LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with John Adams, co-writer, co-director and star of The Deeper You Dig
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th August 2019
Along with his partner Toby Poser, John Adams has delivered a top-drawer chiller for FrightFest 2019. Here he chats about their emotionally charged movie, The Deeper You Dig.
HC: How did you two meet your partner Toby Poser?
JA: At a rock show in NYC. I saw Toby walk through the doors of the club and the world disappeared.
HC: When did decide that making movies should be your careers?
JA: we decided to make making movies our careers when the movie industry decided that it wasn't going to be our careers.
HC: Where did the idea for The Deeper You Dig come from?
JA: One of the catalysts was my wanting to explore the weight of guilt and Zelda wanted to explore the idea of being a punk ghost. Toby was intrigued by the idea of refinding faith in spirituality as a way of solving something unanswerable.
HC: What is you writing process like and do you write with a cast (apart from yourselves) in mind?
JA: I think I like to talk about stories in a more visual, visceral way and Toby puts depth and meaning to those visuals.
HC: How much research did you have to do about Tarot cards?
JA: Toby did a ton of research on Tarot and was helped mightily by Tarot expert Sasha Graham. Our biggest concern was how to respect Tarot but still get our point across and Sasha guided us through that process.
HC: The film has a lot to say about death, loss and false hope, making it far more than just a horror movie, would you agree?
JA: Yes, I absolutely agree. The film is really a study of both the balance of love and grief and the balance of guilt and punishment all wrapped in the blanket of horror.
HC: How tough was the shoot in the Catskill Mountains?
JA: The Catskills are wonderful to shoot in. It's our land and our people. Our community has always supported everything we do, and we use locals in all our movies which I believe helps give it an honest feel. The only drawback was sometimes the extreme cold, but I was gonna be working in the cold anyway, so it was a nice break from work to meet Toby and Z and bang out a scene.
HC: What's it like directing each other?
JA: This is our 5th movie together so we've learned to let each other do a scene how the want initially and the direct them how we'd like to see it after they are satisfied with their self-direction.
HC: The editing is excellent, that must have taken a long time?
JA: Thank you for enjoying the editing!!! It did take a long time. However, we do have the advantage of being able edit as soon as we shoot. If we are unsatisfied, we reshoot and re edit til we're happy. Unlike industry films we finish each scene and put it away so on the last day of shooting we edited, and the movie was in the can.
HC: The soundtrack, both natural and score adds so much atmosphere to the piece, how hard was it to get it so right?
JA: Thank you again!! I LOVED doing the score and sound design. A lot of it are actual recordings of the sounds from the old house that stars in the movie and I was working on. Like old washing machines and an old broken piano. Also, the wind constantly blowing through the open spaces. I spent a lot of time changing the pitch to the tracks to give them all a more ominous tone. Lastly, I spent many our recording drone sounds and creating super fucked up guitar cuts using a variety of effects pedals.
HC: Do you believe that there's an afterlife and that people have a "gift" to communicate with the dead or predict the future?
JA: I don't believe in magic or meddling divine powers. I believe in life and I believe in the infinite possibilities of death.
HC: How nervous do you get when your work is shown at festivals?
JA: I get extremely nervous at festivals and when reviewers watch our film. In fact, I get nervous when I know anyone is watching it. I want people to enjoy it, be entertained and I hope it provokes some fun out of the box thoughts. I've learned to ignore the hateful reviews which is part of the game and grown to love an honest critical review. We want to make better and better movies and hearing intelligent opinions is priceless and imperative to us growing as a team.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
JA: It's perfect that this is question 13. We're working on a movie about a family that has made a deal with the devil and payment has come due!
HC: John Adams, thank you very much.
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