The Fare: Interview with Director DC and Screenwriter Brinna

The Fare
“The Fare” is a new romantic movie with a Hitchcock edge that has won many awards on the festival circuit.

“The Fare” is a new romantic movie with a Hitchcock edge that has won many awards on the festival circuit. The story chronicles a charming lady named Penny who enchants a taxi driver named Harris until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. As he desperately tries to make sense of what happened, Harris resets his meter and is instantly brought back to the moment she first climbed into his cab. He and Penny subsequently find themselves trapped in an endlessly looping ride that changes their lives forever.

Recently director DC and screenwriter Brinna spoke about their experiences with this movie and more.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you decide to enter the film industry and which genres most appeal to you?

DC: The decision to enter the film industry was never a decision for me. It’s always just been part of the DNA. I can point to some major milestones, but the thing that probably started it all was when my poor Dad fell for the child-friendly marketing of the original “RoboCop,” and took his then-five-year-old son to see it. I don’t remember anything horrifying or upsetting from the experience. Instead I was thrilled for every bloody second of it. I smacked his hand away when he tried to cover my eyes during the nastiest scenes, and when I left the theater, I wanted to be “RoboCop.” There’s no way that didn’t mess with my brain just a little bit and put me on the path to loving dark, weird stories about dark, weird things. In terms of the most appealing genre to me, I have always been most readily swept up in adventure films. Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis; I learned the language and power of cinema (at least, the power it had on me…) from them. I think I watched and re-watched “T2” and “Aliens” a few hundred times before I ever saw a Hitchcock film. I genuinely love all genres. There are romantic comedies that I’ll fight for until my voice goes hoarse and horror films that I think are underappreciated (or forgotten) masterpieces of cinematic expression. But adventure films tend to edge out all other genres on my wall.

The Fare
“The Fare” takes place inside of a cab.

Brinna: I started in the entertainment industry when I was 11 years old, I was a child actor, and from there I went to UCLA’s film school. I got into screenwriting after graduation, but also continued acting. Basically, I feel like I grew up in this industry. It wasn’t a decision it was just always a part of who I am and my identity. Science fiction appeals to me the most. “Star Trek,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “The X-Files” are probably most influential to me as a story-teller.

MM: How long did it take to film and what was it like preparing for the role you played?

DC: The Fare was filmed incredibly quickly. We shot the whole film in six days, with a seventh half-day of exterior photography using a drone toward the end of post-production. Shooting at that clip was an incredible challenge, but we had absolutely top-tier talent in front of and behind the camera to make that happen, and I am unbelievably proud of each and every single member of The Fare family.

Owing to the window in which we had to shoot, preparing for it was more like preparing for a TV episode mixed with a stage play. First, our screenwriter Brinna Kelly had to be incredibly clever in crafting the story in a way that – taking advantage of the looping nature of it – could utilize the same camera and lighting setups over and over on purpose. But we still were concerned about the movie’s visuals looking stale after a time, so our brilliant cinematographer Josh Harrison and his camera, lighting and grip team devised a horse-shoe dolly track around our taxi cab (which was all filmed on a stage) that allowed two cameras to quickly reset and get coverage.

With a rear screen projector for the backgrounds and a scheme that smartly used a number of small lights, Josh and his Chief Lighting Technician Paul Samaniego were able to quickly get us from scene to scene without a ton of down time between setups. They were unbelievably efficient without sacrificing quality. Gino Anthony Pesi and Brinna Kelly had to perform 20+ pages of dialogue a day, which again, is more like a stage play or daytime drama, but the particular challenge for the two of them was that unlike a play, we were shooting out of order so they had to be able to emotionally jump around from early in the film to the very end, within a very quick span. Basically, everyone had to be prepared and bring their A-game to make our days. And we still wrapped early on our last day in the studio. I’m so proud of our team.

MM: What’s your favorite part of the movie and why?

DC: I love the performances. It’s a movie about two people in a car, trying to solve a mystery and falling in love in the process. Nothing about what was asked of Gino and Brinna was easy, but they brought so much to it. The fun and laughter they had on set is there on screen, they share such remarkable chemistry and I just find their performances so charming. During the Q&A at the Chattanooga Film Festival, one of the audience members said that they loved the characters and wished they could have hung out with them. I loved that and it’s all because of the performances.

The Fare
“The Fare” has become popular on festival circuits.

MM: What’s the most memorable behind-the-scenes story you have?

DC & Brinna: The most memorable behind-the-scenes experience was probably our half day with the drone. We filmed with a skeleton crew: the two of us, Gino Anthony Pesi, Josh Harrison, our key grip Stephen Ji, and David Midell our Co-Producer. We were shooting day-for-night, so it was high noon, which we would later color grade to look like night, and it was Gino and Brinna driving around in this beautiful old Checker Marathon (which barely started that day). We rented a mile-long, unpaved desert road driveway from a family who lived in Palmdale, California. We had already cut the film together, so it was just collecting all the final pieces, the connective tissue. It was the most we really ever took the cab out and drove it around. We got some stunning drone photography and we knew it was the final series of shots. It was just a very magical day.

MM: What are your ultimate career goals?

DC & Brinna: Our only goal is to continue doing what we love, on larger canvasses, and with more and more experienced and talented people whose work we admire and respect.

MM: What projects are coming up for you soon?

DC & Brinna: That completely depends on how much people like, and how many people see, “The Fare.” That’s our reality as indie filmmakers. We’ve done as much as we can with “The Fare” and the work is going to have to speak for itself and for us now. Hopefully the film can find and connect with an audience and lead people to want to see something else from us. Next up, we have a horror-thriller with elements of fantasy and dark humor that we think audiences would go crazy for. It’s a wicked, fun ride and we can’t wait to make it. With some good fortune, hopefully “The Fare” can help create opportunities that will allow us to pursue that film. But that’s really up to the audience now and our hope is that “The Fare” will find them.

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To watch a movie trailer for “The Fare,” see here.