Filmmaker Alex Withers on Kickstarter Campaign for Short Film Dead Quiet

Interview: Ashley Carter
Saturday 01 April 2017
reading time: min, words

Following on from the success of his short film Butterfly, which was selected for the London Short Film Festival, director Alex Withers has turned his attention to a new short film, Dead Quiet. We spoke to him about his ongoing Kickstarter campaign.


Tell us about Dead Quiet.
Dead Quiet is the story of Paul, an ordinary man caught up in a terrifying and eerily silent apocalypse where making too much noise is as good as a death sentence. The film follows Paul as he stages a last-ditch effort to feel human again and imagines how each of his survivor companions probably met their demise.

You had a lot of success with your previous short film Butterfly, how does Dead Quiet differ?
Butterfly was a huge learning curve for me as a director. I’ve never been one to tread carefully and sure enough, that film was an incredible challenge to pull together on a small budget! Three years on I’ve kept on learning and growing and it’s finally time to put everything I’ve picked up along the way into practice. I’d been holding off on following Butterfly with another film until I found a script that really spoke to me - and Dead Quiet is that script. This time around we’re trying to raise a bigger budget, cast a minor name in the lead role and generally do everything with a bigger and better approach. It’s a different beast for me too in terms of the genre; Butterfly was a straight drama and very melancholy, whereas with Dead Quiet we’re hoping people will laugh, cry and have one or two nightmares afterwards. I’m super excited to take on a fresh directing challenge and tell a story that’s just as emotive as Butterfly, but with a much more expansive, unique and gripping world to set it in.

Who else is involved in the project?
I’ve been really lucky to grab an incredibly talented mix of fresh faces and people I’ve had the good fortune to work with before to join me on Dead Quiet. The writer, Dan McGrath, is a remarkably intelligent and perceptive storyteller and my producer Emily Stubbs is more industrious and determined than I could ever want or deserve. This time around we also have a phenomenal Casting Director in Shakyra Dowling, who’s been putting our script in front of some unbelievably exciting acting talent. Returning faces include Director of Photography Karl Poyzer (who made Butterfly into a vividly beautiful sight to behold) and Sound Recordist Adam Fletcher, who I trust above any human alive to capture the insanely detailed soundscape we have in store for the film. Honestly, I could reel off any name on the team and sing their praises for hours, but suffice to say I couldn’t be more elated to have them put their faith in me and in Dead Quiet. We’ve got a few more announcements on the crew side of things to come, which we’ll be shouting about on our Kickstarter campaign and all over social media.

What made you decide to run a Kickstarter campaign?
As stories go, Dead Quiet is one that deserves to be told with as much care and attention as we can muster. So for that reason, we’re raising our budget on Kickstarter so that we can hire in some amazing acting talent, build the unique and unsettling world our characters find themselves in and give our wonderful crew the kit they need to pull off the very best of what they can do. Crowdfunding is a heck of a lot of work, but with Dead Quiet it feels like anything and everything we have to put in to make it the best it can be is totally worth every second. We’ve already spent a lot of time developing the film out of our own pockets, so now we need that extra boost to take us forwards and bring a film to the screen that audiences can really get behind and one that we’re all proud to call our own.



You’re running an all-or-nothing campaign for £10,000 - what made you choose that over flexible funding with a platform like Indiegogo?
Running an all-or-nothing campaign is almost as terrifying as the world of Dead Quiet is for our main character Paul. But we feel that this film is one that deserves to be given the best treatment it can. Anything less than our £10K target would mean backing down from our hopes and dreams for how great Dead Quiet can be, so for us we either make it the right way or not at all. We’ve got loads of generous and talented people working on the film with their blood, sweat and tears (figuratively speaking, of course!) and we owe it to all of them to live up to our collective vision of how memorable and striking it can be. So fingers crossed it all goes well. The sleepless nights will be worth it if it does!

What can backers get if they support the film?
Apart from a warm, fuzzy feeling inside? Well, in exchange for contributing to the Kickstarter campaign we’ve got a whole lot of goodies! We’ve got DVDs of both Dead Quiet and Butterfly, exclusive behind-the-scenes materials, posters and badges, IMDb credits and they can even visit the set or be in the film! There are tons more where that came from, so I’d encourage everyone to have a look at the Kickstarter page and see what takes your fancy. We love the idea that people can feel they’re a part of Dead Quiet, so hopefully there’s something for everyone.

When are you planning to shoot the film?
We’ll be shooting Dead Quiet in a matter of weeks! It’s all full-steam ahead while we run the Kickstarter campaign, doing all of the ridiculously massive number of things it takes to bring a story from a writer's imagination and make it into a film.  So keep an eye out for more news as we finally enjoy spring and head towards early summer. Once it’s shot we have plenty of post-production to do (editing, sound design, colour grading) but we’re aiming to complete the film later in 2017!

Kickstarter Page
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