Sunday, November 20, 2011

Behind the Scenes of "The Wheels"

For my Intermediate Narrative film at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, I wrote and directed The Wheels, a very personal story about an alcoholic father and his young son, and a study of their strained relationship over the course of a long day at an amusement park. In order to raise money for this production, I created an IndieGoGo campaign in early September, where I received extremely kind contributions from friends, family and coworkers. In less than twenty-six days, the campaign raised $1,331.00, almost double the amount of my initial $750.00 goal. I sent the following update to the wonderful contributors after our first day of shooting on Monday, October 3rd. In a series of upcoming posts, I will detail the extensive pre-production process for this picture, as well as other adventures from this great semester. Here is a link to the IndieGoGo campaign:

Dear Contributers,

Thank you all so much for your incredibly kind contributions to my film
The Wheels. The production of this movie would not be possible without your help, and the fact that you have successfully funded this project means the world to me.

I want to provide you with an update regarding shooting. The first day of shooting was on Monday, October 3rd, and it could not have been smoother. We shot at Deno’s Wonder Wheel, one of the most famous landmarks in Coney Island that has been featured in countless films, for about seven hours straight. The owner arranged for my crew and me to have full access to the park on Monday, despite the fact that the Wonder Wheel is usually reserved for professional films (most recently,
Men in Black 3 rented out the Wonder Wheel for two weeks of shooting).

We had great weather, terrific acting, an extraordinary crew of very talented Tisch School of the Arts students and an incredible location. We shot some of the film’s most important scenes and got the best possible performances from the actors. After many rehearsals with the two actors – the excellent Tom Corbisiero and Dan Hasse – I was certain that the relationship at the center of this film, between a father and his son, would be wonderfully acted. Fortunately, we were lucky and prepared enough to have more than great performances on Monday. Behind the camera, cinematographer Ben Dewey and assistant camerawoman Arina Blinova made the most of this visually stunning location; sound mixer Bobb Barito and boom operator Miki Benyamini recorded some excellent sound; Alex Fofonoff and Jesse Rosenberg gaffed and lit the scenes; script supervisor Julie Augustine kept an eye out for continuity; and assistant directors Matt O’Brien and Mike Cheslik kept me on schedule and assisted me with acting notes. I am very lucky to get to work with these professionals.

Of course, none of this would have been accomplishable without your generosity, which made it possible to feed the cast and crew, transport cast/crew members to Coney Island and back to Manhattan, pay for a Budget Van rental for the movement of equipment, purchase film equipment and account for additional production costs.

Our second day of shooting will be on October 23rd, and we are currently preparing for that shooting date. Thank you so much for your help with this film – I assure you that we are making an excellent, powerful project that I hope you will enjoy.


Jack Kyser

Deno's Wonder Wheel - Monday, October 3rd

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