We had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dave Hill (Director / Writer) and Trenton Waterson (Producer) on their feature length film, Flying Cars.
You can read our review of the film here:
Dave - What was your first RC, and what do you have now?
My first RC was a Sears Lobo, haha. It hardly counts as a real RC. My first real kit was the Tamiya Stadium Blitzer. It was awesome. I kept modifying it and fixing it for years. My new kit was the Losi LXT stadium truck. That was my favorite car as a kid. I still have both of those cars in a box in my garage. Currently, I’ve been loving my Redcat Gen7 Rock Crawler. My kids love it. It’s great for family roads trips, etc.
Trenton - did making this film give you an RC itch?
I’ll admit I knew next to nothing about the competitive nature and enthusiasm over proper RC cars until Dave handed me this script and asked we go make this film. Over the past 3 years, I’ve had such an education, and my favorite season of making this film is what I do now when I drive around Northern and Southern California to go to RC Car racing tournaments, pass out news on our film, talk to all kinds of people in the RC family and of course: watch the races!
So who was really the best behind a controller, Jeremy or Mackenzie?
Dave - Um, neither?! hahahaha. Both actors trained a little before filming, but at the end of the day, I was too scared to let them do much driving for themselves. For sure Jeremy had more interest, though.
What was the reasoning for making Drew a kind of anti-hero?
Dave - I just wanted to tell an honest story. Drew was a guy who’s life was kind of moving forward without him being fully on-board. He was weak-willed, and let his small, bad decisions pile up until his life was totally unmanageable. And isn’t that how it usually goes for us? We don’t make changes until we are forced to. Really, the only good/decent choice he makes is near the end. The rest of the film he is pretty much just bumbling through his life, but in the end, moving it in a direction that he needed to go.
Trenton - It was important to Dave that he tell a story that was personal to him, and given my friendship with Dave, what I admire most is his balls to the wall, authentic nature to just tell it like it is in this crafted-but-reckless way he approaches his personal development and his storytelling. For Dave to have written Drew to be any other kind of guys would have been a lie, to Dave and it says a lot about how genuine of a storyteller he is, and this beautiful subtext in his characters he is portraying to his audience.
What were the biggest challenges while making this film?
Dave - One of the biggest challenges to making this film was getting caught up in the temptation to go to big Hollywood players for money or support and then, wait on their timeline vs. just keeping the control of the movie’s budget and schedule in our hands and, well, making the movie. There’s always the temptation that if you wait you can find better financing options or more popular actors to jump into your film, but by doing this a year or two can easily pass. I’m proud that we overcame this when — one day — Dave just picked up the phone and called me and said, “Screw it. I’m making the movie. In 2 weeks.” It was a huge display of confidence and really brought the independent spirit back to our planning.
What were your own favourite parts of the film?
Dave - For me, the film always started picking up after he decides to buy the buggy. I love watching him fail at racing and then learn jumping with Rachel at lunch. I also really love the big argument between Rachel and Drew out in the desert. I think that’s the scene I’m most proud of.
Trenton - I love the wedding cake tasting scene in the bathroom because not only is that super real for relationships, but it shows Dave’s humor in this undeniable way. I love both moments where the Sadie and Rachel both tell Drew, “You’re such a loser” — how that comes full circle to him and how it helps him finally make some decisions. I love the last look Drew gives Rachel in our film — it’s such a perfect moment that offers a lot of promise to where these characters are headed after our story ends.
Did you need to use any RC "stunt" drivers to shoot some of the more complicated shots?
Dave - Yea. Almost all of the driving was done by Cameron Neff and Jake Mayo. It would have been impossible for our actors to nail their lines and also hit those jumps! I personal drove the car a few times, but all the big jumps and race scenes were done by pro-drivers.
How many times did filming stop while you fixed the RC car, were there many breakages?
Dave - So many times! We only had 4 complete buggies, and they kept breaking, over and over. By the end of filming, we only have about 1-2 cars that could even drive. One chassis was completely bent in half, another car’s enter front end was destroyed. Keeping the cars running was probably the most stressful part of the whole shoot for me, and it was up to me to fix them on set.
Was anyone in the cast or crew hit by an RC car?
Dave - Sadly, yes! Our assistant DP, Britton Foster, was holding the camera low, between his legs. I wanted the car to zoom by right under the camera. I was driving and I ran the car into his ankle at 25mph or so. I felt terrible, but he was a good sport. His ankle was bruised for awhile! Totally a bad call on my part.
What was it like filming around actual hobby enthusiasts at the track? Were they keen to be involved?
Dave - It great! We wouldn’t have been able to get the shots of the races without actually being there during real events. Everyone had a lot of questions, and most people were super eager to jump in the shots, explain their setups with us, etc. We had our actor “fake interviewing” a lot of the racers in the pit areas. We went around with a stack of talent-releases and an assistant getting lots of shots to help add to the realism of the film. The really tough part was getting access to the race track. We usually only had it for 15-20 minute increments in-between the races. It was tough to pull off specific racing shots of the cars on the track with such time constraints. But overall, people were very willing to help out as long as their actual races didn’t get screwed up, haha.
What is something people probably don't realise when watching this film that you'd love to tell people about?
Dave - Just how much of a real passion I personally have for RC cars, and how I’ve used my own experiences with the hobby to help shape my character’s experiences. We had some pushback on how the racing in the film isn’t a huge part of the plot, but that was intentional. In my own life, I’ve always been fascinated by the racing culture, but was more drawn to the backyard jumping stuff. It was fully intentional for the film’s story to also reflect this.
Trenton - For me, it’s an awareness that we took the risk of putting an RC car hobby into a movie in a world where IRL RC car fans are so fiercely passionate and driven by their love of RC cars. For those who struggle with seeing our trailer or movie and getting upset that we somehow depicted RC car culture wrong in some way, I would hope they would understand this is just one person, Dave’s take on merging a unique story, inspired by his personal life, with the RC car culture and by doing so, we are not saying we are masters or pros or know-it-all’s about this beloved hobby.
Will there be a sequel?
Dave - If someone has an idea of how to raise the money, of course! Chat with us, and let’s make it happen!
What are you working on now?
Trenton - Dave and I made a left turn to steer away from RC cars on the next movie: we are working on a script about the intersection of sexuality and spirituality, and the role shame plays at that intersection — how shame can eat you alive or hold you back from the kind of freedom and real self-respect that everyone’s meant to grasp.