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Interview with Tyler Savage, director and co-writer of Blinders
By James Whittington, Monday 31st August 2020

Psychological horror is always well represented at FrightFest and this year is no exception and one of the stand out pieces is Blinders from director Tyler Savage. Here he chats about this emotional and atmospheric movie.

HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from?

TS: The original idea for the movie came from an unsettling rideshare ride I took. Something about the driver made me uncomfortable, and I hated the fact that he now knew where I lived. From here, Dash and I started talking about the many ways in which technology makes us all incredibly vulnerable. There's a dark flipside to the convenience technology brings into our lives, and we wanted to highlight that idea in a way that was sort of gleefully dreadful.

HC: You write it alongside Dash Hawkins, what is your process? Do you both write various scenes etc and then discuss and amend etc?

TS: Dash and I have been writing together for years, so we've streamlined our process pretty well. We both feel that 'breaking the story' and thoroughly outlining the plot turns is the real heavy lifting, especially for a genre story like this one, so we usually do that together in a room with a whiteboard and post-its and ample caffeine. From there, it's easier to divide and conquer, regularly exchanging and reviewing each other's work as we put out pages.

HC: Did you write it with a cast in mind?

TS: We very much wrote the film with Vince and Michael in mind, since they're both dear friends, and their natural off-screen dynamic is pretty entertaining. We found Christine and most others through a traditional casting process, but there are a few other close friends in the cast who we wrote roles for, including Chase Joliet, Steph Barkley, and Alex Dobrenko. I'm blessed to have such a tight and talented group of individuals around me, and we all support and feed off each other's energy.

HC: The dynamic between the three leads is incredibly real and tense, did they have much rehearsal time?

TS: Thank you! That's certainly nice to hear. While Vince and Michael already had a pre-existing dynamic to sort of play with, improvs and rehearsals were essential to the process. We had fun in the weeks leading up to shoot using improv starters to get everyone engaged and on the same page. I would've loved to have a more in-depth rehearsal period, but due to limitations in time and budget, we usually had to settle for running the scene a few times on the day before rolling.

HC: What was the atmosphere like on set as the story does go to some really dark places?

TS: Set was such a joy. I honestly wish I was back there right now. But there were definitely some dark and emotional moments where we had to give the actor's room to get into the right headspace. Most of that was toward the end of the shoot, when the truth started to be revealed.

HC: Was it all shot on location?

TS: Yeah, we made a point to shoot on location as much as possible. The police station was shot on a soundstage, but the twenty or so other locations were scattered around Los Angeles. We were proud of how much we were able to stretch our tiny locations budget, especially in LA, where you expect to be charged an arm and a leg. I give a lot of credit to our producer team for making it all happen, and to our Associate Producer Max Neace for operating as a Location Manager of sorts.

HC: Without giving too much away, which sequence was the hardest to shoot?

TS: The climactic warehouse scene was easily the toughest part of the shoot. We only had two days in that location, which was about half of what I was originally hoping for. We had to go into pretty bad overtime one night, and we were rushing to get all our shots before sunrise. Everyone was pretty physically and emotionally exhausted. I remember getting a six-pack with our DP Antonio Cisneros at like 7am after wrapping that insane overnight. We laughed deliriously as we knocked a few back.

HC: This is your second feature; which directorial mistakes did you make on your first movie did you make sure you didn't make this time around?

TS: That's a good question. There are definitely a few. I think the biggest mistake I avoided this time was being too rigid or self-serious. On my first feature, Inheritance, I was primarily focused on just not f*****g up. I'm proud of what we did in terms of composition, mise-en-scene, and the overall energy of that film, but my anxiety around making some sort of amateurish error kept me from feeling the freedom to be bold and experiment, which I think I was able to put behind me with Blinders.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

TS: I'm working on a few new ideas with Dash at the moment, including a new psychological thriller that's sort of infused with further commentary about the degeneration of authentic human relationships in our modern world, which I'm pretty energized about. I'm also co-writing a horror feature with genre writer-director David Ferino, who has played at Fantasia, Screamfest, etc.

HC: Tyler Savage, thank you very much.

TS: Thank you! It's always strange working on projects in a vacuum, and we're deeply grateful for your interest and support as we hustle to get this film out there.


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HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

GL: I'd say I've always been a fan of genre titles, being it horror, science fiction, fantasy, every subgenre that plays with the ability to push our imagination forward always fascinated me. And this was born mostly with the 80s I think and the birth of modern era special effects... those comforted writers and directors in the fact that they could try to tell stuff about anything... and well that's what they did: anything... and among all this...
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Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
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