Jason Trost aka JTRO is no stranger the world independent genre films. The mind behind films like ALL SUPERHEROES MUST DIE, WET AND RECKLESS, and the Drafthouse Films release THE FP, in addition to acting in HATCHET III. Recently, JTRO took the time to chat with Icons of Fright about acting, inspirations, and his newest project, HOW TO SAVE US.
BJ COLANGELO: Your projects have covered a really wide spectrum of genre films (with THE FP being more comedy/tongue-in-cheek, ALL SUPERHEROES MUST DIE is action, and WET AND RECKLESS is realty show/comedy) what makes HOW TO SAVE US different from the others?
Jason Trost: We’ll see. It’s hard to say without even shooting a frame of the movie yet, but I imagine this one will be the most “artsy” out of any movie I’ve made so far. It’s sci-fi, it’s spiritual, it’s dark, it’s light, etc. It goes places I don’t know that a lot of other ghost movies have gone. If I had to say which one of my movies what “the art one,” this one would be it. Which hopefully doesn’t also mean it will be unwatchable like most art films! [laughs] Fingers crossed, this one is a big experiment.
BJC: Artsy definitely sounds different! Where did the inspiration for HOW TO SAVE US come from?
JTRO: I’ve always found ghosts interesting and I’ve had “experiences” with them (or I’m just insane) all throughout my life so I figured, why not see if some of that works on screen. I’ve always loved zombie/post apocalypse stories. I Am Legend is one of my favorite books of all time. But I’ve always wondered, why wasn’t there a post apocalypse film about ghosts? Seems easy enough. Then I went vacationing in Tasmania last year and realized, oh crap, this place is haunting. It’s terrifying and beautiful all at once. This is where ghosts would be. Then it just clicked.
JTRO: Acting in other people’s project is fantastic. You actually get to focus on your job. It’s like going on vacation. I sit in a trailer while people come to me with plates of food. They knock on my door and throw me into a golf cart or some random non-descript off road vehicle and then when I get to set everyone smiles at me and gets out of my way because some dude with a walkie keeps loudly referring to me as, “The Talent”. It’s bizarre, but it’s really fun to do after you get off a movie that you write/direct/edit/cater/dig ditches/whatever. It’s like getting out of prison. But then things can get super Shawshank when for some reason you miss prison and try to find a way to go back.
JTRO: I love building stories and movies around locations. I love exploring locations all over the world that aren’t shot out so there is still some mystery to them. I think it all comes from loving Bond and Indiana Jones movies when I was a kid. I remember being so jealous that people get to go to such exotic places and do amazing things we’d never have any business experiencing. And I think that magic always transfers to film. But with all that being said I have zero interest in shooting in Louisiana.
JTRO: Speaking of Louisiana, Ha! But, that was super fun. It’s really intense being around that many people who are at the top of there game. They’re all super nice and fun to work with but I’m sure it can get exhausting trying to out joke each other all day. I think what differs the most from that movie and WET AND RECKLESS was that we had a super tight script that we stuck to. We had to, we had no money to screw around. But with THIS IS THE END, script didn’t matter. They’d just shoot a 20 minute take, three camera set up, of a scene while they ramble off as many pop culture/dick jokes as they can think of and then, BAM! Moving on! But, Hell. They have a blast and they come up with some super funny stuff, but it’s not really my style. I like to have separation of characters and love to create my own world with it’s own language which doesn’t really lend itself to improv.
BJC: Speaking of language, the language used in films like WET AND RECKLESS and THE FP are very unique to JTRO films. Can we expect the same with this new piece or is this going to be something entirely different?
JTRO: It’s definitely going to be different from them. They were comedies and this is some sort of Survival Horror Drama. Trying not to give away too much, but I can say the way the dialogue is used and presented in the film will be super unique.
BJC: Thanks for showing WET AND RECKLESS for free on New Years! It made for a very entertaining evening. Was that sort of community reach a factor in going the crowd-funding route?
JTRO: Thanks for watching it! I just really wanted people to see it. I was sick of having this fun movie, practically on the shelf and not being able to let people watch it. Which is really why I make movies, you know, for people to watch them. I like crowd funding because it gives you the opportunity to just let people watch it for free if you’re up against the wall. Gives you the freedom to do anything really. Which is great.