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  • Writer's pictureCultural Dose

Daniel Roemer

We interviewed Daniel Roemer, the director of new sci-fi series Chaser. Chaser is the story of “loser with a dream”, Eddi Sebastian, a video editor who discovers a mysterious video-editing software that allows him to edit the past 24 hours of his life. He uses the software to go back into the past and change scenes from his life that are awkward, or weird, or uncomfortable. However, the effects of these changes aren’t always good, and the interactions between the changes and the fabric of the universe start to get more and more difficult to escape. Daniel told us about the process of making the show, his inspirations, and what he would edit from the past if he could. 

Daniel Roemer

You wrote and directed CHASER; what was your favourite part of making it?

 Working with the actors. Often in creating a film /show, directors get consumed with technical things - problem solving logistics. Working with the actors is a special connection only the director has. Every department on a film or set had a head, for instance the cinematographer is the head of lighting, the sound department, VFX, colour, makeup, art department, etc. But the director is the only one overseeing the actors. Developing a bond with them can feel deeply nourishing when, during the whirlwind of production, you’re in the eye of the storm. It can go so deep and often last well beyond filming. I felt this connection making Chaser with the actors.


How did working on CHASER impact your creative process?

I really learned how to stretch a dollar, make it look like 20. This series’ budget was very, very modest. Finding ways to create a result with what was available financially could have been even more creative than creating the series itself! After going through trial by fire, I have proof that I can work on very modest productions in the future. In the past, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great, and well- funded sets. This series by far was the best end result for the price tag I’ve ever worked on.


What messages did you want to create with your audience?

I usually don’t create things with a strong theme in mind up front. Of course, along the way, it emerges. But it can get preachy if you’re doing that too early on in the process, and can stunt ideas. In the end of creating Chaser, themes I explored included “embracing imperfection” (as I am a huge perfectionist), stopping yourself from chasing things and people, and just letting them find you. Likewise, Chaser is a cautionary tale about power. What would you do if ultimate power fell into your hands? Would you get carried away? Would you find a way to use it for good, or would you decide that power shouldn’t exist at all?


Are there other movies or shows you were inspired by or wanting to evoke?

Donnie Darko was a big inspiration. At one point in post, I was using a lot of Donnie Darko temp music, and it really helped my craft the style. I like to use music when I edit; it’s a good jumping off point. Later I may remove it, and certainly use the composer and sometimes existing tracks. I also in general am constantly inspired by films and filmmakers whether I like it or not.  Ingrained. These include Rushmore, Big Lebowski, filmmakers like Darren Aronofsky, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and the Coen brothers’ body of work. In addition, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror was an inspiration.


How did you come up with the idea for the CHASER premise

I’ve always been intrigued by stories that involve manipulation of reality. Filmmaking and TV at its roots reality manipulation You are creating worlds from scratch and framing it, often bending that frame, and flipping it upside down. I made a short years ago that did well. It involved a character who could record and rewind/edit bits of life. I always thought this would be a great concept fleshed out. Characters and a deep storyline. What would you do if you could re-edit the last day?

Daniel Roemer


What would you edit in the past if you could?

Lots of stuff. The big question is if this re-edit would ultimately make things better. There are certain things that hands down just shouldn’t happen. There is no silver lining. But there are other things that feel unpleasant or were maybe even terrible that…somehow gave me a superpower. Certain things in life, if you wouldn’t have gone through them, you wouldn’t have developed into what makes you incredible. Think of pretty much every superhero. They often survived a terrible event early in life and developed a power.


What elements of CHASER were the most fun to write and film?

I always have the most fun writing the first act because it’s open to anything. And you are just crafting a blank slate. Filming Russ (Eddi character) bee boppin’ down the street, dancing to music was a highlight. Eddi is all jazzed up because he’s “moving on up” in life, getting money, success, doing better with the ladies. I just loved how Russ danced, kicked his boots, did the running man, etc. Hilarious.  


What were your favourite scenes when the actors were in front of the camera?

My top scene Russ is when Eddi is talking to Hal in the cellar. His eyes, far and here, watery. Strong and timid. He went to a different level. Gia was an incredibly great actor throughout and you can just feel that every moment is authentic. In the edit room, and ADR, her choices constantly and non stop hit. Her performance never ceases to amaze me. My favourite scene with Daniel de Weldon is when he’s getting manicured at the spa, on his phone, all big shot, so flippant with the manicurist. Daniel has this totally unique way of being funny where it seems like he doesn’t know he’s doing it. Maybe he does. He's also simultaneously frightening.


How did the actors you chose shape the show?

Casting is probably the most important job of a director. Get the right people and the film almost makes itself. I spent a really long time casting. That’s where the hard work came in and I knew if I got the right actors, it would trickle down. I’m very thankful to my stellar casting team who found the amazing actors. The cast carries with them the innate energy you’re looking for, and then on set it’s just about tweaking what they already have.


Are you working on anything for your next project that we should look out for?

Developing Chaser Season 2.

Chaser is out now on Prime Video, and catch the official trailer here.


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