A Student-Produced Movie is Coming to a Theater Near You
Rebecca Abaddi, staff writer
September 28, 2011
When one thinks of a movie set, there are vivid images of people by the dozens running around, lights flashing and expensive equipment moving. But in the case of HSHS senior Dan Resler, who is co writer and co director of the upcoming movie” Ralph’s Garden” there is a total of eight people.
It seems impossible that only eight people managed to film an entire movie by themselves in about two and a half months, but they did. The idea began when Resler and FHS junior Claire Volk were talking about one of their favorite books, “Lord of the Flies”.
“[The idea of] what happens when people leave society was interesting to us, so we decided to write a movie about it,” Resler said.
The movie is about a group of kids who graduated high school, and felt as if life should have been more for them. The cast and crew then came up with the idea to follow in the footsteps of poet, Henry David Thoreau, who went out to Walden Pond for a year without the essentials of life and produced his most famous book and poetry from that time period.
One character in the film, Jon, who believes society corrupts and is a distraction from what is really important, convinces his friends to go out into the woods for the summer. The teens enter a summer of living in the woods without the resources they would normally have. They live without cell phones, TV and anything else affiliated with electricity and modern society with results.
Most of the students on the cast were involved in either drama or film club and were already familiar with acting and video. Yet, there were still challenges the cast and crew had to face. HSHS senior Nick Muhrling, who played Jon, said the biggest challenge was his inexperience.
“I’m involved in the drama club, so I have my acting experience, but I never had acted in front of a camera before. I think the biggest challenge was getting used to not being on a stage,” Muhrling said.
Resler and the rest of the crew began filming in late June and ended in late July. In Resler’s opinion, the biggest challenge was time.
“We spent two and a half months filming which is quite a lot, because we were doing five to eight hour days, three to four days a week. I think it was more than what a lot of people bargained for, but it’s a good thing the cast and crew got along so well. There were some technical limitations as well, because we could only record two hours of footage a day,” Resler said.
Even though there were limitations from technology at times, the cast and crew got around them. They even surpassed the problems of requiring rights for music used in the film with a little help from friends. HSHS senior Joe Denton, FHS student senior Alex Bridges, and a composer at the University of North Carolina, all helped compose the music of “Ralph’s Garden”. HSHS social studies teacher Jamie Follis acted as an executive producer by overseeing the cast and crew’s activities.
“They’re the first group in about 10 years to actually finish a movie. Most people don’t realize how much hard work it is and how much hard work it takes to put a movie together,” Follis said.
Since the official call for scripts, which was near the end of last year, Resler and his crew are finally done with the acting portion of the film. Now, the editing process is left. Resler hopes to finish the editing by January at the latest, but it all depends on how long the process takes.
“They meshed perfectly together and fell into their characters really well. It was honestly the perfect cast and crew,”Resler said.