Tom: How would you describe your characters in the film and what type of process did you have to go through to bring that persona to life?
Martin: Melvin is a messiah like figure who believes the future of human kind rests on his shoulders. In regards to process; I tend to do lots of research. I read and watched as much as possible on cult leaders, preachers, and fanaticism in general. I first find Melvin's pain and then incorporate it and other elements into a living being.
Nora: Carla is that girl that you just love to hate. You see young people like her all the time and you just wonder how they exist. She's so self absorbed that she can't see how her mother might be hurting from a lost youth and a lack of connection with her girls. She doesn't even care about her two little sisters. Her world consists only of her and how she can get people to pay attention to her. Deep down I think she's really lonely.
The process that I went through to bring her to life was enlightening. I paid a lot of attention to how teenagers act now that they're given so much technology; it's like they just can't get enough. And I thought back a lot to what it was like being that age. The day to day thoughts I had weren't that happy and were pretty self-centered. I also spent a good deal of time talking with a friend of mine from Mississippi about what the stereotypical teenage girl is like out there. The world of beauty pagents is something I was never exposed to, and it became a key part to her background.
Tom: How important is it for films like “No More Tomorrows” to keep being made in this era of commercial films that flaunt style over substance?
Nora: I think more films like "No More Tomorrows" should be made because they force us to confront how we live in this world and how we treat others. Flaunting style over substance only stays with you so long. It's the films and commercials with a true message that stick with you for a long time and cause you to question yourself. Which is good. We should always questions ourselves. It's the only way to truly grow.
Martin: I believe films like this must continue to be made. As a society we are escaping reality and human contact quicker than at any time in history with all our gadgets. Film and any other art of substance keep us attuned and aware to the truths of our being. Human stories must continue to be told to keep us "human" and truthfully connected to others.
Tom: Your character transforms from a social media queen to someone who realizes that these superficial trappings mean nothing. What are your thoughts on this transformation and do you think there is a sense of real-world truth that others can take from it?
Nora: This is a transformation that I believe is so essential to being human. Yes, technology is amazing and it has given us many luxuries that we didn't have 30 years ago. That doesn't mean that it should rule us and stop us from connecting with our family and friends and nature. There's nothing as powerful and rewarding as genuinely connecting with people in the real world. No amount of technology can duplicate that feeling. We are organic beings and we need to step away from our social media addictions from time to time, and I think Carla's transformation is a positive example of what can come from it.
Tom: As an emerging director in Hollywood, you have many opportunities to choose from. What appealed to you the most about this specific project and what type of potential did you see in it?
Chris Emmons (Director): Thank you for saying I'm emerging, that's great if its true! In terms of what attracted me to the project, it was the writing. There was a particular monologue in the middle of Mark's first draft that got me hooked. If the writing, and what's under the writing, is good and says something human, and carries a heavy enough weight to it that I feel should be dropped on the world's toes like an existential anvil, that's always a good start.
Tom Waits once said "The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering." I've read a lot of bad stuff, which is why I oftentimes try to write material for myself that I know I can work with, but there was something provocative about Mark's writing that struck a chord with me. He's actually a really funny guy with a serious heart.
Tom: Can you talk about some of the deeper messages that resonated in the film and how challenging it was to translate these within the scope of a shorter running time?
Chris: I remember when I was in college the thinking was always about the feature, the long form storytelling. I had a teacher named Fredrick M Holland, who I respected immensely as an artist and a man, tell me one day in a cafeteria "if you can make them feel something in just a matter of minutes, that's real storytelling."
In terms of messages in the film, there is certainly a very prominent nature vs. technology component. It goes into the upcoming generation's utter preoccupation with technology, and how it ultimately can isolate them from what's important. But I think more importantly, the film can be boiled down to the simple idea of learning how to live in the moment, and appreciate what you have, instead of living in the past or future, not realizing what beauty and fortune you're surrounded with every day. Its actually one of the hardest things to do. In the sad case of the lead character in the film, it takes a Manson-esque psycho-hillbilly angel of death to bring about this sort of awareness in her.
Tom: What impression do you hope viewers leave with from this film?
Chris: Always complete and utter lack of indifference.
Tom: Having caught up with you earlier in the process, we’d like to now come full circle now that the film is complete. With that, how pleased are you with the outcome of “No More Tomorrows” and what did you learn during this process?
Mark Renshaw (Writer/Executive Producer): I am over the moon (the real moon, not the Death Star) with how this has turned out. I've learned a lot during this process but the most important thing I've learned is that a rough cut of a movie, is in fact really rough. Shocking I know but I didn't realise how basic a rough cut really is and it threw me off for a while. Having seen the process end-to-end now for the first time I can see how much film transforms during post-production.
Tom: From a screenwriter’s perspective, what were some of the stages you went through on the inevitable roller-coaster ride as the film became reality?
Mark: Ever since I can remember stories have been screaming around in my head yearning to escape. Writing them down is like letting some steam out of an organic pressure cooker but that is not enough because I'm a storyteller and my stories must be told. To see one translated into a movie, to know people will see it come to life feels like the answer to everything. Sometimes I do things which just seem like I'm putting one foot in front of the other, going through the motions, living a Groundhog Day of routine but when I'm writing and when I've been involved in creating this movie it has felt like this is my reason for being. Plus being a husband and father of course, just need to add that in case the wife reads this! :-)
Tom: And now from a producer’s vantage point -- has this experience inspired you to become more involved with filmmaking opportunities going forward? If so, do any of the next steps seem daunting to you given the competitive nature of the business?
Mark: Although I hid my anxiety well during my pre-interview, so well I deserver an academy award, you may have sensed the slightest hint that I was nervous producing this lol. I've learned that production of a movie includes challenges from every angle but with the right team and the right attitude these can all be overcome and I know I want to be involved in producing more. I used to be a slave to fear. Fear of failing, fear of succeeding and a hundred different forms of fear in-between but I'm not going to let fear control my life anymore, so bring the next one on!
Often times, the "making of" a film is as compelling as the final work itself, which even applies to shorts. For anytime there is a creative venture, an interesting perspective can be gained from those involved. I recently had a great opportunity to have a virtual round table with the cast and crew of "No More Tomorrows" and the following is their take about this original, gripping tale - Tom Hoover