Exclusive Interview with AMONG THE LIVING Writer, Director, and Producer ROB WORSEY

ROB WORSEY Promo Pic - Cover Photo

Director, writer, and producer ROB WORSEY’s debut feature film, AMONG THE LIVING, starring Dean Michael Gregory, George Newton, Melissa Worsey, and Leon Worsey, is now playing in theaters around the world.

AMONG THE LIVING unleashes a lethal pandemic on humanity, introducing a whole new threat to contend with. After a devastating outbreak, a man and his sister find themselves alone in the countryside, where they must defend themselves against the infected and their ravenous hunger for human blood. Together, they struggle to reach safety with their dad while being threatened by other survivors.

Watch the Official Trailer for AMONG THE LIVING Here:

INFRARD MAG: First and foremost congratulations on the release of AMONG THE LIVING. What has been the reception of the film so far?

ROB WORSEY: As is often the case, the reception has been both positive and negative! We have some great comments and reviews regarding people enjoying the character drama and realism, and then a few more constructive comments from people wishing there was more zombie horror and action. It’s understandable to get both sides and the main thing that we are excited about is that people are actually watching our film! A huge issue for independent filmmakers is actually getting your work out there, and so we are just excited to know that people all over the world are choosing to sit down and check out our film!

INFRARD MAG: What made you interested in film making and who or what inspires you?

ROB WORSEY: I have always been interested in storytelling, I’m a natural daydreamer and find myself thinking up scenes, characters and narratives in my head constantly. Often these ideas don’t form into anything, but occasionally a few of them are persistent enough to make me think I should develop them further. The reason I love Film so much is that it combines so many different aspects into one piece; storytelling, performance, visuals, and a big one for me: music.

INFRARD MAG: Who is your favorite Director and why?

ROB WORSEY: I think it’s really hard to reduce it down to one favourite Director, I have so many! I often find myself gravitating towards films that use music well, both score and sourced songs, as you see a couple of times in Among the Living, I love the way that music can enhance scenes. Shane Meadows is a fantastic example of this, as is Damien Chazelle, and David Lowery. For those who haven’t seen Whiplash, This is England, or A Ghost Story, I can’t recommend them enough!

INFRARD MAG: What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a film director?

ROB WORSEY: I think the most important quality is having a consistent vision for the project, and be able to guide the rest of the cast and crew towards that.

INFRARD MAG: How much patience is required as feature film director?

ROB WORSEY: I think patience is of course important, but as an independent filmmaker working on micro budgets, a more important quality is endurance! The hardest part of the process was the editing stage, going through rough cut after rough cut, taking feedback from others, working through the film over and over again; it took us around 7 months from first cut to final cut, and that felt like an eternity!

INFRARD MAG: Tell us a little bit about the movie AMONG THE LIVING?

ROB WORSEY: It’s a film about survivors in a zombie apocalypse, I would consider it a character drama/slice of life film first and a zombie horror second. It focuses more on the characters, the protagonist’s struggle with the situation, and the risk of trusting survivors in a situation like that.

INFRARD MAG: What sets AMONG THE LIVING apart for all the other zombie movies out there?

ROB WORSEY: We’ve tried to focus on the characters struggle in the world, especially with the lead Harry, played wonderfully by Dean Michael Gregory. Harry is a character who is totally incapable of thriving in an apocalyptic environment: he can’t bring himself to kill other survivors or even zombies. He is terrified, depressed and his anxiety levels are through the roof. If it was up to him he would probably sit alone at home and die quietly. Now tell him that he has to escort his energetic little sister across the country and towards their Dad in search of safety; that’s the situation that Harry finds himself in, and the film is about him stepping up and trying to do what he needs to do to keep his sister safe.

INFRARD MAG: While making AMONG THE LIVING were there any set backs? If so, what were those set backs and how were they resolved?

ROB WORSEY: The primary set back was the Covid19 pandemic; we were all set to shoot in May 2020 and then we were put into national lockdown. Once we managed to rearrange the shoot to August inbetween the national lockdowns in the UK, the production went through relatively smoothly! Of course, there were small set backs throughout as is the case with any shoot, but the most part it went really well and we thoroughly enjoyed the process!

INFRARD MAG: After the completion of writing the screenplay and transitioning to filming the movie, we’re there any major changes to the script? We’re there any rolls adjusted, removed or added?

ROB WORSEY: Once we had the final draft of the script and went into shooting there were no major changes. Often we would adapt dialogue, and work through some improvisation for the child actors, but the overall scenes and narrative played out mostly the same. In post production we shuffled some scenes around, and cut a couple out to help the story, but overall it is pretty close to the final draft of the script!

INFRARD MAG: Your siblings MELISSA WORSEY and LEON WORSEY are featured in AMONG THE LIVING. What are the benefits and drawbacks from working with your siblings?

ROB WORSEY: The main benefit was that they are just great actors, they really got into the characters that they were playing, and often improvised dialogue and moments that made it into the final cut. With them being my siblings it made it a lot easier to communicate with them, we all felt very at ease and I could chat to them throughout the process with a ‘no-nonsene’ approach. They knew why we wanted to make the film and they really wanted to be involved, and so they gave it their all. I can’t complain at all about them, they absolutely smashed it!

INFRARD MAG: You have been a film maker for some time now, concentrating on short films up to this point. This is your first major feature film. What did you like most about making feature film vs short film?

ROB WORSEY: I really loved the scope of the storytelling; the ability to weave different characters and subplots out and back into the story, such as Jack and May, and the overall size of the project. It gives the opportunity to really build up to moments and scenes, and try and make them feel as justified as possible. The run time gives the audience a lot of screentime to really see Harry’s struggle, and let them decide whether he made the right or wrong decision at the end of the film.

INFRARD MAG: Which format do you prefer?

ROB WORSEY: Overall I prefer working on feature films, and most of my ideas now are of a feature film scale or larger. The downside is the huge time commitment for a project like this, and so I am still working on short film pieces, and have a few short films that I want to make in the coming months, but this is primarily as training and practise for my next feature.

INFRARD MAG: What are your future plans? Is there another feature film in the works?

ROB WORSEY: We are currently shooting the next feature film as part of Relic Films. This is a project that I have written, and my colleague Oliver Mitchell is Directing. There’s not much we can say about it at this point, but it’s a very different film compared to Among the Living genre and style wise, so it will be exciting to see what people think when we announce it in a few months time!

I’m also working on the script for the next feature film that I will direct, and currently booking in for a December 2023 shoot!

INFRARD MAG: What advice would you like to give to aspiring filmmakers?

ROB WORSEY: Try and surround yourself with likeminded people. As independent filmmakers we have built a core cast and crew that we work with on all of our projects to the point we now consider them friends. Having people around you with the same ambitions and ideas is so encouraging when things get grueling or tough. It really is a team game and finding that team that you work well and enjoy shooting with is such a huge foundation to being able to do it.

Also be open to feedback, especially in the scripting and editing stages, get as much and as brutal feedback as possible. If it is particularly brutal feedback I tend to read it through, get annoyed about it, not agree with any of it, and then ignore it for two days. When I go back to it after a couple of days I usually find that I agree with most of it and totally understand their points, and I make changes from there. That’s not to say that you should implement all the suggestions you get; it still needs to be your film at the end of it, just try and listen to people’s thoughts and criticisms and understand where they are coming from and implement a change if it feels right to you.

INFRARD MAG: Is there anything else that you would like to talk about?

ROB WORSEY: If you’ve made it this far then thank you for reading! If you do manage to watch the film then please do leave a review, it’s great to see what people think of the film (both good and constructive!)

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