FILM: Thursday the 12th (2004)

Of the classes I took at Full Sail, digital cinematography is the one I'd most like to audit were I in a position to do such a thing. Though the school's curriculum never facilitated individual projects, instead opting for creatively compromising group structures, "DC" allowed for the most freedoms and was led by memorably exuberant instructors. We got to choose what crew positions we wanted and collaborate as we deemed fit to develop our short.

Between round-table brainstorms at Denny's and Gator's, I offered a mockumentary idea about a wannabe professional wrestler who can't get a break. Eric Davis, a fan of '80s slashers (in good company with myself, Andrew Eaton and Scooter Finley), saw my idea and raised it with one of his own - a similar mockumentary about a struggling professional, but instead of a wrestler, a Jason Voorhees type killer. I got out my laptop and started writing straight away.

Something I always love to brag about regarding this film's production is Tom Savini's personal message of encouragement. Savini was giving a seminar for students and I was lucky enough to speak with him one-on-one for a few minutes. He thought our concept was great (I'll bet he loved 2006's Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon) and positively stressed that we remain focused on humor over horror.

Story creator Eric Davis himself portrayed our killer, beneath a mask of his own tailoring. Other crew members filled supporting cast positions while we brought in the radiant and talented Kimberly Miller to play a prime target with Jill Blondel and "Arizona Mike" (whose real, full name we never learned) in smaller roles. We filmed over what I believe was the course of four days, the four directors each taking one of those uniquely challenging days to spearhead. Shane Alder headed up interview segments, Sandra Gabretti handled the chase, Andrew Eaton took lead of the extra-heavy club scene while I locked down the (now closed) Village Inn for a late night shoot.

In the editing room I paired off with friend Justin Tomaszewski who, soon after, mysteriously disappeared (dude, if by some random happenstance you're reading this, drop a line!). The key factor designating our cut from others was our exclusion of a chase scene in favor of a blooper (for anyone interested in comparison, Andrew posted his cut here). We felt the blooper temporarily misled our audience while simultaneously establishing that a camera crew was invested in following this killer's exploits, but I think most viewed it as a careless post-production oversight (we were almost docked a grade before explaining ourselves).

By close vote, our cut (embedded below) was selected to be shown at Winter Park's Enzian theater with other groups' films as part of a digital cinematography mini-festival. Thanks in most part, I'm sure, to the confusing editing decision, the film was the only to leave sans award certificate, but I don't regret a frame of it.

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