We had a fantastic weekend in Youngstown. Thanks to Fran at the Oakland Center for the Arts we were able to have a wonderful space to film and audition local talent. We met many great and wonderful actors of all age ranges. We look forward to seeing more of Youngstown's best in our next casting in September. Who knows? Maybe, we'll uncover the next Susan Boyle. That is what I'm always hoping for in these things. I have a feeling it'll happen. I'm hearing the James Earl Jones voice in my head continuously these days (read below).
Aside from auditions, we also got a chance to secure a few locations for filming. John Kennedy, the owner of The Royal Oaks Bar, was kind enough to offer his establishment with a winning pitch: "Look, Pirooz, this is the Cheers of Youngstown! Everyone comes here. All sorts. You can have a millionaire chatting with an electrician, or a line cook talking real restate with a YSU philosophy major. There are no class borders here. Everyone comes! You know, Jerry Springer? Well, hell, he even drinks here. Came through and wanted a place to be alone. Great guy, by the way. Loved the place. Even talked to everybody...And you see these booths? They're the originals from 1940 when this place opened. We won't ever take those things out. I get a kick having customers from back then, coming in and saying, 'Man, this place hasn't changed.' I love that! You like lamb, Pirooz? You want some lamb? I make a mean lamb..."
Lamb, Cheers, and Jerry Springer!?! How could we not film here, right?
We had a great time with John, Becky, Louis, and the rest of the gang. I did very much feel like it was a homecoming of sorts. Everyone was so kind and willing to just lay everything out there. It made me excited to just have a place that I could go to after a long day of shooting in Youngstown. It's also a double bonus to have the place you're shooting, be the place you are going to hang as well. I love those kinds of atmospheres on a film set.
I also like going to restaurants with Thomas and Noah. They make me laugh a lot. You wouldn't expect that from either of them. That's what makes it better.
Thomas Henwood discusses his former exploits in Paris.
Noah Cicero responds to these daring adventures.
I speak of daring melodies in musical soundtracks.
or the groovy bass lines of Gil Scott Heron.
When we weren't have witty repartees, we did scout other locations. Among them was the Emerald Diner, a historic 1950's restaurant highlighted with so much chrome we had to stop in to see what it had to offer. We loved the place and their fries.
The next step for the film is raising more funds. I am following the James Earl Jones voice in my head: "If you build it, they will come."
Or better yet:
"Pirooz, people will come, Pirooz. They will come to Youngstown--for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up Noah's driveway, not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the future. Of course, we won't mind if you invest in our film. It's only $5,000 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and a movie about Youngstown they lack. "
Thomas really wanted this building to be in the movie. I thought it had strong potential too. Who knows? Maybe, when we return to Youngstown in June, we'll secure this location as well.
If you are interested in being a local crew member, audition, or become an investor in the film, please send Thomas an e-mail (You can send them to me, but I just like scaring Thomas in thinking he will have to field thousands of e-mails. Actually, that will be good. Send him a thousand e-mails.) He would love to talk about locations you might have, a rich uncle, or just chat about what it is to make an independent film.
Before I head off, we need to have the main characters graffiti a signpost. We need ideas on what the above could be changed to, or other brilliant ideas like "Velociraptors coming!" you might like to share.
Pirooz M. Kalayeh A.K.A. "Pierce Mondrian"