Sharknado: The 4th Awakens - Season 2016

You seem to handle exposition better than some of the big blockbusters. Do you have a philosophy for powering through that?

I wish I could say there was some sort of master plan. I think it’s just storytelling. It’s a collective brain trust. You have Syfy, you have Asylum, you have Thunder and you’ve got myself. We all have our ideas of the stuff we want to do with these movies. We go back and forth. We have a master list of gags so my job as the director is to balance all that stuff and find a way to try to tell a story with it. Certainly, there’s a lot of competing ideas in these movies. It is scattershot and crazy sometimes but at its core, what I try to do is always go back to what’s going on with Fin and April, grounding that. Once you get that arc of what’s going on with them within the framework of the craziness, then you can start dealing with, how do you get away with the exposition? How do you create this new mythology? I’m glad you said that and I hope that’s true, that we explain everything as best as we can. I think we gloss over stuff too but I think our original concept was a lot more complicated and the more we went through, we just kept simplifying and simplifying. Now you have what you see in the finished movie.

There was another discussion too, and this was kind of the tricky part, originally we weren’t going to reveal what happened to April, whether she lives or dies, until the movie in terms of exactly what happened. Everybody would know Tara was in it but how she was in it or what she was in it was always going to be kind of a mystery. But, as it became clear, we couldn’t keep it a secret. I think it worked to the advantage of the marketing to say, “Yeah, she’s back.” You’ve seen the movie. Other people don’t know exactly why. The important thing for me was finding ways of keeping a mystery even if you know what’s happening.

One of the earlier things that I wanted to do was when you watched the film, in the crawl, I wanted it to say: April Wexler is dead. And be definitive about it and then find our way of how to get around it as you watch the film. But the problem with that was that that crawl is part of the commercial. Again, in our self-imposed rules, we’re parodying that but it’s organic to the idea that this is a commercial within the movie, not necessarily the crawl to Sharknado.

Do you have plans for Sharknado 5?

If the audience is there and Syfy wants us back, it’s one of those things where I know that there’s still stuff to do. Every time we finish a movie I think there’s nothing left to say, and all of a sudden I say something stupid and go, “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if we did this? Oh my gosh, I’m talking about the next movie.” So there’s always ideas. There’s always things, I think, left in the universe to mine. I’ll give you an example. The main title animation that we did, I knew I wanted to do animation. I was searching for someone that wanted to do full-on animation for that one minute. I found a guy named John McGuire. That was about two and a half, three weeks ago. It was the beginning of July I finally locked him in. So we started talking about what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell a mini Fin adventure so it sort of became a post-apocalyptic terminator shark Fin adventure in animation. We came up with all these gags, some gags too we didn’t necessarily get a chance to put into the film. At one point we were talking about lasers on sharks so that ended up going in there. We came up with a couple fun things. I love the sort of WWII flying sharks. That was fun, they’re dropping bombs. There’s still interesting gags but I think the gags don’t work if you don’t care about the characters. Even with the addition of some of the new cast, you really like these people. For whatever reason, even Tommy Davidson who plays a foil for Fin, he’s this big larger than life salesman of this technology but at his core he’s a good guy. I think that’s what makes him interesting. Probably my favorite scene in the entire movie is the one where Fin and April finally get a chance to talk. It’s so Sharknado and so cornball but it’s the heart of the movie. They just acted the hell out of it.

Maybe the fifth one can be your Fast Five.

We almost did that with the car, but there’s that. There are a few other genres we haven’t played with. There’s still some places left to destroy so we’ll see where it all leads. The reason why we cram so much into the last movie and particularly his movie is that I remember showrunners for the longest time, when you’d hear them talking about their series, it’s like, “Well, why did you go there in season two?” Well, if you don’t put everything into your season, you don’t know if you’re going to have a season six or seven so you’ve got to cram everything you can in there and then sort through it next year. I feel Sharknado is the same way. If we hold back and don’t put everything we’ve got into it, there might not be another one. You have to put all your wares on the table. I think this one is probably the fastest pace of all of them.

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Sharknado: The 4th Awakens premieres Sunday, July 31 at 8PM on Syfy. If you want more Sharknado, Ferrante has released an opera under his band, Quint. You can buy the “Sharknado Rhapsody” on iTunes. He also filmed a virtual reality horror short with Ziering called Killer Deal that should be available after its Tribeca and Fantasia premieres. Ferrante also produced a horror movie called The Ones Above that should be released soon.

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