Dave Yohe : From the Mojave Desert To Skywalker Studios


Dave Yohe was born in a 1969 Burnt Orange Camaro going 90 miles per hour down a California freeway. Since that day Dave Yohe hasn’t slowed down. Raised in the Western Mojave Desert just North of Los Angeles, he grew up staring off, seeing the big city lights with visions of a cinematic future. Living in a remote desert town Yohe became a dreamer. The bug hit him at an early age watching movies being made in the desert location. Terminator 2, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Lethal Weapon 3 were  just a few that he had the chance to observe from the edge of the set.

Who inspired you in your early years?  

I feel like my true calling happened when I was on the set of Lethal Weapon 3. I was poking my nose into places where I shouldn’t have been poking. I leaned my head into a trailer and I heard a noise in there and inside the trailer was Danny Glover working out on an exercise bike in sweats. I apologized for peaking my head in and he said, “No No come on in”.  I apologized profusely, “No, I’m sorry, I’m here with a friend. I didn’t mean to bother you sir.”  “No no, have a seat. What’s your name?” I ended up sitting down and talking with him for about 45 minutes. He talked to me about the industry, he talked about work ethic, he talked about life. I was blown away at this guy just taking the time to speak with me. At the time I was just getting into acting and just discovering this fantastical world and I was like, “what do I do?” He just sat with me and gave my the basics of the business. At the end I asked him for an autograph. He said, “why don’t I do you something better, why don’t you write your name and address on this sticky note instead of just some cheesy autograph, and I’ll send you something really cool.” Six months later I came home one day and there’s this big manilla folder on the doorstep and it had the big sticker on the front that said, “Lethal Weapon 3”.  And I was like holy crap, this is like Christmas! It was a signed script from that day, there were notes from Richard Donner and there was a headshot and on the headshot he wrote, “Dave, you get what you give.” -Danny  I have lived by that till this day. If I ever have the chance to meet him or work with him in the future, I will let him know that the time he took with a fat white kid from the desert with no business being on set, that the time he took and made a believer and made a dreamer out of me and I still live by that. I believe you get what you give in this life.

What movies influenced you the most growing up?

One that really stuck with me was “The Last Star Fighter”, I loved that movie because it was about a kid who was trying to be something more than what his circumstances were forcing him to be. He wanted to get out and become something bigger than himself for a higher purpose. It was about seizing an opportunity and taking risks. And I was a kid that felt trapped, living in one of the Meth capitals of the world. I watched a lot of my friends go down and end up in jail. I wanted more for my life.

How did you gravitate into Sci-Fi and Horror filmmaking?

My parents and grandparents always loved watching weird shows and horror films like Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone. I was always waiting for the monthly Fangoria magazine to arrive and kind of falling into this strange world of movie effects of fantasy to horror films. From Spielberg to John Carpenter. I started making homemade films with a VHS camcorder. It was more than just a drug, I needed to do this! In my 20’s I went to California State University and majored in film. That’s where I learned I loved to be the captain and talk 200 people to get on my ship to glory or to death. It’s addictive and I’ll be doing this the rest of my life. Just a few years ago I decided to dive into something completely different and edgy. The film was “Descry”. It became Oscar qualified and got really close to an official nomination. It was different than what I was used to and quite a different vein but it was really socially relevant.      

Tell me about the Silver.

When I was working on the finishing touches of the Silver, co-writing with Chris Stein, my father passed on. Time stopped and it forced me to rethink my life and kind of do a reboot. Then I went back and said man, I really want to test my strengths and test the limits. I really want to do something commercial and I’m not going to ever garner real funding unless I can show that I can do it. The idea for the Silver was kind of like, what if you were coming back from a trip to Vegas and you’re at your worst and you drive into an alien invasion? And you’re cut off from everyone. It’s really about escape. It becomes kind of a survival, horror sci-fi but you don’t know any more than the characters and you learn as they do. I realized through this process that once you get out of your comfort zone and you start kicking down those walls, like the fear or whatever you’re doing and you just have to fucking go for it! So we just shot it! Three months turns into a year really quick. So we spent the next year making it the best we can possibly make it. i then emailed Skywalker studios and said here it is. Five minutes later I get an email back saying, “Dave, this is amazing we haven’t seen this kind of production value since Duncan Jones made “Moon”. I was blown away at the compliment. Five minutes later we get a response from Sound Designer, Jeremy Bowker who worked on Rogue One, Big Hero 6. It was extremely humbling, I couldn’t have been more grateful. We got to go up to Skywalker Ranch and spend a week there. We did the mix daily, they couldn’t have been kinder and more easy to creatively collaborate with. I realized you can be humble and confident. They’re not exclusive. At that moment, I was very humble and I felt very confident knowing, hey man you’ve worked really hard to get here and show them why your here. I’m ready to do it again. I’m ready to go bigger and better.  In February we are adding the finishing touches on the Pitch Deck for THE SILVER. Our goal is to get into rooms and get the Feature green lit.  Simon England our Cinematographer and myself are going to send it over to J.J. Abrams first.  We both feel it will play well in his world and would be a dream to collaborate with him and Bad Robot.

The Silver recently won and an award for Best Sound at Filmquest. It also won Best Short Film, Best Score, and Best Sound at Scorpiusfest.