“Scooter” is a new film by writer and director Matt Wohl. Five years after writing the movie, he found the money to make it. As he prepares to unleash the low-budget road thriller on theatre audiences, the filmmaker remembers the work involved in getting to this place via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How long have you been making movies for?
Matt Wohl (MW): I made my first short film in 2002.
MM: And have you had to juggle a day job, too?
MW: Yeah. I’ve been able to write screenplays, work on films, and make a few films, all while having a job. Although, some of those jobs were teaching film. It’s not easy, to balance work and art, but it can be done. I’ve always tried to do the things I love without impacting my family too much.
MM: How long ago was Scooter conceived?
MW: I came up with the idea about six years ago. I never wrote it, but through the years I would pitch friends the idea. It was always in the middle of the pile for projects. Last year things changed when the potential for funding came along, and I put it on the top of the pile.
MM: What came first, the idea to do a movie set on a scooter or a film concerning a group of people with a YouTube show?
MW: It started with scooters and found footage. YouTube seemed like the best way to tell the story, and I liked what I could then say about that form of communication, and what people will do for attention.
MM: Did you speak to any real-life YouTube influencers before scripting? Did they have any inside information that you would apply to the story?
MW: I’ve watched plenty of YouTubers but I did not reach out to any. My son and I watched tons of the British show Top Gear. That was really influential. Then, I took that and adapted it to YouTube.
MM: How different do you think the movie would’ve been had it been made say, twenty years ago?
MW: I think 20 years ago the film would be very different. I think it would be more about the characters learning something. I think it would have been harder because of the lack of technology like GoPros. I also think it would have felt more forced, and maybe less believable.
MM: Can you talk about the various styles of shooting you did on the film? Were there different cameras used?
MW: We used three different GoPros/action cameras. We also used a Sony FS700 for their main “show” camera. There was a Panasonic HandyCam that Juan used, and then we had a drone. So, six cameras in all. My DP, Pezhman Jatala, and I sat down went over the whole script scene by scene. In every scene we talked about who had cameras, what cameras did they have, and why. We never wanted the audience to say, “wait a minute, where did that shot come from?”
MM: And were any of the shots actually filmed while sitting on a Scooter!?
MW: Oh, yeah. We strapped mounts on those guys, and let ‘em go. That was part of the fun.
MM: After such a heavy-going thrill ride will you try something different on for size next, or stick to the genre?
MW: I have several projects coming up, they are all different, but have a touch of similarity. One is another road trip film, but more of a comedy/drama. The other is a zombie comedy.
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To see where “Scooter” is screening click here.