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An Interview with David Black, Writer, Producer and Star of Toxic Alien Zombie Babes From Outer Space

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2020

David Black on (re)Search my Trash

 

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I know we've talked about this before, but do bring us up to speed: Your upcoming movie Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Hi Mike, Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space is a comedic sci-fi/horror film that pays homage to the great B grade cult movies of the 50's - 70's, while covering a number of the strange issues that have come up during this pandemic year.

 

So at what stage of production are you at at the moment?

 

We have quite a lot of the footage in but thereís a lot more to come. Gerardo has been editing as scenes are received, but I would say that weíre only just approaching the half way mark. Weíve both been working around the clock, 7 days a week, for the last 2 months. I can see at least the same amount of work ahead before we have a finished product.

 

The ongoing Corona lockdown - in what way has it influenced, maybe changed your movie?

 

This movie was created after the lockdowns came into effect and is designed to be made under the current conditions. We were in a situation that we werenít going to be able to film anything the traditional way because we couldnít have a crew on location. If we wanted to keep making movies then we had to adapt quickly and come up with unique ideas. The whole situation is totally new and what weíre doing has never been done before so the first way it has altered things is that we had to loosen up our expectations and be ready to make any changes on the fly. In the past, we had our script and knew what we were aiming at. We kept on track the whole time and pushed things through with determination. If I approached this project with that sort of tunnel vision then things would all fall apart quickly.

 

You've gathered quite an international cast for Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space - so who are some of the people we'll be able to see in your movie, why them, and how did you get them even?

 

I recruited all of the international actors via the internet. Most times it was via Facebook and some were via email. The main known ones that have come through are Destiny Soria and Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel D. Wynkoop interview - click here]. Both are filmmakers so they had crews that were able to shoot their scenes. 

 

Destiny is working on her own feature at the moment called Christmas Slasher so she had all the resources available to get a professional level shoot happening. Joel is also working on a feature called The Craiglon Incident. We went a bit further with this one and his scene is a crossover between our two features. He plays his main character from his film ďParsons CooperĒ and the footage will appear in both The Craiglon Incident and Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space. His crew shot the scene and Gerardo edited it and added in the SFX.

 

Joel and Destiny are technically just as far away from us as Andrew Bianco, who is in Melbourne. Although he is just a few suburbs from me, I canít meet with him physically. He was working on his feature movie called Universal Dickhead, but the stage 4 lockdowns in Melbourne put that all on hold. He had costumes, vehicles and props all ready to go but suddenly was hamstrung. Heís now working with us and weíve made his character a part of our film too. Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space will be a prequel to his feature.

 

What are the challenges of working with remotely filmed footage?

 

Oh boy! The challenges are never ending there. The first was in recruitment. I put up messages on various Facebook groups but in this environment, some just went bad and had to be removed. There are so many people locked down who are bored with pent up energy that simple requests can be twisted by trolls and then the next thing is that you have a zillion social justice warriors making false accusations.

 

Once past the recruiting stage though, the next challenge is that some people canít communicate well. We are shooting worldwide, so a few donít have English as their first language. Others who apply just donít have the skills and can chew up a lot of time with silly questions before you have to say that you will have to pass on their scene. Then there are a heap that have to be chased until they finally come through, or we give up. Thereís also footage that comes back that is unusable. Sometimes we get what we have asked for on the second shot because the people re-shoot their scenes. All other challenges we are facing at this stage were expected though. There will be a lot of work in cleaning up sound and matching up different types of footage.

 

There are challenges to come that we will address when the time comes. We might find that we have a lot of footage that seems disjointed and unconnected. We planned for that with characters filmed on green screen that can be put into scenes. Also, my character is a vlogger and will be filmed last. I can put in any commentary or explanations to help join things together.

 

What can you tell us about your collaboration with Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space's director Gerard Chierchia during all of this?

 

I discussed what we were going to do with Gerardo before we started so we both knew that this would be divided into 14 sections with a key scene in each part. We knew how things would progress but not exactly where each change would take place. We also knew what things we would use to keep the ball rolling, such as the slides to break up each section, rolling newspaper headlines and a vlogger giving a narrative of what is happening. The rest is lots of quick skits, so if a few here and there donít come through, the movie still rolls on as planned.

 

The way we are collaborating is that I write the scene. I also find the actors. Gerardo then breaks down the shot list and works with the actors and crews until he gets the footage back. If he tells me that it is usable, then I get the release forms to the actors then tee up the IMDb credit when I have the paperwork back. Later on, I will review the footage and chat with Gerardo. If changes are needed or we have to get extra footage, then Iíll arrange that.

 

The $64-question of course, any idea when and where the movie might be released yet?

 

Weíve been saying that this will be released in November since the start. I havenít been told anything different but the sheer amount of work ahead has me thinking that it is likely to be late November rather than on the very first day.

 

As for where it will be released, I have a number of TV stations and shows that have asked for it. I did email a large number of cinemas in Melbourne to see what the reaction would be, before starting to contact others around the world. So far, despite spending two whole days sending out emails, none have bothered to reply. That could change later when I have more to show them and if the buzz continues to grow. Then again, it might not change for Australia because there are obstacles. For starters, we are not going to pay the ratings board to get this classified. Aussie cinemas can show unrated films but usually only do so if someone has hired their theatre. There are also a lot of things that donít get publicly discussed, but are considerations. E.g. if Aussie cinemas decided to show unrated indie films, would that affect them receiving the Hollywood blockbusters? I believe that our cinemas will have to adapt or die. They were already facing the challenges of diminishing crowds as more people opted to see movies on V.O.D. Further to that, many of the big studios have cut back the time cinemas have the exclusive on a film and are going to V.O.D. earlier.

 

My offer just might be the thing needed by cinemas to break the stranglehold that the big studios have over them, but only if they are open-minded, brave and adaptable. If this does take off in cinemas then that will most likely be in the USA because history shows Australians have rarely taken risks and opted to follow our big cousins overseas instead.

 

Should the lockdown go on for a while yet, could you ever be persuaded to make another film pretty much remotely?

 

The whole idea horrifies me, but the answer is yes. Weíre not going to stop making films. It seems to me that many of those in Melbourne have just decided to give 2020 a miss and think that they will restart when the restrictions are over. Iím willing to accept the changing environment and to keep adapting. If we do make a second film during lock down, we wonít be using all the ideas we came up with to make Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space. We will have to come up with even more innovations to keep things interesting. Once our film is out, people will be working out how we managed it and some will copy. When that happens, it will lose that "wowĒ effect.  I prefer to keep at the forefront anyway by introducing new ideas and techniques.

 

Any other future projects you'd like to talk about?

 

We still have our feature film, Badass Bunyip to finish off. We decided to reshoot a few scenes at Easter, but thatís when the lockdown started. Itís almost complete and just requires 2 days of refilming scenes. Iím hoping that we can do this around Christmas and be able to follow up Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space with it. It would be great to come up with 2 fantastic releases back to back.

 

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Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Here is the Facebook page for the film - https://www.facebook.com/ToxicAlienZombieBabes

And this group is for those that would like to be in the film and can self shoot - https://www.facebook.com/groups/UfoScreamScene

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

The film is taking up all my time, so nothing more to promote. I would say that we are going to emerge from this pandemic into a changed landscape. Old empires will fall and new ones will rise. It will be interesting to look back at today in 12 months to see just how much the world has changed.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thanks for interviewing me again Michael. Itís always a pleasure.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
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written by
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