Ghost Wanderers is a finalist in Feature Films Over 40 minutes - 2018, and we ask Kelley Grimm some questions about behind the scenes of the Ghost Wanderers.
What was your inspiration behind the story?
We were big fans of Ghost Adventures and The Dead Files. I got the impression that the lead medium Amy Allen on Dead Files would not have liked how Zak Bagans handled ghosts by being loud and bullying them. So I wondered what it would be like if you put a reluctant medium with a bellicose ghost hunter and the result was sort of a scary spoof called Ghost Wanderers.
What is your inspiration behind the film?
My husband Max and I have both had experiences with ghosts/spirits, so we have a healthy respect for the other side of the veil. I guess when I was watching Ghost Adventures and Zak blurted out – “Something with intelligence has Nick!” That line just seemed so ridiculous because God forbid anything with intelligence ventured forth around those guys so that that point I thought it would make a good project.
DID YOU COME ACROSS MAJOR HURDLES DURING THE PRODUCTION / WRITING PROCESS?
Originally, Ghost Wanderers was supposed to be a sit-com and I had the foolish impression that I could write it, film it and edit it in just a few months to make another film/TV festival in New York. But as luck would have it on the first night of filming- we had two actors who got sick that weekend and we were only able to do a few hours worth of shooting. We then rescheduled shooting for the end of June to accommodate everyone's schedule but then one of the principal actors decided to take a road trip to New York with a group of pals at the same time and since we weren't paying the actors what could we do? We could only get the location we were using for that exact weekend, so it looked like those days of shooting would be scrapped again and this project would never get off the ground. Then we decided to make it into a web-series and retooled the characters. The guy who decided to take the road trip and another actress who was not cooperating were written out and a new character - “Bob – the Atheist Ghost” was created. The series with a smaller cast and simpler locations took shape. I still wanted to make it one movie but the web-series seemed to make sense. We never made the deadline to the original film-festival but it ended up being a better project because we had more time to develop the characters and not rush to make an impossible self-imposed deadline. Each of the scenes for the web-series edited well into the final film.
What's your most memorable on set moment?
The scene with Sophia’s breakdown at “Clairvoyant-Con” was actually filmed during a live show of our improv group the OTC Comedy Troupe. We shot that scene with several cameras in real time and the audience had no idea of what we were going to say. From a theater viewpoint it was great to get up there and do it once but from a filming viewpoint it was a little nerve-wracking. When Sophia is sorta of mean to the young girl who wants to be a medium – we could feel the audience not liking the character but then when the redneck calls her a fake and her response is “The only person faking it around here is your girlfriend at night!” - we got them back on Sophia’s side.
Do you have any advise for aspiring film makers?
Don’t be dogmatic about your original concept – more likely than not it will have to change because of logistics, actors, tech people or locations not coming through – be very flexible. Also, if you can – film close to home or literally in your home –you have less issues with locations that way. I guess since the bulk of my career has been doing improvisation – it was easier for me to change up how we did things on the spot but even than it was frustrating. But view those setbacks as a chance to reinvent what you’re doing. I love writing the Bob the Atheist ghost character and if we had stayed with the original concept, he would not have made it into the movie.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE PROJECTS IN THE WORKS?
I have completed a pilot script called The Estrogen Squad which is about three female super heroes. I am also working on a documentary about the lost mill workers of Roswell and working on another screen play on Emma Gatewood – the first woman to walk the Appalachian Trail in 1953 at the age of 67.
You can follow the Ghost Wanderers story on the website link below: