June 13, 2013

Sam Cleveland Q & A Where We Discuss BOUNCER

I’m not a violent man… I’m just good at it!”

We were contacted by Writer/Director Sam Cleveland about his hard-hitting actioner “Bouncer”. The feature script is written and Sam has shot about five minutes of promo material for the project: the trailer, a single scene and a making of video. All of which we’ve posted below.

BOUNCER Teaser Trailer #1 from Sam Cleveland on Vimeo.

BOUNCER: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

BOUNCER: Wrong Place, Wrong Time from Sam Cleveland on Vimeo.

BOUNCER: Behind the Scenes

Making BOUNCER from Sam Cleveland on Vimeo.

The action noir film centers on a nightclub bouncer looking to leave behind a life of violence and struggling to free himself from a seedy after-dark world of drugs, brutality and corruption.

Sam describes the lead character, Curtis Conway, as an ‘urban samurai’ who’s seeking inner peace after the death of brother, a respected sensei, in a nightclub scuffle.

But, in true noir fashion, Curtis is forced back into the club world, where he’s swept up in a war between rival crime factions for control of drug profits.

EOIN: Where did you get the idea for BOUNCER from? Are you a fan of Roadhouse?

SAM: I admit I watched Roadhouse when I was writing the script, but I didn’t find much inspiration there. It’s really a country & western movie, whereas BOUNCER is a modern street movie – girls, guns, crime, corruption, club music and club style.

My initial idea was to put out a movie with a good mix of physical action (which we’re obviously going to get from bouncers) and noir atmosphere (which we get from the after-dark club environments) all wrapped up in a commercial package that people will want to watch.

What’s been great is that the initial concept is exactly what distributors have responded to in script and the promo footage. They get it.

EOIN: How far along in development is the film?

SAM: Feedback on the script from distributors has been great and we’re going out to cast soon. We’re looking good, everybody gets the concept and sees the film working. The major sequences are storyboarded and we’re ready to go. As soon as we move forward I’ll let you know!

EOIN: Will the film be made in Australia?

SAM: We’re exploring the most advantageous place to shoot right now, so it might be made in Australia, but we’re definitely looking at casting internationally. The story can be told anywhere… any big city with clubs and crime (i.e. all of them).

EOIN: Clubs and gangs and bouncers, it sounds like there’s a lot of scope for action. What have you got planned?

SAM: Well we start small with some hand-to-hand in the clubs and then steadily work our way up as the story builds into a citywide gang war, then for the finale shrink back to something small and intense that focuses on the characters.

I think on a lot of new blockbusters, every action sequence is competing to be the most intense scene in the movie. There’s not a lot of variation or build, you just swing from dialogue scenes to manic action and back again.

That’s one of the things Joss Whedon did so well on The Avengers… the intensity and scope of the action builds on this beautiful curve until half of Manhattan is on fire.

The first Die Hard is another great template: the action builds from one-on-one fights to the roof explosion and firehose showstopper, then winds it back for the final shootout in the vault, just McClane, Hans and Holly.

EOIN: I always quote Sylvester Stallone saying the action genre is ‘slowly fading away’. Do you think that’s true?

SAM: Yes and no. I think budgets and ratings have a lot to do with where action is going… you can get away with only a certain level of intensity at certain ratings and those ratings means the film’s final audience could be limited. A limited audience means a limited budget and so the hard ‘action’ we want is pushed to the lower end of the spectrum.

But the big thing missing now are credible action stars, and without stars, films just don’t sell as well. Jason Statham is great, he’d be perfect for BOUNCER, I had him in mind writing the script. He’s a very sly performer and a very physical star, but he doesn’t have much company in his age group. Stallone and Schwarzenegger could play his dad.

But as long as sites like yours are around, people will stay aware of what once was!

EOIN: I saw some storyboards in your making of video. Is this an important part of the process for you?

SAM: Absolutely. You need to know your story is working before you go out and shoot, otherwise you end up with basic, safe coverage that looks like TV.

Planning the action is one my favorite phases because you’re free to dream up the best possible version of a sequence… the cuts, the camera moves, everything.

And on set they’re just great shorthand for the crew. Instead of talking about the shot for 10 minutes and waving my hands, there’s a visual reference that everyone can see.

EOIN: So what does the word ‘shakycam’ mean to you?

SAM: Honestly? It means the director wants to add ‘energy’ or intensity’ to their scene but has no idea how to do it. You get energy and intensity in a sequence through writing and choreographing good action beats, framing them clearly and cutting them to the right rhythm. Just ask James Cameron.

EOIN: Good luck with everything. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

SAM: Thanks so much, nor can I! If anyone wants to know more about what we’re up to, visit and like the page for development updates and news. We’ve got videos, stills and storyboards up there too. The more attention the project gets at this stage, the easier it is to move forwards!


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



New Trailer for Jackie Chan’s Bleeding Steel

Jackie Chan struck gold with this year’s The Foreigner; can he do it again with Bleeding Steel? Check out the latest trailer below! Plot: Jackie Chan stars as a hardened special forces agent who fights to protect a young ...
by Eoin Friel


A Tribute to Colonel Stewart

Whenever people talk about the best Die Hard saga villain they always say (correctly) that it’s Hans Gruber, played with relish by the late great Alan Rickman. I’ve always found though that one Colonel William Stewart (the ...
by Eoin Friel


New Trailer for Den of Thieves

Plot: A Los Angeles crime saga in the vein of “Heat”, DEN OF THIEVES follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank r...
by Eoin Friel