David McAbee is the writer and director of the recently released, dramatically exhilarating film “For The Love of Jessee” starring Adrienne Barbeau, Randy Wayne, Bre Blair and Mandalha Rose. Co-written by Curta Schlarbaum and produced by Curta and Dennis Schlarbaum, the film is an inspirational, message driven, happily ever after masterpiece.
The behind the scenes issues were nearly as dramatic as the movie itself. With the death of the character originally set to play the lead, the death of the horse originally set to appear in the film as well as the director breaking his arm right before production it was a challenging pre-production to say the least. However just as the ending of the movie, “For The Love of Jessee” is an inspirational and triumphant feel good movie for everyone.
I shared questions and answers with director David McAbee regarding the film as well as his career endeavors…..
While directing “For The Love of Jessee” what were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
I’d say our whole experience was full with challenges. Right after I finished a draft of the screenplay, our producers had someone read it to give notes and they gave it scathing reviews. Mind you this person had no experience reading scripts. But they had nothing good to say. NOTHING. So, I took the script and entered it in some festivals and we were lucky enough to win some. After the script won some festivals, it gave the producers confidence it could do well. Maybe even make some money. Then, six weeks before production was set to begin, our leading man, and friend Blake Heron passed away suddenly. I was left to decide whether we stop there, or push forward. Knowing how mad Blake would’ve been had we stopped, I decided to push forward. Surprising to think of it actually, being on set and filming was the least challenging part. We had an amazing cast who brought beautiful light to each character. We had an amazing DP and camera op. My first AD was my right-hand man and my producers were there to battle anything that got in the way. Thank god we had all those challenges beforehand to prepare us for shooting.
Did you personally have a favorite character?
I really relate to baby Jessee. I love to be swaddled, fed and changed. But seriously, I think I relate to Sage the most. I just understand that character- her struggles, the loss. It’s funny though, that character didn’t make sense to me until I cast Mandahla Rose. She’s the one who brought the heartbeat, the soul, the uniqueness out of that character.
Did the film turn out how you first pictured it when you and Curta wrote it?
For the most part, it’s exactly how we pictured it when we were writing it. Yes, A LOT changed between draft one and what is on the screen. But the message is the same. The heart is the same.
In what ways was this movie different than directing a horror film?
Well there’s a lot less blood in this film, so that’s a big difference. For this film, we weren’t relying on special EFX, or ‘scares’. This was all about real drama that real people go through all the time. But I guess at the end of the day, that’s what a good horror movie is. It’s a good drama wrapped around something supernatural.
Will you and Curta be creating something else together?
There’s always a possibility. Til then, I’m writing two new stories that I’m super stoked about. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to show those to the world soon.
Looking back on everything you know now what advice would you give baby David?
ENJOY EVERY DAMN MINUTE OF THE RIDE. It’s going to be stressful, it’s going to keep you up at night and it’s going to push you. But, don’t waste anytime worrying too much about all of those because this is the thing you love to do.
What advice would you give to young film makers?
If you’ve got the itch to make something, scratch the hell out of that itch.
When this weird period of history calms itself down are there any new projects that you will be working on?
I’m getting ready to release a new short called, NOVA. It’s a rad transformation horror concept I came up with and I really hope everyone likes it as much as I do. It stars Kelly Kula, who was also in “For The Love of Jessee.” She really pushed herself in this one and I couldn’t be happier with her performance. I also have two new screenplays that I am very excited about and am currently trying to get those going.
Watch the “For The Love Of Jessee” Trailer here:
Watch “For The Love of Jessee” on Amazon and iTunes today: