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article imageBrian Ulrich talks directing and writing 'Last Three Days' film Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 2, 2021 in Entertainment
Director and writer Brian Ulrich chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about his film "Last Three Days," which stars Robert Palmer Watkins, Deborah Lee Smith, and Thomas Wilson Brown.
On his inspiration to write and direct Last Three Days, he said, "People say write what you know. We wanted to make an action movie, but we also wanted to deconstruct the Hollywood love story (where it’s all happily ever after as soon as you get the guy/girl). We wanted to show a real relationship and how you can fall out of love, and what it takes to hold a relationship together in the long run."
"At that point, my wife, Julianna, and I had been married for three years, and we knew some of the pressures that could happen when career and relationship were pitted against each other. The story stemmed directly from our love story. The tree Jack and Beth meet under in the film is actually the exact same tree my wife and I used to study under when we were dating, we filmed on our college campus where we met, and Jack and Beth have the same initials as we do, Brian and Julianna (only swapped)," he elaborated.
He continued, "From there, it was taking our story and putting it into a much higher pressure setting that could lend itself to making an action thriller. I met up for breakfast with a friend of mine who had been an undercover narcotics detective, and the story just started writing itself from there. That story inspiration was then set in a list of locations we knew we could get access to. Then we incorporated some Nolanesque twists and turns, and voila, Last Three Days was born."
Ulrich had nothing but kind words about working with Robert Palmer Watkins as his leading man in the film. "I knew from Rob's audition tape that he was talented, but when I met him in person, I immediately knew that this was a guy I could work with 12 hours a day for 21 days. He could take direction, offer input, was down to try new things, and was always a smiling positive person," he said.
"Robert truly loved coming to set every day, and when you’re fighting schedule and budget, that’s half the battle. His talent and experience was the other half, and when paired with good scene partners like Deborah Lee Smith and Thomas Wilson Brown, he was on fire," Ulrich exclaimed.
"Working with Rob is one of the best experiences I have had as a director and I can’t thank him enough for trusting me with such a crazy, convoluted script and being the face, the heart, and the soul of this movie," he added.
Robert Palmer Watkins in  Last Three Days
Robert Palmer Watkins in 'Last Three Days'
Brian Ulrich
On being a filmmaker in the digital age, he said, "The digital age has opened up so many opportunities for filmmakers! With everyone being stuck at home, it’s made it possible for indie filmmakers to find audiences for their work! And that’s the ultimate goal. Pre-pandemic I watched Last Three Days in a theater full of people. There’s nothing like that feeling. There’s nothing like that experience."
"At the end of the day, your story is a journey you want to bring people on," he said. "The digital age has opened more doors to reach more people than ever before, and so it gives us storytellers that much more access to invite them on our journey with us. But on the flip side, it’s also so much easier to make content and put it out there that you really have to stand out in the crowd to convince people to choose your film over all the other choices they have so you really have to go the extra mile to make it something special and unique."
Regarding his favorite part of this experience, he said, "Writing a script is an intensely personal thing, and finding a group of talented amazing people who you admire that believe in you and believe in your script is truly incredible. The collaboration and comradery that unified the cast and crew of Last Three Days, all the way from pre-production through post and distribution, means more to me than this movie ever could. The team really became a family, and that feeling is what I will always remember."
Director Brian Ulrich working with cast and crew on  Last Three Days
Director Brian Ulrich working with cast and crew on 'Last Three Days'
Nathan Johnson
On his daily motivations as a filmmaker, he said, "Filmmaking is hard, but when you find people who believe in you, whether that’s fellow artists, friends, family, or fans and viewers, it reminds me that this isn’t just a pipe dream. It is something we actually can do and we actually can make other people’s lives better by doing it. One of our actors forwarded us a message from a fan, who told us how much our movie made a difference in their life, and reminded them what true love actually looks like. That is why we make movies."
For young and aspiring filmmakers, he said, "Find people who believe in you that will also challenge you. Your biggest cheerleader should also be your biggest critic. Someone who will have your back no matter what, but also have the guts and honesty to tell you when you’re wrong. If you can find those people, they can keep you from making huge mistakes, and help you make something great. Then, once you've found your people, take care of them. If you look out for your people first, they’ll put their all into your project."
Director Brian Ulrich
Director Brian Ulrich
Chris Haggerty
Ulrich defined the word success as follows: "To me, success means surrounding yourself with people that you love, who love you, while doing something that you are proud of, with integrity, and having a positive impact in the lives of others. looking at it through that lens, Last Three Days was extremely successful."
"Julianna and I got to work together every day and built a crew of amazing people we love, we made a movie that we are proud of, and we did it the proper way, not cutting corners that had a negative impact down the road, and we were able to have a positive impact on our cast and crew as well as viewers who were truly moved by the film. I consider that a success," he concluded.
He remarked about Last Three Days, "Making movies is hard. Doesn't matter if it's indie, studio, low budget, or high. Making a movie is hard to do. Last Three Days was no different. Despite watching things fall into place to make it happen, and the right people showing up at the right time, every day was still a battle. And that’s why your team is so important. That's why you have to have people you can trust, who are going to fight for you and fight for your project, and that’s why you fight for your people."
"At the end of the day, Last Three Days was made possible, because a group of people believed in each other, and believed in a story, they brought their A-game, day after day, working hard, bringing their talents, their creativity, their passion, and love for one another to pull off this low budget indie action crime thriller love story," Ulrich concluded.
Last Three Days earned a favorable review from Digital Journal, and it is available on Apple TV and on Amazon.
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