Found footage horror film Unlisted Owner debuts on Amazon Prime, today. And with that in mind, Wicked Horror spent a few moments chatting with director and star Jed Brian. Brian filled us in on his experience making the film, his inspirations, and more. See the exchange below. And be sure to check out the film for yourself on Prime.
Wicked Horror: You play Jed in Unlisted Owner, as well as helming the flick What are some of the challenges presented by serving as both talent and the film’s director.
Jed Brian: Some of the challenges I faced were having to make sure my actors did what they were supposed to and make sure I said my lines correctly. Also doing dialogue, making sure your camera is in focus and that you are getting the shots you want poses a challenge. One silver lining though, one less person you have to worry about making it to set.
Wicked Horror: A lot of your cast were first time actors. How did you go about recruiting your onscreen talent?
Jed Brian: This is a film, I am proud to say I made with some of my best friends. We had always talked about making a movie, so I set down and wrote a script with them in mind. I tried to make it as easy as possible for them, since they had zero acting experience. I decided to write the dialogue for each character using dialogue and words I had heard them use in everyday life. This really made the process much easier.
Wicked Horror: You use quite a few extended takes. Was that tricky, having to start over at the beginning of the scene anytime someone flubbed a line?
Jed Brian: Believe it or not most of those sequences were not one take. I used a technique called whip transitions to make the shots seem continuous . Towards the end of shot I would dip the camera and In the next scene I would do the same dip or camera movement then blend those together for one seamless edit. When I set out to make a found footage film I didn’t want to have several hard edits in the film. I wanted it to be seamless through as many takes as possible.
Wicked Horror: Found footage certainly has some advantages when it comes to production cost. But what are some of the other factors that motivated you to choose POV over the cinematic approach?
Jed Brian: I would say having never shot a feature at that time, I knew a found footage film would require less crew and equipment. Also being a first time cast having a bigger production would of added more stress. I wanted everyone to be as relaxed as possible and have fun with it.
Wicked Horror: Your characters swear a lot and I appreciate that. Was most of the spicy language in the script or was any of that improvised?
Jed Brian: We really wanted to drive home a script of how a lot of younger adults talk and add that realism of how that age group interact with each other. Super Bad was a little bit of an inspiration for that. That was the first film I had ever watched that I thought “Wow… These guys are talking just like other people our age.” I felt like this being found footage it needed that. But I will say I think there are several that were added in throughout the film.
Wicked Horror: You have said that Eli Roth is one of your favorite filmmakers. Did anything in his filmography provide inspiration for Unlisted Owner?
Jed Brian: Eli Roth was the main reason I wanted to start making horror films. I saw his film Hostel and was blown away by the sheer realism and horror. That film made realize that horror on a screen doesn’t have to be just monsters and in masks, it can also be real situations. That is what inspired me to take my real fears and make them into a film. There is actually a easter egg at the beginning of the picture as my “nod” to Eli Roth. The family in the start of the flick are the Roth family.
Wicked Horror: What’s next for you, Jed? Do you have anything currently in the works that you can share?
Jed Brian: Right now I am co-writing horror short scripts for the YouTube channel ACM Official. I had the opportunity to co-write on the viral “Smiling Woman” series including part 4 & 5 starring Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp. I am in post-production for a short I wrote and directed titled Trick Not Treat for the digital trading card app Terror Cards. And lastly I am in pre-production on a short film for the upcoming horror anthology 6 Pack of Terror We will be filming that spring of next year.