Student film makes the grade with a run at North Park Theatre
If the film is as good as the story behind how it was produced, viewers will likely enjoy "Chicken Strips: The Trials and Tribulations of Becoming a Garage Band." Using a budget of less than $10,000 and employing an unpaid cast and crew of 30, the movie was written and produced by two local film students, Colin Taylor and Louie Visone.
Their work has earned a week-long run at North Park Theatre, September 2-8.
Taylor, the film's co-writer, producer and lead actor, says about $7500 was raised through online contributions. The rest of the money came from some other fundraising efforts and the producers' pockets. Actors and crew spent their summer weekends of 2021 working on the film.
"I knew I had to make this no matter what. I wanted to prove to myself and other people that I can still be in school and make a feature film," said Taylor who began writing the screenplay in February, 2020.
"I was going to make it either way, even if it was shot on an iPhone. At least I would have done it, but I was lucky enough to not have to do that and I had an incredible cast and crew."
The story line revolves around three friends who have been playing in the same band for years but get their first live gig opportunity from their old high school bully.
"I had a fake band with a buddy," admitted Taylor. But says the narrative emerged largely from conversations about high school bullies. Taylor couldn't understand why many continued to resent bullies long after graduation.
"The theme of the film to me is that people change," though, as Taylor says, some of the film's characters "are refusing to change because they're stuck in their old ways and need to get over that hump."
While the story may hold heavy implications, Taylor reminds that it is a comedy.
"Even as I was editing it, I would be laughing so much, I would have to stop."
Getting a full week on the screen of the landmark North Park Theatre offers a solid return for their work on "Chicken Strips." Still, they're hoping for more.
They've entered film festivals. The exposure could lead to "streaming" opportunities and some royalties for the producers, Taylor said.
The dream scenario is someone likes the script enough that they buy it, Taylor says, "and then they will remake the film with millions- of-dollars budget and then it will be a Hollywood film."
"Or we just put it on You Tube for free."