The horror community is full of talented and intelligent individuals who have incredible ideas. Unfortunately, very few of these individuals actually venture out to turn their ideas into realities. Sometimes people don't realize or take into consideration the amount of time, passion,stress and dedication that goes into some of the titles we see on screen. Every now and then it is good to reflect on the independent film maker and remind ourselves of those hard working people in the community who are making their dreams realities and bringing their ideas to life. I was lucky enough to speak with one such brave individual Jed Brian who's film Unlisted Owner is a found footage experience brought to the screen through dedication and passion. I got a chance to dig up some dirt on how Unlisted Owner came to be.
KillDozer: Where did the idea for Unlisted Owner originate?
Jed: While brain storming for ideas for the film, I came up with the scene that gave me the idea that helped me figure out the concept for Unlisted Owner. What I had come up with was someone getting pulled up into an attic space. After that I filled in the blanks of how did we get to this point, why this would happen, and what happens afterwards.
KillDozer: Did you know from the beginning that this would be a "found footage" or POV film? What inspired you to film the story this way?
Jed: Yes I did, from the beginning I knew the movie that I was going to make would be found footage. Unlisted Owner started with me trying to come up with a script that I could actually budget and make into a full length film. I am a fan of Found Footage but had never written a found footage script, I knew that would be a good way to start in film making with little cash. Budgeting, not having film equipment rentals close and not having enough crew to film traditionally were the major reasons we chose to go the Found Footage route.
KillDozer: It must be incredibly hard to bring something to the screen that needs to be as believable as possible to be experienced properly. How much control did you have or want over what was being said and filmed in Unlisted Owner? Was your script followed note for note or did you allow the actors and camera people the freedom to make it feel as organic as possible?
Jed: As far as the realism in Unlisted Owner I wanted to make it seem like this had really happened. We had a script that my cast followed almost to a T at times. I did give them freedom but for the most part the dialogue was spot on! I feel like the combination was what helped bring the realism to the film for sure. I couldn’t of been happier with the end result.
KillDozer: What made you want to take the "through the camera" approach with having REC and battery logos on screen? Do you feel the those additions helped in the audience experience?
Jed: I believe it helps the audience experience. It may take some hard core found footage fans out of the movie but I felt like these elements were needed to help tell the story better. Especially the facial recognition box that Griffin's camera had. I believe that really helped the basement scene have a creepier vibe.
KillDozer: Have you viewed Unlisted Owner with an audience? If so what has that experience been like?
Jed: We actually have shown Unlisted Owner to audiences five different times. Twice for focus group showings of 110 each night people in Vincennes IN., once at the Showplace Cinema East in Evansville IN to 99 people and two other times with several people at the American Film Market in Santa Monica CA.. The reception was great, the surveys we read from the audience were awesome. We weren’t just judging by facial reactions but by the written word of the viewer. They were able to rate each scary part of the film and let us know what else they would of liked to see in the film or if there was anything we needed to change.
KillDozer: What was the greatest challenge when making Unlisted Owner? Is there anything learned from this project that will help you with the next one?
Jed: One of the major lessons I took from Unlisted Owner was to make sure you surround yourself with reliable people when you’re making a film. I was so lucky and am very grateful for all the support I had while making Unlisted Owner. We worked great as team and made something amazing together. If I didn’t have really reliable actors there’s a chance the movie would of never been completed.
KillDozer: How did you go about getting funding for the film?
Jed: Basically this was during a time in my life where I was living at home and had saved up some cash from working. So I ended up funding the entire movie myself.
KillDozer: What was your shooting schedule like?
Jed: We had to work around everyone’s schedule, so we shot on every weekend for about two months I think. Tyler worked every other weekend so I had to make sure we shot the scenes with Tyler on days he was off. When writing the script I was aware of his work schedule so wrote his character to not be in every scene which helped greatly.
KillDozer: The home in the film has a dark history. Did you have a location in mind when writing the script? Was the back story based on any actual true crime events?
Jed: That house was always a land mark home in Sumner, IL where I’m from. When I was a kid I was lucky enough to go inside and fell in love with the staircase. As I got older I just always remembered that and thought it would make a cool shooting location for a film. So when writing the script I had hoped we could get that house and the owner was nice enough to let us shoot as long as we wanted, we were so grateful for that. As far as a true crime story or anything like that, we have some local legends but nothing that resembles or inspired Unlisted Owner.
KillDozer: What kind of stress do you go through when trying to properly light a found footage film?
Jed: In found footage there is a really fine line with the way your lighting looks. You want it to look good but not too good. By that I mean you want people to see what they need to see and make it look real but you don’t want to overdo it to where it looks like a Hollywood movie. A camping scene at night is one of the hardest things to light. There's no street light or anything since you’re in the middle of a woods, so you would always have to make sure the campfire was stoked and bright. We also strategically placed lanterns around the group setting around the fire to light everyone up. Another challenge is the lighting on the camera, since neither camera we bought had lights on it and I didn’t want to go the night vision route. So we built a camera light rig with both led and regular lights to get brightness but at the same time not wash out the color.
KillDozer: How close are you in real life to the character you play in the film Jed Groves? Did you write the character specifically with you in mind to play it?
Jed: I think Jed Groves and I have a few things in common but for the most part are pretty different. For one I don’t swear as much as the character I play, and my he has a poor choice in friends that he hangs around. They were his friends from his younger years but now he is ready to start to settle down, while Gavin and Tyler are clearly not. And they will do anything to get Jed back on their team again. I also in no way would be convinced to break into a crime scene. I would be like "hey he made his bed now he needs to lie in it". One way I think I’m similar to my character is how he likes to film stuff but that’s about it.
KillDozer: Where can people go to see Unlisted Owner? Where can we go to follow your work? Any new projects coming up?
Jed: Unlisted Owner is available on DVD at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and FYE.
If you would like to stream the film you can find it on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft Store. So you can get it on your Xbox and iTunes!
You can find information about Unlisted Owner on our website UnlistedOwner.com also find us on Facebook @UnlistedOwnerMovie and Twitter @UnlistedOwner and follow me on Instagram @mr.jed_brian.
As far as the next project we have several ideas we would like to make, even an Unlisted Owner II, but it just depends on what profit we make of Unlisted Owner to determine what we do next.
KillDozer: If you could remake ANY non found footage film as a found footage film what would it be and why?
Jed: I really think IT would be a neat found footage film. The reason I think it would be such a cool found footage film is the concept could be that the kids are filming stuff as weird things start to happen. They talk about what has happened to them and show the footage to each other after that they investigate the clown together with their handhelds and go pros. Can you imagine little Georgie with a hand help camera recording his boat as it goes down the drain? I think that would be an awesome scene for sure.
KillDozer: Would you have survived your film in real life?
Jed: I think so, I would have never went in the house to start with. Even though Gavin had the keys I think I would have started walking home instead.
KillDozer: What is your favorite piece of movie memorabilia that you own?
Jed: Either my autographed Night of the Living Dead poster signed by George Romero and John Russo or my signed A Clockwork Orange poster signed by Malcolm McDowell and David Prowse. I was able to get them all signed in person which was amazing!