On Halloween 2008 my filmmaking colleagues Andrew Gingerich and Matt Kane found themselves with a RED camera for the weekend. They did what any self-respecting opportunistic filmmaker would, and they decided to make a movie. They decided to make a film about the upcoming 2008 election, which they shot on the spooky eve of Halloween. Third Party ’08 can now be found on both Andrew’s YouTube and his Vimeo.
But our real story begins about four years later. Another election was looming on the horizon, and the more and more I heard people complain about how little they liked the “two candidates” the more and more I realized that it was time for me to make an election film. So I contacted Andrew to see if I could pick up (more or less) where Third Party ’08 left off, only this time shifting focus from a Third Party Candidate to a Write-In candidate. Andrew was more than happy to help me with the script, planning, we were even this close to getting Jim Wescott to fly to Iowa and reprise his ongoing role as Roger Deerborn (But he was busy with a stage production at the time. I’m pretty sure he was playing a king), and Andrew spoke to a county representative in Sioux City Iowa to figure out how Write-In ballots are actually counted and tended. So come October of 2012 I flew to Sioux City, Iowa, where Andrew heads the Cinema department at WITCC and together with his students we made this film about a taco getting elected president:
I enjoy how this film turned out, and although perhaps “A Sad Day” was seen by more people, I do consider this to be my largest work of 2012. The first few minutes are very expository, and very much an info-dump, but I feel that it mostly pays off by the time we reach the end. This was one of the first projects that the students of the WITCC cinema department actually had lead production roles on, it was my first time directing a large crew since graduating (and the first actual film set that I was on since earlier that year in February), and it was one of the more in-depth projects in terms of planning and marketing that I had worked on (you can still be friends with Taco Tapir on facebook. He gives you a heads-up whenever they have a buy thirty get five free deal).
This is all to say that I was a bit under-prepared and over-whelmed by the time we started going into production, fortunately I only think it only had a minor effect on the overall quality of the film. I’m not sure how well some performance beats read, there are some minor (very minor) sound bumps here and there, and I really would have loved to have had some taco wrappers or more taco-tapir memorabilia around in the latter part (On a long sidenote, though, I’m very impressed that you cannot tell that the American flag in the corner that’s featured in the background of a great deal of shots is being supported by a C-Stand. Even with this knowledge, it still looks like a flagpole. Hooray). We did create some taco tapir taco wrappers, as you would know from this earlier post, but we only had enough to print out wrappers for one close-up shot which we had to scrap during the editing process as it just wasn’t reading correctly. I am very happy to add “election fraud” to my list of cinematic crime, though, as we had a number of fake Iowa state ballots printed out (and those election envelopes look damned good).