Horror. Podcast. Off-beat.

Filmmaker Spotlight: John M. Ware and Tina Teeter (Thr33 Days Dead)

totld cast crewICYMI, SyFy just concluded ‘Town of the Living Dead,’ a new docuseries that followed the lives of a group of folks in Jasper, Alabama, while they attempt to finish their zombie flick (Thr33 Days Dead). A project six years in the making. Well–SPOILER–they did it! The reward? SyFy aired the finished movie (in the wee hours of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning). I’ve been covering the show for Entertainment Weekly’s The Community for the past several weeks. It’s totally weird it’s over, but I reached out to John M. Ware, the director, and Tina Teeter, the producer, for a quick email interview. Take a peek —

Let’s start at the beginning. It takes a certain kind of personality to want to make a horror movie. So, tell me, when and how did you decide that you wanted to make Thr33 Days Dead?

John: I’ve always wanted to make movies and horror movies had always been my thing. I grew up watching slasher flicks and always wanted to make a slasher movie. 3DD came about when some buddies and I were sitting around drinking and watching crazy low budget films and we all said hey let’s make a zombie flick.

Do you have any kind of film production background? How did you get involved with SyFy?

John: I have a BA in Communication Studies w/ a concentration in Broadcasting. It was the closest thing to film school locally at the time. All the professors had worked in the film industry so they taught all of the production classes as film classes.

Tina: True Entertainment done a wonderful job getting us in with the Syfy network. They gave us the opportunity to tell our story and help us get our movie out there. We was going to finish the movie, yes. But True and Syfy gave a much much bigger venue. It has totally been a team effort on everyone’s part. I couldn’t be more grateful to both companies.

I know some of the crew/cast are relatives (i.e. Gary and Catie), but did you know most of the other production team members prior to beginning this project OR did they get involved because of the film (via auditions, interviews, etc.)?

John: Tina I met while working at RadioShack. I sold her a phone for Catie for Christmas. Chase I had been acquainted with and Laura they had actually been part of a commercial I had shot for a local business many years ago. Everyone else kind of came along as the film was underway.

Tina: I knew Terry [the FX guy] and Laura [production assistant/go-to girl for everything else] from my theater days but as far as everyone else, I had never met any of them. Most was John’s friends. My relationship with everyone just evolved.

Favorite memory from set?

Tina: Probably one evening Miranda Walker and myself jumped in the lake at night during a thunderstorm. It had been such a long day of shooting and I was feeling not well at all. So rather than just say “hey I don’t feel well, lets wrap,” I decided to talk her into jumping in with me, clothes and all. Bless her heart she did. We have had so many crazy things happen. But that one always sticks out in my mind.

Is Chance really as fire/explosion crazy as he appears in the show (because he’s pretty crazy)?

John: Chance is def [sic] one of a kind. Thank God.

Tina: Yes he is crazy, but a very good dude.

After it airs, what are your plans for the movie? Distribution? Take it on the road to festivals/horror conventions?

Tina: We will be distributing.

What are your biggest film or horror influences? And I have to ask – what’s your favorite horror movie(s)?

John: Biggest influences Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. Favorite horror movie..Halloween (1979).

Tina: Johns a bigger movie buff than me. My favorite movie is How Green is My Valley.. influences from horror movies was of course Nightmare on Elm Street.. I love horror movies, always have, but that one I would never watch alone.

Since filming has wrapped, how’s life been in Jasper, AL?

John: Still working at Radio Shack. People come in from time to time and ask for pictures but for the most part things haven’t changed that drastically.

Tina: People do stop us and we do get a lot of recognition but for the most part we are still just us. …. That zombie movie.

Having recapped your show for The Community on Entertainment Weekly’s website for the past several weeks, I feel fully immersed in your world. So, it’d be great to know something else is on the horizon for you folks. With that said, here’s the big question – what’s next?

John: We have batted around a few ideas. Maybe a sequel maybe something totally different. So just stay tuned and see what we have up our sleeves.

Tina: Johns a director and writer, im sure you will hear lots more from him. As for me…. Who knows I know I wont be going back to Radio Shack to get another phone.

Bonus Questions: John, how do you keep your hair looking so luxurious? Tina, care to share any recipes? Chicken and biscuits, perhaps?

John:  I guess you can thank Pearl for that. It’s just good genes I suppose haha.

Tina: If I told you my recipe, then I’d have to kill you.

Thanks for a fun ride, guys! For more information (including full episodes AND Thr33 Days Dead in its entirety) on ‘Town of the Living Dead,’ click here. You can also follow the film on Facebook.

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