Disco Fever: An Interview with Brad Jones

To most who know him, Brad Jones is synonymous with the long-running web series The Cinema Snob where Jones plays a character who riffs on exploitation and horror films with the indignity that they in no way compare with cinematic greats such as Citizen Kane. In addition to his work on the The Cinema Snob, Jones has also starred in and created several films including the upcoming Disco. I recently discussed with Jones about the genesis of this project and his biggest influences among other topics.

Where did the idea for “Disco” originate from?

It’s a movie I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time.  My first movie was a horror film called Freak Out, which took place in the disco era and had a big disco soundtrack, and ever since then I wanted to do something else with that era. Saturday Night Fever has been one of my top 10 favorite films since I was a kid, and the idea for me doing a drama set in the late 70s at a discoteque always peaked my interest and really speaks to me and my taste.  Given that this year marks the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, it seemed like the best time to do this movie.


Were you a fan of disco music before the film? If so what are some of your favorite artists and songs?

Absolutely, I grew up listening to disco music. My mom was big into the music when she was younger, and that carried over into how I was raised, since I was born right at the tail end of the disco era.  I still have all my disco albums from my youth, a lot of which were passed down to me from my mom.  My favorite band of all time is The Bee Gees, but I guess that’s an easy answer.  I’d also rank Chic, ABBA, Silver Connection, Yvonne Elliman, L’Ectrique, The O’Jays, The Spinners, The Brothers Johnson, and KC & The Sunshine Band among my favorites.  Some of my go to songs include Much More by Riz Ortolani, Everybody Dance by Chic, Move on Up by Destination, Struck by Boogie Lightning by L’Ectrique, Gimme Gimme Gimme by ABBA, Boogie Oogie Oogie by A Taste of Honey.

The majority of the film was shot in one location, how did you decide where to shoot and how was the process of trying to find and secure the place?

That credit all goes to producer Ryan Mitchelle.  He was handling location scouting while I was working on other parts of pre-production.  There were a few places we had in mind.  There’s a club here in Springfield, but we would have had to shoot around a lot of modern day stuff, and also probably shoot in black and white due to the club’s color scheme.  But I found a place in Chicago called Disco, and that was my #1 choice on where to shoot, and thanks to Ryan he made it happen.


You’ve been making micro-budget films since the early 2000s, what are some of the biggest struggles and successes you’ve had over the years working within those limitations?

I love shooting with a microbudget, it’s completely my wheelhouse.  Some of our earlier struggles were just simply scheduling, since it all revolved around what people’s free time was.  A microbudget is absolutely my comfort zone, because I can have complete control on what I want my vision to be.  Plus I like making very character and dialogue driven films, and with a microbudget, you get to really pump up both of those things.  They’re very very personal films to me, and they’re all they types of movies that I personally would love to watch, whether it’s a snuff film thriller like my movie Cheap, or an 80s cop movie like Midnight Heat, and in this movie’s case, a disco dramedy.


A lot of people may recognize you from your work on the long-running web series “The Cinema Snob,” what are some of the differences that going into producing a web series compared to a feature film?

They’re very different.  The Cinema Snob is basically a video riff that’s primarily joke driven and doesn’t take too long to produce.  Writing and directing a movie is more so similar to non-review series I’ve on my website such as a series I did called The Reviewers, and also the Demo Reel episode I did.  My style of directing is exactly the same in movie form that it is in doing scripted plot based series like those.

What are some of your biggest influences as a filmmaker?

Directors who really inspired me to make the movies that I want to make are guys like Roger Watkins, Abel Ferrara, Martin Scorsese, and certainly my love of dialogue definitely comes from watching movies from people like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, and, I know this isn’t popular to say right now, but James Toback had a huge affect on me to want to write movies.

If you had an unlimited budget what would be your dream project?

I wrote a 1980s post apocalyptic slasher film about 13 years ago.  That’s always been a dream project of mine, so that’s probably where that money would go.

This film will be exclusive to your Patreon, can you explain what that is and how people can access it for those who may not know?

Patreon is a program we use that not only helps fund certain projects, but it also helps to pay all the other people who have worked with me on my website over the years.  You can find it over at http://www.patreon.com/thecinemasnob.  Disco will be exclusive just to our Patreon page.  On our Patreon, you can see some of our videos early, you can participate in polling for future episodes, you can request some movies for us to review, and in the case of Disco, you can see an original movie.

Finally, any upcoming projects you have on the horizon that you would like to share?

I wrote a comedy/horror Christmas movie, and I think that may be our next big project.  We have two sets of projects, one are our much bigger budgeted films, such as our previous film Jesus Bro, which we typically do some crowdfunding on.  Other projects are movies like Disco, which are much smaller budgeted, paid out of pocket, and I typically write direct and edit myself.  I’m looking into doing some more smaller projects with Bianca Queen (co-star of Disco, and several of my earlier films), so we’ll see what comes of that.