The Final girls interview

Last week we brought you an exclusive batch of posters from The Final Girls, the absolutely fantastic horror comedy with a whole lot of heart from director Todd Strauss-Schulson. If you haven’t seen it yet, I can’t overstate how much you need to stop what you’re doing and go see this movie on VOD right now.

Otherwise, for anyone out there who has seen the movie and/or may be an aspiring filmmaker, the director sent over to us what is basically his making of The Final Girls — but from before the film was even shot. It’s a handwritten guide to shooting the movie, full of notes and quickly drawn shot diagrams that plan the entire film. It just goes to show you how carefully planned every single element of the movie is before cameras roll. See the making of The Final Girls after the jump.

Here’s Strauss-Schulson with some background on how he used to make films as a kid:

When I was a kid I wanted to be a movie director SO BAD that every day for years I begged for a video camera. When I was 13 my grandfather bought me one as a bar mitzvah present. From 13 till college I made a movie everyday after school, trying to teach myself how to do what my favorite filmmakers did.

I didn’t have any way to edit my movies, so I just shot everything in order. Kinda training my brain to think in sequences. If I wanted to do a movie that intercut a guy beating my little sister up (I usually played that guy) with a guy on the street racing home to save her. I would have to shoot the beat up, then run out to the street to do the running, then back to the bedroom for sister, and back and forth, kinda building the sequence in real time (and a strong cardio vascular foundation).

Look at this 13-year old film nerd in all his glory:

Todd Strauss-Schulson - Young

And like any good director, Strauss-Schulson attacks a movie by planning every little details, from camera movement and framing to effects shots and more. And to do that, he plans out a sort of pre-production book:

Before I start any project I write it all out in a big book. I go to a hotel and dream up the movie, how to get the story, or emotion out in a visual way — ideas of how to shoot a scene, how to build a sequence, macro stuff to micro — the colors, the composition, the movement of the shots. Those books basically become the edit of the movie.

Strauss-Schulson sent over to us this fascinating piece of pre-production that was done five months before shooting, and even included some of the shots that match up exactly with his plan in the production book. As you’l see, much of his vision remained intact:

The director tells us:

When I was a kid in my bedroom with a gigantic camera running back and forth trying to figure it all out I loved reading things like Rebel Without a Crew or finding loaded DVDs that gave some insight into the movies I loved. So I thought it could be nice to share my FINAL GIRLS book with you guys.

Also go see FINAL GIRLS in theaters or VOD and spread the word.

That last part is really important. This is a movie that must be seen immediately. Even Quentin Tarantino saw it:

Oh, and Stephen King gave it his seal of approval as well:

Here’s where you can see it:

Otherwise, you can catch it on VOD for about $7 right now. And if you want to see more of this detailed production book, you can flip through it right here. And as always, stay tuned to Todd Strauss-Schulson’s Instagram and his Ulterior Productions website for more in his future projects and The Final Girls.

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