In the year 2000, I rented the film Psycho. No, not the original, but the 1998 remake. I knew of the 1960 version, but for whatever reason, I rented the remake. Having not seen the original, I enjoied what I saw, because there was no precursor. When the film ended, I had this overwhelming drive to imitate the shower scene. (That is the scenarist form of flattery, you know.)
My father was a filmmaker and he had a video camera. My father said he was up for filming a little something, but I’d need a script before anything could happen. So, I quickly typed up a script in a day or so. Of course, the story was different. “Marion” was now “James” and “Norman” was now “Norma.” My step mother was up for anything. So she’d play the part of the crazy killer.
So, the next day, we spent probably four or so hours filming. When we had finished, I hooked up my dad’s camera to his Sony Vaio and opened Movieshaker, a movie editing software.
I spent another long amount of time placing the footage together and adding music. The finished product was placed on DVD and we watched it in the evening with soda and popcorn. It wasn’t very good, but it was a family activity and gave us a good laugh.
My Aunt, Janet, saw the film a week later, with me in attendance. When it had finished, she tuned to me and said, “Gosh, that looked like fun! I want to be in a movie!” I’m not sure if she was completely serious. But, I was impressionable and I had been biten by the filmmaking bug.
That summer, nearly the entire family became involved in the process. I had written a 30 page script called “Daisy the Crazy Lady”, about a woman escaping a mental institution and causing trouble for a boy and his aunt. Again, the idea might have been campy— but everyone had fun making it. A few weeks later, we had a premiere, with popcorn and soda. It was from this moment that a summer tradition had been born.
We made a film every summer for ten years. The majority were purely original ideas, while three were based on fairy tales. They weren’t Oscar material by any means, but they became a love for the family. The grand finale was a version of “The Wizard of Oz”, a story I absolutely love. By this time, everyone knew what they were doing. I am very proud of that film and the work that went into it. That was in 2010. By this time, almost all of the ‘actors’ were warn out and had said “Oz” was there last.
I missed the tradition instantly. I wanted to keep going, but you can’t make a movie without actors. So, I thought up a great idea. I’d write a script to do with friends! That, however, is another story entirely.
Six of the ten films are online for you to view. Here’s the first part of “The Wizard of Oz”