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INTERVIEW: Dave Feiss on Directing “Open Season: Scared Silly”

INTERVIEW: Dave Feiss on Directing “Open Season: Scared Silly”

Open Season: Scared Silly, the 4th installment of the forest animal buddy franchise, comes out on Blu-ray/DVD on March 8th. The man in charge of this latest adventure of Elliot, Boog and company is director David Feiss, who was Head of Story on the original Open Season. I recently spoke with him about “Scared Silly” at the Sony Animation Studios in Culver City.

Jackson
Murphy
: The “Open
Season” franchise has been one of my favorites since the original came out in
2006. And now we have the 4th – “Open Season: Scared Silly”.

 

David
Feiss
: This movie
was a blast to make. A lot of the ideas we had for “Open Season 1”, but didn’t
use, got into “Open Season: Scared Silly” and I’m excited that the world gets
to see it.

 

JM: You were Head of Story on the
original. Tell me about the making of that film, almost 10 years ago now.

 

DF: It was my first time as Head of
Story on a feature film. I come from television. I had done “Cow and Chicken”
on Cartoon Network, so I was mostly a TV guy. So to make that leap to features
I thought would be difficult, but it actually wasn’t. All the training from TV
came in handy – to be able to come up with gags really fast, to be able to
board really fast. Working with the directors and everyone on that film was a
real joy.

JM: The Wailing Wompus Werewolf
dominates much of the story of “Open Season: Scared Silly”. How did that
character come about?

DF: When the movie starts, you’re not
sure if it’s real or if it’s in Elliot’s imagination. He’s telling scary
stories to the forest animals around the campfire. But, we come to find out
MAYBE it might be real. And Boog, because he was raised in captivity, still
isn’t comfortable in the woods, and so he’s afraid that the stories might be
true.

JM: There are several elements from
the original “Open Season”, such as Shaw the hunter, in “Scared Silly”.

 

DF: Shaw was an awesome villain in the
first film so it was great to get him back. But he’s lost his ability to hunt,
so he uses his talents to shoot things – but with a camera, becoming a tour
guide for the forest – but not happily. But, when there’s a thought that there
may be a werewolf out there, he convinces the sheriff to re-open Open Season so
he can hunt down the werewolf. But, if a certain bear or deer get in the way,
watch out.

JM: There’s an unbelievable story
about how you found the person to do the voices of Elliot and Mr. Weenie. He
never did voice-over work before but you play basketball together on the same
company team.

 

DF: Will Townsend works here at Sony
in IT. He’s a young fellow, and when I heard him talk, in his regular speaking
voice, I thought – “That sounds a little like Elliot”. So I had him do scratch,
for when we were building the animatic. Scratch voices are the early, fill-in
voices before you get the real actors. But he was so good everybody said
 “Who is that guy?” So, we actually cast him as Elliot. Then, later on, we
found out he has this ability to do this funny German accent which was perfect
for Mr. Weenie. We are all really please how it all came out.

 

JM: Talk a little about the animation
style in “Scared Silly”.

 

DF: We had a much lower budget that the
original film. But we wanted to make it as exciting as the first film, so we
were thinking of things that would photograph really well. I always thought
fire looks great and lava would look good. We had some early artwork from the
first film where the characters go into an abandon mine, so we repurposed that,
and added lava, because it was silly. Who mines for lava? The story point was
that it was for lava lamps, but that was a bad idea.

 

JM: Humor, especially between Boog and
Elliot, has carried this franchise from the start, so you knew you had to make
this funny.

 

DF: It has to be funny, but to me,
what really makes it funny is that these characters truly care about each
other. I think the humor comes from that. There’s a love, deep down, between
all the characters. There’s no real animosity.

 

JM: Do you see an “Open Season 5” in
the future?

 

DF: I could see an entire series
happening and definitely an Open Season 5. These characters have a lot more to
say.

 


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