At the age of 9, Durden Godfrey’s family moved from Philadelphia, PA to Jacksonville, FL .At the age of 15 Durden Godfrey’ met someone who was making movies with his dad’s home video camera. That moment immediately would change the direction of Durden Godfrey’s life . Durden would make his first feature film in 2003-2004. Since then Durden has directed, written and produced 18 films. Averaging making a movie every 2-3 years. Blvd Vine catches up with Durden to discuss the making of “I’m Going to Kill Someone This Friday” the 15th he has directed, co-wrote and edited.
I’m Going to Kill Someone This Friday is your 15th project you have directed? What inspired you to and your to you and your co-writers to write the story?
When I finished my previous film, Never Go Back, a local producer approached me and said that he would be interested in seeing what I would do in the realm of a psychological thriller. I was currently working on a documentary about a gentleman with BPD and thought making a story that centered around someone with a psychological disorder would be like a playground of limitless potential for a writer.
What was the most difficult scene to shoot and why?
By far, the most challenging scene to shoot was the flashback scenes involving a young actor, playing Robert Partridge as a child, being sexually assaulted by a man. Figuring out the logistics of how to capture something convincing and shocking for the story while protecting the innocence of the actor was an incredibly stressful obligation that I didn’t take lightly.
What is your favorite scene and why?
My favorite scene to shoot was all the scenes that took place at Bobby’s school because we shot those scenes at my old high school and the current students who were under the same teacher that I had in TV Production there, were involved and helped with the production. It was surreal to go back to where it began for me and do something so big. Not to mention – spoiler alert – it blew my mind that my school believed in my project so much that they greenlit a scene that involved simulating a school shooting.
Admittedly, I largely treated these endeavors as glorified hobbies until my daughter was born in 2015. At this time, I decided that if I was going to continue making films, I would need to approach it more seriously and attempt to make the projects profitable.Durden Godfrey
How did you fund I’m Going To Kill Someone This Friday?
It was self-produced with some contributions through funding campaigns online. Most of the details in the film that make it look so expensive came from favors from friends (i.e. the fantastic locations that served as Robert’s work and home).
You have been directing projects since 2002, averaging a project every 2-3 years? How did you get started ? How did you do it? And are you a full-time filmmaker?
At the age of 15, I met someone who was making movies with his dad’s home video camera and it all clicked for me in that moment – the direction of my life was immediately altered. Every free moment was spent writing, shooting and editing. Short films, skits, music videos, whatever… I took TV production in high school and made my first feature film in 2003-2004, one year after graduation. Since then, I have stayed busy, writing, directing and editing independent films, typically completing one every 2-3 years. Admittedly, I largely treated these endeavors as glorified hobbies until my daughter was born in 2015. At this time, I decided that if I was going to continue making films, I would need to approach it more seriously and attempt to make the projects profitable.
I have told myself numerous times, after coming out of a hellacious production – ‘that is the last one.’ But I am kidding myself. There will always be a story I want to tell and I very much enjoy using film to tell them. That will always beacon me. I don’t do it full time and it has yet to turn a profit. But it has never really been a choice.Durden Godrey
Murphy’s Law is alive and well in film-making. How did you and your team handle dealing with Hurricane Ima touching down the first week of production in FL?
Irma was the first of many setbacks that all eventually fell under what we called ‘The Kill Curse.’ A local story was actually ran about this that you can check out here:
We were actually scheduled to film the scenes at Robert’s of ice at the beginning of the production but they had to be pushed back because that building sat right on the St. Johns River and suffered flood damage on the first few floors. The first house that we had lined up for Robert’s home was wiped away in the storm as well.
Beyond that, there were several broken down cars, health scares, an arrest that hit a little too close to the story, a severe on-set injury that ended in the emergency room and much more. Not to mention, in between wrapping and premiering, Parkland happened, which had us wondering if we needed to majorly reevaluate one of the major plot points in the story.I have a compulsion. I have told myself numerous times, after coming out of a hellacious production – ‘that is the last one.’ But I am kidding myself. There will always be a story I want to tell and I very much enjoy using film to tell them. That will always beacon me. I don’t do it full time and it has yet to turn a profit. But it has never really been a choice.
You wore other hats in addition to writer and director such as editing and social media marketing. Since you are the editor, do you find yourself too close to the material and frustrated if it’s not what you envisioned as a director? If so, how do you and it?
After doing this for over 2 decades, my expectations have become very cynical. It has been along time since I excitedly skipped, bushy tailed, into a project with glossy eyes and dreams of the big things to come from the cinematic masterpiece we are embarking on. At this point, I know it won’t be perfect, I know most people probably won’t care, and I know that the odds of it making me rich are definitely not in my favor. I’ve seen enough of my finished work to not be able to fool myself at the start of a new production. My priorities are the same now as they have been for as long as I can remember. I want to tell compelling stories and be steadily improving in how I do it and what the end result looks like. That’s all I can really control.
You were the social media marketer as well? What social media platforms, grassroots, or advertising help with the success of your film?
You need to use every platform that is available and be creative and constant in your approach.That’s the only way to make social media work for you unless you have unlimited funds to throw at ads.
What was your distribution and marketing strategy for I’m Going To Kill You This Friday?
After being burned in the past by pipe dream distribution deals and festivals with lackluster outcomes, our plan was to see what we could accomplish totally independent of any distributor or festival circuit. I made a list of independent theaters within a 500 mile radius of my home and started cold calling and sending emails to create a Southeast theater run for the film, premiering it in Ocala, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc. The goal was to build a word-of-mouth following that would -lead into an expanded tour followed by a blu-ray release.
The expanded tour didn’t pan out when resources dried up and the events started costing more than they were bringing in. The blu-ray release boasted a separate disc of special features and documentaries as well as an audio CD with the original score. It sold 100 copies and probably could have kept selling but it just became to energy draining to independently keep up with.
From there, it went online independently for rent or digital purchase and did pretty well. And eventually, I had moved on to three other projects and was growing tired of keeping up with the distribution logistics of a five year old film. So, I put it on Filmhub so it could find its life and new audiences on streaming platforms like Seven Clubs TV.
From pre-production to post production to completion, how long did it take to distribute your film?
I Am Going To Kill Someone This Friday took 22 days to write, 14 days to shoot and spent 3 months in post. The first draft was finished in June 2017. We had our world premiere at there turn of the Jacksonville Film Festival in July 2018.
Has I’m Going To Kill You This Friday open doors for you as an director ?
It definitely opened doors for me as a director as well as an editor. Because of ‘Kill,’ I have been asked to work on numerous other productions from shooting, to directing or editing. Probably more so than anything, it has given me a lot of opportunities to work on promotional
material for other films.
Was it a union or non-union production?
It was non-union.
What are you currently working on and what’s next?
I just completed the first cut of my follow-up film, Far From The Tree, a dramatic thriller with a few familiar faces from I Am Going To Kill Someone This Friday.
I am very excited about it and can’t wait until I am free to share more!
You can watch I’m Am Going To Kill Someone This Friday on Seven Clubs TV – Roku Channel or on sevenclubstv.com. It is Always Free To Watch on Seven Clubs TV.