On July 3, 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting one of the final day shoots of the Emily DiPrimio’s film Carver, filmed in southern New Jersey and in the surrounding area of Vineland, with access granted from executive producer John Delaroderie. The entire process from the invite to arriving on set meeting with the top professionalism, including an extending offer to have an overnight stay at a prepaid hotel, a luxury not often granted to independent journalists. I arrived to the pre-secured set location, a tad before 10am, and soon afterwards greeted by Christina Bates, who proceeded to introduce me to everyone on set and I to them, and extremely well maintained and controlled set, no bickering showing and calmness everywhere. The set personnel were at first a tad unsure of me, but after a bit of small talk, and relating past events I had covered and association to other known individuals such as Armageddon Ed from Walking Dead Films and Bizarre AC, other determine I was a real horror journalist. This is a normal aspect on set, well accepted and people, cast and crew are always curious when a new person arrives on set. The filming production, had a short and tight timeline about twenty-five days, and then heading to post production for editing, and score and undetermined timing for that portion.
Emily a 14-year-old, the center of attention, and to who all questions arose to, as she is the director of the slasher horror film, Carver, with retrospective flair of the 1980s, she wrote it in conjunction with her father Ron DiPrimio. Ron had originally created the script several years ago, as he stated many moons ago, and with Emily a home-schooled girl, one that suffered an injury and always as a parent seeking a teaching moment, handed the screenplay to her allowing her to explore her creative talents. The first lessons came on the computer screen with her learning the proper formatting for a screenplay, the first draft 70% Ron and 30% Emily, but after a negative feedback on lack of funds, Emily took the Carver screenplay headstrong, rewriting and redesigning it to achieve a funding status. Still on shaky ground, Emily created a Kickstarter crowd-funding page and soon enough obtained her initial funding of $25,000, and with the help of her 4-Fs – father, friends, family, and Financial Supporters Carver launched its attack – preproduction mode and casting auditions. The plot for Carver, simple enough, borrows a bit from the original Prom Night (1980) with a group of teenagers haunted by a wretched incident they committed when they were younger, those cause deaths of three innocent people. Now in the present day, and on the anniversary calling cards in the form of pumpkins with hideous intentions located at their homes.
Needless, to state in the beginning of film the older members of the crew and cast did not take Emily’s position very seriously nor did they respect her title of director, which was expected, yet not well received. As she had informed me of the situation, “Children are not listened to, that’s normal,” but soon enough she learn that directors command respect. Ron, acted properly, not as a father, but rather co-director, conveying orders and instructions, and soon enough the set and filming moved in harmony. Her crew, including her father, supports her, and “he does the shouting (on set)” yet conveying my ideas and points to cast and into the scenes. Once I set onto the set, I turned off my cell phone and made sure my camera and voice-recorder operated in silent modes. For those unfamiliar with set procedures one can find themselves frown upon quickly, if one ignores basic rules turn off the cell phone not just muted it, a hum can translate over to the sound personnel equipment. Secondly always make sure you are the furthest person back, and be mindful of the words – ACTION, CUT, and the additional run-off of silence for 30-seconds for sound check, those of the basic rules, otherwise remain respectful, polite and you’ll get more invites and acceptance on film shoots.
On this singular day of my arrival the filming of the character Shawn (Alex Tordi) doing a few basic shots, including repeatedly falling down (the scene called for tripping) and Mark showed he strength as an actor and capable of multiple pratfalls without injury and later a comical scene with multiple takes involving pick-up lines for scoring a date.
However, by day’s end, I sat down with director Emily DiPrimio for a discussion of film:
BC – How has the filming process gone so far?
ED – well I am the director and co-writer with my father so far filming for two week and eight days, then into post production for editing, not sure of the time frame due to multiple editors but hoping to be ready for release in October 2014.
BC – Seeking the festival circuit?
ED – Yes, I definitely want to go to festivals so many I like to show my film for and already been asked if something was ready for some of them.
BC- What has been the toughest about the film?
ED – The difficult part is getting the prosthetics ready and when dealing with the adults, been a life learning lesson, my father handles that aspect, he’s got the voice, for shouting, he has helped me get my points across.
BC – 3-part question – Who’s your favorite director? Your favorite horror film and thoughts on remakes?
ED – My favorite direct is Alfred Hitchcock, for his style of storytelling and creating suspense, my film does have a twist, but doesn’t push any envelopes. My favorite horror films (paused)… Psycho, Misery, The Shining, Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 2 (original) and Shaun of the Dead. As for remakes, I don’t like them or care to ever to make one… just really like the slasher genre, watched lots of slasher films for inspiration and listened to Avett Brothers to mellow out too, when deciding on complex scenes.
Then I took a moment to sit down with co-writer and co-director Ron DiPrimio, personally thanked him for having me out to their film set.
RD – Your welcome, you are invited back for other shoots, as you brought professionalism and that the executive producer, John, pressed him for bringing you to the set, stating it is very hard to impress him, but you definitely did that – thanks for being here today.
BC – So are you looking forward to fest circuit?
RD – yes very much so, love to do the festivals at Chiller and even one in Canada, have gotten inquires sadly we are no nowhere near ready for the events. I heard you have a master list of the festival circuit – love to get that list.
BC – Since you are a long-term horror fan, if you could, with no restraints, and unlimited budget would you do a remake?
RD – Yes, I would and I like to continue the story of original Friday the 13th, but remake it, rather reword the story itself, change it make more creepy and disturbing than a straight-up slasher picture.
BC – How was it working with and for your daughter?
RD – I really enjoyed the time spent with my daughter, the professional she sought on set and during the entire process, for just being 14-years-old, she worked with my other films, but this is her directorial debut, and at first most didn’t take her seriously, and now they all do.
Thanks, again to Emily, and her entire crew for allowing the visit to your Carver set, sadly though I did not find the killer on the location, but I bet the final product will be a terrific horror film and inspire more young filmmakers to put down the video games and pick the camera to make new terrorizing horror flicks.
– Production stills courtesy of Nick Belial.