YOMYOMF CHERRY is a collection of “bonus” stand-alone videos featuring members of the immediate and extended YOMYOMF family — Our version of the cherry on top of a sundae. For more YOMYOMF Cherry Videos, click here.
For this edition of YOMYOMF CHERRY, we present the Japanese superhero inspired SECONDARY EDUCATION, written by Max Parr and Jon Truei and directed by Jon Truei. We asked the director 5 questions about the making of this amazing, Power Rangers meets Breakfast Club meets 90s-era Afterschool Special action comedy (you can view the embedded film below).
1. How did you come up with the concept for this short?
During the Summer of 2011, I was in Prague, Czech Republic for about a month and a half writing and shooting a short film as part of an NYU Study Abroad Program. We had a crazy professor there who was one of the program’s key supervisors and always seemed to be inexplicably distracted and in a rush to be somewhere. He also had what is possibly the world’s heaviest accent, and it was so hard to understand him at times that after a while we stopped trying and he sort of became the butt of all of our jokes out in the program. It was only when we started having to shoot our movies, 18 of us American kids out in Europe with no Czech language capability or connections in the area, that we realized that all along, he’d been pretty much the only administrator supervising shoots out in the field and solving all of our emergencies. If something broke, he’d call us in seconds, like huffing and puffing over the phone, and would show up a couple minutes later on a motorcycle with the parts we needed and all kinds of other stuff he didn’t need to bring.
It was while we were having the final screenings for our films at the end of the program that I actually came up with the concept for SECONDARY EDUCATION. Right when we were about to finally show all of the films that we’d spent all month producing, he received a call on his cell phone, his eyes bulged, and he pulled on a backpack and left for the rest of the screening without telling us anything. We still don’t know what he left the screening for specifically, but at the time it was pretty much the funniest thing ever and I thought to myself that it might make an interesting movie. That professor really was like a superhero for us out in the Czech Republic, so I decided to start from there.
2. Any challenges or setbacks during the production?
Once we’d decided that we were doing a 90s educational entertainment throwback film set in a high school, we realized that one of the hardest things we’d have to face in convincingly bringing a high school to life on camera would be filling the classrooms and hallways with students and other teachers, most of whom wouldn’t even be playing a significant role in the unfolding story. We ended up getting around that though when we figured that we could get around this problem and cut our cast down to just seven characters (a teacher, three students, a principal, two policemen, and a mutant lobster) total by setting the movie after school, during detention.
3. Any funny stories from the making of this film?
We’ve been asked many times before how the villainous mutant lobster character, Clawster, came to be, which is definitely a very funny story. When Eric, my cowriter Max Parr, and I were developing the original script for this short (which was very, very different from what the film became, but always featured the Japanese Tokusatsu Genre as a central element), I asked Eric what he thought the most absolutely Japanese Tokusatsu opening for the movie could possibly be. His reply to me was that I “should just have a giant lobster try to rob a bank,” and the idea was so funny to me that I just couldn’t give it up. A couple drafts later, after we’d condensed the script down to what we felt would be the simplest and most effective elements, Clawster ended up being promoted to the film’s primary villain.
4. Where has your film played? Festivals or other places around the world?
This film was actually completed extremely recently, so believe it or not, aside from screenings that have happened exclusively for the NYU community, most of the world will be seeing SECONDARY EDUCATION for first time on the YOMYOMF Network. On the side, we have begun to submit to a number of film festivals, specifically targeting Genre Film Festivals, Asian American Film Festivals, and Childrens’ Film Festivals.
5. What’s been going on with you, filmmaking wise since the completion of this short? What are you working on next?
Since our team completed production on this film in mid 2012 and I graduated from NYU Film School, I’ve mostly been working as an editor and occasional compositor and motion graphics artist in New York, where I am currently based. I’ve had the chance to edit for Vevo, The Grammy Awards, Jay Z’s Life + Times Youtube Series, The Cooking Channel, and on a variety of commercials for Kohls Department stores. On my own, I’ve had the chance to direct a pretty fun trailer spot for a recent novel published by Random House called “The Tragedy Paper”, along with a new martial arts piece of my own, featuring Keith Min of the LBP Stunts Organization in Chicago and a number of my east coast and New York based stunt collaborators. Eric Lim and I have also been developing and outlining episodes and story lines for a web series based on the universe and characters from SECONDARY EDUCATION.