house for all the action and scares and one night shoot at the exterior of the house for the exterior dialogue. Shooting action, traditionally, takes a long time between setups. It’s a very delicate balance since you want to get the camera in the perfect spot to catch as much of the action as possible, because you can realistically ask for your stunt team to do these moves only so many times.

Pre-vis was all in Heidi’s court as she was coordinating here and there on the fly when not working on her physically taxing day job of stunt work for other shoots. She ended up doing an expanded pre-vis for what we called the Skeleton Fight, which was our two heroes against many foes, and then later on adapted bits from that to be incorporated into the final fight with a possessed baddie called Demon Nick. Since this was the incomparable 87Eleven Action Design team performing all the stunt work, we didn’t sweat too much. These are a team of people who know their jobs so well and are simply spectacular when working together as a group.


There were some tense moments of not knowing whether we were going to get all we needed, for sure, but our producer Jason Rostovsky, our Associate Producer Christy Busby, Colby Oliver (our DP), his camera and G&E team, not to mention Jacob Johnston (Production Designer) and Taylor Shaw (Art Director), Caitlyn Brisbin and the make-up crew and our abundantly generous PA’s kept things pushing forward in the hot So-Cal fall heat.


I must say you guys pulled off miracles, especially given time constraints. Merging the genres of horror, action an comedy is a difficult task, which you guys pulled off extremely well, were some elements of the first few drafts of the 'No Touching' script tweaked? What was added along the way? More Humor, action, horror?
It was always at it’s very core an action concept with horror dressings. But knowing it was still a horror piece, we felt there had to be a central theme for it to really payoff. The biggest polishes we did were when we finally honed in on the theme of the piece. #Gamergate was going on at the time and even working in the comic/movie biz we were still taken aback by all the online hate and misogyny spewing out towards women during the whole thing. It really helped us nail down what we were trying to say: here are two women who fight back against sexist a-holes and then the whole thing just escalates from there.

One of the biggest revelations we had was after talking with Josh Waller, who was about to go and shoot the film "Camino" with Zoë. He had read an early version of the script and we were all having a dinner and chatting about what we still felt was missing from it. Since it's a short, it needed a great hook at the very end. The draft we were working with had a very definitive ending. He suggested that we find a way to end on somewhat of a horror cliffhanger and that’s when we decided to punch up the supernatural bit for the finale.


What are some of your favorite films that you have modeled 'No Touching' after, genre and out of genre?
We’ve been known to say it’s got a lot of John Carpenter’s "Halloween" injected into it. Ian Flux, one of the two composers of the score, is one of the biggest fans of Carpenter’s score work so it was perfect working with him and Chris Potts to develop the "No Touching theme” very early on in the development process, way before we ever got a single shot on film. How we introduce and give the characters ample time to show us a bit of who they are before they dive into the haunted house is also very Halloween-esque. People take for granted how long it is until you actually come face to face with Michael Myers in that first one, and it gives you time to get to know the characters all of whom are about to be slain.

Robert Rodriguez’s "From Dusk Till Dawn" has also been brought up from time to time with the way the genre shifts mid-stream. That’s one where for half the movie you think it's about these two bank robbers and then WHAM! you’re thrown into a vampire-ridden horror flick. We thought a lot about that quick shift in genre for when our movie very suddenly turns from horror into an action and fight extravaganza. 


That being said, we really pushed hard to maintain a "Fast and the Furious"-style of fighting action. We decided early on that it wasn’t a slasher type of horror piece, and we wanted to see Heidi and Zoë put down these a-holes with the stunt and fight skills we already knew they were capable of.

 

Obviously Z Bell and Heidi are really physically gifted action actors, chat about their dialogue in 'No Touching', humorous quips, was any of that ad lib or straight from script?
Column A and Column B, really. When working with our actors we very much like to keep it loose to give them the freedom to explore between takes, and that definitely was caught on camera for this. It makes it a little tougher in the edit bay, but we never would have caught half of Jake’s genius as Carp if we forced him to stick to the script. As long as the important bits were there we were satisfied.

A fun thing that people don’t pick up on right away is how silly Heidi is. Since she always plays the Black Widow-type asskicker, it was fun to put her up on screen with Zoë, who’s always jabbing at her off-screen, so they could let loose in a way that they are in their real life friendship. The height joke is just one of many improvised lines between those two.
 

Now that the film has had it's initial screening, are you planning on more nationwide screenings at other festivals?
We’ve submitted to a large amount of festivals. Some we’ve heard back from but can’t talk about just yet, and the others we’re just gonna have to wait and see how it goes. But we’re certainly going to tour it as much as possible. Ain’t nothing like hearing an audience cheer or laugh at your work after putting this much time and heart into it.

What are some of the things you guys would have changed on 'No Touching' if the budget was say doubled, or tripled.
Doubled? Probably get another day or so of shooting. Maybe beef up on the production design for the horror elements but most importantly, pay everyone a little more.
 

Chat about the future ideas and goals for 'No Touching' perhaps a series or a feature film? Lessons learned from the short film process?
There have definitely been talks about a feature film. It wasn’t a pitch for a feature from the get go, but once we started pouring in our own mythology and it started to come together as a piece, it was hard to not imagine how we might do a feature length version of the story. A series might be another fun way to go to really get a chance at extended storytelling…
Lessons? For us, it goes back to what so many colleagues and professionals have told us over the years; it all begins and ends with CASTING. Casting in front of and behind the camera. If you get the right group of talented people in the right roles for them, everything else is all gravy. It may have taken us longer than we had originally planned to finally get out and shoot this thing, but it all shook out as something that happened for a reason. We couldn’t be more pleased with or proud of our cast and crew. And we think our Kickstarter Backers would agree.
Thanks guys, great interview! Coming later in 2016 for Ms. Zoë Bell interview! In the meantime, watch for 'No Touching' in a film fest near you! 
For more on No Touching:
FB/NoTouchingShortFilm
TW/@NoTouchingFilm
IG/OfficialDemonNick

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