Writer/director Adam Kargman recalls, “I originally came up with the idea ten years ago. The last few films I’ve done have been darker and more serious, and I was in the mood for a comedy. One of the keys to being a successful filmmaker, I believe, is to make films that you really want to see yourself. I’ve thought about the concept of this film a lot over the years. The process of turning my long-gestating idea into a screenplay was nearly effortless.”
To find actors for the 38 character roles required a series of casting sessions. For the lead role of Wilbur, the filmmakers auditioned nearly 70 actors over a several-week period, ultimately casting Michael J. Sielaff.
"The difficulty was to keep Wilbur grounded and not just goofy for goofy sake."
“When Adam and I met up to discuss the script, he told me that we’d be collaborating in making this film, which was music to my ears,” says Sielaff. “It was the freedom for collective discovery and development of Wilbur that excited me most. Using physicality rather than words was more difficult than I expected. Forced emotions get exposed as fake twice as fast when you don’t have words to hide behind. I grew up admiring physically expressive actors like Jim Carrey, Christopher Lloyd, and Rowan Atkinson, who make it look easy. The difficulty was to keep Wilbur grounded and not just goofy for goofy-sake. It’s lazy to do kooky things without emotional investment, but to actually be present and have the audience read your thoughts (as absurd as they may be) and believe them – that’s what I wanted to accomplish.”
Rounding out the cast include Michael David Farrow as the pompous professor Casper Edwards, Ph.D; Tonio Juwuan as the conniving Freddy Ladron; Iyad Hajjaj, Andrew Qamar, and Mike Ghader as a group of ruthless Al Qaeda terrorists; Anthem Moss as ladies’ man Rico; Jennifer Fernandez as the dainty Tori; Rayshell Curtiss as a beautiful woman from Wilbur’s past; and Rocky Bear Smith, as Wilbur’s canine pal.
“My family says this is a role I’ve been practicing to do all my life,” declares Michael David Farrow, whose character, Dr. Edwards, experiences the ultimate humiliation in a populated college lecture hall. “I remember an old English prof I had in college. He was full of his ‘presentational’ self and believed the students hung on his every word. I tried to put myself in his shoes; to see a class the way he would see them. But the biggest challenge was to physically come out with the big ol’ belchereenos!”
For the film’s key prop, referred to as “The Doohickey,” the production retained a special-
Michael J. Sielaff as Wilbur
-effects prop house to complete its construction, based on an original design by Kargman. To prevent damage to the original hero prop, several substitute versions, for use in long shots and actions scenes, were also constructed.
Additionally, dozens of highly detailed newspapers, magazines, soda bottles, books, posters, envelopes, signs, and other items were printed specially for the film. “I wanted the film to exist in its own universe,” says Kargman, “so virtually every brand you see is either completely fictional, or a parody of something.”
Principal photography began in 2011, and lasted nine days, spread out over a three-month period. To help tackle the scope of the production and accommodate work schedules, the crew generally only shot once a week, on Sundays. This allowed the filmmakers a full week to prepare for the next shoot day, and gave the director and cast a chance to rehearse during the week.
The film was shot digitally in HD at 24 fps, using a Canon 7D camera with Minolta prime lenses. A Canon T2i served as a “B” camera. Jibs, car mounts, wide-angle lenses, and other instruments were used to obtain more dynamic shots. "The look of Loud and Deep is a bit darker than the average comedy," says Director of Photography Olivia Kuan.
"A bit darker than the average comedy..."
Actors Michael J. Sielaff and Tonio Juwuan
“Though Wilbur is a fun and lovable character, we did have to account for his menacing side when establishing a look for him.”
The shoot utilized a wide variety of locations around Greater Los Angeles, including Downtown L.A., Malibu, Calabasas, Los Angeles Valley College, Mulholland Drive, Dockweiler Beach, Elysian Park, Los Feliz, Marina Del Rey, Van Nuys, Burbank, Westwood, the MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach, and Holmby Park in Bel Air. To save costs, practical locations were often chosen over soundstages, which Kuan found challenging in terms of lighting. “The most difficult location to shoot, much more so than even the grand finale, was Wilbur’sapartment. He doesn’t live in the nicest place, so the location was appropriate for his character. But the quarters were very tight, which makes for a more difficult shooting situation.”
The centerpiece of the film – a hilarious montage in which Wilbur wreaks havoc across Los Angeles with The Doohickey – was executed with military precision during a twelve-hour period throughout Greater Los Angeles. “We started early in the morning at the beach near Marina Del Rey,” explains Kargman, "then looped all through L.A. and ended up near Griffith
Olivia Kuan sets up a shot on a car mount.
Park. We had actors and extras meet us at eight or nine different locations along the way. It was all done guerilla style, and we had a limited amount of time to film each vignette before moving on.”
The film’s climax – a showdown between Wilbur and a group of Al Qaeda terrorists that riffs on Die Hard, Indiana Jones, and other action films – also required intricate planning due its complex lighting, special effects, action choreography, and use of a finicky animal actor. Shot at ATB Studios in Burbank, the crew managed to complete the scene in a single day.
Directorially, the film presented some unique challenges. “Comedy is extremely technical in terms of timing, performance, and tone, and it can take a lot of patience to get things right,” says Kargman. “I didn’t want the film to be just a one-joke movie, so I was constantly looking for ways to surprise the audience. As you watch the film, the story and pace keep changing, and I think the humor works on multiple levels. The tone of the film is really unique, part classic silent comedy and part live-action cartoon. It’s all very fast paced and the frame is loaded with details – you have to watch the film multiple times to take everything in.”
"You have to watch the film multiple
times to take everything in."
Filming the action-filled climax
"Quiet on the set was a difficult process!"
Summarizing the shoot, Producer Courtney Shane says, “It was tough not to just blurt out laughing. ‘Quiet on the set’ was definitely a difficult process!”
The post-production process took approximately a year. Kargman not only directed the film, but also edited it. The film had 113 visual effects shots, ranging from computer-generated effects to green-screen compositing to image replacement. Through these effects, the production was able to save money on location fees, or enhance already existing locations. Additionally, hazards such as dangerous pyrotechnic work could be avoided with digital tricks.
When it came to sound, in some respects Loud and Deep represented a sound editor’s dream – with explosions, gun battles, and a vast assortment of expulsive sound effects. However, the work was not for the squeamish, explains Kargman: “I went through the film literally hundreds if not thousands of times during post. Being subjected to that many bodily emission sounds was an ordeal that no one should have to endure. After a while, I started to feel as if I needed a gas mask.”
The score was composed by Regan and Tim Perrine, with original songs performed by Alexander Polinsky.
ABOVE: Filming against a green screen
BELOW: Final composite
Writer, producer, director ADAM KARGMAN has been declared “a name to look out for ... a filmmaker who delivers humanity and all of the emotions that comes with it.” (Rogue Cinema.) His short film credits include Repressions, which was released theatrically in Los Angeles in 2007, and starred Emmy-winning actress Sharon Case (The Young and the Restless), who earned a MethodFest Best Actress Nomination for her performance; the horror film Anesthesia, which won two international film festivals and was declared “a sick little gem” (Ain’t It Cool News); the Sloan Science Award-winner Atrocity, which is featured in New York’s Museum of the Moving Image; and the award-winning Reunion, about the Columbine tragedy, which was hailed as "a piece of filmmaking that transcends art” (Rogue Cinema). His films have moved, delighted, and impacted audiences at scores of film festivals both domestically and internationally, including the AFI, Phoenix, Newport Beach, and Fantastic Fest festivals, and have been featured on Ain’t It Cool News’s Saturday Shorts program. He is also the author of the 2006 novel Nagle’s Mercy. Kargman attended undergraduate and law school at the University of Arizona. In addition to writing, producing, and directing Loud and Deep, he also edited the picture.
MICHAEL J. SIELAFF (Wilbur) was proudly born and raised in Fridley, Minnesota. Attending Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN), Michael majored in Religious Studies, minored in Theatre, studied in India, co-hosted a radio show, and was part of the social justice theatre troupe “I Am We Are.” After graduation, he worked for CLIMB Theatre (a topical children's theatre) before moving to Los Angeles in the fall of 2009. Michael’s career highlights include co-starring on Body of Proof, Chuck, and Maron (IFC, summer 2013); guest modeling on The Price is Right; yukking it up in national Hoover, McDonald's, and DiGiorno commercials; and, of course, Loud and Deep. When he’s not acting, Michael is writing poetry, stand-up, and sketch comedy; tutoring middle/high schoolers in English and History; and bonking his nerdy head on door frames that are too low for his 6' 7" frame.
MICHAEL DAVID FARROW (Casper Edwards, Ph.D.) is an actor and stand-up comic. He spent 27 years touring as a live stand-up comic under the name Tommy Sledge, The Stand-Up Detective, and five years doing improvised comedy on The Wing. As Tommy Sledge, he also hosted HBO Comedy Channel. Michael’s other credits include supporting roles (as Tommy Sledge) in the eighties cult films Million Dollar Mystery and Lobster Man from Mars, and guest-star roles on the television shows Webster and Jonathan Winters Spaced Out.
TONIO JUWUAN (Freddy Ladron) is an improv actor currently studying with the Upright Citizens Brigade. He hails from Dallas, Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles, after leaving the mortgage industry. Tonio's goal is to act in independent films and bring nuanced, character-driven works to the masses.
IYAD HAJJAJ (Abdul) is a Middle Eastern actor who is fluent in Arabic, and also speaks Hebrew and Spanish. Iyad most recently guest starred on the TV show Touch, co-starred on the TV show Eaglehart, and played a supporting role in the feature film Thunder Run. In 2012, Iyad won Best Supporting Actor at the 168 Film Festival for his role in Refuge. He has also produced several films. When he is not acting, Iyad enjoys karate, horseback riding, writing poetry, and soccer. He also sings Arabie and is an Arab folk dance (Dabka) instructor.
ANDREW QAMAR (Khalid) recently returned to acting after a hiatus of several years, before which he was a series regular on Murder She Wrote, appeared in over 100 episodes of Britain’s primetime soap opera EastEnders, and played a lead role in the 1993 TV movie Jericho Fever. Andrew recently received acclaim for his role in the 2012 independent feature Solitary (released internationally as A Memory of Lies), and acted in the play Shadow Anthropology.
ANTHEM MOSS (Rico) was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He developed his love of theater from his stepfather, the noted Greek actor Kostas Voutsas. Anthem studied acting at the New York Film Academy and the National Drama School of Athens. His breakout leading role (as Anthimos Ananiadis) in the 2006 Greek film Straight Story earned him a nomination for Best Leading Actor at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. From there, Anthem landed the lead role in the hit Greek TV series Ugly Maria, which was telecast in 15 countries around the world. Anthem currently resides in Los Angeles. His recent roles include the sci-fi comedy feature 1001 Ways to Enjoy the Missionary Position, opposite Amanda Plummer, as well as several other independent features.
JENNIFER FERNANDEZ (Tori) is originally from New York and is a proud Dominicana. She graduated with her Bachelor's in Theater and is now working on Film and TV while living in Los Angeles. Her film credits include the independent features In the Cage and Mickey and Laura. Jennifer also has an extensive list of theater credits, including, most recently, How to Love a Black Woman. Jennifer is a member of SAG-AFTRA. She is represented by Aspire Talent Agency.
RAYSHELL CURTISS (Jenny) began her acting career in Santa Barbara, California, participating in high school, college, and community theater. Since her move to Los Angeles, she has appeared in numerous films and new media productions.
MIKE GHADER (Ramzi) is a Lebanese American who great up in Tampa, Florida. He moved to Hollywood in 2006 originally to pursue a music career, and has been acting since 2009.
Born in 2008, ROCKY BEAR SMITH (Benson the Dog) is as intelligent and intuitive as canines come. He was found in a trash bag when he was just several weeks old and rescued from dying. In addition to being a set-trained animal actor, Rocky is the subject of the inspirational book, Rocky the Rescue.
Producer COURTNEY SHANE is from Los Angeles. She attended Santa Monica College where she earned a degree in dance and performed in numerous plays, musicals, and dance recitals. She then studied at San Francisco State University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts. Courtney has produced seven films and other projects, including CMPS Productions’ Carly Simon’s “You're So Vain” music video (which she also co-adapted, directed, and starred in). As an actor, Courtney began her studies as a child in Los Angeles performance camps, and as a teenager studied under actor Julianne Moore at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Courtney is a proudmember of the SAG-AFTRA Union and Kevin E. West's The Actor's Network. She recently starred as a lead in Emmy-winning writer/director Thom E. Eberhardt’s show Diagnosis Dead or Alive. Courtney was also a guest-star comedian in AJ Jamal’s pilot, The BNC Show. Courtney is proud of her work as a producer on Loud and Deep, alongside a great team.
With a production career spanning over two decades, Producer ELIZABETH KRAUS has a diverse and well-rounded background, having produced a variety of corporate productions for companies such as McDonald’s, Hyatt, and Allstate, as well as video, animations, and DVDs for Disney and Fox. As a voice-over artist, Elizabeth contributed to ADR voices and voice casting on Loud and Deep, as well as assisted with extras casting and location scouting.
Director of Photography OLIVIA KUAN began her pursuits to become a cinematographer at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her training and early experiences were entirely captured on celluloid. After earning her degree, Olivia adapted to the multi-faceted world of HD. This diversity of formats has allowed her portfolio to encompass a range of works including narrative features, music videos, television pilots, commercials, and documentary projects.
Composer REGAN REMY is a multi-talented composer, singer, and songwriter who has scored numerous film projects; her music has been featured on Fox, CNN, SyFy, National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, E! Entertainment Television, and Comedy Central. Regan performs regularly at concerts and live events in Los Angeles and elsewhere under the name The High Priestess. She has released four New Age albums, and also co-created and co-produced the waltz ballets Astra von Berlifizting and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari through the Astra Dance Company. She studied music at USC, where she earned her MFA degree in film scoring. She has worked previously with director Adam Kargman on the short films Reunion, Repressions, and Anesthesia.
Composer TIM PERRINE has been writing and performing music for nearly 30 years. He studied music composition at Michigan State University and Butler University. After achieving his Master’s in composition, Tim attended the prestigious Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program at the University of Southern California. Over the years, Tim has worked with composers Elia Cmiral, Marco Beltrami, Jeff Atmajian, David Carbonara, and Tim Jones. His credits (which include orchestration, additional music, music preparation, and copyist) include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Live Free or Die Hard, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Copperhead, Mad Men, Cult, Human Target, Chuck, and the video game Kinect Star Wars.