Interview - Steve Kassan

Leo Francis' Interview with Steve Kassan (Wasted)

Recently a contest was brought to my attention where film makers would compete to win money to make a movie, and one of the entries is a 'stoner zombie comedy' mash up that looks absolutely hilarious called Wasted. I wanted to know more about the film and the contest, so I spoke with Steve Kassan (Co-Producer / Actor). But as the voting process for this contest is already underway, let me get to it, my exclusive interview with Steve Kassan of Wasted

Leo Francis: So I got a chance to watch the trailer for the film you co-produced and acted in, Wasted, and it looks hilarious. It’s described as a ‘Zombie Geek Stoner Comedy,' which seems like a pretty good description, but can you expound on the concept a little further?

Steve Kassan: Wasted can also be described as a hybrid film. We have a ton of influences growing up from comics to wrestling to video games, music, literature, etc. Wasted reflects that with the characters and their point of view. To break it down it is Scott Pilgrim meets Dawn of the Dead meets Community hacked in with The Simpsons, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mad Max and Pineapple Express. If you dig any of those things then you know what Wasted will be. It might see like overload but I think we have a right balance. We are movie watchers ourselves and call BS when it is too much. We pay money to see films just like everyone and we want something to be a good time. End that work week you decide to watch a film, watch Wasted and enjoy the ride. 

LF: Can you explain what the 2015 Cinecoup Challenge is, what you’re trying to win, and how people can participate?

SK: It is an accelerator where it provides a platform for filmmakers to showcase their film project with the chance of winning $1 million dollars to fund a feature film. It is a big opportunity! It is a 12 week challenge and each week missions are handed out to further explain and explore their project to the public. We are pretty much marketing and creating an audience with an idea. 
It is also highly interactive. It works both ways in that we, the filmmakers submit our materials on our Cinecoup Hub Page,  and YOU the reader/viewer/public interact and tell us what works & what does not work. We have our trailer, Meet-the-team video, and posters for you to look at & tell us how we are doing. 

There are 3 primary voting periods. The Top 60, 30, 15, and the 5. The Top 60 is happening right now! Filmmakers, we, Wasted, need YOUR help to advance to win that spot to make a feature.

The only way to help us is by signing up to CinecoupDon't worry, it is free and acts like you signed up to Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Messageboard.

Sign up with your name & email. You will receive a notification email to verify your account. Fill out your name, where you are from, age, etc. Create your profile (again much like Facebook). FOLLOW our project, Wasted. Give us Ratings, Comments, Share us on Social Media. The more active you are the better because it does work both ways.

We want to make a really fun film and feedback is always great to have.

When it comes time for it...Vote! You will receive an email on voting periods. Best part all of this is free and can be done right at your home computer/laptop/tablet/phone. Technology, huh?

LF: So voting is already underway, correct? When will you find out if you’re moving on?

SK: Top 60 voting round is from April 6th to the 10th. We will find out past that so fingers and blunts crossed we make it. That cannot happen without the support of the masses. 

LF: Why should people vote for Wasted? What are your plans if you win: do you already have the script or how far along is the idea?

SK: Yes we do have a script ready to go. We have been working on this idea since 2012 even with a TV show bible and multiple seasons mapped out. 

Why should you vote for Wasted and why should you give a crap? 

As I mentioned above we are not only filmmakers but movie watchers too. What we want to do is make something really unique. Something you have not seen before in this genre. Really, just a fun, good time. Now, I love Ghostbusters. I can watch that and do watch that on and on and on. Let's be real here, it is not the greatest film ever made. That being said I can watch it over and over again. And, still feel good. Still have a great time even though I know all the lines, the plot, what Venkman does. It just leaves me with a good feeling.

That is what we want to do. We don't want to make the best zombie film, because, if you ask me that would be a stupid thing to say. It is so objective, we all have opinions on what is the best. I can guarantee you can say we made the most fun zombie film. That is the goal. Something in line with Ghostbusters and even Guardians of the Galaxy. Just a really awesome and kick ass time watching the film.

Isn't that what the movies are all about?

We just need the opportunity to make something funny, high octane, adventurous and really just too sweet.

LF: Your enthusiasm is amazing. I'm really looking forward to seeing a bit more, from a production standpoint, is the trailer the only footage that’s been shot so far, or have you started work on the film already?

SK: We shot our short film with a ton of footage to use, but, we are always shooting more material. It is also to further elaborate the Wasted idea which we couldn't do with the short at the time. We are constantly shooting. It helps with the overall package. 

LF: Is this based on a short film or web series? Where did the idea come from? 

SK: What makes Wasted great from the feedback we have gotten is how relatable it is. We have a short film and have submitted it for review and the one thing they say is that they can relate to the characters & situation. How this got started is pretty much, I would say, how anyone with their friends would get together and discuss what they would do if a zombie apocalypse were to happen? I firmly believe we are living in zombie culture. It is a mass product now. So, in our real world, what if it did actually happen? We had all these crazy ideas then we put it to paper. Made a script for a short film, shot it. Made a show bible. Made a feature script. Now we just need one cool person with money to say, "Love it! Here is some money make me something way coolio!" 
Isn't that the case for everything? With this say, "Cinecoup challenge we looked at it with an opportunity and if we do make it all the way my guarantee is to make it something special to where you say, "Wasted, check that out, they did some really cool things in that!" 

LF: Firstly, Clutch use of 'coolio', that word is hilarious. Secondly, what sets your Zombie film apart from the rest? 

SK: Going back to on where we came up with the idea, the characters and world of Wasted acknowledge current zombie materials. Films, stories, books, survival videos on youtube, etc. Most zombie films or every zombie film it is a first time occurrence. Which makes for a greater threat if your characters do not know what to do. Our characters know what to do but perhaps not that well. Primarily, there is a fun aspect to an event such as the zombie apocalypse. It is almost like a reset to our current situation. One of our tag lines in the trailer is "No Work. No Responsibilities. No Rules. Lets Get Wasted!" If you think about it when something big happens where those elements are taken out, you can have fun. It is pretty much like the Wild West. I love the world of Mad Max and we fashioned our post apocalyptic world as Super Mario meets Road Warrior with Zombies, Monsters & Mutants.

Doesn't that sound fun?

LF: If you could punch one fictional character in the face, who would it be?

SK: Me, personally, Batman. "My parents are dead" PUNCH shaddap! Get over it, bub. SNIKT!

LF: Have you ever walked out of a film? Which movie and why?

SK: No, but very close to! Having also produced and acted in films, there is a lot of work put into making it. A lot of time, effort, long days, short sleeps, sometimes no sleep. So coming from that perspective I can appreciate the work put it. If it is trash at the end, who knows right? I also believe no one sets out the make a bad movie. That is a lot of money put in, but, some times....ugh. Its sort of like a Test Your Might to sit there until the end. 

LF: What is the scariest or most disturbing film you have ever seen?

SK: Disturbing has to be A Serbian Film. I made it through all the way and kept least the cinematography is good. Scariest is still The Exorcist. I am raised Catholic so it really impacted me. My cousin thought it would be cool to see it at a young age. Sometimes walking home and if it is dark for some reason the images of the Devil statue would just appear in my head. It left a big impact on me. 

LF: What is your favorite Zombie film of all time?

SK: Both Dawn of the Dead films (78/04). The original the message still resonates to this day. Snyder/Gunn remake is just fun & full of adrenaline action. 

I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview and Cheers to the Zombie Apocalypse! Get Wasted #CanZomCom

LF: Thanks so much, Steve!! And good luck to you. I'll be following along to see how it's going. I wish you all the best. 

- Leo Francis