Q&A: Drew Bolduc on “SCIENCE TEAM”
After making his feature length debut with the Troma-approved exploitation flick THE TAINT in 2011, fans have been waiting patiently for writer/director Drew Bolduc’s follow-up, the Indiegogo-funded SCIENCE TEAM. Now, with the 15th annual Tromadance festival highlighting the film as its event feature tonight, NY-based fans will finally get a look at the sci-fi freakshow. In anticipation of the screening, FANGORIA caught up with Bolduc about SCIENCE TEAM and his experiences within the wild world of Troma…
FANGORIA: For those unfamiliar with the film, what is SCIENCE TEAM?
DREW BOLDUC: SCIENCE TEAM is like a psychological science-fiction thriller. But it’s a comedy as well, and has some horror things in it. The film is basically about a guy who goes to visit his mom and when he gets there, he finds out that she is dead and there’s some kind of alien monster running and destroying things through the house. So there’s a group that’s like Science Patrol from ULTRAMAN and the Men In Black who try to cover up the incident. Then, a whole bunch of crazy things occur.
FANG: Troma released your last film, THE TAINT. Did that serve as inspiration to debut SCIENCE TEAM at Tromadance this year?
BOLDUC: Yeah, I actually got to know the Troma guys from when I submitted THE TAINT at Tromadance, which they liked. I made THE TAINT outside of Troma though, but they screened it and it played very well so they distributed it. But after that, I got to work on RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH for a bit doing special effects. After that I did SCIENCE TEAM, and a few people from Troma worked on SCIENCE TEAM as well.
FANG: After your experience with Troma on THE TAINT, did you tailor your film to that specific audience of cult film fans or did the film’s narrative grow organically?
BOLDUC: It grew organically because it’s not exactly a Troma movie. It’s not an exploitation movie, and THE TAINT definitely qualifies as an exploitation movie. SCIENCE TEAM has some of those elements, but it’s more subdued and it’s a character-based movie. A lot of the main characters have psychological problems and issues they’re dealing with. The subjects are kind of heavy, in a way, but there’s still giant monsters, exploding heads and all of that.
FANG: Was it difficult at all to find a balance in the tone, considering all the different genres you’re blending together?
BOLDUC: As far as humor goes in the movie, there’s not much jokey material or punchlines or anything meant to get a reaction. A lot of the humor comes from the characters and the actors’ performances. Our main actor, Vito Trigo, plays this ridiculously violent and angry person but throughout the movie he’s pretty much harmless at the same time. So how far his character goes is pretty humorous, but there’s not really any jokes.
So SCIENCE TEAM is not trying to be funny, but the fact that the movie is trying to be as serious as it is is where the humor comes from. We didn’t want it to be campy or intentionally bad; we wanted to stay away from that with the performances. I think there might still be an element of that, but it’s presented a little differently and the film doesn’t rely on it. “So bad it’s good” can sometimes be a safety net for when you’re making low budget movies so that you can get away with whatever you want. So for this production, I definitely tried to raise the bar, but there are still elements there of camp and exploitation.
FANG: Are there elements of satire within the film?
BOLDUC: Well, in the movie, there’s a bureaucratic organization that doesn’t understand what SCIENCE TEAM is, and that’s kind of a stand in for the U.S. and the economy. So there’s some satire going on, but it’s not like a sledgehammer to the audience.
I think the Troma audience is going to like what we have in SCIENCE TEAM, whether it be all of the ridiculous violence or the alien, which is this pulsating somewhat vaginal entity.We definitely tried to make it like an ’80s horror comedy.
FANG: Was there anything from your experience of making THE TAINT that you found particularly helpful when approaching SCIENCE TEAM?
BOLDUC: Well for SCIENCE TEAM, we actually had like 22-23 days to work on it, and we had a ton of people helping out. So there was an art department, a camera crew, a sound guy and a special effects department this time around. For the TAINT, the crew generally consisted of three people at any given time, so every department was Dan Nelson, Emilia Martin, and myself.
For SCIENCE TEAM, we had a bit of a budget, though not a lot. We just planned more this time around as a group effort, which I learned more so working on RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH. When you get a group of people together to work on a film, it alleviates some of the pressure, which helps because when you do it all yourself, it could take a year or two or three to get a film done. I think this was finished in six months, between the fundraising to when the final edit was done. My producer, Michele Lombardi, and I are still working on it now to try to adjust it; it’s not 100% done, but the whole thing happened that much faster.
I think that’s a lesson that’s important for filmmakers nowadays, because with technology the way it is, a lot of people are trying to do everything. They write, direct, shoot, edit and do everything themselves, and I did a lot on this movie, but we also relied on a lot of people who are better than us at what they do.
Though the one thing I did learn from THE TAINT is that if you fill your movie with male genitalia, it’s really hard to sell your movie and you will not get distributed. With THE TAINT, I ran out of dick jokes, so we wanted to try something new.
FANG: When we spoke to Lloyd Kaufman recently, he mentioned that there was still about a week of shooting on RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH, VOLUME 2. Since you worked on SFX for the main shoot, will you be working at all with them for that shoot as well?
BOLDUC: I won’t be working on it, but some of the things we shot for Volume 1 are in Volume 2, which is pretty much the entire second half of the movie. A lot of the effects that we shot, especially the bigger monster segments, are appearing in the second half of the film. Actually, a friend of mine who did the credit sequences for THE TAINT, Walker Allen, is doing a lot of the visual effects on the film, and stuff he’s doing is really awesome. I think the shoot they’re doing now is just pick-up work and don’t really need special effects.
Drew Bolduc’s SCIENCE TEAM will be having its New York premiere at Tromadance tonight at 8 p.m. at The Paper Box in Brooklyn, NY. You can find out more about the film at its official website.