2) The idea behind INCALL was to “create a micro budget film that has the IMPACT of a ‘fully’ budgeted film!”.
INCALL sets out to “push the limits of what one can do on a micro budget, and do it well. To create a film that is not only entertaining, but also has depth and social relevance”. This film intentionally strays from the Hollywood “format”. It defies genre by combing that of horror, drama, dark comedy and gay themed films. A film of this sort has the potential to become a “Cult Classic” that will endure the test of time.
3) The screenplay for INCALL was written in one week.
To complete the screenplay Brock wrote out adjectives that describe the type of film he wanted to make, such as: thrill-ride, dark, edgy…. He spent one week writing a basic outline for the screenplay. From there, he spent one week writing the full screenplay. The original screenplay was about 97 percent in final form. We have since learned that famed filmmaker Werner Herzog works in a similar way, finishing most screenplays in about five days.
4) The locations for the film preceded the screenplay!
A smart filmmaker doesn’t write a story that he/she can’t successfully bring to life. In the case of INCALL, the story was written into the locations that were available. After production ended, we learned that Charlie Chaplin also created his films this way!
5) The story about Beth’s Grammy’s ring is based on a true story.
While Brock was working in New York (at an office filled with a cast of colorful characters), one of Brock’s co-workers barged into the work room to show off what she claimed was a very expensive ring that her grandmother gave her. She claimed that she could quit her job and live forever off the proceeds from the ring. Brock found this story humorous and decided at once that he would have to allude to it in a film. He did, however, have concerns that it wouldn’t be “believable” that someone would say something so outrageous.
6) The film, although meant to be shot directly after the screenplay was completed, took three years to make specifically because it took that long to finally cast the role of Marco!
The screenplay for the film was finalized in February 2011. It was planned to be shot directly after. After losing the actor that the role was originally written for, it took almost three years to find the right actor to play the role. There were a couple of Chicago actors who were seriously considered and one even cast. But, that ultimately did not work out as that actor, and several others, were “uncomfortable” with what has come to be known as “the infamous make-out scene” at the end of the “killing montage”! There was interest in the role from actors in LA and NYC (and as far away as Israel), but ultimately, the role was cast with Ben Muller, an experienced Chicago stage actor, in December 2013. After 11 weeks of auditioning/rehearsals, filming began in February 2014
7) The film was shot in 14 days (consecutive with 2 break days) with a skeleton crew of only 3, consisting of a DP, sound recordist and script supervisor/PA during one of the coldest, snowiest Chicago winters on record!
8) INCALL is Brock’s first feature film! As Brock is writer, director, actor, editor, composer, FX artist, and stunt coordinator for the film, it could be classified as an “auteur film”. Brock considers himself an Auteur Director.
9) Beth’s Grammy’s wedding ring was purchased in Chicago; in a shop in “Boystown” that sells wigs, costumes, and jewelry for Drag Queens!
10) The role of Mr. Hitch wasn’t in the original story, but written in for David Whitman.
After spending a week writing an outline for the film (and just before beginning the screenplay), Brock met David Whitman (Mr. Hitch), in a coffee shop in Chicago (that coffee shop – “Winston’s” – was originally to be the locale for the coffee shop in the film, but it went out of business before filming began!). Brock explained that he was a filmmaker and told David the basic premise of the film. David was immediately interested and suggested the idea that Kasey should have an annoying landlord who always comes knocking, complaining about late rent. Brock thought that was a great idea! David then directed him to his role as Doctor Scuba in the popular Youtube series “Fucked in Space!”. After viewing David’s performances in FIS, Brock began writing the screenplay with the intention of writing in a landlord character to be played by David.
Shortly thereafter, Brock and David lost touch for about three years! The film was on hold, primarily because of difficulties finding the correct actor to play the role of Marco. Finally, Ben Muller was cast, and things went into full throttle. David was completely MIA and therefore (after much difficulty finding an actor who could play the role as it was intended) another actor was cast in that role. Thankfully, that actor no-showed to rehearsals and was let go. That happened about two weeks before the film was to be shot!
A week before shooting, Brock awoke and made the decision that he would “find” a Mr. Hitch that day! Later that day, Brock found him self in a bookstore café in downtown Chicago (a locale he very rarely goes to). Upon arrival he immediately spotted David. It was definitely Kismet (actually it was the laws of attraction concepts [Abraham-Hicks] that Brock had been studying and applying to create the film). Brock approached David, and they had an audition right there. David came to a full table read that was planned for that night; and the rest is history.
11) Gary’s severed hand is an actual liquid latex replica of Gerald O. Heller’s (the actor who played Gary) hand.
The FX for the film were initially to be handled by a recent art school graduate. Shortly before filming that plan fell through and Brock did not have time to find another FX artist! That turned out to be a plus as Brock (a major horror film fan since childhood) had always dreamed of doing FX for a horror film. In fact (as a child) he wanted to be a special FX artist. With the gracious help of his co-star Gerald O. Heller, he embarked on the creation of a severed hand!
12) In the “Gary death scene”, the feet that you see in the struggle aren’t Gerald O. Heller’s.
During the shooting of the “Gary death scene” there were a couple mishaps. One involved the close up shot of Gary and Kasey’s feet. This shot did not turn out as planned and was not able to be used. As a result, Bill Beck was asked to volunteer his feet to stand in for this shot. Brock was concerned that it may be noticeable that these are not Gerald Heller’s feet as Bill Beck has a larger bone structure, thus thicker ankles. But, after viewing the film, Bill Beck said “I was disappointed to see that my feet didn’t make it into the film.”. But they did!
13) The role of Kasey Is not autobiographical, but some elements of that character are based in fact. For example, Kasey’s travel guide “addiction” is based on Brock’s life. In fact, Brock met Nicholas Taylor (Allen in the film) at a bookstore (in the travel section, of course) that Nicholas was managing at the time. Nicholas also starred in a short film (Forgiveness) written and directed by Brock shortly after.
14) “Ready Coffee” WAS a real coffee shop in Chicago!
Another element in the film that’s based on reality is Kasey’s frequenting of a local coffee shop called “Ready Coffee”. This element was based on Brock’s life as he regularly spends time in local coffee shops reading, writing, editing, and socializing with friends. The original locale for the coffee shop scenes was called Winston’s and was also featured (by name) in the film. Winston’s was a local coffee shop that Brock frequented at the time INCALL was conceived and written. This is also where Brock met David Whitman (Mr. Hitch), and was one locale for a short film Brock wrote and directed (Forgiveness – starring Nicholas Taylor). Unfortunately, Winston’s went out of business before the filming of INCALL began.
There was then a second location that was to be used for the coffee shop scenes called “Senem’s Coffee and Tea House”. That location also fell through and the scenes were instead shot at Ready Coffee (also a local coffee shop that Brock began frequenting just prior to filming). The name of that coffee shop was written into the screenplay (with the permission of the manager) and the shoot date was set. Ready Coffee also became the location for several rehearsals for the Kasey, Marco and Beth scenes. All the scenes at Ready Coffee were shot in one day. The shoot was 12 hours. Towards the end of the shoot, the manager of Ready Coffee informed Steven Deibert (Executive Producer) that Ready Coffee would be going out of business and would become a new coffee shop in just one week! This was news to Brock, and made it impossible for any reshoots to happen (fortunately, none were needed). Brock felt that it may have been an exaggeration that the coffee shop would close so abruptly, but elected to expedite the shooting of exterior shots of the coffee shop and signage just in case. Within a week, in fact, Ready Coffee DID go out of business and was replaced by another coffee shop!
After the film shoot, and the closing of Ready Coffee, Cup and Spoon coffee shop became the primary location in which the editing for the film was completed. Also, Rosie Quasarano, owner of Cup and Spoon, graciously provided ice coffee and iced tea for the cast/crew screening of INCALL. Thus, the thank you in the end credits!
15) In the original story Beth died!!
In the original version of INCALL, Beth is killed at the end by Marco and Kasey after discovering what they’ve been up to. That ending was planned from the “outline stage”, as Brock was originally patterning the film after such cult classics as “Apartment Zero” and “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (big inspirations for the film; “Eating Raoul” was also a big inspiration!). In keeping with these films, Brock originally felt that the ending of the film needed to be “disturbing”. The original idea behind the Beth character, was that she would ultimately be “so annoying” that the audience would find it satisfying (on some level) that she was killed in the end. Brock, however, was concerned that Beth’s overbearing qualities might ultimately become “endearing” (as was the case with the person(s) on which some elements of the character are loosely based) leading to a “dissatisfying end” not in harmony with the rest of the story. That ultimately was the case!
The original ending was truly disturbing (as in Apartment Zero, and Henry) as was planned. However, Brock decided that he didn’t like the ending. Brock toyed with the idea that Beth would live and give Kasey the ring out of friendship but was concened about the “believability” of that outcome. But, after allowing several people to read the original screenplay (including his mother; who he knew he would get a solid and grounded opinion from), Brock realized that Beth living at the end was not only believable, but made total sense for the overall story! The new ending then evolved, from Beth surviving and giving Kasey and Marco the ring, to Beth actually escaping with them! Brock ultimately felt that no other ending would have done the story justice.