At the Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, OH. Our E.I.C. Connor Petrey had the opportunity to speak with Nite Flirt’s director/writer Samuel Gonzalez Jr. and writer/producer/star Gigi Gustin about the film...
Connor Petrey: I heard you made the film in a very limited time?
Samuel Gonzalez Jr.: One day.
CP: How’d you manage that?
Gigi Gustin: We didn’t. (Laughing)
SGJ: We had to rewrite the ending to pull it off, the ending we went with wasn’t the original. So we had to recreate it. Just a really great team, super organized and we have a great star and producer, Gigi (Gustin). So she really was the tip of the sword, it wouldn’t have happened without her.
CP (to Gigi): You were fantastic.
GG: Thank you.
CP: When I started watching, I wasn’t sure where it was going. But I really liked…Have you ever seen the show, Eerie Indiana?
CP: It’s kinda like a Twilight Zone in the 90s type show and it felt in that style, where there’s a weird story that pulls you in and always has a weird twist at the end. That’s the whole thing.
SGJ: I love those.
CP: And I genuinely didn’t expect the milk carton at the end. What did you change in the ending?
GG: It’s kinda hard to explain. The whole house was shaking because basically what's happening is my character is in [redacted] and we wanted to make it a little more clear that it’s separate realities. We just didn’t have the time so the tv portal sucks you in.
SGJ: We were originally going to blend the worlds and make it more clear to the audience but we just didn’t have the time. I think it works though.
CP: So you filmed in a day, like you mentioned. How long in post?
SGJ: It was fast. I think it was two weeks. Two and a half weeks plus an additional two weeks for visual effects and sound.
CP: The lighting. I loved the lighting.
GG: Oh you better, it cost me. (Laughing) And it takes time between set-ups too. The first time we worked with that lighting team, which was a brand new team. It took some time. The nightmare sequence took forever to set up so by the time we actually got to the phone call it was one take, so we could blow through it but it looks great. So I really appreciate people liking the lighting because that made up all of our day.
CP: The TV stops working at one point and Tammy has to start playing board games by herself. Is that symbolism for something?
GG: I think to be honest we were just using the TV breaking as a way to get to the place where you can show that I’m alone and bored. And when the TV turns back on, that's the [redacted] trying to make his way. He’s using the TV, he’s using the phone, anything he can use. So the TV turning back on is him saying I’m back and that’s why it happens right after the nightmare. She may have woken from her nightmare, but the real nightmare has just begun.
SGJ: Yeah and all of the commercials we see when she wakes up from the nightmare, they’re all messages like “Confess your sins.”
CP: All of the commercials that came on seemed legit.
SGJ: They are. They’re real.
GG: We found an hour of weird commercials and went through to pick the best ones. Then they sent them to me and oh yeah these ones were creepy. All real.
CP: What was the process of getting Bill Moseley to be a part of this short?
GG: Bill and I are friends. We’ve worked together before. So we discussed a couple people and once I brought up Bill, he (gesturing to Samuel) was sold, the Devil’s Reject himself. So I slid into his DMs on Instagram and sent him the teaser trailer we made. I asked him his opinion and he said it was great and then asked if he wanted to be a part of it.
Sam actually knows Bill’s manager from previous projects so we tag teamed. I hit Bill in a DM and Sam hit his manager and we just got together and recorded. Bill did a really great job and I was really concerned that we were going to be handicapped creatively because when we filmed it I left spaces and Sam was trying to read with me while directing at the same time.
So Bill had to fit his responses into the area I left him the date we filmed. We were nervous about cutting his wings that way, but he worked within the boundaries we set by the way we had to film it since Bill was not on set with us. I think it works well and I don’t think most people notice we did that separately.
SGJ: So I had to watch the monitor and speak with her during her scenes. It was tough that day.
GG: We originally had an actor that was supposed to show up and read with me so Bill had a little more to go off of. So we just had to kinda like “Spit out the line Bill” or “You have to drag it out here.” Because sometimes I would leave a big gap - “Why’d you have to wait so long before the next line!” (Laughing)
SGJ: He’s incredible to work with though, he brought a lot to the movie that we didn’t expect. It was really more serious in tone and he brought more of the humor to it. He’s a genius.
CP: Anytime I hear the name Bill Moseley and horror. I’m in. (Laughing)
GG: We were very excited to have him.
SGJ: He’s part of the family now too. I grew up watching him on the VHS horror section when I was a kid and it felt like we knew each other for years. He was very easy to work with.
GG: I was nervous to ask him to, because he’s done big projects. But he’s such a doll. He made us feel like it was really important and he really cared about it a lot. You can tell. He does a great job and his performance is really, really good.
SGJ: We had a lot of fun.
CP: Was it all shot legitimately in the house or where was it shot?
SGJ: So the house was owned by an older couple since the 70s and they had passed away. The family decided to dismantle the house and rebuilt it in a stage so it could be used for photography and filming. So when you go into the house it’s actually broken up in a sound stage.
CP: Have you been on the festival circuit for a while? How many stops have you made?
SGJ: This is our world premiere. It’s just launching.
Be on the Lookout for NITE FLIRT on the Festival Circuit.