Death Grip Writer, Director, and star Eric Jacobus attempts to answer your questions by being as serious as possible.
- Is Death Grip a Stunt People film?
- Is there a trailer!?
- Where was Death Grip filmed?
- What camera was used to film Death Grip, and why?
- What is Death Grip‘s release date?
- What’s the running time for Death Grip?
- What is the budget?
- Why did you change the name between Death Grip and Rise And Fail?
- What first inspired you to write Death Grip?
- Will Death Grip be like Contour?
- Weren’t you working on writing that other feature film after Contour?
- How long did it take to write Death Grip?
- Don’t you get carpel tunnel from writing for six years?
- Are there any plans for sequels?
- What is Action Kickback“?
- Don’t action films do that already though?
- What are examples of other Action Kickback films already out there that I might know?
- Can I be a part of the Action Kickback movement? How?
- How can I help with Death Grip?
|Q.||Is Death Grip a Stunt People film?|
|A.||Well I (I’m Eric Jacobus) am writing and directing Death Grip and I star in it, along with other members of The Stunt People. So in terms of the creative forces involved, yes, this is a Stunt People film. But Death Grip operates as its own limited liability company, and the Stunt People business entity isn’t connected with the film legally or financially, which means I (as the Stunt People) can’t get sued. How cool is that? But we’re still allowed to say, “Hell yeah, this is a Stunt People Film.” So, best of both worlds.|
|Q.||Is there a trailer?|
|A.||Right here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL4Y-sVbszo.|
|Q.||Where was Death Grip filmed?|
|A.||The film was shot entirely in Northern California, with the majority of filming taking place in a warehouse space in Emeryville. We also had a small variety of locations in San Francisco, Petaluma, Oakland, and El Cerrito. So for the most part, we contributed the film’s location budget to the Alameda County community.|
|Q.||What camera was used to film Death Grip, and why?|
|A.||We used the Sony NEX-FS100, which has the ability to shoot 60 frames-per-second (40% slow-motion) with sound. Beyond that, the rolling shutter is minimal, it has good audio inputs, interchangeable lenses, and a lot of color depth. It’s also known for its high sensitivity to light, which allows us to get by with less lighting equipment rentals. Fewer rentals meant lower cost, and lower cost meant more money to feed the crew!|
|Q.||What is Death Grip‘s release date?|
|A.||We are aiming for a May 2012 release, which will hopefully follow shortly with worldwide distribution (direct-to-DVD). In the meantime, we would like to provide some initial DTC (direct-to-consumer) distribution of our own, so our fans don’t have to wait for an official release to get their hands on the DVD, but this is entirely dependent on the agreements with any distribution companies.|
|Q.||What’s the running time for Death Grip|
|A.||Death Grip will be approximately 100 minutes long.|
|Q.||What is the budget?|
|A.||With any luck, Death Grip will be completed on an ultra-low budget of roughly $100,000. This budget is already a tight squeeze for a feature-length film, and even more ludicrous for an Action film. But with some sacrifices here and there, and a very dedicated cast and crew who willingly took less pay than they rightfully deserved, we’ll manage. We are still in post-production, so I can’t say for sure yet, but I’m optimistic.|
|Q.||Why did you change the name between Death Grip and Rise And Fail?|
|A.||After filming about half the movie, we began to feel that the working title, “Death Grip,” was less appropriate for the film we were now creating, as the film had become so much more intense and character-driven. So we came up with “Rise and Fail” as much better suiting the film’s more serious tone, which you can read more about on this blog post. However, after completing filming and half of post-production, we had another honest conversation – this time with our sales agent – and were advised strongly to return the name back to “Death Grip”. It seems we’d actually gotten it right the first time. The original title “Death Grip” just says “action movie” more, and will apparently also make the film a better sell. So after careful consideration, we returned to our original plan and will be releasing the film as Death Grip.|
|Q.||What first inspired you to write Death Grip?
|A.||I like fun action films, stuff like Big Trouble in Little China and Hot Fuzz, but the action in these and others like them tends to be a little lacking. I wondered, “Can’t an action movie have a good, killer story and kick-ass action?” That’s where I came up with the idea for Action Kickback. Action Kickback film-making was something I had first undertaken in my 2005 film Contour with limited writing experience, and I was ready to go at it again. Death Grip features a much more character-driven plot about a character who’s coming clean after leading a mess of a life, and he has a lot to answer for. The story itself was inspired by a personal moment in my late 20s that many can relate to. I came to realize that a lot of issues I was facing were just stemming from the fact that I never dealt with old childhood issues, be they minor or significant. Only when a mess started forming did I decide to get to the bottom of it, much like Kenny’s decision in Death Grip to begin taking care of his brother so he can finally get his life back together.|
|Q.||Will Death Grip be similar to Contour?|
|A.||In terms of its spirit, definitely. Death Grip is a low-budget action film with Stunt People-calibur fight scenes (meaning they’re awesome) and a spirited storyline. Fans of Contour will not be disappointed. But Contour‘s storyline admittedly wasn’t developed enough for many viewers, leaving many feeling like they had watched a Stunt People demo reel. In that sense, Death Grip is very different. I lost plenty of sleep while writing (and rewriting) the script, enlisting the help of serious creative talents such as Pete Lee, Chelsea Steffensen, and others to straighten me out when my writing got lazy. Not to mention Death Grip had Drew Daniels (http://vimeo.com/23008255) as Director of Photography, so I’m confident it’s far more story-driven and will have a more polished and professional look than Contour.|
|Q.||Weren’t you working on writing that other feature film after Contour?|
|A.||I spent five years following Contour‘s completion writing lots of screenplays, including a sequel to Contour called Detour and a modern western, but none of them really satisfied.We had the action, but I wanted a story that held its own. I still believe they are good concepts, but they need a solid “reboot” before I work on them again. Death Grip was the result of starting over from scratch and actually finishing something. I gained some grey hairs and lost contact with most of my friends and family in the process, but I’d say the six-year writing process was well worth it!|
|Q.||How long did it take to write Death Grip?|
|A.||I started writing Death Grip in March of 2010. After over a year of constant toiling in Final Draft and roughly 800 Americano coffees at any cafe that had an outlet and a dark corner, a workable version was finished in May of 2011, when pre-production officially began.|
|Q.||Don’t you get carpel tunnel from writing for six years?|
|A.||I go in for my seventh wrist operation on Monday. Of course, since I blew my HSA account on buying that Sony camera I have to get operated on by a fellow who practices out of a back alley in Juares. But he’s a good guy, and he never charges me if he does the wrong surgery.|
|Q.||Are there any plans for sequels?|
|A.||Right now we’re focused primarily on making Death Grip, but we’re leaving the prospect for a sequel open!|
|Q.||What is “Action Kickback”?|
|A.||Action Kickback is a revolutionary new action film movement that unites no-nonsense, technical fight choreography with solid storytelling. It advocates stronger integration of fight choreographers and talented writers in the production team, producing an ultimate action experience that won’t soon be forgotten.|
|Q.||Don’t action films do that already though?|
|A.||If the film is foreign, maybe. But while American action films have the storytelling down, they need some fight choreography direction. I think we love fight scenes, but more than anything we love seeing them, and you can’t seea fight scene when the camera’s too close and the editing’s too rapid-fire. Hong Kong films in the Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan era captured the essence of the fight scene perfectly through their use of carefully placed shots and slower editing. The choreographer had much more autonomy because the producers understood the need for coherent action scenes. So we set out to use that model and cater it to our audience.The only problem was that back when The Stunt People started in 2001, audiences had a hard time accepting a bunch of everyday Americans doing spinning back kicks and 360 degree aerial flips. But thanks to the recent massive appeal of mixed martial arts, viewers can believe a tour guide, a pizza delivery boy, or a caterer doing these stunts. That means your story no longer has to be about an ex-CIA assassin or a ninja trained by a Chinese man living in the mountains. As long as the setup is believable, your character can be anything because martial arts is now officially a part of our pop culture. Hollywood still hasn’t adopted this model because the model they use is already profitable, so there’s little incentive to change the process. Fortunately for us in the indie community, it’s cheaper than ever to make beautiful looking HD films and release them on DVD. That gives us a massive opening to launch the Action Kickback movement, and we’re starting it off with Death Grip!|
|Q.||What are examples of other Action Kickback films already out there that I might know?|
|A.||While the term “Action Kickback” hasn’t been formally utilized by any other productions, I’d consider the aforementioned films like Hot Fuzz and Big Trouble in Little China as examples of action flicks you can sink your teeth into. Other recent releases like Undisputed 3 nail the action perfectly. A great combination of the two: Kung Fu Hustle, but with slightly less over-the-top action. Imagine Kung Fu Hustle with Kurt Russell… or even better, with Eric Jacobus!|
|Q.||Can I be a part of the Action Kickback movement? How?|
|A.||Definitely! All you need to do is make an entertaining action movie with fight scenes that people can comprehend. It’s like calling your film a “horror” or “comedy”. There’s no committee or approval agency. The Action Kickback movement is self-enforcing, and people will know it when they see it. If you’re still unsure of what Action Kickback means, then Death Grip will set the record straight. In the meantime, check out my previous attempt Contour.|
|Q.||How can I help?|
|A.||There are lots of ways!