TURNER STREET PRODUCTIONS
"We joke that this is 'Turner Street Productions,' " says Vincenti. "My roommate Mel is the gaffer. And Fred" — he nods at Fred Young, the cinematographer, who just joined us to pass the downtime — "lives on the first floor. That's just two. So one night we were all sitting in the backyard having a beer, when I was like, 'I think we're making a movie.' "
"And then it turns into that stereotypical scene," adds Young. "Some guy goes, 'I'll shoot your movie! I'll design your movie! I'll act in your movie!' When you want to, you can have big gatherings here sort of spontaneously. And then you start pulling all these strings to create a project like this."
Young, who is 35, seems like the backbone of the bunch. Older, wiser, committed, he's traveled a long path to get to this point.
"I went to school at BU as a theater technical director," he says. "For 15, 20 years I worked all around — Connecticut, Utah, everywhere. I tired of theater, decided to switch to movies, came back up here, and I basically said, 'I'll work for free. Just show me how to do this business.' I knew almost nothing about film at that point."
Young quickly picked up the skills of a lighting director, did some movies, and joined the union. He's up on Boston. "There are all these people who had small careers here and then had to go away because there's no work. And now, [with] the amount of work that's coming back into town — the tax incentive and all that stuff — they can come back because there's somewhat of an ability to have a career here."
The star of Vincenti's film, Ally Tully, 26 (who doesn't live in the house), reversed the usual path for actors seeking film roles: she moved from New York to Boston. Although now she's reconsidering.
So far, her success with studio movies shooting here has been mixed. Recently, she played one of the two young women accosted in the Boston Common by the title animated stuffed bear in Ted. "He grabbed my boob," she says.
"I enjoy making films on the indie side," Tully says. "But they have zero money. I'm going back to New York after filming here."
The sun has set. It's time to shoot. The crew and cast rehearse one more time in the backyard. Party lights droop around the perimeter; in the background a half dozen extras mime a bibulous game of beer pong. Tully's character, Rhee, cradles a beer and talks with a couple of friends.
Vincenti shouts, "Action!"
"I'm so tired of this. . . ," Tully says, as Rhee, with a wave of her beer that encompasses everything.
On location with the Boston-shot Day of Youth
Struggling actors and filmmakers seem to like Boston, especially now, with the resources stirred up by the big movies. But aren't most, like Tully, really just trying to build up a résumé to be seen by the big leaguers? As Vincenti says, "I'm hoping to go to studio people and say, 'Well, this is what I can do just with my friends; let's see what I can do with a little more heft.' " These days it seems like that heft can only be obtained in New York or LA.
Or maybe Austin, second in the MovieMaker standings — and home base of Richard Linklater, whose first film, Slacker (1991), established an eccentric style of filmmaking, and of life. That's where 34-year-old Andrew Bujalski — whose first feature, Funny Ha Ha, got independent filmmaking going in Boston back in 2002 — now resides. As it turns out, though, Bujalski didn't move to Austin in search of greener pastures, at least not cinematic ones. "My departure had nothing to do with career," he says. "I was chasing after a girlfriend."
When he was in Boston, the film scene was hardly bustling — "except for documentaries," he says. For Funny he had to scrape together on his own most of what he needed, although a grant from the Mass Cultural Council helped. "I have real gratitude for that," he says. "And I have a coffee mug with their logo on it that's in heavy rotation here."
As for the film office, it wasn't really a factor. "I don't know what the policies of that office were at the time," he says. "I don't think it even occurred to me to approach them for help. We were working entirely with the resources at our fingertips."
He's very keen on Austin — the support system, and the parking especially — but would Bujalski consider a return to his hometown now that so much is going on?