Behind the Scenes with Graham Avenue Films (10.16.05)


  Casimir Nozkowski Will Carlough  


Casimir Nozkowski and Will Carlough of team Graham Avenue Films, speak about their 2-week film "False Alarm", which was chosen as a finalist for Movie Making Madness 2004.  They were assigned the following information for their film: Genre : Romantic Comedy  Subject : Internet Dating.  They went on to take home the grand prize in Movie Making Madness 2004 out of over 140 teams of filmmakers from around the world.



NYC Midnight : Your assignment for the 2 week film was Romantic Comedy about Internet Dating.  How did your team react when you first saw this?

Will: Well, it was better than the year before when we got Western.  Wait, is it better?  It's kind of worse.  Anyway, we weren't that psyched.

Casimir: I went from being confused to elated to tired to elated again to totally content. What I liked about Romantic Comedy was its broad parameters. As long as it was vaguely funny and vaguely romantic, I figured we wouldn't betray the genre's standards.

NYC Midnight : Were you afraid of receiving any particular genres or were you ready for anything?

Casimir: I would not have enjoyed making a musical. However, the teams that usually get musical end up making way more ambitious projects than a lot of the other films. So maybe it would have raised our game.

Will: I think drama or musical would have killed us.  A dramatic musical would have been fun, though.

Casimir: I think a rap musical would be awesome.

NYC Midnight : How did you schedule your shoot over the 2 week period?  (i.e. writing, casting, rehearsing, shooting, editing, music score, etc..)  Did you stick to your schedule or did everything change?

Will: We took a long time with writing, mostly because we had trouble scheduling the shoot.  We wrote three totally different scripts and decided that False Alarm was the only good one. Matt and I were on the fence until Cas half jokingly told us a possible surprise ending (the one that made it in after the end credits).

Casimir: I'm proud of the surprise ending. It gets groans at every screening. At the NYC Midnight screening, some guy yelled out: "Man, that's some bad news!"

NYC Midnight : Did you follow your script or was there improvising on the shoot?

Casimir: Even though we like improvising, we stuck pretty close to the script. We tried to improvise a short film right before the contest and it was officially terrible, souring us on improv's potential.

Will: I only improvised when I couldn't remember my lines.  And I think all that stuff got cut anyway.  But it was gold, trust me.

Casimir: Your improv was very funny. I enjoyed cutting it out of the movie.
NYC Midnight : Were there any interesting behind-the-scenes stories?

Will: Absolutely not, I'm offended you would even ask.

Casimir: We shot in my apartment and left the equipment up for a couple days. I had to sleep under a few semi-big lights and rigs and accordingly, did not sleep well. The year before when we did the 2 week film, we ended up delivering the movie THREE minutes before the deadline. To that end, I drove
from Williamsburg to the Bowery in about seven minutes and ran some red lights. I can't condone driving that crazy but I recommend having someone on your squad who is prepared to do so.

NYC Midnight : What equipment did you use for the film? (i.e., camera, lights, editing system, etc.)

Casimir: We shot with a PD-150 on miniDV and cut the darn thing on Final Cut Pro. Also, we had a lot of lights that raised the temperature in my apartment to a consistent and sweat-inducing 100 degrees.

Will: All I did in the technical realm was music, so I'll talk about that. I used GarageBand and a $20 usb mic. The drum loop is stock GarageBand and the bass is a midi instrument. I played the horns myself and used a Nord Lead 3 for the vibes.

NYC Midnight : What was your total budget for the film? What did you spend the money on?

Will: Budget?  I don't know.  Cas lent me some money and I bought a couple She-Ra dolls, but they were pretty cheap.

Casimir: We spent 100 bucks on lunch for everyone and another 100 on props and expendables. The biggest expense was the police uniform I wear in the movie. It is an authentic policeman's outfit and we had to buy the belt, the hat, the radio, etc. It ended up costing like 400 bucks and we swore we'd
get our money's worth. I have played a policeman in every subsequent film we've made since. In fact, I'm wearing the costume right now.

NYC Midnight : What advice/tips would you give to the filmmakers entering this year's competition that may have never worked on a tight schedule?

Casimir: As stated above, have a crazy driver. Also, write a good script that's kind of practical to shoot. I'm fond of a good-looking, one-location shoot (especially for a contest). I'd get a couple of accessible locations in your head and then even let those locations guide your script. While it seems limiting, giving yourself some parameters can focus your script-writing. And, make it funny. People like funny. Even if it's supposed to be a drama, it should probably be funny.

Will: Just not to worry about it.  When it all comes down to it, you don't need more than two weeks to make a low budget short film.  Unless, I don't know, it's a stop motion thing of a building being built.  Then you're screwed.

NYC Midnight :
Do you have any ongoing projects you would like to talk about?

I'm plotting to kill the vice president of the United States.

I'm trying to save the vice president of the United States. Also, I made a website - www.cryingwhileeating.com  - and all of our other films can be seen at: www.redheadedleague.com

NYC Midnight : Will you be back to defend your title in Movie Making Madness 2005?

Will: I don't know, will we?  I'd be scared.  It's only down hill from here.

Casimir: Only if the genre is Rap Musical.

Will: Dramatic Rap Musical.

Casimir: No, just Rap Musical.


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Casimir Nozkowski


CLICK HERE to watch "False Alarm" created by Graham Avenue Films for Movie Making Madness 2004. 


Genre : Romantic Comedy 

Sujbect : Internet Dating


Warning: Adult Content, not recommended for ages 17 & under.






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