KingWolf catches up with Director Steven Gerald Warkel, to talk about his latest Horror, Crime, Thriller Hair~Trigger, his passion for film-making and what’s next for him career-wise.
1. Tell us about your most recent project HAIR-TRIGGER, what is the premise of the film and what do you hope that the audience learns?
The premise of Hair-Trigger is that a group of novice criminals attempt to lay low after a heist, only to slowly discover that they are being hunted by slasher killers. Really the film is based on the idea Reservoir Dogs meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Given that both of those films helped set tropes for their respective genres, my hope is that when the audience watches the film that they’ll be left to wonder which tropes will clash and which tropes will come out on top. Leading to an expectation as well as dread of coming chaos.
2. How did you come up with the idea for your HAIR-TRIGGER?
The idea came about from brainstorming what kind of film we could make on a micro-budget. Though Reservoir Dogs and Texas Chainsaw had much higher budgets than what we had, they’re both considered low budget, minimal location indie classics. After thinking back to said films and their tropes, I thought it might be a fun experiment to play their themes off each other in a genre bending fashion. They’re both films that inspired me to get into independent filmmaking. So on top of potentially being a fun and practical film to make, I thought it would be nice to make Hair-Trigger as homage to the stories and filmmakers that ignited my initial interest in the craft.
3. From script–to–screen, how close did HAIR-TRIGGER come to its original vision?
I would say that what we made was almost exactly what I had put on paper. With the exception of a couple cut scenes as well as a few micro moments here and there, it was done about as well as we could have hoped for given our restraints in terms of schedule and lack of budget.
4. You cast a great group of talented actors, how was it working with them?
I’m very grateful for the group of actors we had. Almost all of them were local to the upper midwest or even fellow recent alumni of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I attended film school. I had worked with several of them on shorts in school, hoping that one day I would be able to collaborate on a project like this with them. Regardless of who any of us were, the whole experience really felt like a summer camp. Everyone, cast and crew, came to set each day eager to collaborate and support each other so we could get across the finish line. Some people I had known for a few years, some for a few weeks, but by the end everyone felt like family to me.
5. What was your favorite scene to shoot and why?
My favorite scene to shoot was towards the end. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but there’s a moment when one character finds themselves out on a deserted road in a less than ideal situation. The sun was setting and due to our scheduling it was something that we needed to get done the night of or there would be no way to capture said scene going forward. That being said, we had to throw out the shot list and rapidly move gear out of the way so we could shoot the scene in a hurry at dusk before the sun actually set. It felt a lot like skydiving without a parachute and it may have been the most fun I had on set. Although I think everyone else on the crew was incredibly stressed out as to if we would pull it off, knowing the team I had around me and the shots that I knew we needed in my head, I never doubted us for a second.
6. If you got the opportunity to remake a classic , which one would you go for?
If I had to remake a classic I would probably choose 12 Angry Men. Honestly after making this film, I wouldn’t want to dive too much back into the waters of making a film directly based off other films. But I remember seeing 12 Angry Men in high school and thinking it was fascinating how a movie could be so compelling while being so restricted in terms of what was going on outside of characters simply talking. Maybe I’m too concerned with doing what is practical at the moment, but the challenge of making a film that dialogue dependent seems like it would be very rewarding in the end if you were able to pull it off.
7. What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you are not filmmaking?
I feel like the only thing I’ve thought about since 2016 is filmmaking and movies. Mainly just how to stay motivated as well as how to keep creating films so I can better my craft and knowledge of the process. But in my downtime I do love sports. I no longer play anything in an organized manner, but I am a hometown faithful of all the teams of the Twin Cities. Which unfortunately is not always the easiest thing to do as I’m sure most Minnesota sports fans could attest to. But I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Or that’s at least what I tell myself.
8. What is next for Steven, do you have any projects in development?
No official next project, currently finishing editing on a short film titled “Walk Away”. That will hopefully serve as a solid proof of concept for a midwest crime film. That is a genre that is easily one of my greatest guilty pleasures. Besides that, I would love to explore the world of found footage a bit. Maybe a hybrid of that style. I have a horror concept for that which I’m pretty excited about, so who knows, maybe that will be next. Really all depends on what we can find funding for.
9. The best way to stay up to date on what I’m up to would be through my instagram.
Hair~Trigger is distributed by Porter + Craig Film and Media Distribution and now available to stream on Vudu and Amazon Prime Amazon Prime ~