Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Ryan Lightbourn, Director of "Travis Porter: Red Rock." The movie screens Friday 10/19/12 at 3 pm

“Travis Porter: Red Rock”
Friday, October 19, 3 p.m. Theatre B
Genre: ACTION!

When their luxurious tour bus breaks down, budding hip-hop group Travis Porter becomes stranded in the remote town of Red Rock. After the bus driver witnesses a horrific crime, the group discovers the town's deadly secrets. As members of their entourage begin to disappear, Quez, Strap, and Ali learn of the town’s dark secret & realize that they must escape by any means necessary.

Director Ryan Lightbourn is a Thriller! Chiller! alumni filmmaker whose short "Roid Rage" screened in 2011. He's back in 2012 with "Travis Porter: Red Rock."

It’s so difficult to make an action movie on an independent budget because of the needs for specialty training and implementation of FX, fight scenes, weapons, safety and security issues that surrounds all of that. You have a lot of heavy weaponry and fight choreography in this movie .What was your process and how did you manage to accomplish as much as you did with this movie?

I decided to shoot all of the action scenes in a junkyard so that we could wreak havoc & not worry about permits, insurance, or soaking the set with blood.  The property owners could care less about the destruction we caused, and were having a blast watching the whole filmmaking process. Because of our budget, all of the guns were plastic airsoft guns.  For the big, bad "Houdini", we used a spray painted Nerf gun which had a badass, rotating barrel.  I added all of the muzzle flashes, ejected shells & fire in After Effects.  That made production easy, but post was a lengthy nightmare.  It's cool though, when you're editing you can sit around butt naked & eat chocolate cake all day.

Who are your favorite action movie directors? The ones who influenced you most?

I don't think I have a specific, favorite action director...more so favorite action movies.  I like action films that combine elements of action & horror such as Predator, Alien(s), Terminator, etc.

How did you get hooked up with the band Travis Porter? And, how did the idea originate to make a short film rather than the traditional music video?

Travis Porter were featured artists in a music video that I shot back in 2010.  I assume that they saw me running around with no crew, working a glidecam, jib, and multiple cameras all by myself & were impressed by the bang-for-the-buck factor.  They like to think outside the box & release things that you don't typically see from a young hip-hop group.

We talked about doing a 30 minute short for about two years & tossed around a few ideas.  So many hip-hop films take the "hard", gangster route & glorify guns, drugs & violence (they make it seem cool to younger viewers).  Travis Porter's catalogue is mostly made up of fun, party songs, so I figured we should shoot something that mocks the darker elements of hip-hop.  When I originally started writing Red Rock, it was a vampire movie, but I didn't think their target audience would have taken well to a full blown horror film.  Instead, I started the script like a Texas Chainsaw Massacare/stranded in the middle-of-nowhere deal, then ended with some Bad Boys II shit.

Action movies usually have a great need for good sound design. And more often than not, sound sells the edit in action movies. What were your challenges in sound design for “Travis Porter: Red Rock”?

I'd say the most challenging thing was that our lav mics kept dying on us.  In post, I probably struggled more with audio than any other aspect.  Pulling out pops, clicks, trying to master onboard mic audio (if a lav dropped out during that take).  It's cool though, I was naked & I ate lots of cake.

Your movie clocks in at 27 minutes. Did you approach it like making an episodic program that could fit into TV time slots as well as be setup for sequels, or even turned into the first act of a feature?

I think we went for roughly 30 minutes because they were on a chaotic touring schedule & I only had them on set for 3 1/2 days.  I figured we had to max out at 30 mins, otherwise things would have been sloppy.  There are actually a few parts missing from the script, such as a final, bloody fist fight between the members of Travis Porter & the lead bad guy (Kingpin).

When their manager initially watched the film, he called me and said "Dude, this is Part 1 of a trilogy".  I can see it being turned into a trilogy & pieced together as a feature, but at the same time, I'd rather shoot a feature length version from scratch for the sake of consistency.