15 February 2021 (released)
15 February 2021
Film-News is excited to share with you our interview with writer, producer and director Mike Day! Based in Los Angeles, Mike wrote and produced an action trilogy for Paramount Pictures that Saban Films released in 2020, titled ROGUE WARFARE. It ranked #1 in its first week on Netflix. For two years, Michael teamed up with famed alumni of THE GROUNDLINGS, where he directed 49 episodes of a sketch based news show, THE NEWS TANK. Most recently, he wrote and directed eleven episodes of a series titled, SISTERS, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.Your debut TV series 'Sisters' is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Congrats! Tell us about this show and how it all came to be.
This show is about two sisters who have a co-dependent relationship despite how different they are. It’s actually based on my two cousins who are sisters. The three of us are very close, and all lived together at one point. Witnessing their relationship first hand is what inspired the show. They love each other very much but at the same time can get on each other’s nerves which would lead to a heated argument in seconds. But then, miraculously, minutes later, they’re best friends again. It always made me laugh, and then one day they were telling me about an argument they had and I couldn’t stop laughing, and I thought to myself, this could be a show. So I pitched them my idea, and they loved it. A lot of the episodes are based on real life arguments they had or situations they were in. It was a lot of fun collaborating with them during the writing process. What's next on the horizon for you?
I just finished writing a female driven comedy that I’m really proud of. It has a lot of humor and heart while having a universal message that I think everyone can relate to. At the core of the story, it’s about a woman who is happily married but then is blindsided by her cheating husband. The woman’s world spins out of control as she must figure out who she is and what she wants out her life. We’re now in the casting phase of it. How old were you when you first got into storytelling and creating your own film projects?
I was about fourteen years old when I started playing around with cameras. My school had a tv production class where we did the morning news. I would “borrow" the school’s equipment to shoot short films with my friends at home. It was so much fun. Who have been some of your biggest film influences?
Adam McKay has had a big influence on me. He’s found a way to cross genres and styles without missing a beat and I love that about him. He’s not a one trick pony that can only make funny comedies, like ‘Step Brothers.’ He’s the same guy that wrote and directed ’The Big Short.’ Both are great movies and just goes to show that you don’t have to box yourself into one genre, which is something I don’t like to do. I love all genres of film and find myself exploring them all. I’m currently in post on a horror/thriller I directed that I’m really proud of. That definitely took me out of my comfort zone, as I’ve never directed a film like that. But seeing other directors like Adam cross genres, it gave me the confidence to take it on and I’m so happy that I did. You have worn many hats! Writer, direct, producer. How different is each one? Which is most challenging?
From writing to directing to producing, they’re all so different and challenging in their own way. I enjoy all of them, but I think the hardest part for me is knowing when to only wear one hat, especially when writing. I’ll be working on a scene, and as I’m writing it, it’s hard for me not to think about how it will be directed or produced, which can be counterproductive. If I’m writing a scene and I decide to have a funny moment in a park that involves a kid, I instantly start thinking of the logistics of shooting a scene with a kid. There are different union rules for having a kid on a film set; they have limited work hours a day, they need to have a guardian there and a school teacher or welfare worker. So now the producer in me is thinking of the cost of all these things, and then I start to question if it’s worth writing the scene that way. Which is a horrible way to write. And I need to get better at focusing on the story and what’s important in that moment and not get caught up in what it’s going to cost to pull it off. What's your writing process like?
The writing process for me is writing out a lot of story ideas, jokes, funny situations, and then trying to find a way to mesh it all together. It’s very frustrating to say the least and takes a lot of time. I’ll sit on an idea for months, just letting it marinate in the back of my mind. Always thinking about the plot points and how to get to them. This leads to a lot of sleepless nights where I have the story playing out in my head. Once I get to the point where I know what my inciting incident is and know how I want the script to end, then I begin the outlining process. This is where the idea gets tested. I have tons of ideas that I’ve started the outline process for but when I got to the second act, I realized there wasn’t really a story there. A lot of ideas get trashed in this phase. If it makes it past the outline phase, then I won’t touch it for a few weeks. I like to distance myself from it and then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. If everything still looks good and holds up, then it’s time to actually start writing the script. I rely heavily on music for this part. I listen to a lot of soundtracks, scores, instrumental music, and techno. The emotion in the music inspires the rhythm and pace of the scene I'm writing. Sometimes I’ll get into a groove and will have song play on repeat for hours at a time. How can our readers find you online?
They can find me on mikedayfilms.com
. I have links to all of my creative work on there. IG: @mikedayfilms / Twitter: @mikedayfilms