“The Wave” is a brand new time-twisting comedy from director Gille Klabin and writer and producer Carl Lucas that premiered at Austin’s very own Fantastic Fest. The film follows a lawyer named Frank (Justin Long) who becomes entangled within a reality-bending trip after taking a mysterious drug at a party.
The Daily Texan sat down with Klabin and Lucas to discuss the filmmaking process and advice for student filmmakers.
The Daily Texan: How did the director, writer and producer collaboration factor into the scriptwriting and shooting process?
Carl Lucas: I wrote this originally for Gille because I kind of fell in love with his visual style and his ability as a visual storyteller. Every time I came to a scene and had an idea, I would immediately pull Gille in. I’d be like, “So this is what I’m thinking, what do you think we can do?” And then he would start talking from a visual effects standpoint.
Gille Klabin: I come from a low-budget music video background, so this movie was originally going to be made for a couple thousand dollars. We were going to try and raise on Kickstarter, shooting at our homes and different places we had access to. Everything was designed around being dirt cheap. And then when some big actors got involved, our budget went up, and so I felt Carl could rely on me until I did the biggest bait-and-switch ever. We (started shooting), and I tried to spend every goddamn dollar we had.
DT: The film features a pretty terrifying and exaggerated depiction of a boardroom meeting at an insurance firm. Where did the inspiration come for that?
CL: Man, that just crawled out of my brain I think. I used to work in marketing and sales and stuff like that. I used to sit in these endless board meetings, and it was just constantly trying to figure out how to pull more money out of everyone around us at all times. And, you know … you sit there, and you start to think about if this was depicted in a society that actually didn’t live in capitalism, just how ghoulish and mercenary a meeting like that would actually feel. You’re sitting there celebrating the idea that you know you’re stripping things away (from people).
GK: Imagine if you throw a cigarette butt on the ground and you hallucinate the animal that ends up choking on it and dying. The subtext (is) just being thrown in your face as horrifically as possible. That’s what the whole boardroom scene is. It’s a kick in Frank’s spiritual balls.
DT: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters?
CL: I know how hard it is to get your first screenplay finished. No matter how good your first screenplay is, it’s nowhere near as good as your fifth. So don’t fall so in love with your first screenplay that you forget you need to write two or three more before you even know what your voice sounds like on the page.
GK: Don’t be afraid to suck. You’re (going to) suck plenty. Your first draft is (going to) suck, your first edit is (going to) suck. If it doesn’t, awesome, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to get better and better the more you try. Failure is all in education. Just don’t be afraid of it.