KWC FILM FEST SciFiPulse Award Winner David Busch Chats about His Film ‘Blake’

Winner of the SciFiPulse Sci-Fi Short Award chats with us about his inspirations and making his film "Blake"
David Busch

David Busch has been involved with the film industry for 20 years. He’s had many experiences working for the likes of DreamWorks, BBC Worldwide and many more. His most recent indie project ‘Blake’ was the winner of the SciFiPulse Award at the recent KWC Film Fest.

 

SciFiPulse: First off. How did you get involved with film making. Was it something that you’d always set out to do or did you fall into it by a series of happy accidents?

 

David Busch: A bit of both, really! I started making films when I was 9 or 10 years old, with a Super 8 camera in my backyard. I was really into monster movies, and loved to read about how they were made. I started experimenting with stop motion animation at that age, and made silent films with Claymation dinosaurs eating Lego buildings. As I got older, I gravitated more into theatre than film, performing in high school plays and eventually majoring in Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa. I moved to LA to be an actor, and had some limited success – but eventually needed to make ends meet and got a full-time job as a production assistant for DreamWorks Animation.

I found I loved working on the production side of filmmaking, and worked in the animation field for over a decade – working my way up to Line Producer at a studio called Titmouse Inc. Titmouse has an annual event called “5 Second Day” in which all employees are given one full day to create an animated film of their choosing, that must be a minimum of 5 seconds long. I hadn’t done any filmmaking of my own in years and took the opportunity to make a silly short film called “GULP vs Titmouse” combining stop motion animation and live-action. It went over well with my co-workers and friends, and reignited my love of writing and directing my own work.

That was in 2008, and since then I’ve moved back to Iowa and have become a full-time video and motion graphics designer for Pearson Education. Working there, I have honed my skills with cameras, lights, and post-production. Nowadays I try to make at least one short film every year, and I strive to get more ambitious with each project.

 

SciFiPulse: From the little I have learned about you. It’s pretty obvious that you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy. Would you mind talking a little bit about some of the science fiction that has influenced you as a creator?

 

David Busch: I’ve been a sci-fi fan for as long as I can remember – my first love in cinema was the Godzilla films of the 60s and 70s, and the stop motion creatures of Ray Harryhausen. Those were huge influences on my early Super 8 films, and continue to inspire me to the present day! Also, I was 5 years old when the original Star Wars came out, which had a great impact on young me; and I became a fan of Doctor Who at age 10 through the late-night broadcasts on PBS in the 80s. I think Doctor Who instilled in me a fascination with time travel stories, which certainly played a part in writing “Blake”.

 

 

SFP: Your movie ‘Blake’ was sort of unusual in that it involved the themes of time travel and cat’s. How did the idea come about and why a cat as opposed to a dog or a hamster or a psychotic beer guzzling porcupine?

 

David Busch: The idea for “Blake” came about one day as my wife (Cadry Nelson, who produced the film and also plays Ashley the cat sitter in it) and I were on a road trip and were passing the time with hypothetical questions. One of the questions was “What would you do if you could travel in time?” We had a cat named Spike who had passed away after a lengthy illness, and I answered that it would be nice to go back in time and visit him when he was alive and healthy. I figured it would be easy to go to our old apartment some week when our previous selves had gone out of town, and the cats would be happy for the company too. This eventually became the premise for “Blake” – a man who is grieving for his cat gets a magical opportunity to visit him in the past.

As for why a cat and not some other animal – the story was inspired by Spike, but also because our current cat Avon has always been very good with cameras. He will sit still and look right into the lens as we are taking his picture, and he is extremely photogenic! I knew Avon would have the right temperament to be on camera for a film shoot, so I thought I would be able to pull the idea off. Plus, we see a lot of films about characters with loving relationships with dogs, but I don’t feel like there are as many films out there about cats. It helped that Avon already lived with us, and we could film with him in our house for no money!

Although I have to say, now that you bring up a “beer guzzling porcupine” I feel I may have to write a sequel…

 

Blake

 

SFP: I really enjoyed the music that you had on the film. Who was behind that and how did you manage to connect with them?

 

David Busch: The music in “Blake” is all stock music actually, from Atomica Music Library. I searched hard to find music that felt consistent and could have been written custom for the film, and hopefully that works as intended. As an editor, I feel music is extremely important to the mood and atmosphere I want to convey in a story, and I generally try to find my music for a particular scene and then edit to that track.

 

SFP: The cat in ‘Blake’ was really well behaved. What sort of food did you use in order to bribe it into doing your bidding?

 

David Busch: You haven’t seen all of the outtakes from the production – there were definitely days when Avon did not want to cooperate! We do grow plenty of fresh catnip in our yard, and he would often get a treat of a few catnip leaves after a job well done.

 

SFP: I noticed on your website that you have made a few short films based on the hit ‘Twin Peaks’ series, which returned to television fairly recently. What did you make of the new series and how would you say that your films fit in with that universe?

 

David Busch: I’ve loved Twin Peaks since it was originally on television back in the early 90s. I was in college then, and my friends and I would watch every week in the dorms, theorizing about the mysteries of the show. I made my first Twin Peaks-themed short film in 2015, when the Twin Peaks Festival in Snoqualmie, Washington created a short film competition as part of the fest. My film “Fire and Moonlight” won first place in the competition, which encouraged me to follow it up with a sequel the following year, and I rounded it off as a trilogy in 2017. This was just before the show returned to television, so my films were based solely on the original mythology of the 90s seasons.

I loved the revival. It was a very different and darker-edged journey back into the world of these characters, which I believe was the right choice. It would have been easy enough to have another murder happen, and Cooper tries to solve it while eating pie and revealing the secrets of a new set of townsfolk; but the new season took a stranger, more science-fictional approach to the universe of the show. I genuinely did not have any idea what I was going to be watching from week-to-week as it played out, and I love that from a show.

I’d say my Twin Peaks films would fit in with the newer iteration of the show, as I played within the world of Twin Peaks but with original characters of my own devising. I think having seen where the series went in 2017, I could probably have pushed the envelope much, much farther in terms of sci-fi strangeness!

 

 

SciFiPulse once again congratulates David Busch on winning our award and thanks him very much for his time.

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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