Get your scare fix this October and go see Countdown. Here is the synopsis of Countdown from IMDb:
When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
Justin Dec, a graduate at Full Sail University, made his first short titled Rolling. It was heavily favored and was honored with the Best Director award at New York Television Festival. He later did a YouTube web series called Lazy Me. It got over seven million views. Then he collaborated to make a Hollywood satire-themed short titled Boats. Now, he has made his debut feature film with Countdown. So, take this precious time to read about him and his experience.then go see Countdown. It's in theaters Friday, October 25 which is today!
1. First off, which phone app could you not do without?
Haha, I guess my camera apps. I’m not 100% obsessed with apps or my phone but I’m a big fan of all the camera tools we can carry in our pockets, especially when I’m in prep on a project. Cadrage, Shot Planner, Afterlight… those are a couple favorites.
2. What is your favorite horror movie growing up?
Jaws. It’s the movie that made me want to make movies.
3. What is the genesis of Countdown?
The whole idea started when I was setting a timer on my phone. As I watched the numbers tick backwards, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be creepy if it was counting down to my death? Totally normal thought, I know.
4. What research did you do when writing Countdown?
I watched a ton of horror movies, broke them down beat-by-beat and studied the scares.
5. What was your writing schedule when you wrote Countdown?
Wake up, coffee, write all day, go to sleep, do it again until the first draft is done. Now start re-writing with the same process. If you haven’t done at least a dozen rewrites, you’re not even close.
6. What challenges did you face while writing Countdown?
The biggest challenge was to always go deeper. To push below the surface of ideas and characters and make sure I’m saying something truthful. It took a lot of drafts to get there.
7. What is your favorite line from Countdown?
“Where the heck is my grub hub?”
8. In one word how would you sum up Countdown?
9. What do you love the most about Woburn, Massachusetts and what is your most favorite activity to do when you’re at Massachusetts?
Woburn is a place I didn’t know I loved until I left it. I’ve lived in a lot of places but when I visit Woburn, there’s something about it that gets under my skin in the best of ways. It’s quintessential small town New England. I love it there. My favorite thing is to take a walk around Horn Pond.
10. Do you recall how your interest in directing or writing originated?
When I was 5 or 6, I begged my parents to let me watch the movie JAWS. My mom was a hard NO but my dad told her I’d be okay. He assured her I knew it was all “pretend”. When we got to the end of the movie and Jaws bites down on Quint, he turned to me and said, “It’s okay. It’s only ketchup.” My mind exploded. I wanted to know more. So they bought me books and every pre-viewed movie I could get my hands on. My basement became a mini-blockbuster. I was (and still am) obsessed with movies. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
11. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Elizabeth Lail, Peter Facinelli, Tichina Arnold and/or any other cast members in Countdown?
How lucky am I? Such an amazing ensemble. My wife and I were watching Elizabeth Lail on the Netflix show YOU and I turned to her and said, “That’s our Quinn.” She was my top pick and, luckily, she loved the script and jumped on board. Jordan Calloway came in twice to read for Matt and each time he brought such a fun energy and kindness to the role. He was perfect for it. Peter Facinelli always plays a really likable guy so I wanted to flip that on its head with Dr. Sullivan and thankfully he was a fan of the project. I met Tom Segura on Instant Family where he played Mark Wahlberg’s brother-in-law. I told him I wrote this part he’d be perfect for. Without blinking, he said, “I’m in.” A few months later, I called him and said, “Are you still in?” Luckily, he said yes! Talitha Bateman was my top choice to play Quinn’s sister. I think it helped that she knew she’d be playing opposite Elizabeth. The two of them were so incredible in this film. Father John was a hard role to cast because we didn’t want it to be too comedic or too serious. It had to live right in the middle. PJ Byrne got that right away without me telling him a thing. He IS Father John. Dillon Lane auditioned for Evan and as soon as I saw his tape, I knew he had the part. He has so much depth to him. He reminds me of a young Heath Ledger. Anne Winters and Tichina Arnold were the same way. As soon as I saw their tapes I knew they were perfect for the roles of Courtney and Nurse Amy.
11. Have you watched TV series Martin (Ms. Tichina Arnold is in it)? If so, which episode is your favorite?
I remember the show but I was more of a Fresh Prince of Bel Air kid.
12. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter/ producer, how would one get you or any expert to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
That’s a good question. Most of the material that comes my way comes from my agent, so I would guess if that author had an agent or a manager they should reach out to the right people to get some eyeballs on it.
13. What advice do you wish someone had given to you when you were younger about the industry?
Get a very comfortable pair of shoes.
14. Which 91st Academy Award film/s have you watched?
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood — favorite film of the year.
15. Last question, what’s your motto in life?
Find balance in everything you do.
Thanks to Justin Dec for taking his time to do this. You guys should go see COUNTDOWN right now. It's out in theaters so what are you waiting for? Have a great time at the movies tonight. Thank you as always for stopping by here to read my posts. I hope to come again and don't forget to tell your friends and loved ones to visit my blog as well. Have a great day everyone.
Mr. Lee Bacon started writing children's book when he stayed in Germany for two years. He has written Joshua Dread series in which it got nominated for 2015 Nutmeg Award. It was also selected for the Spirit of Texas Reading Program. Joshua Dread was translated numerous language. He also wrote a middle-grade series titled Legentopia. Now, his latest book titled THE LAST HUMAN is here. Here is the goodread's synopsis for The Last Human:
In a future when humans are believed to be extinct, what will one curious robot do when it finds a girl who needs its help?
In the future, robots have eliminated humans, and 12-year-old robot XR_935 is just fine with that. Without humans around, there is no war, no pollution, no crime. Every member of society has a purpose. Everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Until the day XR discovers something impossible: a human girl named Emma. Now, Emma must embark on a dangerous voyage with XR and two other robots in search of a mysterious point on a map. But how will they survive in a place where rules are never broken and humans aren’t supposed to exist? And what will they find at the end of their journey?
So, take this time to get to know Lee Bacon and his compelling story that is now being made into a film by Phil Lord and Chris Miller(Artemis, The Lego Batman Movie).
1. What is the genesis of The Last Human?
I was walking home from the grocery store, listening to Ezra Klein’s podcast. He was interviewing Yuval Harari, the author of Sapiens, which is a book I really love. During the interview, Harari was asked whether he thinks human beings will be the dominant life form on Earth in 300 years. His answer came instantly: "Absolutely not!" According to his prediction, humans will either destroy the world or we'll be surpassed by our own creation: technology.
When I heard this, I nearly dropped the bag of groceries I was carrying. I was startled by what he said. And inspired. My imagination immediately began conjuring a future world. A world in which humans have gone extinct. A world ruled by robots.
I decided, right there on the sidewalk: I HAD to write this story. That same day, I began writing The Last Human.
2. What research did you do when writing The Last Human?
One of the challenges of researching robotics and AI is the rapid advancement of technology. Even books that were published in the past few years feel outdated. But I still managed to find a few books that were really helpful in researching The Last Human. One was Yuval Harari’s follow-up to Sapiens, Homo Deus, which actually offered the epigraph for The Last Human: “Organisms are algorithms.” A statement that’s both simple and deep. Whenever I worried about losing my way on The Last Human, I’d go back to this quote. Organisms are algorithms. Both simple and deep, it seemed to cut straight to the heart of what I was trying to do with the novel. To tell a story about finding a connection between two very different worlds.
My research also involved listening to a lot of tech podcasts, talking to friends in the tech industry and watching videos of robots, especially the wonderful YouTube channel from Boston Dynamics.
3. What was your writing schedule when you wrote The Last Human?
I’m a morning person. I’m at my best when I’m on a routine of waking up super-early (sometimes as early as 3am), making myself a green tea, and sitting down at my desk to write. I love feeling like I’m the only person awake in the world. Like time doesn’t exist. I’ll usually write for four or five hours, sipping green tea and tapping away on my keyboard. I generally finish up by 9 or 10am. By the time everyone else is just starting their day, I’m pretty much finished!
Sometimes, I also hit a second wind in the afternoon—around 4:30pm. If the weather’s nice, I’ll go out on the back deck with my laptop and try to write a little more.
4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of The Last Human?
About six months.
5. Did you know how The Last Human would end or did it come to you while writing the story?
On that first day, when the idea struck me while listening to a podcast, I had no idea how The Last Human would end. I only knew the basic premise. A book narrated by a robot, who unexpectedly discovers a human—even though humans are supposed to be extinct. It was only later—as I was writing the book—that I gradually figured out the ending.
6. What was the hardest chapter to write and why?
The Last Human has over a hundred chapters, most of which are only 2 or 3 pages, so I don’t really think about which individual chapter gave me the most trouble. I can only think about it in more general terms. The middle. That was the hardest part. Which is the case with every book I write. The first fifty pages usually (hopefully!) hum along on the momentum of a new idea, building the world, exploring the characters. And if I manage to make it to the final fifty pages of a novel (which isn’t always the case—some books get abandoned halfway through), I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Definitely a source of motivation. But the middle . . . that’s where things get tricky. You’ve got to do all the hard story stuff, moving things forward, maintaining the velocity of the story while also hitting all the important landmarks on the plot. If I lose steam on a book, it’s usually somewhere in the middle. Luckily, with The Last Human, I managed to make it to the end!
7. How do you continue a flow of creativity day by day?
Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t think about the entire novel. Just the passage you’re working on that day. Little by little. One foot in front of the other. If I’m in a good routine, waking up early and writing for 4-5 hours a day, I’ll make steady progress. Not all of what I write will be pure gold, but that’s what revisions are for!
8. Silly-Game question: from The Last Human novel could you please leaf through the pages and point at a random place. What is the full sentence? And what is the page number of this random sentence?
I don’t have the final versions of The Last Human yet. Only the advance reader copy. So the page number probably won’t match the final edition. But here goes!
“Most humans could withstand several minutes/hours in direct sunlight before their skin burned.” Page 95 of the advance reader copy.
9. Which fictional character (besides yours) would you like to sit down and chat with?
Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. He seems like the kind of person you’d want to meet at a party. An eloquent speaker with a good story to tell. But also an excellent listener. And I bet he makes a good cocktail.
10. Congrats on the news that Mr. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are adapting your novel, what scene are you looking forward to seeing on the big screen?
Lord & Miller are my favorite comedy filmmakers. It’s such a thrill to be working with them. I can’t wait to see the ideas they bring to a film adaptation. All the ways that their zany, brilliant vision will shape the story. I’m really curious to see how they’ll depict the scene of the two main characters meeting for the first time, when XR_935 encounters Emma.
11. Also, congrats on having Mr. Henry Gayden, writer of DC super movie SHAZAM!, writing the script, have you ever consider writing screenplays someday or in the near future?
Absolutely! I’ve actually already dipped my toe into these waters. I’m working on an audio original story with Audible called Interview With The Robot. It’ll have voice actors portraying dialogue from different characters. I wrote the entire story as a script. It was great to have the chance to work in a format that’s both familiar (storytelling) and new (screenwriting). While I was writing the first draft, I thought of it like writing a full season of a TV show. Each chapter was another episode. And like TV, I wanted these individual chapters/episodes to feel like their own distinct stories, with a beginning, middle and end that would keep the listener engaged. But of course, each part also needed to serve the larger story.
I really enjoyed working on Interview With The Robot and hope I’ll have the chance to write other scripts in the future!
12. What is your favorite book as an adult? What is your favorite book as a kid?
My favorite book as an adult is The Great Gatsby. I re-read it every couple of years and always find something new to appreciate. Maybe that’s why I chose Nick Carraway as the fictional character I’d like to meet.
My favorite book as a kid was James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. It was funny and dark and weird. When I discovered it back in elementary school, it opened my eyes to what books could be. They could be anything!
13. You lived in Munich, Germany in the past, what meal would you consider everyone to try if he or she visits there?
Well, you’ve got to get some authentic German food! I’d recommend a sauerbraten with knödel (potato dumplings) and red cabbage. My wife is German, so I go back once or twice a year and always look forward to a big German meal while I’m there.
14. Could you give an interesting fun fact about your Joshua Dread book tour?
After the first Joshua Dread book came out, I did lots of school visits. Including at my old school, Oakwood Intermediate School in College Station, Texas. It was a surreal experience to walk back through that same front door, to walk down those same hallways—twenty years later. Everything was the same, and different. Including me.
15. What did you wish you knew when you started your writing career as you were hoping for publication?
If I could go back and give myself one piece of writing advice, it would be “Keep it simple!” This can be a challenge in those early days. Many ambitious young writers have a tendency to overwrite. I certainly did. I was eager to prove myself, to show off all the spectacular things I could do with words. Which meant long, flowing sentences, vivid metaphors, poetic turns of phrase. At the time, I thought readers would be blown away by my shimmering language. Now I realize how overwrought those early stories were. These days, I understand that a writer can do a lot with less.
16. What was the last story (fiction or non-fiction) you read?
I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It was my second time, and I think I enjoyed the book even more this time around! I hope she publishes another novel sometime soon. Although—I’m not holding my breath. A new Donna Tartt novel comes along every decade or so. But it’s always worth the wait!
17. Last question, if you discovered that you’re the last human on earth what is the first thing you would do?
Mr. Lee Bacon's The Last Human should be on your to-read pile. You should definitely check it out. It will also make a wonderful gift for any child that loves to read science fiction books.It's available on amazon. Thanks once again for visiting my blog and I hope each and everyone of you have a superb Saturday. Take care and happy reading.
Brian Baugh began his journey as a filmmaker at University of Southern California in which he earned USC school of Cinema Distinguished Scholar Award. At the mere age of twenty five, he made his first feature film. From there he made and got involved in several films such as The Ultimate Gift, Jack & the Beanstalk, An American Carol, To Save a Life, I'm Not Ashamed and so much more. His latest project is titled The World We Make. So, please take a break from whatever you're doing and get to know this superb director and screenwriter. Get to know his writing experience and most of all go check out The WORLD WE MAKE.
1. What is the genesis of The World We Make?
The story started with initial writer and producer, George Escobar, who approached an executive producer he knew with the idea. The exec producer had an interest in the material thematically. They started to build the team with another producer and started developing and casting the film. I was brought in later in the process by the lead producer, Ken Carpenter, to do a re-write and direct the film.
2. Did you have writer’s block on The World We Make screenplay? If so, how did you get over it?
I had to re-write it quickly, so there was no time for writer’s block. ha ha.
I don’t like the concept of writer’s block. Maybe the better way to say it is that I can get “good writing block”. But I don’t solve that by not writing. As the quote says, “You can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving.” I almost always start a writing day with a page goal and a write to that goal – even if it’s junk. Usually that junk is a starting point for something better. I find most professional writers just force themselves to write something and trust it will eventually get good because they have put in the years of work to become skilled at their craft and trust the process. I just have to punch the clock and have the discipline to write something – even if I don’t like it. I find the process of putting words on the page unlocks ideas that I wouldn’t get by just sitting around thinking.
3. What is your favorite line from The World We Make?
I honestly think my favorite line would be the action lines in scenes where there is no dialog. One of my favorites is a scene at the end of the film where Thomas (Gregory Allan Williams) comes to a peace about his son’s interracial relationship. I love it as a filmmaker when you can communicate something with character’s actions without relying on dialog. Those are often the most challenging scenes to write and it’s a joy when they work on screen.
4. Where and when do you write in general?
I’m a quiet space guy. No coffee shops for me. I have a quiet office with a view of a forest and a good sound system. When I write can differ greatly. I have learned to not be picky about the environment or time because sometimes you need to write in the middle of night in a hotel room, sometimes on set at lunch, and other times you get to write from the comfort of your office. Most typically, I’ll try and get to the office around 7:30 and I’ll write as much as I can before the calls and interruptions start. My ideal day is writing all morning until mid-afternoon and then I’ll spend the rest of the work day doing research or catching up on other aspects of the film.
5. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Caleb Castille and Rose Reid?
Caleb and Rose were both fantastic to work with on this film. One interesting thing is that they are both very good at what their characters were pursuing in the film. Caleb is an excellent football player and was apart of the Univ. of Alabama football team before he chose to pursue acting full time. And Rose is a talented horse rider who used to barrel race and did all her own horse riding in the film.
6. What recently moved you?
I recently directed a film that we shot in Ireland, and I was moved by the talented musicians playing traditional Irish music in the pubs. So beautiful and soulful.
7. Which screenplay of yours took you the least amount of time to write?
I’ll assume you mean the first draft (because the re-writing never feels fast). I have one in development called “My Real Life Summer” that I wrote in just a few weeks. It is a really fun script filled with middle school banter that came out of the brain rather quickly.
8. What movie have you seen that made the most influence in your life?
There have been several. But I would have to say in very tangible way that seeing “The Power of One” as a kid inspired my interest in wanting to help with some of the issues in Africa that later led to post graduate fellowship at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and a degree in African studies.
9. If you have your own talk show, who would your first three guests be (besides me, of course)?
10. Do you recall the very first short film you ever did?
Definitely. After 2nd grade, my father took me to a pawn shop to buy a Super 8 camera so that I could spend my summer doing stop-motion animation with my models and Star Wars figures. I ended up with a 3 minute film at the end of the summer – 1 frame at a time.
My first legit short film happened was when I was 19 with a close friend I met at film school. He and I literally did every role from camera loader, to lighting, to wardrobe, set dressing and oh yeah, directing. I mainly remember how tired we were. I guess it paid off, because we are both making a living directing, writing, and producing now.
11. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you or any experience screenwriter to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
I think having a 5 to 10 page summary/treatment is very helpful. Rarely does a working writer, director, or producer have several days to devote to reading a self-published book. But if an author can write a summary that gives a good sense of the book that can be read in 10-15 minutes, then that greatly increases the chances that a filmmaker will give it a read. At that stage, it’s usually more about the premise and if that filmmaker can get that premise funded. The author would be well served to explain to the filmmaker why their story would put butts in seats at the theater, or be attractive to click on while someone is surfing around in Netflix.
12. Could you give a sneak peek about your next project?
I just finished shooting the feature “There You’ll Find Me” in Ireland that I wrote and directed. It’s a comedic romance with lots of heart about a young woman who goes on a college exchange program to Ireland and ends up meeting one of the biggest young movie stars in the world. The cast was amazing and shooting in Ireland was delightful. I’ll be in post the rest of the year and we expect to release it in 2020.
13. What’s your motto in life?
It would probably be something carpe diem-ish.
Make the most of each day. Experience every moment on the journey deeply and pursue the epic life.
I want to get to the finish line exhausted and spent because I took advantage of every opportunity to have joy, love, and grow to be the best version of myself.
14. Last question, what piece of advice do you have for aspiring directors starting out?
Learn everything about everything. Take the time to experience life first hand. Travel, study your quirky interests, learn history and classic literature, befriend people different than you, play hard, use your talents to serve others, etc. Eventually you will learn the technical aspects of filmmaking, and then it becomes far more about understanding humankind and the world, and having an interesting perspective. All with the aim to tell authentic stories that move people.
I truly appreciative to Brian Baugh for giving up his time and energy to take on my interview questions. You should give The World We Make a try right now. It's available on Netflix, DVD and digital. You can also watch it through amazon if that is your preference. So, that is all for now. Thank you for reading this and I hope to see you tomorrow for next interview. Take care!
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