PIT STOP was my first stab at scifi comedy and it
was an interesting failure.
Before I get into PIT STOP let me explain something. These college movies - both
at Brookdale and Jersey City State - were born out of class projects. The assignment for Production One at Jersey City State was
for everyone in the class to shoot a 100 foot roll of black-and-white 16mm properly exposed and in focus using one of the
school cameras be it a BH70 DR or Bolex. It was a very basic test of abilities and 100 foot of 16mm film is only two minutes
and 47 seconds. Thats all that was required to get a grade.
What I did was skip class with the camera and shoot actual movies. I was largely
self-taught in filmmaking. I knew most of it before I set foot in the class room. All I needed to know was the particulars
of any given camera I was shooting with.
The BH 70DRs were really rugged, nice cameras and gave you a very sharp, rock
steady image. The bolexs that the Production One students got were not the best - they were not the top of the line Rex
5's which were reflex and the highest quality the Bolex campany produced - they were cheaper, older non-reflex stuff. I used
both. But my favorite camera at JCSC turned out to be a Bach Auricon which was a self-blimped studio camera that could work
with the Nagra III recorders for lip-sync filmmaking. In fact, I took the Auricon out so consistantly while making the movies
I made at JCSC that it became generally know as "Warren's camera". Since no one else was shooting sound movies it was always
free and since it was a extremely bulky and heavy camera requiring a massive tripod, few people wanted to deal with it. I
loved it. Years later when I set-up Visual Experiences, Inc., I bought one for myself and still have it. Its a beautiful camera
and extremely well made.
So PIT STOP was an epic compared to what everyone else was doing shooting their
100 foot roll of film.
It reached a point where Professor Mark Eisenstein, a truly wonderful mentor,
simply got out of my way and signed permission slips for me to keep taking the equipment out and shooting movies. I skipped
most of his classes and showed him the final movie at the end of the course to get a grade. Mark knew that filmmakers simply
make films, that it is simply in my blood.
Opening shot - interior - day - Media Arts Building Hallway.
Mark and I bump into each:
"Disbrow" says Mark. "When are you coming back to class?"
"When are you going to teach something I don't already know" I responded.
Mark gives me a sly look, nods and walks on. He gets it. Mark is a filmmaker
too and so understands me. Our passion for making movies went beyond the college structure.
OK, back to my 2 minutes 47 seconds / 20 minute movie :o). My friend John Shea
played the part of an alien landing on a college campus and just walking around exploring everything. In the process he gets
raped by a female, gets in a pool game with a hustler and is stabbed in an attempted mugging. He finally gives up on
earth, returns to his space ship and leaves.
It was shot on Plus-X and Tri-X black-and-white film stock using a BH70DR camera
with an incredibly sharp fixed focus lens.
I think it ran about 15 to 20 minutes.
One incident that I do remember was that when we were shooting the mugging there
was a real shoot out with cops up the street and John and somebody else who was there helping got worried that the staged
mugging might be seen as real by the cops.
(to be continued)