Mario Luis Telles’ “Time” is a hilarious take on 4 friends who plan to start a death metal band as the world opens up post-plague. They manage to find a gig but their next challenge is to sell 50 tickets to make it successful; a challenge that takes them through funny situations and hysterical banter among the friends.
Interviewed by Sayantan Mukherjee
Cult Critic – This is one funny story placed in a very relevant setting, reminiscent of the 80s in its scope but set in a post-plague present time. Were you inspired by films of that era for this script?
Mario – Yes. I was born July 15th 1983,the first day Nintendo sold it’s first Famicom (NES in USA) in Japan, and my name is Mario. Then there’s the Monkey Shines movie art work from the video store growing up. I have always had fun inside even with no one around. Creative maybe, but really appreciating the life I have and wanting to tell a happy story with a backbone. Family, friends, and dreams. Then I put what I had done already in music from playing in bands to booking and even radio. The fans, the venues, the band’s, the people, all of those amazing stories were the inspiration.
Cult Critic – Did you have a musical band while growing up and had similar hilarious experiences trying to book gigs? Do John, Lucy, Carder and Chico really exist or have existed in your life?
Mario – Yes. I played in 7 or 8 bands while I was going to college for Criminal Justice and Liberal Arts. I worked at 7-11 on the night shift and slept in the back storage area sometimes before going to class for the day. THEN came band practice. The people in the band’s, touring bands, fans, families, they were all characters that were so brilliant that heavy metal was their glue to life. True story. They all have a little bit of those 4 friends in them.
Cult Critic – Are you planning to have original death metal music for the film or will the band cover iconic songs?
Mario – My dream is to have all that go on plus guest spots by bands that have shake rattled and rolled with me in one way or another on stage or on headphones or checking out their shows and saying hi and thanks for the jams in person or even worked for as a stage hand. Of all the metal bands out there. Some awesome acts that come to mind are Obituary from Florida, Weed eater from The Carolinas, Dying Fetus from New York, and Echoes Of Fallen from New Mexico. There’s so many that can be a part of the story it’s really fun to think about.
Cult Critic – In your experience, do you still find kids forming music bands and going on adventures to become successful or has it shifted to a more online approach of uploading on a website and getting more streams, likes and comments?
Mario – Yes. I’ve lived entertainment my whole life. Since I was a kid I was in bars with the band. Watching the crowd and learning how to entertain. 4 years old was like the starting point for me. I’m 37 now. The band’s that have done their thing already are legendary and their music is like an archive for the next generation that will come and so on. People are endless like that to me and the show is what is the most beautiful. Like a huge here for you all. The online stuff is like a street team passing out fliers for a show, like a if you record it they will come kind of thing. It’s amazing to get huge from home and the kids nowadays get to use that tool with so much understanding everyday is like a WOW. The Future is SO BRIGHT.
Cult Critic – The script ends all of a sudden. Is this a work in progress or would it really end here? Why have you chosen to not include whether the outcome of their efforts in selling tickets really lead to a successful performance?
Mario – I want the show to be a series. There has not been anything like it with as much real life experience from the creator. The Sound Of Metal was cool, but that was their story of Metal. Epic. This is this story. I have written the second episode already. It’s a solution to the sudden drop off from the pilot episode. I wrote it the day after The Oscars like a YOU GOT TO DO IT NOW KIND OF THING. I was so inspired I sat for 10 or 11 hours to write 21 pages. I had to see it through like a champion.
Cult Critic – The conversation between the friends is very funny and portrays an authenticity which is quite rare in indie scripts. Writing scripts is truly a difficult art. How did you plan and construct the script to produce such a realistic portrayal of friendship?
Mario – It’s who I am. The people in the metal scene are hilarious. They all have a genuine sense of humor. It’s beautiful. Like black shirts, skinny jeans, cool dudes, hot chicks, and bam…..family dreams and growing old together to help the future generations see their dreams come true. LIKE I SAID NO ONE ELSE HAS THIS KIND OF STORY. Original and as genuine like the music in the story. Screaming to make dreams come true for my family in front of who will listen but there’s a way that was that Is with that new. But it’s still the same to me because I grew up around that, but now I can write a story with that that no one else has. Inspire the you can in everybody. That’s one of the goals too of the story, characters, music, all of that.
Cult Critic – Will you have professional actors for the roles or choose non-actors but actual friends to portray the hilarious dynamic between John, Lucy, Carder and Chico?
Mario – I had my eye on Chico. The people I have in mind were with me during the jam days and were inspiration for that kind of friendship. Like to put it down real like that and cry and laugh with the people there and be like hey, we’re filming this now. We did it. The story made it. Would be a dream come true. Like a remember we used to talk about this kind of stuff, and we’re doing it now. Professional actors could be like super cameos. So much fun ahead.
Cult Critic – Are you looking for producers or will you be self-producing the film?
Mario – Both. If there’s any one interested in investing right now that would be awesome. I have something for you to buy. And thank you ahead of time. Get it. A head of time. That’s metal. Haha.
Cult Critic – Do you envision a theatrical release for “Time” or will you prefer streaming platforms?
Mario – Both. A movie can be made along with the show. Like the greatest show of all time kind of thing. This is my all time. I only have one. And it is my gift to you. The story spans a new reach in to our culture that no one has touched on, ever. THE WORKING CLASS STAR. That’s a pretty cool term to me.
Cult Critic – It would be great if you could share some advice for budding filmmakers!
Mario – Do it. Don’t be scared of anything especially your dreams. We’re with you. Ask questions and make new answers.