KingWolf catches up with Director David Sumner, to talk about his passion for film-making and what’s next for him career-wise.
1. What attracted you to create the movie "RESET"?
The genesis of this movie came to me from watching other thrillers and thinking, would I survive, or would a person really survive that situation? Being in the military for so long I find myself constantly evaluating movies on a tactical level, like what are the advantages and disadvantages. Looking at this situation, a young woman held hostage by a serial killer in the middle of nowhere with no special training, she’s totally going to die. So how do I let her die and still somehow have a chance? I knew I was going to have very little money for this film so I wrote a script that could be shot in a few locations with few actors but would hopefully still be interesting.
2. What was your first job as a filmmaker?
This is my first job as a filmmaker. I graduated from the New York Film Academy in 2016. I wanted to get a job in the industry but unfortunately, realistically, unless you know somebody you basically must be able to work for free for a few years until you build enough contacts. I couldn’t do that, so I came back into the Army and decided to just self-finance.
3. What would your life be like without film-making?
I’d probably be married with kids on the way right now. Making this film and learning how to make this film took up so much of my time and money. I’d probably just focus on writing books as a hobby.
4. What are some of your favorite movies?
I want to say that seeing Independence Day as a kid in the theaters really solidified my desire to tell stories and feel the power of storytelling. I will strongly defend that movie till my last day. Halloween, Clerks, and El Mariachi showed me what’s possible in terms of good storytelling on a shoestring budget.
5. What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received in your career?
I can’t pick one piece of advice. I would say that everyone is different, and everyone needs to hear something a little bit different. I would also say that it’s important to have a day job and not bank on your movie giving you a return.
6. Do you think there are enough opportunities for people with limited experience in film-making?
I think it all comes down to will power and talent. If you are determined to make a movie you can make a movie. If you have the talent that movie will find an audience. The shear number of films that are just not very good that are made inspired me to believe that this was possible. If you are determined, you can make it happen and then maybe decided to keep going or
7. What do you think are the most important elements for a good film?
It’s pretty basic stuff: a story that is compelling, characters that are dynamic and interesting and likable, and basic technical competency.
8. How do you develop a story?
I do thorough outlining. Typically, I will have ideas, plot concepts, or characters come to me and then I will combine them and write out a thorough outline. Outlines for my movie scripts are typically about 7 pages and 4,000 words long. I write out each scene, exactly what happens and then just fill it out on the script. I have found that the more thorough you plan the easier it is to improvise when the unexpected happens.
9. If you were not a filmmaker, what would you see yourself doing?
Same thing I’m doing now just focusing more on my social life, I guess.
10. Is there a film director that inspires you? If so, who and why?
The ones that inspire me right now are the ones that can do the best with the lowest budget. Kevin Smith showed with Clerks that a great script can make a microbudget film good. John Carpenter showed with Halloween that meticulous direction can make a schlocky premise into a modern classic. Robert Rodriguez showed with El Mariachi that you can make a compelling action thriller with essentially film processing money if you’re a bit crazy.
Indie film supporters, check out David's Psychological thriller RESET. Getting ready to graduate, Danielle attends a house party where she passes out and unwillingly wakes up in a spare bedroom of a cabin. The cabin owner, Edgar, seems nice but it becomes clear that his intentions are anything but benevolent.