What was your filmmaking background before making Modern Love is Automatic?
ZACH: I went to film school in North Carolina. I made some student films and a little one hour black & white teensploitation movie about Satan-worshipping rock-n-roll juvenile delinquents.
Where did the idea for Modern Love is Automatic come from? What was the writing process like?
ZACH: I possibly subconsciously ripped it off from Paul Bartel's The Naughty Nurse. And Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The writing process was two years long.
How did you fund the film?
ZACH: Some family members pitched in and helped with about a third of the budget. The rest was me. We shot the movie for a long time, on weekends over six months. So, I would work, save up money and then we'd shoot for a weekend and I'd spend it all. Then we'd wait a few more weeks so I could save up some more money, etc, etc.
What sort of camera did you use for production and what were the best and worst things about it?
ZACH: We used the Panasonic HVX. I like that camera a lot. The DVX, too. I kinda want to shoot another movie on a DVX. I think video looks really pretty.
You wore several hats on the production -- writer, director, producer, editor. What's the upside and the downside to doing that?
ZACH: It wasn't that bad, they were pretty separate. I wrote it, then I produced it, then I directed it, then I edited it. It wasn't like I was editing or rewriting between takes or anything. It's more direct, you don't have to answer to anyone, which can be good and bad. I liked it, though I keep telling myself I'm going to do less and less producing and I keep doing more and more of it.
What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?
ZACH: I made a rule that we had to shoot in all actual locations, or change the script to suit the locations if we couldn't find what the script was calling for. Instant production design. You never have to worry whether or not the location will look right, because it is right. We only broke that rule once, and that was the day we accidentally smashed a pinball machine. Not our fault, but still.
And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you can take to other projects?
ZACH: There's an answer for this, but it’s either too big or too small for me to articulate what it is.