Joel Potrykus’ latest film, Buzzard, is about Marty, a lazy temp-worker who spends as much time finding ways to avoid work as he does actually doing his job. Sometime during his nights of video games, horror movies, and heavy metal, he comes up with a scheme to steal from the rich corporate world he hates and give to the one person he loves – himself.
Marty is played by Joshua Burge, who previously worked with Potrykus on Ape and the short Coyote. In addition to writing and directing, Potrykus also took a role for the film, playing Marty’s coworker Derrick. The film is equal parts hilarious and disturbingly dark, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Potrykus and Burge were at SXSW for the premiere, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with them for a chat about their latest project. We discussed sticking it to the man, how Buzzard is similar to Rocky, the importance of patient filmmaking and much more.
Check out the full interview below!
WGTC: For people who haven’t seen the film, could you describe it?
Potrykus: It’s about a temp worker who’s always trying to cheat the system in very small ways. He’s disgruntled with his job and his place in life. He ends up getting into a little bit of trouble with his new scam and has to hide out in his coworker/friend’s basement, aka the party zone, and then after things get ugly down there, he must flee to Detroit to continue escaping his troubles. It starts off kind of light and gets a little heavy by the end.
WGTC: Did you ever work as a temp?
Potrykus: Yup… You ever work as a temp Josh?
Burge: I’m actually working as a temp right now.
Potrykus: I temped at a mortgage company like Marty in the movie. And it was one of those things where I would take three-hour breaks, go take a nap in my car, no one really knew what I was doing so I’d just goof around the whole time. I don’t know if that was the inspiration for the story, that was a long time ago, but we kind of worked in some of that.
Burge: I don’t do that. My job is much more serious. I have to watch music videos for a living.
Potrykus: Josh actually temps at the place where we filmed the office scenes. That happened after we finished shooting.
Burge: It’s a recent thing, kind of a strange coincidence.
WGTC: Yeah? Didn’t relate at all?
Burge: Not really.
Potrykus: The people who helped us get in to shoot there are our friends. They know we’re struggling filmmakers, so they’re helping one of us out.
WGTC: What was it that inspired you to go with this story?
Potrykus: I don’t even remember. I mean everything is a little bit autobiographical there. I’m always trying cut corners and cheat the system.
I will go on the record and say I bought a– Am I not allowed to say that? Someone I know bought a wireless router six months ago and then it just stopped working last week. It was from a major box store. They tried to return this router that was defective, paid $140 for it, it wasn’t some cheapo, and they would not allow this because it was past the date. Boy, I’m really incriminating myself here. I’m going to go for it anyway. So, they didn’t allow us to return it because it was past the time. Again, just hypothetically speaking.
WGTC: Right. A friend.
Potrykus: Yeah, yeah, a friend did this. Bought the same identical router, put the broken one in the box and just returned that with the reciept. You’ve got to keep these dudes in check, man.
That’s what the story is about, trying to keep the corporate system in check and getting in trouble because of it. The corporate system will always win. The underdog always gets crushed. It’s like Rocky without Rocky winning. Man, this is going to be a really bad interview. He doesn’t win at the end of Rocky.
Burge: He doesn’t.
Potrykus: So Buzzard is just like Rocky. It’s just like the original Rocky.
WGTC: That was actually exactly what I thought while I was watching it.