‘Last Night at Terrace Lanes’ – Interview with Director Jamie Nash

Jamie Nash literally wrote the book on screenwriting for television, Saves the Cat! Writes for TV, that is. The director is out with a new horror feature, Last Night at Terrace Lanes, that’s a ton of fun. 

With a script by Adam Cesare, Last Night at Terrace Lanes is a horror comedy about what happens when a cult invades a bowling alley on the night before it’s set to be permanently shut down. There’s a strong father daughter relationship as the duo battles the cultists.  It’s got siege movie vibes and brings to mind a cross between the anthology series American Horror Stories and, at the same time, Assault on Precinct 13. There’s even a healthy dose of John Hughes in the story. Last Night at Terrace Lanes stars Francesca Capaldi, Ken Arnold, Mia Rae Roberts, Wes Johnson (ahem, Elder Scrolls fans!) and more.

In short, it’s stylish, fun, and worth checking out. We were so excited to chat with Jamie Nash and learn how this neon and bowling shoe world was brought to life. (And, of course, the tracksuit-wearing, knife-wielding cultists!) Nash shared the filming details, including how long it took and how it was really filmed at a Maryland bowling alley about to be shut down. We even learned about a The Blair Witch Project connection through Eduardo Sánchez. 


The Interview with Last Night at Terrace Lanes director Jamie Nash

[Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.]

Ayla Ruby: So, thank you for talking. I’m excited about this. I got your movie on Amazon and I-

Jamie Nash: Cool.

Ayla Ruby: … I just watched it again.

Jamie Nash: Great.

Ayla Ruby: It’s exciting. So, there were some real American Horror Stories vibes and also Assault on Precinct 13, and I really enjoyed it.

Jamie Nash: Cool. Thanks. I appreciate that.

Ayla Ruby: Can you talk a little bit about how the project came to be? Because you didn’t write it, right?

Jamie Nash: Yeah.

Ayla Ruby: You got on board after?

Jamie Nash: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, there are some local guys. It was made in Maryland. It was made in Frederick, Maryland, and Eduardo Sánchez, who did The Blair Witch Project, he and I have collaborated on probably six or seven projects. In fact, I think I’m wearing the hat now. Yeah, Satanic Hispanics. So, the group that made Satanic Hispanics for Epic, they were looking to make other movies in Maryland, and they heard about this bowling alley that had gone out of business, and they were going to tear the bowling alley down in a month. Because I work a lot with these guys, they called me up, and they were like, “Hey, we have like a month to make a movie. We have a bowling alley.”

Jamie Nash: They had had somebody write a really quick in a week pitch, and they pitched it to Epic, and Epic signed off on that pitch. It was basically what the movie is. I mean, there are some key differences, but basically it was a cult attacks a bowling alley. It was only one page. The movie’s pretty simple in that regard.

Francesca Capaldi and Mia Mae Roberts in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.
Francesca Capaldi and Mia Mae Roberts in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.

Jamie Nash: So, they called me up and they said, “Hey, we had this one page. We have a bowling alley that’s going to be gone,” and really it was like two months. It was like a month and a half, and would you want to work on this? I had a guy that I write with, Adam Cesare and Adam Cesare, so, I called him up, and I told him, and I said, “Hey, we only have … Could you do this? Can you write this that fast?” He said-

Ayla Ruby: In the month between it being shut down and like-

Jamie Nash: Yeah, exactly. So, I mean, he wrote it in a week or a week and a half, he wrote the script and it kept getting rewritten until we were done. Even on set, we keep … Just to have more time, just because a script written in a week usually is going to not be quite ready for prime time. So, just eking out that extra couple weeks until we shot it.

Jamie Nash: So, that’s basically how it came about. They called me up. They already had Epic signed up for the budget, but it had to jump into gear right away. I mean, we just had to write it in a week, start casting it, start finding people to shoot it, and everything else, and then actually show up and get it done. The shoot was about, it was 12 days total, so it was like two days. The funny thing was, we were splitting the crew with the Satanic Hispanics crew. They had to do some pickups. So, in the first two days, they were split days, but then it was basically 10 straight days. That was the movie. Then, they tore the bowling alley down. Actually, they never tore it down, but they gutted it. They took all the lanes … Yeah. So, we went back-

They tore down paradise and put up Condos 

Ayla Ruby: What is it now? Do you know?

Jamie Nash: So, I think they were just going to build condominiums or something. It wasn’t anything exciting, or it wasn’t even sad, like a Walmart or something. It was just condominiums or whatever. In fact, I had them write the line in … A lot of the lines when I was on set, I think there’s a line that says, “You can’t just tear down memories and build condominiums.” They were just from reality. We just were like, let’s put that in. Even the thing about closing the bowling alley, that wasn’t in the original treatment, but when I heard about it, I was like, well, let’s just write that in. Let’s just make this part of it.

Ayla Ruby: It’s perfect. Yeah.

Jamie Nash: Yeah, yeah.

Ayla Ruby: Wow.

Jamie Nash: So, there was a lot of lines like that in the movie.

Last Night at Terrace Lanes - Jamie Nash Interview - Francesca Capaldi
Francesca Capaldi in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.

On how Last Night at Terrace lanes found their cast

Ayla Ruby: So, you mentioned casting, and you had to get that done within that time period. How did that work? Because, one, you guys aren’t in LA. How do you find people?

Jamie Nash: Yeah, yeah. The good thing is we’ve done a lot of movies locally. So, movies we’ve done locally, we did V/H/S/2 locally, we did Lovely Molly locally, and many other projects. The Night Watchmen, I worked on. I directed A Comedy of Horrors, all local, so I know the local Maryland, D.C., New York kind of actors that I can get.

Jamie Nash: Francesca [Capaldi], who’s the lead, she came with the project, so she was there, too. When I got the call, Carlo, who’s our producer, Carlo Glorioso, he said, “Hey, we got a bowling alley, we got a one-pager, and there’s this young actress, I met, Francesca, and she’s interested in doing a horror movie.” Now, she wasn’t 100%. She needed to see a script and stuff, but it was pretty much like, write it for her. Assume she’s going to be in it. So, she was already there. Then, when she saw the script, she said, “Yeah, this is great. I’ll show up. I’ll be there.” So, it was all good.

Ayla Ruby: Now, you worked with the dad before, too, right? On The Night Watchmen, I think?

Jamie Nash: Yeah. Yeah, Ken Arnold I’ve worked with on a ton of stuff. So, it goes all the way back to me with him, we did a web series called ParaAbnormal that was a YouTube series. It’s a spoof on Ghost Hunters that had a couple seasons, but he and I, we did The Night Watchmen. He was in Lovely Molly. I’m trying to think of so many things. Comedy of Horrors, he produced, and I directed one of those segments, and he starred that as well. So, tons of stuff. He was in Satanic Hispanics, as well. He was a cop in that. Yeah, he’s a good friend of mine and an actor that pretty much automatically is in everything I do. If there’s a spot for him, he’s in it. Yeah, yeah.

Ken Arnold as Bruce in Last Night at Terrace Lanes.
Ken Arnold as Bruce in Last Night at Terrace Lanes.

On casting new actors in Last Night at Terrace Lanes

Ayla Ruby: That’s awesome. Now, so, Kennedy was Mia Mae Roberts, right? How did you …

Jamie Nash: Mae Roberts

Ayla Ruby: Mae Roberts, I’m sorry.

Jamie Nash: So, Kennedy is Francesca, and Mae Roberts is, and now I can’t remember-

Ayla Ruby: Tess.

Jamie Nash: … her name. Tess, yeah, yeah.

Ayla Ruby: Yeah. Sorry.

Jamie Nash: So funny, so funny, because I get her real name and her … Because I’m like, her character’s Mae, and her real name’s Tess. I’m like, no, that’s not right. That’s the opposite. So, she was somebody I had never worked with before, and she came from the producers. So, the producers found her, and we had her audition, and she was cast. So, she was a first time.

Almost everybody else in the main … Well, I shouldn’t say that. Many of the people in the main cast were people I worked with before, but she was not. She was not. A lot of the young people weren’t. So, Ken’s son is also … He plays Cody. That’s the other one. That was his first acting gig and stuff like that, and he’s in it. Then, Eduardo Sánchez’s son is … Lucas is also in it, as well. So, he’s the other guy in the movie.

Ayla Ruby: Okay, so-

Jamie Nash: It’s a family affair.

Ayla Ruby: I apparently have it wrong, my notes. So, it’s Kennedy and Bruce, right? Not Tess and Bruce.

Jamie Nash: That’s right, it’s Kennedy and Bruce.

More cultists in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.
More cultists in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.

On Kennedy and Bruce’s father-daughter relationship in Last Night at Terrace Lanes

Ayla Ruby: I really loved their relationship in the movie, and I thought it was really … You don’t always get that in horror, but there’s a lot of character stuff there, and a lot of emotional stuff there, and that was amazing. I’d love to know just anything you can share about that and …

Jamie Nash: Yeah, I think, and a lot of that goes to Adam’s credit, as well, Adam, the writer. He’s a YA … He wrote a book called Clown in a Cornfield, a bestselling book, and it has a lot of teen stuff in it. It feels like a John Hughes, modern-day John Hughes kind of thing. My sensibilities are there, too.

Jamie Nash: It’s funny, I watched 10 things I Hate About You last night, and I love that movie. I love that movie so much. I realized, a lot of my movies borrow from that kind of movie. They have a stylized relationships, and teens, and this heightened dialogue. Even as a director, and as a writer, I love that kind of movie. So, I like my horror in that space, too. It’s a little stylized drama. So, I love that stuff probably as much as the horror aspects of it. I’m just getting a chance to do a mini, low budget, John Hughes kind of whatever. That is probably almost more exciting to me in some ways than doing a horror movie. So, to have both, yeah, it’s a dream come true in some ways.

On the connections between writing and directing

Ayla Ruby: Now, that you said that, I can totally see that, and I’m looking at it differently. I love that. So, you directed this, but you’re also, you’ve written a book on screenwriting. I have it in my stuff.

Jamie Nash: Yeah, I got it.

Ayla Ruby: You have it there?

Jamie Nash: All of them here, yeah.

Ayla Ruby: Yes. Awesome. Save the Cat! Writes for TV, and it’s like, mine is totally dogeared and awesome. Does your directing change how you approach screenwriting, or does your screenwriting impact how you approach your directing, or is it all the same?

Jamie Nash: That’s a really good question. I’ve been doing both forever. I got into screenwriting because I wanted to direct, and then what I learned from it … So, when I first started to screen write, I really just wanted to direct short films, and low budget horror movies, and stuff like that. So, I started to write them, and then I sold them. I was like, I can’t make this, and I started to sell them.

Jamie Nash: Then, I started to realize, I like writing more than the directing. Not the act of it, but I like the fact that I can write every day, and I like the fact that I can work on many, many projects, whereas when I work in a film, it becomes all encompassing, and I can’t do much else. When I direct a film, I should say.

Jamie Nash: So, I learned that writing was more me, I guess, at that point. But, I still love to direct, and honestly, I always say that the directing, it’s like writing. It’s very similar to writing, but it’s writing under extreme pressure, because you really don’t get second chances too much. You’re making decisions just like you would in writing. It’d be like writing a draft, but you’re doing it, and there’s no take backs, almost. You can do take two, but pretty much if you’re like, we’re shooting this, we’re going there, we’re doing this, it’s like writing. Yeah.

On editing as being another form of writing

Ayla Ruby: Well, with this, too, I mean, your location was literally not going to be functional after this was shot. You couldn’t do re-shoots there.

Jamie Nash: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, and usually it’s just budget and stuff. I mean, we didn’t have a ton of money, so to shoot what we did in 12 days, you got to move so fast. It’s just like, you get a couple takes, but if you’re on take three or something like that, it’s like, uh-oh, we’re running out of time. Are you going to be here forever? We got to move. So, you really got to make sure your decisions are on point and just keep going.

Jamie Nash: A lot of times your decisions aren’t on point yet. You got to keep going anyway. Then, you get another crack at it in the editing bay, which is another form of writing. I’ve heard people say that film is an editor’s medium, and I think there’s, especially at these lower levels, there’s truth to that. The director is just doing their best to hold on and collect as much stuff as they can so they can hand it off to the editor to fix everything, in some ways, because editing is really the make or break side of a low-budget film like this, for sure.

Tracksuit Cultists in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.
Tracksuit Cultists in Last Night at Terrace Lanes. Image courtesy of Epic Pictures.

On working with editor Cory Okouchi for Last Night at Terrace Lanes

Ayla Ruby: Now, I don’t think you did the editing for this, right?

Jamie Nash: I didn’t. We had Cory [Okouchi], and I can ever pronounce his last name. He’s a producer and a friend forever, but it’s like Okouchi, and you can look it up. Cory, one of the producers, he edited. As a director, though, I find that you have to be there every day, or not every day, and I shouldn’t say that, because he’s there every day, and I don’t want to take anything away from the hard work he does. But we had many, many of like, let’s go through, let’s start at the beginning, let’s watch. There were many times where he’d send me, here’s the recent cut, and I’d have to send him like 200 notes, and then we’d go through every one of the notes.

Ayla Ruby: Oh Boy.

Jamie Nash: So, as a director, and I think directors, they have to work with the writing, they have to work with the editing, and they shouldn’t necessarily take credit for any of those things, but it definitely is a responsibility for the director to work on all those things. But, no, I didn’t. He was the guy who’s there every day, cutting, and trying to figure out my notes, and solving the problem, and doing his own writing in some ways, like understanding performances, and stuff like that. So, a ton of credit has to go to the editor, for sure.

On filming at a real life bowling alley with working lanes

Ayla Ruby: That’s awesome. So, I know we’re running close on time, but I have a couple of bowling alley, filming in a bowling alley, questions-… because this is an interesting place to be. So, there’s oil, and wax, and stuff on the lanes, but you have these cultists approaching and doing dastardly things. How do you balance all of that for stunts?

Jamie Nash: Yeah. Yeah, so just the practicality of it. So, you learn some stuff about bowling alleys. One thing, they have these machines. They’re like automated machines that wax the lanes. They can also remove the wax from the lane. So, what we would do, but you can’t bowl on those lanes. It’s bad to bowl on those lanes. They did want to preserve the lanes to sell.

Jamie Nash: So, when I said they gutted them, they sold all the lanes to another company, so we couldn’t just bowl on their unwaxed lanes, because it’s actually very damaging to their lanes. So, we strategically did things like, these lanes are unwaxed, and these lanes are waxed, so we could bowl, or if there was a day where we weren’t going to bowl at all, we would just unwax the lanes, and then we would re-wax one or two when we needed to bowl or something like that. But, yeah, they have these really cool mechanical, it’s almost like a Zumba or something. I’m sorry, not a Zumba, a Roomba.

Ayla Ruby: A Zamboni?

Jamie Nash: A Zamboni, kind of, but it’s just an automated thing that covers a whole lane. It slowly goes down, and it comes back, and it goes down, and it comes back. It just does it one lane at a time.

Ayla Ruby: Yeah. Well, I guess that solves the problems. Yeah.

Jamie Nash: Absolutely. Absolutely.

If you only take away one thing about Last Night at Terrace Lanes

Ayla Ruby: Okay, so, I know we’re close on time. Is there anything you want folks to know about, about this movie, about any of it that we haven’t talked about?

Jamie Nash: That’s a stumper question. You asked some good questions. No, other than I’d love people to go try it. I hope people will give it a shot, because, one thing, it’s fun-

Ayla Ruby: It is.

Jamie Nash: … and it’s short. So, it’s not like you’re in it for three hours or something. You’re going to get in. I think we cut out all the boring parts, so if nothing else-

Ayla Ruby: It clips along.

Jamie Nash: Yeah, it just moves very fast. Once you’re in it, you’re in it, and then it’s over, and you can watch another movie, or something like that. So, it’d probably be a good double feature movie or something.

Ayla Ruby: That’s a good idea.

Jamie Nash: Yeah, check it out with something else.

Ayla Ruby: Cool. Well, thank you, again, so much. I really appreciate it.

Jamie Nash: Thank you. Thanks for hanging with me.

Last Night at Terrace Lanes is now streaming.

Visit the official Epic Pictures website to learn how to get your own digital copy of the film.

Do you suddenly feel the urge to go bowling? Or have some ketchup covered French fries at Terrace Lanes? Connect with us on X @MoviesWeTexted to let us know.


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