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.