Never Ignorant, Getting Goals Accomplished: An Interview with The FP’s Jason Trost


Photo: Jason Trost

We here at The Movie Sleuth are huge fans of the multi-talented Jason Trost, whose bizarrely fantastic FP Universe – a series of alternate-reality sci-fi comedies based in a post-apocalyptic version of Frazier Park, CA and beyond – has amassed quite a cult following. Trost envisioned his FP as far back as high school, creating hilariously offbeat short films with a group of friends, many of whom would go on to realize the dream alongside Trost when The FP (2011) became a feature film, reaching the oddballs who would drunkenly follow his eyepatched hero, JTRO, and crew into the annals of Beat-Beat Revelation history.

But Jason Trost didn’t stop there. His cinematic endeavors extended to a sequel, FP2: Beats of Rage (2018), continuing the story and expanding his universe, adding new characters and locales to widen the scope of JTRO’s journey through heartsickness and hope, grief and triumph. Throughout, the unmistakable humor reflects a sovereign absurdity that connects this strange group of artists to a fanbase so devoted, it has warranted a miniature convention centered around the FP films, during what is now the halfway point in the story. Jason Trost continues to develop his FP Universe, with FP3: Escape from Bako already roughly six months away from production completion and FP4: EVZ planned to bring the “thrillogy” to its conclusive revolution (The original FP film was “just a prologue movie, ‘n shiz” according to the films’ Indiegogo campaign). There is much to look forward to from Jason Trost and his talented band of creatives, and we can’t wait.

Photo: Jeff Howell / Instragram: @wastesofthefp

We were lucky enough to score an exclusive interview with the man himself, fresh from FP Fest 2020 – a weekend-long celebration of the FP Universe and the people who brought it to life, organized by Jason Trost himself with the help of the brilliant Michael Lee and Trost’s lovely wife Tallay Wickham, both of whom served as his co-hosts during the livestreams. The convention featured behind-the-scenes panels, including question-and-answer sessions with FP cast and crew, screenings of both features and the original shorts that started it all, and various contests to encourage participation. Fans had the chance to network with so many aspects of the FP’s creation and sustained ingenuity over three days of sparkling interactive live chats and screening commentaries. Closing out the festivities, the brand-new trailer for FP3: Escape from Bako was revealed, ushering in the next chapter of the FP saga.

We caught up with Jason Trost to talk about FP Fest, the upcoming sequels in the “thrillogy”, and other projects we will be seeing from this multitasking mind in the near future.

TMS: To begin, we would just like to thank you for taking some time from your schedule to speak to us. We appreciate it so much, especially since we know how busy you’ve been recently.

JTRO: My pleasure! I’m just happy to be busy doing something I love, at home, during this crazy year.

TMS: There’s a lot to talk about. First, let's talk about FP Fest. This was a really fantastic idea, what inspired you to do a miniature convention based on the FP universe?

JTRO: Last year, when things were normal, my friend Michael Lee and I were at a double feature screening of FP1 and FP2 in Budapest and it just kind of hit me how unbelievably crazy it is that this idea that spawned in my backyard has such growing worldwide appeal. I’d love to find a way to bring all of these people together and celebrate them. Everyone I meet at screenings for these movies are the most awesome and genuine people. These movies have become a great litmus test for meeting great people, and I wanted to explore that more. Of course, I’d had a few drinks when the idea formed and it seemed like a pipe dream, but then the pandemic hit, and I saw how lonely and cut-off people have become, myself included, and I wanted to do something positive to bring m my favorite people back together. Virtual cons and festivals have been gaining more and more steam, so Michael Lee, my wife Tallay Wickham and I decided to take it all on – like we did the last FP movies. And together, as a three-person team, we threw an FP Fest with nearly one hundred guests. We were shocked with how many people came out, it was really incredible and heartwarming.

Photo: Jeff Howell / Instagram: @wastesofthefp

TMS: There seemed to be a lot of great participation, both from those behind the scenes and fans who were taking part in the festivities. You guys came up with some really great ideas for online panels and streaming content. What would you have done differently, if you had been able to do FP Fest 2020 in a physical location? Did anything surprise you, or inspire ideas for other events?

JTRO: Thank you! It was really surprising. The Fest went much better than we expected, and we were actually able to put many more panels together because it was virtual. The cast and crew for these movies are spread all over the world at this point, so this was a really easy way to get everyone in the same “room” at once. It’s hard to say what we’d do differently, definitely increase our breaks to thirty minutes between panels because it definitely turned into quite a marathon for us by the end of the Fest….If we did it in a physical location, of course we could do meet-and-greets, photo ops and all the usual things you expect from cons. Seeing the participation from everyone at the Fest was amazing, and gave us the ideas for two things that would be amazing to include in a future physical con – such as live Beat-Offs with contestants on real pads, and of course an FP-themed prom, where everyone dresses up like FP characters and the Quatrios (who are doing music for all the future films) could play live at said prom.

TMS: An FP prom sounds epic as f—k.

TMS: You all really seemed to enjoy yourselves a lot, there was a lot of great interaction and it was really great learning more about the behind-the-scenes processes of making The FP world a reality. What parts of FP Fest 2020 did you enjoy creating and putting together the most? And which parts do you feel worked out the most satisfactorily? There were so many great moments, we know it's hard to choose. But no cheating and saying “all of it”!

JTRO: (laughs) Fine, fine. I really enjoyed getting everyone’s creative submissions for the contests and putting those together for the Fest. Everyone went so above and beyond what we expected that it’s hard not to be touched by how talented and amazing all of the FP Universe peeps are. I think a lot of us out there think we’re weird and alone, but getting all of those awesome submissions and seeing the amazing reactions everyone at the Fest had to them reminded me just how awesome and inclusive people in general can be if they put their minds to it. I think that positive interaction overall at the Fest was what worked out the most satisfactorily for me. There wasn’t one mean comment from anyone towards one another in the entire Fest. At this current time, that was really amazing to witness.

Photo: Jeff Howell / Instagram: @wastesofthefp

TMS: It was definitely wonderful seeing everyone connect the way they did. The Fest is over now, and we finally have the trailer for FP3: Escape from Bako! We're so excited to see the next chapter in the saga, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect – without giving too much away, of course?

JTRO: I’m so excited that people seem to be so excited about the next FP. I was pretty nervous to release anything about it, because it goes so far above and beyond anything we’ve seen yet in the FP Universe. I can say FP3 will be – in my opinion – the most visually satisfying installment so far, but also, it has – again, in my opinion – the most tender and real emotional moments the franchise has seen thus far, which I can’t wait to share with everyone. My idea with these movies is that they should always be growing and mature with the audience they started with. Kind of like Harry Potter. JTRO and fam have never faced the likes of what is coming for them, and I’m very excited to go on that journey with everyone next year.

Photo: Jeff Howell / Instagram: @wastesofthefp

TMS: We are definitely excited, too! We know that you have also been working on some other, non-FP related projects. Can you tell us a little bit about what other things you are working on, that we might see from you in the coming years?

JTRO: Whatever I make, movie-wise, after FP3 and FP4, I want to be completely different. I’ve got dozens of ideas for what that would be, but I really don’t know what will speak to me the most when I get there. I have a strict rule set now with movies I make: Do I love it? Is it something only I can make? And have I ever seen it before? When that comes up as “Yes, Yes, and No” – I’m all set! I love making movies, but the way I make them, they are a lot of work for me. Easily a one, two-year nonstop commitment, so I really have to love the idea, and want to spend a year or two of my life with it. Aside from movies, I really want to get into writing a book or two, but the thing that’s at the forefront of my mind is getting into video games next. I’ve been wanting to make an interactive survival horror movie/video game hybrid “thing” for years and years now. So, I’m hoping to jump into that as soon as I send off a rough cut of FP4.

Photo: Jeff Howell / Instagram: @wastesofthefp

TMS: That sounds intriguing! You and your team are such hard workers and you put so much of yourselves into everything that you do. Is there anything else that we should know, or anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?

JTRO: I’d really just like to thank everyone to the ends of the earth for all of their support and kind words over the years. It means the world. I truly wouldn’t still be here making things without them. And as long as you’ll have me, I’ll continue attempting to entertain you.

TMS:  We really appreciate you, JTRO. Thank you so much for hanging out with us. We’re excited to cover FP3 and all of the other amazing things to come from you!

JTRO: That was great, thanks so much for doing this!

Follow Jason Trost on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep updated on his projects!

--Dana Culling

Special Thanks to Jeff "Forkliff" Howell for providing us with behind-the-scenes photographs for use in this article. Be sure to give his Instagram some love!