Dave Reda is a long-time horror fan that directed and starred in the nip/tuck independent horror film Bit Parts that’s been getting rave reviews (like mine HERE!). Bit Parts is a fantastic horror film that has the perfect mix of humor and horror. I highly recommend checking the film out!
And now for the interview:
Fatally Yours: Welcome, Dave, and thanks for doing this interview! Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about Bit Parts?
Dave Reda: Sure, my name is Dave Reda and I grew up in San Jose, Ca. I started out mainly as an actor leading up to a few national commercials and then moved to L.A. I started my own sketch comedy show, "Click This!” here, and refined my craft directing, producing, and acting all at once. We ran for 3 years until I pulled my troupe together to make the film Bit Parts. Being a major horror fan as well, I wanted to make a horror film that could really happen, something that might scare me.
Bit Parts is the story of an L.A. plastic surgeon who goes crazy out of guilt and remorse for wrecking his daughter’s face in an auto accident he caused. He then decides to pose as an L.A. casting director and seek out the perfect replacement parts off young starlets new in town. He holds auditions seeking the perfect eyes, nose, lips…
How and why did you decide to do Bit Parts? What drew you to this story?
Being a huge horror fan I approached my writer Jon Rosenberg about doing a horror script that could really happen in today’s world but not kill us in budget. Luckily, Jon had just finished writing a zombie script for his director friend Frank Coraci, (Director of Click, The Waterboy, Around the World In 80 Days...etc) where money was no object. It put him in the perfect mind set to write a film still strong in story but LOW in budget for me. A script that could utilize everything we had in our arsenal, but wouldn't kill us in costly details...
The film is very professional-looking. Did you have any previous directing experience before Bit Parts?
I had directed some plays early on in my career and small stuff, but my show gave me a hard 3 year crash course in film making. Since we mocked so many different types of movies, commercials and T.V. shows all at once, I had to learn how to pull off each style truthfully or the sketch would fail. This along with being raised on Hitchcock, Romero, Hooper, and Raimi’s films did a lot to put me on the path I am on today…
You started out in comedy, specifically with a comedy troupe and a sketch TV show. Why did you decide to make the jump to low-budget horror?
We had won a couple of film festivals with “Click This,” but no one knew what to do with a T.V. show. I pitched the show to the vice presidents of two major networks, but both were a little too scared to take a chance on an unknown troupe. At this point I realized my troupe and I needed to change and grow or die. Being such a huge horror fan and with Jon Rosenberg being a huge horror fan, it was the next logical step for us…
How was the film financed? How hard was it to get the project funded?
The film was funded mainly through independent investors and our own pockets. Our executive producer on the film was Karl Schweitzer, my best friend since childhood. When I approached Karl with the idea he was excited because he had been wanting do a project like this with me for a long time. When your best friend puts that kind of faith and money into you, it puts a huge fire under you to not fail.
Bit Parts has some very funny, subversive comedy that reminded me of the humor in Re-Animator and Evil Dead. How did you and writer Jon Rosenberg balance the horror and humor in the film?
It was actually pretty hard for us to hide our comedic side for the film, we are both such huge fans of those films and others like Shaun of the Dead. Jon is such a great writer, he was really able to capture a creepy vibe with this underlying sense of dark humor and horror with the film. We spent a lot of time going over the story and adding more and more, the story really lent itself to anywhere we wanted to go…
All of the actors were great in the film. How did you find them and what was the auditioning process like?
Some actors came from “Click This!”, others we got from Backstage West and online submissions. In the film actors audition in an abandoned warehouse, and to see if life would imitate art a little we held auditions in my friends recently closed down costume store. We put paper up on all the windows and thanks to a recent rain, the roof was leaking down into the store here and there a little. It's funny, just like the film the actors didn't even think twice about it.
Was the part of Bobby written specifically for you?
Yes, Bobby was written with me in mind for sure but in a lot of ways we are very different. Since I was directing and with Jon’s trust I was able to improv some of my stuff and give the part a little more of me at times and that was a lot of fun.
How hard was it to direct AND act in Bit Parts?
Rough! Having little time and money made playback not always an option, so I had to direct a lot of the time from in front of the camera. I had to have a lot of trust in myself that I would give the best performance I could too, and that can shake you up a lot. Luckily I had talented actors to work with, and my own troupe, which eased pressures a lot.
The gore and special effects in Bit Parts were great! How did you manage such great FX with a low budget?
The actor that plays Detective Giallo in the film is my long time friend Peter Redman. Pete owns a costume store in the city of Orange, this was huge for us because we got all the blood, latex, make up, and even some custumes we needed for free. With an independent film, it’s the little things that can kill you, and it’s the wonderful friends and connections you have that can save you!!
At first glance, Bit Parts looks much like French horror classic Eyes Without a Face. Was this film an inspiration to Bit Parts? What other films (horror or otherwise) inspired your film and why?
Believe it or not, neither Jon nor I had seen Eyes Without A Face prior to filming, but have since. I think it’s quite a compliment to be compared to that film, so I am happy with that. So many films have inspired Jon and I, and are the hugest reason we are where we are today. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez, they are like independent film fore-fathers. These guys are quite an inspiration to film makers everywhere because they are proof the dream can work if you work for it. Also, any film from Hitchcock, Argento, Sam Raimi, Tobe Hooper, George Romero. I was a child of the 80’s and was lucky enough to have a video store across the street where I grew up. I was in there everyday renting movies, learning everything I could gleam everyday.
Bit Parts contains a great social commentary on the dangers of the booming plastic surgery business, especially here in Southern California where young girls receive plastic surgery even before they are fully developed! What are your personal thoughts on people who go under the knife for purely cosmetic reasons?
I think it’s really sad when you have little girls who are 16 under going surgery and alterations and they aren’t even done growing yet. Along with trying to make our horror film we definitely were trying to make a strong statement about how scary important beauty is in this town…Worth dying for...???
Your film is available at major retailers, including Borders, Virgin Megastore, Blockbuster and Rasputin as well as online through Amazon.com and Netflix. How did you manage to secure such wide distribution? Do you have any advice for other low-budget filmmakers looking to get their films in retail outlets?
I knew from the beginning that what format we chose to shoot on would have a direct effect on getting a distribution deal but kill us on cost. Even though HD and Mini-DV is easier and cheaper to work with than film, unless you have made a masterpiece, your film will be limited in its options. Making the film the best I could on film secured us a distribution deal through Koch Entertainment and Cinema Epoch. Their faith in us and our film is huge, and they are the reason we are in so many stores. Can’t thank them enough for that kind of support for a little independent horror film.
Now, after all this I am not saying you should only shoot on film, you have to do the best with what you have. Mini-DV, and HD are a great way to teach yourself the art of film making before you go out and kill yourself with film costs. Not to mention, HD is becoming more accepted as a film format all the time and justified correctly in your film could be your way in! Also, I would say never give up no matter how long it takes. It’s a lonely rough road that will test your metal the whole journey, but it’s all worth it if you believe in it and can keep going. By the end of the road you will also know if film making is truly for you or not!!
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any other projects in the works?
We do have some new ideas and plans in the works, but right now I am doing everything I can to get the word out on Bit Parts. Since we are a small film we have to do most of the promoting ourselves which is monopolizing all my time right now. As long as I have the opportunity to feed my horror side and comedic side through my films, I will be fine.
Thanks so much for your time, Dave! We highly recommend Bit Parts and hope to see more of your work in the future! Anything else you’d like to add?
It's so important to support independent film. I believe the horror fan of today is a lot more diverse and a lot smarter than Hollywood gives them credit for. It's through the independent film and film makers that will focus on story and not just gore. This will force a change for all to follow…I am very excited to announce we are doing a MySpace contest with the Horror-Fanatics where one lucky winner will win a special severed body part! This will be a really fun contest and we appreciate the Horror-Fanatics greatly…Thanks so much for the interview and all the wonderful support. I wish you all the best…Also, please visit our website at www.bitpartsthemovie.com
Support a great independent horror movie! Buy Bit Parts on Amazon!