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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)




In the midst of all the Venice Film Festival excitement, I'd like to bring your attention to some good old Americana Indie-style. If the title doesn't grab you enough, like it certainly does for me, then hopefully this in-depth interview with the filmmakers Dan Finkel, (Director/Writer/Producer) and Brian McGuire (Actor/Writer/Producer) for the new witty and spirited- che spiritoso!- American Indie film Everything Will Happen Before You Die (2010).



First, I will start with Writer/Director/Producer- Dan the Man!



ME: Dan, can you talk about Everything Will Happen Before You Die? What is it about and what inspired you to make this film?



DAN: EWHBYD is about two friends, Edgar and a Russian named Doran, that used to be a locked-at-the-hip, party animal duo. Eventually Edgar decides to hop off the "party train" but Doran never did. Three years later, they meet by chance. Edgar reveals to Doran that he's getting married at the end of the day to give his girlfriend a Green Card and Doran convinces him to have an all day bachelor party. Under the umbrella of no-holds-bar debauchery, they go on an adventure through the "underground" of Los Angeles which includes a cast of colorful, hilarious and tragic characters that touches on the current political and social climate of the United States circa 2010. This adventure turns into an unexpected spiritual quest for both characters.



ME: Awesome! Just hearing you talk makes me homesick! Can you tell us what it was like to work with Brian McGuire as
co-writer and producer?



DAN: Brian McGuire (the star of the film and co-writer of EWHBYD) starred in the Cassevetes award winning film IN SEARCH OF MIDNITE KISS which was done at such a low budget and received critical acclaim, that it really opened my eyes that this could not only be done, but it could be really good. At around the same time Brian made an even lower budget film, which co-starred Bret Roberts (the other star and producer of EWHB), called BLINDMAN.  This was done even cheaper! I really was impressed with their chemistry on screen and was confident that if I got involved in the next one we could all make something really special together.  



ME: Can you share any fun moments you guys had while making the film? How hard was it as your first feature ever?



DAN: Brian McGuire and I had written two scripts together but never a project where we were going to shoot it no matter what. And with those guidelines, we brainstormed of all the cool locations we knew that we could get for free or for really cheap. That's literally how we started the writing process. Bret Roberts told me he always wanted to play a Russian so we made a Russian story line. That's how it went. We took all the resources available to us and inter-weaved them until we had a plot. I had never written a script this way but the limitations actually forced us to come up with stuff that we never would have. I'm really proud of how it all came together maybe more than anything I've done just because of the limitations we were under.



ME: Can you tell us about what you want audiences to know about your film and what you really wanted to say to them?



DAN: The stoner buddy comedy has been done to death. While I love the genera, even the ones that turn out funny seem to be a bit tired. We wanted to have a totally original take on this. You know, make a film with huge R rated laughs, but not afraid to challenge the audience intellectually. We deal with a lot of "hot button" topics in the film like religion and illegal immigrations while we have conflicts like if one of our characters should perform oral sex on a coke dealer for free drugs. We wanted the movie to be fearless and real. No matter what an amazing adventure our characters are on, it had to be plausible. 



ME: I love it! Sounds like 'The Hangover' meets 'Borat'. LOL! How has the film been received domestically and internationally so far?



DAN: We debuted the film at the Monaco Film Festival and I won an award for best first time director. There were film students from Lebanon there and they flipped out. I would never have expected that. There are rumors that we are going to be invited to Lebanon this fall to show the movie. Our film is also playing at the Ireland International Film Festival and we are up for Best Feature from The U.S.  We are premiering the film on Saturday September 11th at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival. They chose the film over 600 others to be the centerpiece film of the festival. We are really excited and honored.



ME: Awesome, Dan. Way to go! I can't wait to see the film and see where you guys go with it!  Can you tell what the 'Everything' is in the film? I'm super intrigued! :-)



DAN: Brian McGuire had a dream that a monk walking a poodle came up to him and said "everything will happen before you die". Considering that religion is a big part of our movie, it seemed to be a perfect choice for the title.



ME: So funny. Dreams can totally be an inspiration for great art. I hope there is a scene in a film with a monk and a poodle saying ‘Everything Will Happen Before You Die' or even funnier if the poodle says it?! Dan, how did you get into filmmaking? Did you just fall into it like many say or did you always dream of it?



DAN: I've been writing screenplays for 15 years. I had a run in the early 2000's where I was almost the "it" boy. I optioned a bunch of them and had meetings it seemed with everyone. I thought it would be smart to write the most commercial thing I could think of, partnered up with a big producer...and I couldn't do it. I wanted to sell out but my mind went on strike. I joined a rock band that had a big run in LA and started to write scripts with Brian McGuire. I always wanted to direct but never went to film school so I was just focused on the writing part. However, when we wrote Everything, Brian thought I should direct. His confidence in me made me confident I could pull it
off. I was really lucky to have such amazing people to work with. The DP of the film Bruce Dickson had directed videos for Smashing Pumpkins and coincidentally the editor Justin Coloma had directed a video for that band as well. Not bad company to work with for your first film. They made me look like a stud. Also, the cast is ridiculous. John Hawkes and Nick Stahl I was huge fans of their work long before the movie.  And of course Brian and Bret really delivered the best performances of their career in my opinion. Without that, the film would not have worked.



ME: Your story is proof of how filmmaking is collective. Without everyone working together, none of it would be possible. What will you be working on in the future?  



DAN: I just finished the script I want to direct next called RANDY AND THE GANG STALK. I call it an anti-Hitchcock Hitchcock film. It's as equally funny as it is creepy. Brian and I wrote a script called WORKING THE COMB OVER. It's dear to both of our hearts cause it deals with my years being a delivery driver in Hollywood as well as his amazing, hilarious music. Getting that one produced next is the main focus. I also have an R rated broad comedy action screenplay called THE MAD COW that I'm turning into a graphic novel.



ME: Hmm, Randy and the Gang Stalk. Sounds fun. Good luck with everything and I hope you keep us posted with your success on EWHBYD and all your future works. Thanks a million Dan! Let's hope everything really will happen to ‘everyone' before they die! :-)



Now, let's turn our attention to Brian McGuire, Actor/Writer/Producer of ‘Everything Will Happen Before You Die' (2010).



ME: Hi Brian. So, I hear you are the Dreamweaver, the inspiration for the fantastic title! But my question is...Was it the monk or the poodle that spoke those words? LOL! So, can you talk about EWHBYD?



BRIAN: EWHBYD is about two old friends who use to party like crazy together 3 years ago. I play Edgar, and Edgar has his shit together for the most part. He quit parting like an animal and is focusing on his dreams and growing up. Bret Robert's plays Doran. Doran and Edgar were the best of buds back in the day. Doran never left the party, and on this particular day, Edgar is getting married to his new girlfriend so she can get her green card. Doran convinces Edgar to go on an all day bachelor party. So the journey begins and we met a whole cast of weirdo's along the ride! The actors playing weirdo's is an amazing cast that includes JOHN HAWEKS, NICK STAL, MARK BOONE JR., TWINK CAPLAN just to name some of my faves.



BRIAN CONT.: EWHBYD came together because of a view reasons. 1. Dan Finkel, our hero and director, and I met about 10 years ago. We went to a lot of parties together, met a ton of weirdos together, and started writing together. Dan had written a stack of scripts and had been making a living as a screenwriter for awhile but his scripts where being optioned all over town but nothing got made. Dan got sick of waiting! I grew up in making films in Austin Texas, and I practically went to film school at the University Of Texas. I did about 40 student films in about 4 years but I never paid a dime, nor did I have to ever take a final. I knew most of the professors, most of the students, and learned how to make Indy film. I became good friends with Alex Holdridge and made 3 films with him including IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS, which inspired me completely. I started to believe that making movies was possible! Dan and I started talking and decided to write a script with locations, actors and whatever we had that we could get for super cheap of free to work with. for instance we went to our good friend Bret Roberts and asked him "What type of character do you want to play? What have you all ways wanted to do?" and Bret said "I wanna play a Russian". Dan and I had gone to Twink Caplan's house a few times and we loved it! So we knew we would write a scene that would take place there. Making this film was like an epic war adventure. but making a movie sort of all ways feels that way. 



ME: Great story. The best advice I ever got was from a filmmaker friend who told me: ‘You want to make films...Then just do it. Get out there and do it!' So, congrats, guys, because you did it! Can you tell us about what you want audiences to know about your film and what you really wanted to say with them?



BRIAN: EWHBYD in my mind is a smart comedy and you don't get a lot of them these days. Edgar and Doran have real feelings and real lives. There is no one dimensional sidekick in this movie who is only there to tell fart jokes. I mean, there might be a fart joke in the movie but people do fart and that's real! 



ME: How do you hope the domestic and international audiences to receive your film?



BRIAN: The movie gets into discussion of religion, marriage, friendship. Things people deal with in our lives so I feel EWHBYD has a great chance of getting inside your heart. And isn't that what we all want? I believe that international audiences will love this film. Dan Finkel won THE BEST FIRST TIME DIRECTOR AWARD AT THE MONACO CHARITY FILM FEST earlier this year for EWHBYD.



ME: That's quite an entry! Can you tell what the 'Everything' is in the film? Dan told us his version, about your dream...So, can't wait to hear yours.



BRIAN: Well, I was in Chicago and I had an early flight the next morning. I all ways freaked out and think I am gonna miss the plane. I went to bed and  had an intense dream about stress and a monk walked up to me and said "EVERYTHING WILL HAPPEN BEFORE YOU DIE". I woke up and wrote it down and then told Dan. He loved it and thought it worked as our title. I think it's a true statement no matter how you slice it and it became my mantra for a while. In the film, my character known as Edgar is stressing out about getting married. Plus his old pal Doran has provided Edgar with a head full of drugs. Lots of drugs. So Everything is Happening!



ME: Well, there's a lot to be said about dreams. But I won't get into that. I write lots about that in my books. How did you get into filmmaking? Did you just fall into it like many say or did you always dream of it?



BRIAN: I started acting at 18 and wanted to know every aspect of how to make a film, to make myself a better actor. Plus in Austin, you had to do everything on a film set cause the crews where all ways small, but I dont think I could be a filmmaker without music and I have been doing that just as long as the film making. Besides co-writing, acting, and helping with the producing of EWHBYD, I also did the musical score for the film. My brother, known as "SILENCE" from the Chicago hip hop group "dirty digital" helped me with it as well. then Dan had handpicked a few tunes from some of our friends bands such as ANDY CLOCKWISE, THUNDER FROM HEAVEN, and Dan's own band THE WARLORDS OF ROCK N ROLL THUNDER AND LIGHTNING to name a few. And then my bro and I wrote the rest. We put the soundtrack out on LEFTHOUSE RECORDINGS. You can find it on Itunes. The album title is the same as the movie!



ME: Well, the music is crucial to film so good job on pulling that off so well. Can you tell us about your other current projects? I did an interview with Linda Nelson on your other film ‘Delivered' which everyone can read below. Can you also tell us about ‘On Holiday' (2010) and ‘Alyce' (2010)?



BRIAN: After we made EWHBYD, I sat down and wrote ON HOLIDAY in 10 days. I had the story in my head for a long
time. And I was now even more inspired and fired up to make another film. So Bret Roberts and I started to work to put this together. This is the first feature I have directed and I am very proud of it and very happy with it's out come. I CANNOT wait until September 11th when both EVERYTHING WILL HAPPEN BEFORE YOU DIE & ON HOLIDAY will play as a "DOUBLE FEATURE" at THE LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN FILM FESTIVAL! It is truly an honor to have 2 films playing there this year. I had a wonderful experience with the fest in 2007 when IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS played in an old theater on Broadway! One of the funnest screenings I had been too. So when they choose both our films, my mind was blown! ON HOLIDAY is about a young couple that moves to L.A. and find themselves mixed up in an electronic blue scene. The film takes place over the course of 6 parties, over 3 years in 1 apartment. it is a large cast with great actors like James Duval, Harry Dean Stanton, Tipper Newton, Jennifer Ross, and Whitmer Thomas, who play's "Peyton". After I wrapped ON HOLIDAY, I was lucky to get casted in two films, DELIVERED directed
by Michael Madison & Alyce directed by Jay Lee. It was a lot of fun and it felt great to only have to worry about the acting on these 2. Jade Dornfeld plays Alyce and she is amazing. She is Both On Holiday and EWHBYD, as well as my most recent film titled THE BLACK BELLE. We are in post on it at the moment and it's exciting. NATASHA ALAM play's "BELLE GUNNESS", a modern day sexual black widow! some of the cast members include Terry Wanye (who is amazing in On Holiday) Jason London, James Duval, Robert Rusler, and the hedge hog himself, Ron Jeremy to name a few.



ME: Wow, Brian, you are a busy man! And what will you be working on in the future? Can you speak about this yet?



BRIAN: We have got a few other scripts that are ready to go and I can say that I don't wanna wait too long to make the next one. We have made 3 films in 2 years. I would like to keep that pace going. The tittles of these projects are "WORKING THE COMB OVER", "LIFE ON A TRAIN", & "RANDY & THE GANG STALK" I have attached press releases for both films and more!

here our a few on links to trailers,





















Interview by Vanessa McMahon on September 06, 2010



See my interview with producer Linda Nelson in which Brian McGuire plays ‘Mooneyham:



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