I feel a little guilty making you wait a full week for part II of the Frankie Frain article, "The Making of a Tromadance Winner", but... well, yeah. What can I say? And if you didn't get a chance to read part I, here's the link. If you did read it and you've been anxiously waiting for the second entry, cool. Your time is almost here. However, before we get to it, I just realized that it's not exactly the easiest film to find. So, if you're interested in checking it out, and I would highly recommend that you do, you can email Frankie at JVCFelix@yahoo.com or head over to INeedToLoseTenPounds.com for more information. While you're contacting him, you might as well pick up his other film, "A-Bo the Humonkey" and if you're into Troma films, I think you'll really dig them. Now that I've got that off my chest, here's part II of "The Making of a Tromadance Winner", by Frankie Frain...
Like many projects I’m sure you’ve either tried to start or have agreed to be a part of, this “film” was dangerously close to just fading away as that “stupid idea we had when we were freshmen in high school.” But one very important event occurred that took it from naïve idiocy to a potentially real production: a 450 pound computer nerd who lived a few miles down the street that I was introduced to. Jon Hunt was 6 years older than us, and in 2000, Jon already had a computer ready to perform large scale video editing and even possessed some sound and camera equipment (well, more than my parents anyway). And he was willing to build me a computer. And he was a brilliant music writer. And he was gigantic! He’d be a perfect cast member in this film! Plus he had a full time job and could freakin’ drive! I was just lucky that he was at all amused by the comic work of a 14 year old jackass, let alone a piece that ripped on fat people so aggressively. I showed him some of my short works (I think my animation How Hitler Stole Chanukah won him over), and suddenly, we had just multiplied our resources by a few dozen (as well as our sum weight). Plus, Jon made the most buttery, fatty, delicious, can’t-get-enough-of-it macaroni and cheese.
As I got way fatter hanging out with Jon every weekend, we started shooting shorts for a variety of purposes. Sometimes for fun, but often for me or my friends’ high school projects. I think we were just motivated and excited to make anything, because we never really had. And every time we shot a new film, I would say stupid shit like, “So when we’re shooting Ten Pounds, we should shoot at such and such a place, with 12 cameras,” and my friends must have wondered, “Does he still want to make that stupid ass movie?” Indeed I did, and Jon stuck by me, saving for a new Sony PD-150.
Another year passes. Now I’m approaching 16. I’m thinking about colleges and still dreaming of someday making my long, dumb, Troma movie.
And one day, there it was. The Ten Pounds camera. Bought used for a great price. We shot a couple of shorts with it and… it suddenly wouldn’t turn on. We cracked it open and bam. Salt water in the camera. There’s no return policy. We’re boned.
Almost another year passes before Jon finally buys the camera the movie was REALLY waiting for – the DVX100. The messiah of indie feature filmmakers. My friends were shocked when I called them all to meet up on the first day of shooting: March 22nd, 2003. My girlfriend’s family owned a funeral home, and that’s where we were shooting. A Japanese character was in this particular scene, and our high school had some Okinowan exchange students in town. And since we honestly had no Asian people of any shade in our town or school, we asked the only male exchange student, Tamoya, if he’d like to be in the movie. I don’t think he knew what we were asking, but we showed up to his host’s house at 5am, stole him, brought him to a funeral home, gave him a sword, and made him be in a bloody, weird movie.
Fuck. I REALLY hope he thinks that’s how America is for the rest of his life.
Next week, part III!