Delirium: An Interview

Interview conducted by Tim Palino and Jennifer Sparkman 

Johnny director of indie horror flick Delirium creates a fast paced movie that harkens back to another era. 

Who are you and what do you do? 

My name is Johnny Martin, I am a director, a producer, a writer, a stuntman, and a actor.

When in the film's creation did you decide to integrate found footage, or POV shots, with traditional third person filmmaking

When I originally made the movie. We filmed it as a found footage film, but having been a producer I began to realize that this style was starting to be overdone. So I made the decision to go back and reshoot this movie and not only make it through the eyes of the guy holding the camera but to incorporate him as well into the movie.  Which lead me follow many other characters perspectives.

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

When did you visualize such a captivating intro credit sequence?

When doing the opening title sequence I wanted to do something I have never seen before. I wanted to be able to tell a back story that was not in the movie. Allowing the audience to have as much knowledge as the characters in the film. It also had to blend from the scene we just came from into the scene after these titles.

Was any of the dialogue, or were any of the scenes improvised? Were you able to solely rely on your actor's skills?

When the actors were casted for the film we would meet twice a week to go through the script and after we would finish reading the scene I would ask them to place the script down and we would improvise that scene. We would do this over and over again which led to many different ways of telling the story. I wanted this movie to be as realistic as it could be and I felt as long as they knew what we had to say in each scene we can improvise and they can make it theirs.

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

What did you do to help bring the character's friendships with one another to the screen so easily?

After we went through the casting process I told the actors I was not willing to film this movie until I could see that they built a friendship with each other. We would then schedule time and places for them all to meet, my DP would meet them with his camera and shoot every moment. I knew in order to make this film to be believable I needed them to be true friends and at the end of each meeting I would look at the footage and two months later I started to see a friendship starting between all of them and to this day they are all still friends.  The footage that we shot you will see in the end credits.

Film Poster - Courtesy of Delirium

Film Poster - Courtesy of Delirium

Where did you find such a collaborative group of actors? What kind of challenges did you, or they, face with POV sequences?

The casting for this film was more difficult than I thought. Because this story was written from the times that I shared with my friends back in high school. I was looking for the same personality and traits of each one of my friends. Some of the challenges that we had was trying to make each scene as natural as we could, but to also never have a camera searching for an actor. The actors would sometime step on each other's lines. But allowing them to do this lead us to a place where they found a perfect timing between each other with knowing when the camera was coming their way.

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

Where did you find that house?

The Dunsmuir house. This house is hidden in the hills of Oakland California. This house is famous for iconic horror films like Phantasm and burnt offerings. But most importantly it was where the story began when I was a kid. We had a group of 13 guys called the hell gang, and in order to become a member, we would make each guy watch these two movies and then at midnight they would have to go and get a gold coin we placed on the porch earlier that day. A lot of weird things happened to us at that house and to this day I could tell you this house is haunted. While filming this movie we were all on edge hearing all this sounds coming out of this house. Some of them we left in the movie.

The Dunsmuir house - Courtesy of Delirium

The Dunsmuir house - Courtesy of Delirium

How did sound create the tone of the film? 

Sound and music is 40% of every horror movie but sometimes you have to be very careful with your choice, it can sometimes take over the movie and hurt your story. I am a big fan of the classic horror movies of the 70s. These films used to build themes for the characters in their movies. I wanted this house to have its own theme and give it a similar sound from the classics. 

What's one challenging or exciting moment that happened while on set?

It was very important that we shot this movie in order. I did not allow the actors to go into the house till it was time for us to shoot the scene. Even the rehearsal was done outside. And when we were ready to shoot I would only allow the cameraman myself and the actors in that house. We used one Can lite to shoot the interior of this movie so just walking into this dark big scary house was a scene all by itself. And may I say no one ever got comfortable being inside this house.

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

Production Still - Courtesy of Delirium

How long did it take you to shoot the film? 

The found footage version of this film was shot in eight days. And one year later we went back to the house to shoot an additional four days to give you the movie what you see today.

Fun Questions

If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items would you want with you? 

1.TV with Netflix 2. Plenty of tools 3. Cases of food. 4. bathroom amenities. 5. a cell phone to get me the hell off this island.

What is one thing you are afraid of? 

Scary movies and ghost. But being and ex stuntman I love being afraid!!!!

What are more scary clowns or zombies? 

My first acting role was in killer clowns from outer space. I would have to say, clowns, because I know I can outrun a zombie

Coffee or tea?  

Coffee  of course

Coppola or Fellini?