Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Making of a Tromadance Winner, by Frankie Frain PART I

A while ago, Brad had covered a film called "Psycho Sleepover", which was done by a couple of friends of his and, shortly after that, we were contacted by one of the actors in the film - a guy by the name of Frankie Frain. If you're interested, Frankie played Ugly Jen in the film, but Frankie's also a filmmaker and a writer, himself. Not only that, his first film won the best film at Tromadance 2006. Oddly enough, before I talked to him, I'd read about his second film and it was on my list of films that I wanted to see. His first film is called "I Need to Lose Ten Pounds" and his second film is called "A-Bo the Humonkey", both are classics... in the same vain that early Troma films are classics. Anyhow, after a brief back and forth, Frankie was willing to write an article for the site, which I was pumped about... however, what I got back was no average article, it was a hilarious, 6-page look into the mind of an indie filmmaker and the process in making an award winning film. So, I decided not to waste it in one post. Instead, once a week until it's done, I'm going to post parts of the story. Then, when it's all done, I'll link to it in its entirety. So, without further ado, here, folks... is Part I of "The Making of a Tromadance Winner, by Frankie Frain"

I began writing my first feature, Tromadance 2006 winner I Need to Lose Ten Pounds, when I was 14 years old. I, like so many out there, was inspired by Troma films and B-horror (well, B-anything really. If it was cheap and shitty, I seemed to like it) and not only felt that I could pull off the same production value easily enough, but could comically embrace the film’s inevitable shortcomings. Between this and being chiefly inspired by Cannibal! The Musical and The Toxic Avenger (neither of which were really horror films – they just sort of fit in well with that crowd. Cannibal was more like a Rogers and Hammerstein picture and Toxic Avenger was ultimately more like a brutal superhero flick), I ended up making a musical comedy adventure film about a fat kid named Miguel who’s being chased by Richard Simmons. Oh, and his brother has leprosy and his best friend is a whore factory owner named Silly Waunka. Retarded enough idea for you? Clearly, the content of the film did not and would not take itself seriously…

…but fuck, the effort did. Imagine if you will: A 14-year-old idiot calls his best friend.

“Will, we should write a movie about like, fat people and put all our fat friends in it.”

For some reason we had a lot of fat friends.

“You think they’d be offended?”

“That’d be gay if they were. So wanna write it?”


“Okay, awesome – we should be able to use my parents’ camera and I think you can edit on computers now, so let’s just do that.”

“Um, okay.”

“But if we say we’re going to do it, we really shouldn’t work on anything until THIS is done. Like, I want to make sure we finish this one, because it’s really funny.”

“We JUST thought it up in like, ten seconds Frankie. It’s not that good of an idea.”

A year passed, but we slowly wrote it. It was sloppy and my co-writer was never much into it anyway, but that strangely made the comedy that much more cheap and innocent and invariably that much more fun. This was also 2000: the technology was younger than I was, almost too young to get an editing system running. But begrudgingly, and understandingly dubious, my group of little friends agreed to help in the effort. And we totally screwed ourselves by just writing anything that came into our cute little heads. Special effects, big locations (and LOTS of them), a large cast, musical numbers, whatever – if you read that original script, you’d think we were wealthy little fuckers. We weren’t. We really weren’t. Why did we do this? The same reason we were making a feature in the first place – we were too stupid to realize it was all impossible.

Next week, part II!

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