Makers of ‘The FP’ discuss inspiration for their surreal film

thefp
248 Productions/Courtesy

“The FP” is not for the faint-hearted. It relays the epic story of a turf rivalry that can only be settled by the deadly dance video game “Beat Beat Revolution.” Struggling to survive in this middle-of-nowhere wasteland, JTRO leads his gang in dance battle against the enemy crew, headed by L Dubba E.

Shot with fast-moving cinematography, industrial lighting and raging techno music, the film is a chaotic jumble of sensory extremes. The characters shout over-the-top trash talk back and forth and wear eighties-inspired costumes with a generous dose of futurism.

I got to sit down with the masterminds behind “The FP,” the co-writers and directors, Brandon Trost (also the cinematographer) and Jason Trost (who stars as JTRO), costume designer Sarah Trost and Art Hsu, who plays KCDC, JTRO’s right-hand man. Behind each visually stimulating scene lies interesting background, hilarious anecdotes and other far-out surprises.

Anna Carey: So I looked up Frazier Park, and saw that it’s a real place in California. Do you guys have a special tie to Frazier Park, California?

Brandon Trost: We grew up there. So it’s based on the small town that we grew up in as kids.

Jason Trost: It’s basically chronicling the four years of being in high school, and the four years afterwards partying up there.

Sarah Trost: The majority of the quotes where you think those aren’t real or nobody would ever say something this retarded, most of the stuff was actually said to me by guys at parties up there.

JT: Some stuff is even downplayed from what we heard up there.

AC: Where did the names come from?

JT: Every one of those names relates to different names my friends had in high school, who were in my original shorts. KCDC was my friend Kyle, and loves AC/DC, so he became KCDC. L Dubba E is just Lee. JTRO is Jason Trost, BTRO is based off my brother. BLT was always just the wild one. That’s just funny. That was the only one that came out of nowhere.

AC: What is Frazier Park like?

BT: Just imagine a small town with a dusty main street and one grocery store and a gas station and a duck pond.

AC: Was it filmed there?

BT: Yeah, we shot it all on our dad’s property. That’s how this whole movie got made essentially, just from what we had available to us. Our dad does special effects. We sort of grew up in the whole film business.

JT: Because of that, he’s become a big hoarder of random equipment, and random stages and this and that. We wrote it from what kind of trash was laying around the property.

BT: We were treating our dad’s ranch basically like a bizarre backlot. We built our sets out of what we had available, and if we didn’t have it, we unofficially stole it from down the road.

AC: What was the process of coming up with the idea for the video game?

JT: It started when I began playing (“Dance Dance Revolution”) when I was 16. I was like, “This game is ridiculous,” and I started playing it, getting addicted to it. You see how ridiculously into it people get. When they play this game, they are so focused … I was just like, “What if you treated it like some blood sport, like kickboxing or something. That intense.”

BT: And then throwing the language on it … It’s just another layer of weirdness that makes it way more fun for us.

ST: It turns it into its own universe, so you get immersed in the whole joke as opposed to it being something super based in reality. Especially the costumes contribute to that as well because I think if you didn’t have such bizarre surroundings, it just wouldn’t be funny. You’d be like, “Why are these kids playing a video game?”

AC: The costumes were definitely a really key part of the film. What was the process of designing and creating the costumes?

ST: It was definitely a lot of things. A lot of different film type influences within the movie itself that we grew up watching. Like “Double Dragon” or “Rocky” type training montages. For L Dubba E, I love Elvis, so there’s a little trashy Elvis in there. The main base of it is that we didn’t have any money, so I just took what we had and put it together to make it look like something. The 248 and 245 are designed based on the civil war, so the colors for both teams come form the North and the South of the American Civil War. You’ll see that the 245 has the Confederate flag and it’s all grey, yellow and gold … All of our old clothes, and all of my old fabric, and everything we had, we just dumped it into piles, and just picked out anything that could possibly work for the movie.

Art Hsu: I did see some of your sketches of the character’s costumes, so they were definitely pretty detailed before.

ST: Some costumes were just remade, but a lot of stuff was built from scratch. Like L Dubba E’s jumpsuit I built from piles of fabric. So yeah, I sketched stuff, but it was based on what I had to work with.

AC: What’s the deal with the boots?

ST: The boots are vintage arctic snow expedition boots. My dad purchased them for like 20 bucks from some crazy old man on a mountain, who also has piles of trash. They sort of trade trash piles … All of the costumes grew from those boots.

JT: It’s actually the most counterintuitive thing to play “Dance Dance Revolution” in. It really worked out because I broke my ankle during the shoot on a certain tire training incident. The boot actually worked as like a cast.

AC: How exactly does one die playing “Dance Dance Revolution?”

BT: The 187 is a death no one can even comprehend. We wanted the game to be life or death and being unexplained is way funnier to us.

JT: We thought that would be the moment, if you don’t think it’s a comedy, and then that happens, you have to know it’s a comedy.