Articles > Behind the
Scenes with Graham Avenue Films (10/16/05)
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
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
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
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
Casimir: Your improv was very funny. I enjoyed cutting it out
of the movie.
NYC Midnight : Were there any interesting
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
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
NYC Midnight : Will you be back to defend your title in
Movie Making Madness 2005?
I don't know, will we? I'd be scared. It's only down hill from
Casimir: Only if the genre is Rap Musical.
Will: Dramatic Rap Musical.
Casimir: No, just Rap Musical.
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CLICK HERE to watch "False Alarm" created by
Graham Avenue Films for Movie Making Madness
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Sujbect : Internet Dating
Warning: Adult Content,
not recommended for ages 17 & under.