To Boldly Film Where No One Has Filmed Before

Mike McCafferty in Star Trek Parody

Here’s a fun little no-budget short that Mike McCafferty and company shot recently called Fry’s Trek.  It’s a Star Trek parody filmed at a sci-fi themed Fry’s in the LA area.  (Why can’t we have themed Fry’s in the Bay Area?)  It’s been getting quite a bit of attention over at YouTube with over 20,000 hits to date.  Even Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek:The Next Generation and had a guest role on The Invisible Man, linked to the video on his blog.

As usual, Mike nails the role of Captain Kirk.  And do you recognize the character of Matt Fry?  Yep, that’s Jason Makiaris, who had a guest role on The Invisible Man as Dr. Murav. 

It’s fun to watch these guys try to keep in character even as they are being kicked out by security.  Ah, the joys of guerrilla filmmaking. 

Fry’s Trek

The Ovations Are Starting to Roll In for “Death of a Salesman”

An email just popped into my inbox from Eddie Jones.  Eddie has asked me to share the first review of Death of a Salesman with all of you.  It’s a great review.  If there is any way you can make it to one of his performances, I highly recommend that you go. 

Eddie Jones Shines in the Timeless Drama: Death of a Salesman
By Padma Sahgal

Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” brings back to the Westside theater, the angst, the desperation, the tragedy, and the hope in the life of Willy Loman. This is a powerful production – bound to make audiences stop and think – just as it did in 1949, when it first premiered on Broadway – about the proverbial American Dream and take stock of their own hopes and aspirations.

The test of a true classic, this story of a day in the life of an aging salesman is timeless, it’s about Everyman, anywhere on this planet.  Set in the middle of the last century, Loman returns home to Brooklyn after a failed business trip. He is sixty-one years old, desperate to make sense of his life. He has been taken off salary and put on straight commission. He is unable to support his loyal, suffering wife, or explain to his two grown sons why things went so wrong. He wants so much to help them to make a success of their own lives. He agonizes over whether he brought them up the right way. Set as foils to his failings, are his brother Ben, who reaped a fortune in the diamond mines in Africa, and Bernard, his neighbor’s son, who has become an attorney, while his sons – Bernard’s contemporaries, are still trying to find themselves.

Eddie Jones is a powerful Willy Loman. His portrayal is moving as he slips in and out of reality, with flashbacks and shares the ramblings of his mind. He has that rare rapport with his audience – only great actors are cabable of. It is obvious he comes from a rich and accomplished career that encompasses Broadway, film and television. Most recently he was seen as Marty Goldberg in the independent film, “Fighting Tommy Riley”.

Anne Gee Byrd is utterly natural as Linda, forever trying to cover up for her husband’s shortcomings, especially in the powerful monologue in which she defends Willy.

Aaron McPherson as Happy, Ivan Baccarat as Biff and Jeremy Shouldis as Bernard are altogether believable, each turning in a fine performance.  The award-winning director of the play, Bob Collins, has made the most of the intimate atmosphere of the Odyssey Theatre. The small stage seems to be the perfect setting for the “kitchen sink” drama. The audience becomes part of the very lives of the protagonists as they struggle to make sense of their existence. The past and the present time as it juxtaposes between scenes is masterfully executed.

The relevance of the play in today’s context is aptly summed up in Collins’ note to the audience, “We are all living under great myths. The Enron scandal is just one illustration of this. Like all great art, “Death of a Salesman” remains fresh because it stirs the humanity in all of us, and, as in all great art, its truths cannot go out of fashion”.

“Death of a Salesman” has a limited engagement at the Odyssey Theatre, located at 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., through Dec. 15. Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. For ticket information call 310-477-2055.

How Fans Can Help

First of all, let me say that it is a pleasure to have Mike McCafferty join this blog as a contributing author.  Without Mike and that conversation we had last year, I would have never been able to take on a project such as this one.  But Mike helped me realize that collaboration between a cast and fans is very possible.  It just takes willingness on the part of both parties to work together and get it done.  We’re definitely going into new territory here.  Already, old rules are being broken and new ones are being created.

In his post, Mike asked for your help to promote this project.  Now you may be thinking, “Of course, I will help!  As soon as that movie is released, I’m going to tell everyone I know about it.”  And that’s great.  But instead of waiting until the movie is released, how about start now?  Seems kind of early, doesn’t it?  Well, bear with me and let me explain.

It’s going to take some time to build buzz (which the dictionary defines as “excited interest or attention”) and there are fewer of us now than there was before, so the earlier we start the better.  Not only can buzz help increase the audience for the movie, but it can also help to get it made.  How is that? 

There are two big hurdles to jump over in getting this movie made:  financing and distribution. 

Let’s talk about financing first.  I mention on the About Page that I have had some preliminary interest from a funding source, and that’s true.  But at this point in time it’s not guaranteed.  That funding source might come through for us and provide all the money needed to get this movie made.  On the other hand, it could also fall through for a variety of reasons:  from simply losing interest in the project, to having resources already tied up in other ventures, to thinking that this isn’t a good investment.  Having funding fall through is actually a fairly common occurance in filmmaking and anyone who wants to be a producer has to be prepared to deal with that fact.  I’ve been told to not just wait until the check is in the bank, but wait until the check actually clears. 

People who invest in movies know that it is a risky investment, but they also know that the payoff can be big if the movie turns out to be hit.  There are several factors that they look at when considering whether or not to invest in a film venture, but I’m going to only cover a couple right now:  audience and distribution.

Having a built-in audience is not something that every film has, but producers often try to minimize the risks and make the film more appealing to financiers by getting a “name” star or two in their film.  It doesn’t always work and we could probably all cite examples when a known star was in a film that flopped.  But many times it does work.  How many of you have gone to see a movie just because Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, or Angelina Jolie was starring in it?  These actors are considered bankable, which is why if producers can get a name actor interested in their movie, they have a better chance of getting their film funded.

We happen to be very fortunate.  We have a very talented cast from an awesome little TV show for our film.  But the show has been off the air for a few years in the U.S. (though it is still airing in a few other countries), so investors are going to want to know if there is still a worldwide audience that wants to see this cast come together again. 

Another thing that investors consider is distribution.  While investors sometimes fund films without any kind of distribution deal in place, having a distribution deal already in place makes for a stronger case.  As a producer, I owe it to the investors to get the best distribution deal possible. To do otherwise is unconscionable.  After all, they are the ones who are putting their money on the line.

So do distributors consider the audience when deciding what films to promote and distribute/air?  Yes, that’s definitely one of the factors they take into account.  Like investors, they too are putting their money on the line.  A film that already has a built-in audience can definitely be more attractive to them.

Now, I’m going to work my you-know-what off for this film and try to make it as good as I can with the resources I acquire.  And, if you, the audience, are willing to support that and show that there is an audience for our I-Man cast, our chances for success will be that much greater. I know we can create something special of which we can all be proud.

Now you may be wondering just what is it that you can do to help, so I’ve taken Mike’s suggestions and added a couple of my own.  These ideas are easy to do and don’t cost anything.

  • Tell a friend–Do you have a friend that is a fan of The Invisible Man or its cast?  Do you know someone who enjoys quality TV and movies?  Tell them about this project and website!  And tell them to tell their friends.  Spread the word!
  • Bulletin Boards–Do you visit any online bulletin boards?  As long as it doesn’t violate the board’s rules or policies, how about posting a blurb about this exciting project?  And don’t forget to include a link to this website. 
  • Blogs and Websites–Do you have a blog or website?  Please consider putting up a link to Shoom Zone Productions.  Links help in a couple of ways:  1)  They help drive visitors to this site, and 2)  They help increase our search engine rankings.  Once you have a link up, please contact me via the Contact Form or leave a comment and let me know that you’ve linked to this site.  Don’t forget to include a link to your website or blog because I want to be sure to reciprocate by adding your website or blog to a new link category I’ve created called Friends & Supporters.  The idea is to grow the list of friends and supporters as large as possible.  When I give presentations to investors and distributors, I want to be able to show them all the people who support this project!  And I want it to be impressive!
  • MySpace–Do you have a MySpace page?  So does Shoom Zone Productions!  It’s located at  Please add Shoom Zone Productions to your MySpace friends list.  The goal is to spread the news and grow the friends list.  Let’s make it huge!  Let’s impress those investors and distributors! 

Those are just a few things that you can do right now to help out.  For your convenience, I’ve posted them on a new page called How Fans Can Help.  This list is by no means comprehensive, so if anybody has any ideas that I can add to this list, please let me know.

Thank you for your support.  Let’s get our cast together again!