David Sherbrook is a writer, director, and cinematographer from Detroit, MI. His love of movies goes back as far as he can remember, and he fell in love with the process of making them while taking a video production class in high school. He founded Infested Films in 2009, a boutique production company focused on genre films and practical effects with a DIY attitude.
His first feature film, the horror anthology “”Dead On Appraisal,”” was released in 2014. Since then, he has directed and shot many short films, music videos, and commercials, winning numerous awards, including an Emmy for a short documentary with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
I feel like we’re already living in the world of Routine, just a few decades behind. The movie (and the world it takes place in) is pretty bleak, and doesn’t necessarily offer an optimistic view of the future, so while it feels like it might be frighteningly close to our reality, I’m hopeful that it’s not, because it is not a world I’d like to live in, or to leave behind for the generations to follow. On a lighter note, I’d buy a one-way ticket to the world of The Magic School Bus, for sure. It might not “technically” be Sci-Fi, but I’d love to be Ms. Frizzle’s teaching assistant. Think of all the wild and wacky adventures we’d go on!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
ALF. Or Cthulhu.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Sure. Better to be on their good side, right?
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
I think Bugs did a pretty good job; why mess with a good thing? I’d add the Alien Queen, though. Her height would make her unstoppable, and she’s territorial and fiercely loyal, so she’d make a great teammate. Can’t go wrong there.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I’ve got loads of “bad" ideas, but sometimes those can be the most fun to work out. I find a lot of the time a “bad” idea can become “good” based on its execution and your point-of-view. Ultimately, you just have to keep pushing forward on your path and you’ll know when you’ve found a good one.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I think the early stages of the writing process can sometimes feel a bit isolating, but I’ve been lucky to have very supportive friends and family that have been by my side. Routine was cowritten and made with my good friend and creative partner, Scott Dawson, so we were right there with each other throughout the whole process, from writing the script, to conceptualizing and ultimately building the space pod, all the way through production and post. We also had an extremely dedicated and passionate cast and crew that in a lot of cases donated their time and talents simply because they believed in the project, which was very heartening. So all in all, I’d say that yes, I do feel lucky to have found a community of people that encourage and support each other through everything that we do.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
Definitely analog; I prefer tangible things. Creatively, however, I’ve always found the juxtaposition of old and new fascinating. I think the marriage of futuristic ideas and primitive technology can be fun to play with; the idea that we’ve evolved beyond our world in certain ways, but in others we’re regressing. I think that’s an analogy a lot of people can relate to, especially nowadays.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m often trying to find interesting ways to meld the futuristic and the archaic. I think it gives a sense of otherworldliness that’s a touch uncomfortable and off-putting, much like the uncanny valley. Most of the design elements in the space pod we built for Routine are made up of old computer and electronics parts. This was partly due to our low budget — having to scour scrapyards for set pieces — but it was by no means unintentional. It was fun to create a world where we’re technologically advanced enough to travel light years through space, but have depleted our resources to the point where we have to repurpose primitive technology to do so, and now that equipment has become unreliable and is malfunctioning.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars. William S. Burroughs. Practical. Dystopia. Post Apocalypse.