Longtime readers of Whatzup are very familiar with Greg Locke. Locke has worn many hats in his years with Whatzup, but of late most of you know him from his Screen Time column featured each week — today’s is on Page 28.
His love of film is well-known to those with even a passing familiarity with him, and any conversation with him will undoubtedly include talk of films and music.
So it’s not surprising that Locke is a filmmaker himself and has spent significant time working in New York, most recently to shoot a new film. His first venture there gave him a varied and important experience working in several different areas of filmmaking.
“In the spring of 2012 a cinematographer friend had seen my first movie, Holler and the Moan, and suggested that I move to New York City to work in the film industry,” Locke said. “I ended up working on some TV shows, films, music videos, and web series as a freelance crew member. I did the hustle. Full days spent PAing on a sidewalk in 10 degree weather; making sure Donnie Wahlberg always had a Diet Red Bull; back-to-back 18-hour days; constantly changing schedule and co-workers; weeks without work; weeks with too much work. I got tired of that life pretty quickly and decided I would be happier working in record stores and doing freelance graphic design and writing while I attempted to figure out what was next.
“Looking back now, I realize that my naivety at that time worked very much to my advantage. Had I fully understood what it took to make a ‘proper’ feature film with an ensemble cast in NYC, I don’t think I would have ever tried to do so. But instead I finished up the script, put together a plan, formulated a pitch to use while meeting with potential collaborators and started casting the film. I found my cast and crew and needed money.”
Locke has made two more films, worked on videos for Sweetwater, and amassed a large collection of his paintings in recent years. Having returned to Fort Wayne, he began using his paintings to generate cash for his latest film, Ara and the Bastard’s Son, which he recently shot in NYC thanks to that revenue.
(You can find out more at his website for the project: AraAndTheBastardsSon.com.)
Having put together a video pitch and declaring a holiday sale on his paintings, he hoped that his planned trip to complete filming on his latest which required four days of shooting with professional actors.
Shortly before his planned departure, he waited to see what would happen.
“It was 7 p.m. on the day my train left,” he said. “I had been hustling for a week to raise the $900 I needed to make the shoot work and was stuck at $840. At the last minute a friend, Johnny Commorato Jr., gave me $80 for a painting. I went to New York City and, against a whole lot of odds, shot the film. Things went incredibly well. I felt lucky.”
Locke continues to sell his paintings to raise money for what remains ahead because while he’s proud of this 20-minute film, he’s anxious to parlay it into a feature film, and he knows that there’s one important way to make that happen.
“I’ve decided to continue to try to sell some paintings to help me pay for post productions costs and film festival entry fees. The more paintings I sell, the more film festivals I submit to. And film festivals are a big part of the plan. Like Wes Anderson’s original Bottle Rocket short, or countless other shorts, this 20-minute movie I’m currently editing is essentially a pitch to make a feature. And to get the right eyes on the work, I have to put it out there in the world.”
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