Don’t you love all those little extras you get on your DVD movies? You know, the directors cut, production credits, and especially “The Making of…..”. Well, we did one too for our little drama “The Journey.” Take a look at this tongue in cheek docu of how we put this whole thing together with volunteers. This was done by Dan LeBlanc and host, Mike Larkin. Some people like this video better than the drama. What do you think?
From Dan LeBlanc and Mike Larkin
A behind the scenes look at the creation of a Fred Barzyk original drama. This drama was created at a local public access station in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, using an all volunteer crew and unknown local actors. Fred is a retired producer for WGBH in Boston with many credits to his name during his 50 year career. Here’s my tongue in cheek creation on what really happened….
Back in 1961, when Greg Harney offered me a permanent job as a director at WGBH, I agreed but only if I could do a drama. I promised him it wouldn’t cost the station a penny, that I would beg, borrow and steal the props, find volunteer actors, and find a play that would be acceptable to Bob Larsen. He agreed.
I went to many amatuer theater performances with my volunteer assistant, Sally Dennison. (Sally went on to become a casting director in Hollywood, working for Otto Preminger, Antononi, and helped cast “Close Encounters of a Third Kind.”) I got free costumes from MIT, Martin Block painted the floor, and Peter Prodan provided the minimal set pieces. I paid $10 for the rights to the Play, “Five Days.”
I was able to save the only 2″ black and white videotape of drama from the fire, and it now resides in the WGBH archives.
What comes around, comes around again. The little drama you are about to see was my attempt to take 20 volunteers, some in their 60’s and 70’s, and mold them into a movie crew. The local access station provided the gear (4 HD cameras, audio equipment, lights, final cut pro, Photoshop, etc.)
I convinced the New England Institute of Art to let me have students intern for the movie. They were the young ones on the crew and handled the lighting assignment. I found amateur actors in the greater Boston area: a former probation officer; a lawyer working at the Kennedy Center; an older actress who had appeared in JAWS as the mayor’s wife; and a gentleman who works at the Chelmsford Access Station. He just happened to have been a professional actor in Estonia before he moved to the states.
I convinced the music director of the Chelmsford Community Band to write an original music score. He had never done one before. He and I put together an orchestra of 30 musicians at no cost. They came from the Community Band, the High School Orchestra, the University of Massachusetts Lowell music department. I was able to get U. Mass. Lowell to provide me with a recording theater and graduate students to run the 16-track recording system.
The entire out of pocket for this production was $500. This was an experiment that could have easily been a bomb. Yes, we did make mistakes, but none so bad that the story was destroyed.
Chelmsford TeleMedia will present the premiere screening of Fred Barzyk’s original drama, “The Journey,” on Saturday, Jan. 22, 7:00 pm at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts’ Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 1A North Road. Admission is free of charge.
CTM board member, Fred Barzyk was founder and first director of WGBH New Television Workshop in 1967. For his work in broadcast television, Barzyk has received the Venice Film Award, three Emmys, two ACE awards and the George Foster Peabody Award from the University of Georgia. He wrote, directed, and produced “The Journey” under the auspices of CTM as a test to see if it was possible to make a full length television drama at a public access station with an all volunteer cast and crew.
At his home in Chelmsford, Barzyk said, “This drama is influenced by extraordinary imagination of Rod Serling’s ‘Twilight Zone.’ Of course, it has my own little twist that make it special, maybe even controversial. We videotaped all over Lowell and Chelmsford. The actors and crew members did a terrific job creating this little thriller of a drama.”
CTM will continuously cable cast “The Journey” on Jan. 29 from noon to midnight on Comcast, Channel 10, and Verizon, Channel 37.
The Chelmsford Center for the Arts in Town Hall, located at 1A North Road, across the street from the Common, is Chelmsford’s only public arts institution. It includes an Art Gallery, Artist-in-Residence studios, meetings and rehearsals of arts groups, as well as classes and events both public and private. For more information, visit www.chelmsfordcenterforthearts.org.
Chelmsford TeleMedia is a non-profit organization providing public-access television for Chelmsford, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.chelmsfordtv.org.