“Sound?” “Rolling.” “Camera?” “Speeding.” “And action.” The one line that will forever be on repeat in my head. As a junior communication major, film minor this year I was offered the biggest role I’ll ever play. A Producer of a feature film. To start at the beginning, the first thing to know about making movies is that every hit starts with a script.
In the summer of 2008 two young film enthusiast by the names Shaun Paul Costello and Joe Gariffo decided to turn a real life occurrence into a future box office hit. As fate would have it, while the two writer/directors/stars were building a dream plan for the film, I was just 40 minutes away in my south campus apartment fantasizing about my aspirations in the film industry as well. Fall approached and Halloween was right around the corner, still with film on my mind I was introduced to the two most important players of the game. The comic irony of that evening was that the only person not wearing a costume on October 31st was Costello, the actor.
From November to December Shaun, Joe, and I were inseparable. Constantly working, emailing and dialing. Before shooting even began, “Swooped” appeared in the newspaper. Only a hot week after the story hit the press we spoke over the airwaves. With the word spreading all around the Philadelphia and West Chester area the pressure was on.
Dec. 20th was our first day on set. We were down in South Philly at the directors’ house. Only two days into the shoot, our first female lead came on board, and gave one heck of a performance. Whitney Nielsen, a Temple theatre student plays the part of Julia; the love interest of Jack and the object of Stan’s lust.
Before production began Costello could always be found in Lucky Brand Jeans so what better clothing brand to put his character in than that. Product Placement is arguably the most important factor in pre-production. However, due to the fact that I joined the team late, the product placements came along the production process.
Using the highest newest form of digital cinematography, the Red One camera, every detail is easily picked up on screen. So when ‘Lucky You’ was accidentally featured in a shot, Costello, half jokingly yelled upstairs to me. “Tiff, see if you can get Lucky!” Twenty minutes later I spoke with the public relations coordinator of Lucky Brand Jeans in New York City and they were interested. Later that week, a FedEx box was delivered and inside, clothing for characters Stan (Costello) and Beth (Krista Boshinski). I knew at that moment that this movie would make it. Shortly after Lucky, the products came rolling in. With clothing covered I became thirsty for more names. So after a few phone calls, “Swooped” received product placement from SKYY Vodka, Wild Turkey, Red Bull and Bare Essentials.
With big brand names attached to “Swooped” it was time to go ‘on location.’ January 10th 2009 the cast and crew jetted off to beautiful and sunny Orlando Florida. While my family and friends were freezing in Philadelphia, we were shooting under palm trees by the pool. From Philly to Orlando, the ‘mind set’ on set is the same.
Hurry up and wait. It’s always a hurry to get the actors ready, hurry to get the set dressed, and then wait on sound. I wouldn’t want it any other way. As we got closer to wrapping the film a bittersweet cloud set over our sunny Orlando sky. Our first feature film was near the end, our new family was about to be separated, and yet there was still so much more to do. Now, back in West Chester with a full course load, I’m constantly working for StrongPaul Productions. While the editor puts together the pieces of “Swooped” in the studio, I and the other producers are promoting and selling.
Working on this film has been the greatest few months of my life. If this is any indication as to how the industry is, then sign me up. Late nights and early morning, the movies never sleep. And that’s a wrap on “Swooped,” away!
Tiffany Caprice is a third-year student majoring in Communications with a minor in film. She can be reached at TC632798@wcupa.edu