Dave Zani is a former computer game animator who worked on Grand Theft Auto v and Max Payne 3 among others before shifting to film. After doing a few animated shorts he got a chance to write and produce two films for legendary B movie director Jim Wynorski, Scared Topless and Shark Babes. Dave was kind enough to not only answer a few questions about his films and himself but to get those answers back to me in about an hour, something almost unheard of.
Jim Morazzini: Hi David
David Zani: Hello Jim!
JM: My name is Jim Morazzini and I’m writing up reviews of Scared Topless and Shark Babes for Rogue Cinema and I’d love to have a small interview to go with them. If you have the time to answer a few quick questions. You were an animator for several well known video games. What was that like and it is it the same as animating for film?
DZ: IT was a very new and wonderful experience. I had always been a fan of the GTAV series so to actually be working on one really blew my mind at the time. There are some similarities – anytime you are telling a story. But this animation for a game like GTA – there is just so much stuff to animate, you know, to create this vast, open, world.
JM: What prompted you to move into film? Was it something you always wanted to do or something that developed later in life?
DZ: I had always been intrudes in film, the video game thing was more a detour because of opportunity. I had always aspired to create my own film and to keep creating films, making them better and more involved with each one. Scared Topless and Shark Babes are some of my very first attempts and producing feature work.
JM: You have two features to your credit, Shark Babes and Scared Topless. I’ve read Scared Topless was filmed in two days, is that true?
DZ: Yes! as was Shark Babes. This is all because of the genius framework developed by Jim Wynroski. I would not have been able to do that without him, I learned from a true master. This is how you truly keep the butt down!
JM: I have to admit while I liked both films, Scared Topless seemed the better of the two. Do you have a favorite between them?
DZ: That’s fair. Personally, I do not have a favorite. I love all my children equally! LOL
JM: Jim Wynorski is a legend in the B movie world. Did he give you any input on the scripts or were you left on your own to write them?
DZ: Yes, he did have input. I looked to him for guidance in the translation we would need to make from script to production. This is a step they do not go over too much in writing class. Usually you just write to your hearts content because you are not actively trying to produce it. With this project we knew were going into production straight away and with limited resources. So because Jim is a wizard he can look at a script and he can say ok we can make this for x amount. The first script I wrote we had to put back on the shelf because after he read it he told me we would need 5 times the budget we had! If i remember correctly it was an erotic film about time-traveling space Nazi’s hahaha
JM: What projects do you have upcoming? Do you plan to stay in the soft-core field or expand into straight horror or sci-fi?
DZ: I made these films because it was an opportunity to make a low budget film and get it out there for people to see on Cable TV, streaming and on DVD! It was the next step in my career from working on someone else’s project to helming my own. I do not have any current plans to develop more erotic content – right now I have an animated piece in the works. I am driven to tell stories and give people a sense of escape – Scared Topless and Shark Babes do that in their own way but I am excited to create different things!
Right now I am working on something really special. It is more mainstream, animated and has a rich story, for which I am very proud! It is an epic mythology I am creating, with my own modern twist. I will have more to say soon! to keep in the loop my website OldMillEntertainment.com will have updates in time.
JM: Do you prefer writing or producing? And do you want to direct eventually?
DZ: I prefer producing more. Writing is true work, this is something you need to sit down and do, and it is not easy. Producing is more like being a mad scientist. Producing has more of a social aspect mixed in with it because you are dealing with other people, with writing, it is more of a solitary activity (which is def nice sometimes also).
JM: With your background would you consider doing an animated feature? Or adapt a video game into a movie?
DZ: Yes! my new project now is going to be animated /motion graphics type of thing, a new modern mythology. This could also work in a sand box video game style, for sure. I think as we move forward with VR there are going to be so many new opportunities to be creative especially for people who value narrative and good atmosphere combined. I would like to adapt my own project (this new one ) to a open-world video game.
JM:What are your favorite films? Favorite directors?
DZ: Since I was very young I always admired Walt Disney and Jim Henson, mostly because my mom adored them and their work. Later on, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, of course. Any kid growing up in my time would say the same, I think. As I grew older my scope and tastes began to vary with people like Roger Corman, Mike Judge, Jim Wynorski, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Paul Hertzberg, Samuel Arkoff. I am fascinated by many different types of film and filmmakers. Things you would think are not on my list, I might be a big fan of because I enjoy and respect the process the filmmaker developed.
My top 5 favorite films of all time (in no order)
– Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
– The Godfather Part I
– Pulp Fiction
– The Big Lebowski
– It’s a Wonderful Life
JM: Is there any film you would remake if you had the chance?
DZ: No! 🙂 because those filmmakers already made their movie. I want to make Dave Zani films, this is very important to me. The filmmakers I admire most did not make an impact from remaking other peoples work. I feel there needs to be more people on the scene creating their own stuff and not just rebooting and re branding.
JM: Where do you see film making, especially indie films going in the next few years?
DZ: Hmmm. Well, I think you will see more films. each year that passes more films are created because technology increases and the cost goes down. I think we will start to see VR play more of a part in entertainment, first the big boys will do it then it will trickle down (as it tends to do). Geek culture just seems to be getting bigger with each year and there is money to be made in it so all the companies will continue to champion this. It ids going to be exciting to say the least!
Be sure to check out ScaredTopless.com (limited edition DVD on sale now!) and follow us on twitter and Instagram @ScaredTopless
JM: Thanks for your time.
DZ: Thank you so much Jim! great questions.