Today, you are witnessing a dream starting to come true. That dream: make a movie called Tron Wayne Gacy and have that title make sense. Now before you get on my case about being an impulsive nerd (I am, but never you mind that!) the title fits the finished work, I promise. Not that it's about computerized serial killers, but that the title represents an amalgam of lives wasted, of time stolen, of time never given back. If that sounds pretentious, you must be new around here because that's just me. And I don't want the conversation to be about me, let's make it about the people who helped me. This movie is 90% done and it blows my mind. Why? Because I did so little and left the legwork up to the Honors Zombie Players, who are growing at a rapid clip, to my unending pleasure.
And who are they? Some familiar faces and some new ones. I had the immense pleasure of working with Alexandra Maiorino and Tucker Johnson again, as well as working in another cameo for Sean Van Deuren, who I can't get enough of. I worked for the first time with Rae Mathias and Emily Skeggs in a tiny role, two wonderfully talented actresses who I became acquainted with thanks to (not) working at Media Services with Tucker. They fit right in to the story and they do pretty incredible work. Also here is Alysha Currie who co-directed/produced my short Bright Lights and Noah Aust. A word about Noah. This film wouldn't have happened without Films From The Margin, a group I was put in charge of this, my last semester at Emerson College. It's Emerson's oldest/only group dedicated to watching obscure art films. Noah was the only returning member from last semester (I recruited everyone else - Tucker, Sean, Alex, Alysha, Kyle McDonald) and was one of the most intriguing people I've met at Emerson. He's our Terry Gilliam, a stellar animator and a first-rate creative mind and I was pleased not only to have him appear in the film, but to crib from one of his movies which in its own way deals with the subject of the movie. I've since appeared in one of his shorts, one of the most rewarding experiences I've had at Emerson, and it's always great to see how he reacts to the movies we screen at FFM.
Watching Joe's films and seeing the same faces and themes, coupled with Alex and Alysha's expressed desire to act with each other in a movie made me realize that I need to make something that expressed what I'd learned/how awed I was by the work we'd seen at FFM. Tron Wayne Gacy was to be the Films from the Margin movie and features everyone who regularly attended meetings. I even convinced Eljiah Drenner, director of American Grindhouse, a film with its own connections to Emerson, and Jeremy Kasten, himself an Emerson grad and the director of some amazing trippy horror films (The Attic Expeditions, The Wizard of Gore and the upcoming The Dead Ones which I'm so psyched about) to do some voice work for the film, which was just too cool. Elijah has my favourite job, making films about great American sleaze pictures and releasing them on DVD. Jeremy was the very first director I ever saw talk about his work after moving to Boston to study film. That he's now a part of my movie, the last thing I did before leaving Boston, is beyond incredible. It's a dream come true. Our film was made for nothing: what you see us drinking and eating was the budget. It was shot in roughly seven hours spread out over a month and the idea came to me like a flash of lightning. It would have been easy to make a film that simply aped the style of the films we watched in FFM, but I wanted to try something at once stupidly risky and incredibly simple and went ahead and did it against my better judgment.
Like the best of Swanberg's work, Tron Wayne Gacy is meant to make viewers question the act of watching and to jolt them out of their comfort zone which is definitely a lofty and pretentious goal, but what can I say? I go brattily esoteric or go home. Oh I'd also like to thank Shujen Wang for putting me in charge of the group, Jon Gianvito for not kicking me out when no one but my six friends showed up, and Bruce LaBruce for making me believe in film as art again in a moment of great need.
Tron Wayne Gacy was filmed in my favourite places to get food in coffee in boston, the Boloco down the block from Emerson, Thinking Cup Coffee, who serve the greatest hazelnut latte I've ever had, Rosebud, the Boston area's only train car diner and The Pulse Cafe in Davis Square, who serve to my knowledge the greatest vegan food on the planet. Thanks for keeping me alive, guys.
Poster design by Noah Aust