Posts Tagged ‘Bayonne’
I’m working a sorta kinda large-ish project, but in the meantime, here’s a couple cool things that I think you guys would really enjoy!
# A great little essay on dumplings, social networks, and the paradox of cool.
# Here’s Matt Taibbi with a typically smart take on organized labor, using the NFL Players Union, of all things, as his example.
# Some people will be standing in line at the Post Office on April 15. Odds are, I’ll be standing in line at Brookline Booksmith.
‘We shamble through our day to day and never really live. I think that’s pretty scary.’ An exclusive (for now) interview with film maker Sam Platizky
If there were a zombie apocalypse, what would you do? What if you just happened to be a huge zombie movie fan, itching for the opportunity to prove your mettle under the most zombierific circumstances? My old Bayonne High School buddy, Sam Platizky, is the writer, producer, and star of Blaming George Romero, a feature length horror dramedy that will attempt to answer these questions and many more. I interviewed Sam during the first week of shooting.
Timmy: So give me the Readers’ Digest version of what Blaming George Romero is.
Sam: Story-wise, Blaming George Romero is a movie about four pop culture junkie friends who would prefer a zombie apocalypse to their present lives. So when it looks like there’s been a “zombacalypse,” if you will, they jump at the chance to do what it takes to survive, and on the way they learn that there’s more to living than just surviving
Timmy: We can talk a little more about the content and the zombie genre later, but I’m actually really interested in the process of film making. How are you getting this done?
Sam: I am getting this done because I must be one of the luckiest people on the planet. The camera, I bought, but everything else is coming from some fantastic people. Doug Youmans is our lighting guy, and he has a wealth of his own equipment that he is willing to share with us along with his knowledge and experience. Joey Mosca is our sound guy who came to us with his equipment (boom mic, recorder/mixer, lav mics, etc.) Without them, I would be lost, and the best thing is we all get along really well and we all share a passion for the project.
Timmy: Where did this idea come from?
Sam: Without getting too deep into the twists and turns of the movie, the idea came to me in two parts.
Timmy: No spoilers, please.
Sam: First, I love the zombie genre, but I was getting tired of movies where it seemed like the protagonist had no idea what a zombie even was. They would go through the movie with people dying and becoming zombies and it wouldn’t be until the end that they figured out what the deal was. To me, it seemed crazy. I mean, they must have at least heard of zombie movies, but no, people get bit and are turning into zombies in front of them and nothing. No recognition, no survival instinct. So i wanted to create a zombie movie where the protagonists knew what they were doing. Enter the pop culture junkies
Timmy: That’s funny. As a viewer, you can suspend your disbelief to accept the walking dead, but some chump that doesn’t realize he’s in the middle of a zombie infestation? It takes you right out of the narrative!
Sam: Yeah. I guess, on some level, I have just taken the whole notion of zombies for granted. It’s like, “Oh, ok, zombies. Let’s go,” and my characters express that same sentiment, to extremes at times.
The second reason I wrote it was, I had just written a massive WWII horror screenplay that I would never have the budget to shoot, and I wanted to write something reasonable.
Timmy: Wolfenstein 3D: The Motion Picture?
Sam: Haha. Not quite. Its called Langsomer Tod. I’d love to get back to it some day, but right now, it isn’t feasible.
Also, i should mention that I’d just found this website, Indiegogo, for crowd funding, and figured i could potentially use it to help fund the project. Once that was in the equation, the project came much closer to reality.
Timmy: Yeah, I was going to ask about that. I’m on Facebook, and I can’t scroll two inches without seeing the Blaming George Romero logo. How successful have you been in leveraging social media to get this project going?
Sam: Well, “successful” can have a lot of meanings. We haven’t reached our funding goal yet, but I’d say we have been very successful. The word is out there, and we’ve raised one-third of our goal amount. People seem to be interested,
Sam: And i thank you for that, sir. We also have our website www.BlameRomero.com, currently being worked on by Brad Resnick and a mutual friend of ours, Jason Goldstein.
Timmy: What do you want to be the end result for this film? Will you be entering into festivals?
Sam: Yessir, that is the goal. Once we are out of post production, we’ll be entering film festivals and trying our luck there. From there it’s a matter of seeing what happens, you know? Whether people take to it, if someone wants to distribute it, or even if it just gets our names out there. In a lot of ways just finishing this project will have been a huge undertaking.
It’s funny, going back to the idea of social networking. We had people interested while we were in pre-production, but I think there may have been the notion in the backs of some peoples’ minds that this wouldn’t get done, but once the first production stills were out after the first day of filming, it was like people realized that this was happening.
Timmy: Sometimes all it takes is a slick-looking headshot.
Timmy: Why a zombie movie? You said you love the genre, but is there anything else to it, in terms of telling the type of story you wanted to tell?
Sam: That is an interesting question. I think its part of the zeitgeist right now. There’ve always been movies, but now there are books like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z. I actually heard a high school had Pride & Prejudice & Zombies on their curriculum! I think it’s definitely something that’s very prevalent right now.
As for why, beyond the fact that its entertaining, I think there is an aspect of zombies that is terrifying, more so than most movie monsters.
Timmy: We could all be zombies, if it came down to it.
Sam: Yeah, and to an extent, we are. Not to get too philosophical, but beyond the basic zombies craving flesh, they’re like a dark mirror to us.
Timmy: Get as philosophical as you want, pal.
Sam: They wander aimlessly, all they do is consume, they aren’t really alive, and I think to some extent, there is a part of that in many people. We shamble through our day to day and never really live. I think that’s pretty scary.
Timmy: Movie zombies, especially in George Romero flicks, are notorious for representing some sort of dark aspect of our own nature.
Sam: Yeah, Romero was great with that. He wanted to tell a story about racism, or society, and he did it with zombies. So much subtext. It’s like a spoonful of sugar: you get the message, but here, have some zombies to go with it. Which is one of the reasons i loved P & P & Z. It’s a classic piece of literature, not changed at all, except there are zombies in it. What a way to get people interested in reading classics.
Timmy: I actually didn’t mind the regular Pride and Prejudice. But I’m an English major. It’s my job to not mind it.
Sam: Haha. I hear you, but for those people who mind it just because they’re intimidated by the year it was written, it’s ingenious.
Timmy: My understanding is that there aren’t any zombies in the movie at all?
Sam: I will say this, without spoiling too much, there are zombies in the movie in one form or the other. However, a good deal of the conflict is trying to figure out whether or not there is in fact a zombacalypse going on.
Timmy: And you’re calling it a dramedy? Or am i making that up?
Sam: Ha, no, you aren’t making it up. I hate labels, sometimes, especially for this movie, but there are aspects of drama and comedy in it. For that matter there are some horror aspects as well. But yeah, dramedy, because some parts I think are downright hilarious, while others are really deep, and (I hope) will make people think.
Timmy: A lot of zombie movies are like that.
Sam: Yeah, I think they are unique in that respect. It’s another reason to utilize the zombie.
Timmy: Tell me about the cast. I know these folks, but my readers don’t.
Sam: They are a great bunch of people. The four leads are myself, Robert Lise, Loarina Gonzalez, and Dan Gregory. I have worked with Bobby for about 11 years now. He’s one of my closest and most trusted acting friends. Within the last two years, he actually started gravitating towards directing, so while i wrote the part of “Bobby” for him, when it came time to find a director, Bobby became that as well.
Loarina is his girlfriend, who we both met acting in college. She is really terrific. Very subtle in her delivery, but very powerful too. And Dan only recently started acting, although I’ve known him since high school. After working with him on a film last year, I wanted to write him a role in this movie.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by my brother, Isaac, who is an amazing actor; some of my former teachers from college, Anderson Johnson and Adria Firestone; and some other wonderful actors I have had the pleasure of working with before: Chris Lucas, Christina Garced, Ramy Shedid, John Trigonis, Eva Visco, and a few more. I just filmed a scene with Christina yesterday, and watched it tonight. Every take was hilarious. I love working with these people, and I love watching the results.
Timmy: I’m a writer, and I’m constantly entrusting my stuff to editors who are responsible for the finished product. How much easier does it make your job when your director is a trusted friend
Sam: It’s very relaxing. I can take a step back and just trust him, you know? And at the same time, if we disagree, we can go from screaming at each other over the smallest thing to actually getting a better product because of the argument. And no hard feelings, because we’ve just been doing this for so long.
Timmy: It’s a beautiful thing.
Sam: It really is.
Timmy: Day of the Dead is my favorite of George Romero’s movies. Explain to me why I’m not crazy.
Sam: Haha. I cannot do that. Night of the Living Dead is my favorite. Followed closely by Dawn. Day is good, but it always struck me as the black sheep of the Dead family. I think the setting being so drastic is what does it for me. Why is it your favorite?
Timmy: That drastic-ness, I think, is the key. It explores a logical extreme of what would happen if the zombies inherited the earth. It’s more a big picture movie than Night or Dawn.
Sam: Hmmm. I see where you’re at with that. I just don’t agree. However, if you want logical extremes and big pictures, I can’t recommend Max Brooks’s World War Z enough.
Timmy: What’s that about?
Sam: It is about a guy interviewing survivors in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, and their stories from all over the world and all different people at various stages of the apocalypse. It’s so well thought out.
Timmy: I’m putting it on the list. You’re in the middle of filming. How is it going?
Sam: We are two days in. It’s going really well. We all work well together. The first two days were fairly simple shoots, though. We have some more difficult ones up ahead.
Timmy: Where are you shooting?
Sam: Bayonne, NJ mostly, but also Blairstown, Stewartsville, Weehawken, Jersey City. All in NJ.
Timmy: Blairstown. Home of Camp Crystal Lake, no?
Sam: You are absolutely correct! I went there with some friends a year ago, and we found this great area. We’re going to use it next week.
Timmy: If I was going to film a horror movie, it’s one of the first places I’d think of.
It might be time to wrap up. I’m giving you free rein for plugs, promotions, boastful claims, acknowledgments, whatever you want.
Sam: I have to say I couldn’t do this without a terrific cast and crew, our amazing supporters who have donated to www.indiegogo.com/Blame_Romero, and even our fans on Facebook and Twitter who help spread the word. They are the best of the best. I hope people stay with us throughout the production because it’s going to be one hell of a ride. And I want to thank you, for the opportunity to spread the word to more people.
Timmy: We Bayonnaise have to stick together.
Sam: Hell yeah we do!
Thank heavens my TV, which was out of commission for a week and a half, is back and better than ever, because I just caught Rocky IV on the ol’ channel guide.
And what luck, I picked up the movie just in time for one of the all-time great rock-anthem-montage scenes.
That’s “No Easy Way Out,” sung by Robert Tepper.
This would all be well and good, but it enters tremendous territory when you Wikipedia Mr. Tepper and find out where he’s from.
That’s right, precious reader. The singer of one of the pantheon pump-up songs is from the heart of all things hardcore: Bayonne, New Jersey! That’s right!
Longtime readers of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun will recall my antipathy toward Wall Street Journal columnist and Beltway insider Peggy “Some of life just has to be mysterious” Noonan. (If not, here’s a refresher.) Ms. Noonan peddles in a particularly insidious brand of Vaseline-lensed, pearl-clutching, hand-wringing sanctimony. Combine that with the ultimate conservative comfort food, Reagan worship, and you can imagine how I responded to Ms. Noonan’s most recent offering, on the occasion of the unveiling of a statue of President Ronald Reagan in the Capitol rotunda.
There’s a dozen things to hate about this particular column, be it Ms. Noonan’s invocation of “the street in small towns” in describing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s countenance (as if the highly paid media elite has so much experience with how older women in Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa smile at you); or the way she revels in the obscurity of Thomas Starr King, before casually dismissing the ousting of his statue from the Capitol. (King was a minister whose sermons railing against the evils of slavery were credited by Abraham Lincoln himself for helping to keep California in the Union at the outset of the Civil War. Appropriate, that King is being replaced by a statue of the leader of a movement that has done so much to stoke racial antipathy and cultural warfare.); or the veiled and obtuse way she manages to somehow not directly say what she really feels about our current president: “Does he understand, fully, all that is at stake in his new approaches to the Arab world? Are we spending ourselves into bankruptcy? Will California’s government be the first terrible test case of the new era?” (My answers are yes, no, and probably. What do you think, Ms. Noonan?)
Precious reader, if you actually waded through the dreck and made it to the end of the column, you know the bit that really ground my gears. If you’ll let me indulge in a money quote:
Congressmen hear choirs sing patriotic songs all the time and grow used to it. The rest of us do not and are stirred. Tourists walk through the Rotunda and think to themselves that they’d die for the signs and symbols of this place. Lawmakers experience the Rotunda as a connecting point between House and Senate that’s too often clogged by overweight tourists in shorts from Bayonne. We need term limits. When the music no longer moves you, you should leave. When you cannot leave, you should be pushed.
I know how to read. Ms. Noonan here is taking shots at the cold-hearted, Sahara-eyed monsters that roam the marble halls of our bicameral legislature. It’s clear to anyone with even the most minuscule powers of reading comprehension that the object of her ire here is the same group of politicians whose elbows she rubs at dinner parties and fundraisers throughout D.C. on a weekly basis.
However, comma, when she was forced to come up with a caricature that would succinctly and effectively epitomize the ultimate rube, she gave us “overweight tourists in shorts from Bayonne.” Now, you can argue, “Timmy, that’s not fair! Peggy Noonan is only describing how out-of-touch, influential Beltway elites view ordinary Americans. She’s not really insulting Bayonne!” To which I respond, Peggy Noonan IS an out-of-touch, influential Beltway elite! That’s exactly why she can speak so authoritatively for them. And if you want to deny that this is a carefully crafted image bred of Bayonne contempt, then we’re witnessing pure Beltway id, where Ms. Noonan’s first instinct is that the Bayonnaise are fat cretins with poor fashion sense. (It doesn’t really matter to Ms. Noonan, for instance, that New Jersey consistently ranks among the least obese states in the country. No, those chumps from Bayonne are overweight gawkers, and they wear shorts! Probably jean shorts!)