Monday, April 04, 2011



JOE: I first met Darren Parsons in the 6th grade at St Philip Neri Grade School in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He was actually a grade ahead of me but was held back and put into our class.  I didn’t pay much attention to him then – that is, we didn’t become instant friends.  We were simply classmates.

DAR: When I first met Joe he was this off-set quiet kid who would sit not in the front or the back of the class but always in the middle. And he’d watch you with his peripheral vision. Sometimes he would offer a slight smirk if he found something amusing. He’s never changed, he still does that today.

JOE: At one point in the year we were assigned seats next to each other.  We played the 'punch each other in the arm' game.  Both of us enjoyed the television show War of the Worlds that aired at the time, so we talked about that sometimes.  We also found that both of us enjoyed reading about the supernatural.  In short, we shared some common interests but no real friendship was formed at that time.  


One day Darren passed around a sign-up sheet asking students to help with an animated movie he wanted to make.  I noted that he needed writers for the project.  I liked to write so I signed the form and passed it on.  Darren talked to me later about the project.  He wanted to do a movie in which everyone in the class had superpowers. 

I don’t know if it was his idea or if we came up with it together but the plot was basically this: Somehow, during a massive and violent storm the entire class would be transformed into superheroes!  Yep, right in the middle of class.  Then, some demons straight from the bowels of hell come through a rip in the fabric of the universe and kidnap someone or something.  Our heroes then had to journey into hell in order to save the day!  Kinda like Dante’s Inferno…except not.

It was a fun little project but the problem I immediately ran into was that there were too many characters.  I solved this problem by killing off many of them early on. 

Darren and I would meet at a halfway point between our homes and walk the rest of the way to school.  We talked about the project on these little jaunts.  This is where we really became friends. 

DAR: My mom would drop me off on a certain street just so I could walk the rest of the way with Joe. We’d talk about the movie and he would drink his orange juice. He had this habit of smacking his lips after he would drink something. It was an interesting character trait.  Can’t say I was fond of it, but it was interesting. We had a lot in common. The other kids thought we were weird, but what’re you going to do?


JOE: Sometime within the school year the Invention Convention was held.  That is where the students were tasked with coming up with an invention of some kind.  Darren and I decided to do this project together.  We shared an interest in the supernatural, so we decided to create our very own ghost trap. 

We did the research and studied hard but what we eventually came up with amounted to little more than an Easy Bake Oven.  We took a medium sized fish tank and lined it with sheet metal.  We cut a hole in the lid and placed a heat lamp there.  Our feeble premise was that ghosts were cold so heat would trap them in the box.  YEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAW! 

Our teacher was good-humored about it.  We got a passing grade but he asked us if we consulted Bill Murray for our project. Wise guy.

DAR: .I went into counseling over that. We’d just seen Ghostbusters and wanted to make our own ghost trap, so we decided to research ghost and demons in the library. Not a good idea if you go to a Catholic school. So we built a ghost trap together and got a D from our teacher, Mr. Chambers. And I swear, Mr. Chambers, he wore this beard and I think the only reason he wore it was because if you shaved it off his face was so round he would look like the man in the moon.  But anyway, Joe and I, we clicked.  We had a really good time growing up.


JOE: The summer of 1989 was a big summer for me.  I entered my 13th year of life on the planet and realized that, for good or bad, I was now a teenager.  It was also the summer that belonged to the Batman.  I’ve always loved comic books, what with the art and the wildly imaginative stories and characters.  Comics always charged my imagination. 

I remember my mother had a box of comics that she and her brothers bought and read as kids.  She let us read them.  I would read them over and over again, thrilling to the adventures of Batman and Robin, Superman, The Flash, and many more heroes from the DC universe. 

So it was very exciting to me to be a teen in the summer of 1989. That was the summer that the new Batman movie hit the silver screen.  My father took me to see Batman around the time of my birthday.  I loved it.  It really left a huge impression on me.  I then went with Darren to see it again and, possibly, three more times after that.  I couldn’t get enough of it. 

It was around this time that we seriously began talking about making our own super-hero movie.  I loved watching movies even more than reading comics.  The process of how these images are visually put together fascinated me but I had never thought about making one of my own.  The more Darren and I talked about doing it, the more fun it sounded like it’d be.


We decided to make a movie featuring the scarlet speedster himself, The Flash.  Why we picked him I don’t remember.  We were going to shoot the movie on a camcorder.  Up to the point when we began production on The Flash we had made a series of short movies on camcorder featuring the new line of toys based on the Batman movie.  Those were fun to do.  We made them up as we went.  That was really the only experience we had in movie-making.  I have no idea how we intended to edit the movie together. 

DAR: The first movie we wanted to make was Dr. Who.  But we abandoned the project fairly quickly.  You know how it is with us. We’ll come up with something, stop and begin something else because our minds are constantly coming up with new ideas. That’s when we decided to do The Flash.  Mostly because we thought he was a cool character. I don’t know why we didn’t think to do Batman; it would’ve been a little easier. We wouldn’t have had to use special effects. Like, how the hell were we going to make him speed up? But we thought we could work around it.

JOE: We thought the whole ‘running fast’ thing was something we could edit in post-production.  Not that either of us really knew what post-production was at the time.  We just wanted to try our hands at shooting a movie.  Didn’t matter to us if we knew what we were doing or not.  We were going to try it anyway. 

We needed a script to guide us through the shoot. This presented a problem as neither one of us had ever written a script before.  Didn’t matter, we wrote one anyway.  It chronicled the origins of the Flash, beginning with a young Barry Allen running around his neighborhood losing races to the other kids and being bullied and such.  Barry then grows up and joins the police force.  He works in the lab because he’s not physically impressive or skilled in hand to hand combat.  Then one evening he is working late in the lab and low and behold some accident happens and he is endowed with super powers that enable him to run really, really fast! 

It pretty much followed the comic up to that point.  From there he needed a villain to fight.  We came up with some terrorists that hated women.  They kidnapped a bunch of them and held them for ransom in an abandoned building.  It’s funny now.  We thought it was cool at the time. 

We used friends from school for the cast.  Jesse Laker, a classmate of ours, agreed to play Barry Allen/Flash.  We thought he was perfect for the part.  He looked about right and also had a younger brother who could play young Barry Allen.  We had quite a large group of volunteers to play the terrorists.  I thought we would have trouble with that part. Go figure. 

DAR:. God bless Jesse Laker. He’s gone now. Passed away. Shot in the car by his cousin. Laker was cool. All the girls liked him. He had blond hair and freckles. He was the perfect Flash.

JOE: We got everybody together to shoot the big scene where the Flash takes down the terrorists and frees the women.  The shoot went pretty well from what I recall.  The thing that stands out about it is our first use of Karo corn syrup and red food coloring for blood. 

DAR: for some reason we liked to use a lot of blood on things. We learned how to make blood using corn syrup and food coloring and we had jugs of it. I guess even at that time in our lives we were destined to do horror movies because we used blood on everything.

JOE: One of the women was to be bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat by a terrorist.  We got a close-up of the girl’s bloody head after her demise.  The girl who played the woman was named Mable.  She lay down on the ground and we poured a bowl of our fake blood all over her head.  In the middle of the shot, she sat up and shouted that she couldn’t breathe!  We got a good laugh out of that. 

We were allowed to shoot this masterpiece at St. Philip Neri Grade School.  I got a summer job there on the maintenance crew where I stripped and waxed floors, cut grass, painted classrooms and other sorts of general up keep.  Since I was on the maintenance crew that meant I had my own set of keys.  We shot scenes of the terrorists on the roof of the building.  How we got permission for that I don’t know.  It was a lot of fun. 

Things were going well up to that point, but then, shortly after the terrorist rooftop scene, Jesse Laker had to withdraw from the movie.  I don’t remember why.  So everything we’d shot up to this point was worthless. 

We actually shot quite a bit with him, including the scene where he first appears in the full Flash costume. The costume was pretty neat, although it wasn’t at all like the red one in the comic book.  It was all black.  Yep, like in the Batman movie.  I don’t think it was our intention to do that.  Jesse had a pair of black sweat pants that for some reason we thought we could use as part of the costume. 

The costume was filled out with a black sweater.  Darren got someone to sew a yellow lighting bolt down the middle.  I don’t remember what the mask was made of but I’m sure it was black.

DAR: The costume was horrible looking. I remember the gloves were dishwashing gloves. I don’t know what we were thinking.

JOE: Now that our star had left the movie in mid-shoot we needed to decide if we should carry on or close down shop.  Darren thought that I could play Barry Allen.  I reluctantly agreed and took over the role. We were so close to finishing the movie it seemed a shame not to complete it, even if we did have to do massive re-shoots. 

When Jesse left the movie, the costume went with him so we opted to create a new one.  This time we did it right.  The costume was red and, with the exception of a few minor details, pretty close to the Flash’s comic book counterpart. 

DAR: Joe was so skinny at the time that he looked good in the suit. We spray-painted some combat boots yellow, got him this red unitard that he wasn’t thrilled about wearing and made him a little belt.  I created the mask out of full latex from a mold of his face and glued wings on the side. It looked cool! I wish we had that mask today. It was crude, but he looked like the Flash. We made the whole Flash costume from scratch with the emblem on the front.

JOE: I hated wearing that costume.  We really could have done better on those boots, but we thought it worked at the time.  We ended up shooting zero footage of me in the Flash costume.  What a relief!  We shot only one scene of me in the role of Barry Allen.  It was a dinner scene involving Barry and his love interest, Iris. 

We made a faux restaurant in an empty classroom at St. Philip Neri.  My older sister, Jennifer, played the waitress.  Darren handled the camera chores.  We only lit Barry and Iris.  Everything else was black.  It looked pretty good for what we had. 

My next-door neighbor, Jennifer Sims, played Iris.  She did a good job.  Unfortunately, shortly after we shot the restaurant scene we had to pull the plug on our little production of The Flash.  The problem this time was that Jennifer’s father came to pick her up and we weren’t finished shooting.  We were almost done but he’d have none of it.  It was time for his little girl to go and that was that.  I believe her father made her quit the movie.  It became obvious that we could not keep a cast together for a movie like this at that time.  We were just too young and inexperienced.

DAR: It was hard. We kept running into these problems that we still run into today; trying to get actors, trying to find equipment and locations. Making a movie is really fucking hard to do.

JOE: Sadly, I have no footage of our first attempt at film-making.  All I have left is a copy of the script.  No, you can’t read it.  It will induce vomiting!

I have fond memories of shooting The Flash.  Soon after we pulled the plug on our movie a short-lived TV series featuring the character aired for one season.  I liked that show. 


7th grade came and went and then it was off to high school.  Darren went to Arsenal Technical High School (Tech for short).  I went to Cathedral High School.  By this point we’d decided to make a go of this movie-making thing.  We got together on the weekends and hit the theaters to research the latest crop of movies.  And after wards we went to the comic book shop to pick up the latest issues of our favorite superheroes.

I had developed a love of horror movies early on.  I enjoyed staying up late on Friday nights, glued to the TV screen as local horror show host Sammy Terry introduce that week’s offering of terror.  Then, at 2am one of Universals classics from the 30’s and 40’s would air.   

I loved the atmosphere of these movies.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  Eventually, the Hammer Horror films of the late 50’s and 60’s also crossed my path.  That was it.  Someday, I’d be making horror films.  Darren also enjoyed horror movies but not as much as I did.  We would get the latest issue of Fangoria Magazine for all our horror movie news and I absorbed Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Edgar Allan Poe.


Darren and I were talking to the Priest at St. Philip Neri one day. He knew we were creative and asked if we would like to perform some live comedy at the summer festival.  We thought that would be a fun thing to try out.  We both enjoyed the Kids in the Hall sketch comedy show and thought we’d try something along those lines. Why not?  He was impressed with our enthusiasm and pretty much gave us carte blanche to do whatever we wanted.

Darren and I got to work writing enough sketches to fill the thirty-minute time slot we had been given.  We then went to the local thrift shop and acquired the props and costumes needed to put on the show. 

We asked a few friends if they would be interested in being in the show.  No luck.  Only one guy was willing to help out.  His name escapes me.  I do remember he lived on the same street as Darren.  He attended a few rehearsals but ended up backing out of the show with a couple of weeks to spare.  Now we had to come to terms with the inevitability that it was only going to be the two of us performing in the show.


We would be performing these skits on a bare stage in St. Philip Neri’s gym.  We created two large canvases with the name of our show, DIP, painted on them. We placed these at the back of the stage to spice it up a bit.

DIP…what a name.  It seemed like a good fit at the time, just a silly word for our silly little show.

The day of the show was very exciting.  Everything seemed different somehow.  Darren and I would be performing comedy we had written in front of a live audience.  We believed it to be a step in the right direction.  It was disappointing that we couldn’t get any of our friends excited enough to help out, but the show must go on!

This was my first attempt at writing comedy.  If I recall correctly, Darren and I wrote a handful of skits separately. We then got together to flesh them out. A friend of mine who backed out of the show early on let us use a character he created called Richard Head. The only guidelines he had for the character was that he had to be nerdy and love Star Trek. We made him a late night talk show host. In every interview, he would compare the guest with some Star Trek character.

DAR: Richard Head! Dick Head. We thought that was so funny at the time. But the show turned out well. I remember Joe’s dad did the lighting.

JOE: We had a lot of fun performing this show and felt really good about it afterwards.  We got a generally good response from what I recall.

The biggest problem with the show was the amount of dead space in-between the skits.  We had different costumes for each sketch.  When one sketch would end, the curtain would close. We would then change costumes while the audience sat there twiddling their thumbs as they waited for the next act.  We did the best we could with what we had to work with. We must have done something right because we were asked back the following summer.


Sometime betwixt the summer of 1992 and the summer of 1993 we decided to shoot a vampire movie. Darren and I would play two vampires fighting over a woman.  We worked out the feeble story together and I put it on paper. 

Basically, these two vampires had established hunting grounds along a particular stretch of farmland.  They had a mutual understanding that neither one would cross into the others territory.  They kept this truce until they discovered a woman who just so happened to live on the imaginary line dividing their domains.  The two vampires fell in love with this mortal, which freaked them out.  It was very goofy and melodramatic.

We only shot a couple of scenes for this, the biggest scene involving the climax where the vampires duel it out.
We enlisted the help of Alan and Josh from our place of employment, Marsh Supermarkets.  Alan had a car and offered his services. His car was huge with a big smiley face on the front of it, so we had no trouble packing into it.  Josh was curious as to how we were going to do this and offered to help any way he could.  He was a funny guy and fun to work with.

Darren’s brother, David, had a piece of land out in Mooresville and he gave us permission to shoot there.  It was perfect for the scene where the two vampires battle it out in the film’s climatic ending. So Darren, Josh and I piled into Alan’s car and headed out to Mooresville one fine evening.

We spent that entire night shooting this thing.  It began with the vampires yelling at each other.  Then a short fight ensued.  Finally, the vampires discovered they were at an impasse, being of equal strength.  They talked briefly and decided to allow the mortal to decide.  How sweet!  

The shoot itself went well enough. We decided to shoot the vampire duel in David’s barn. Originally, the fight was to take place outdoors but it began raining as soon as we reached David’s property.  That pissed me off considerably.  The barn was a really good place to shoot this thing.  It allowed us a more controlled environment.  Not to mention it had electricity. 

We brought along some colored lights to give it a more interesting look.  I believe Josh and Alan alternated between holding the lights and using the camera and smacking the shit out of me every time I pissed and moaned about the rain.

DAR: That was the first time we used colored lighting. We really got into it. At the time we were just experimenting with film-making. We had so much fun doing it and going off to different locations to shoot. At that time, as teenagers, we were on so many adventures.  Those were such good times.

JOE: We never finished the vampire movie.  For one thing we couldn’t get any of the scant few females we knew to play the part of the Woman in the movie. That was a problem. I think we realized along the way that this was not turning out the way we wanted. The movie’s original title, as much as I don’t want to write it, was The Vampire Duel of Love. There. Take your shots. 

It’s officially called Vampire Thing due to the Indy Star article written about us in 1994. We were listing the projects we had done up to that point to our interviewer and when we got to the vampire movie I called it ‘Vampire Thing’.  I came to regret the original title of the vampire movie and couldn’t get it past my lips.

I have good memories of shooting Vampire Thing.  It was really just an experiment for us.  We messed around with the colored lighting here more than before.  The colored lighting gave the movie a much more surreal feel and made it look better than it deserved.  We had no money.  We were always looking for ways to make our projects look more expensive than they were.  So I learned a lot about lighting and atmosphere. 

I would put what I learned here to good use on my next film project, Blood Pudding.




The next summer festival at St Philip Neri was quickly approaching.  We were eager to improve upon last year’s show.  Early on Darren and I started asking our friends if they’d like to participate.  This time we got more help then we knew what to do with. 

Our fellow Marsh workers Josh, Alan and John Mattingly agreed to help out.  John and Josh would appear in the show.  Alan would help out behind the scenes.  We were also able to secure a female cast member named Ginny.  She and Darren were dating at the time.  I never got along with Ginny.  John Mattingly lived on the same street as Darren.  He ended up working at the same Marsh store as Darren and I.  His dry matter-of-fact hillbilly-like delivery of lines added a lot to the show. 

We knew we wanted more on stage this time than just two canvases with DIP painted on them.  Our new set design would be a vast improvement. We created a false wall that stretched from one end of the stage to the other. We made a doorway in the middle so characters could enter from center stage as well as from the wings. We used the two walls from the previous show as a model for the new walls.  Four 2x4s made up the framework and a piecemealed canvas covered the front.  We then painted them to give them the look we wanted.  So far, things were really shaping up. 

Sound was also a problem for us during our first show.  We decided that we should rent a sound system to fix this problem.  It included two speakers, a mixer and microphones.  Getting better. 

Darren told me a local band called ‘Victor Puppy Bone’ was interested in playing in our show.  Wow!  I agreed, as it would only add to the quality.   

Okay, so the stage was better.  The sound was better.  We had more actors and backstage help. We had a local band to fill it out for us, yet something was still not right. What to do about all of that dead air between skits?

Darren had created a character he called the Dar (JEREMY: Ego-maniac).  He was a silent movie type character in the mold of Charlie Chaplin with a bit of Emmet Kelly thrown in for good measure.  We decided that Darren could perform as the Dar between skits while the rest of us changed costumes.  OK, now we would have zero dead air!

DAR: Yes, the Dar did spawn from this show. It was such a stupid character looking back at it now. I really wish I hadn’t done it. I wish I had just acted in the skits while Victor Puppy Bone played a song between each one in order to keep everyone’s attention going. We changed quickly in the back. The costumes weren’t that elaborate. It didn’t take us that long to change and set up for the next skit. So yeah, I have regrets about doing the Dar character.

JOE: Now we just needed to write the skits.  This year we were given an hour time slot.  Also, we were given the chance to do the show for two nights!  We jumped on that.  Now we just had to come up with enough to fill the time. Darren, Josh and I would get together after work and talk about things that we thought were funny.  Darren was mostly busy coming up with things for the Dar to do while we were changing costumes.  

Josh and I ended up writing all the skits for the show.  We looked at last year’s show to see what (if anything) could be done again.  We brought back only one character, Richard Head.  Since Richard Head was a nerdy character that hosted a late night talk show we used him to introduce this year’s show to the audience.  He got to interact with the Dar in the opening of the show. 

JEREMY: It should be noted that Joe played Richard Head. Art imitating life? You decide.

JOE: Once the show was written and the set was built, we spent a lot of time rehearsing.  We wanted the show to end with a giant pie throwing fight.  Time didn’t allow for this, so that was scratched.


This was a very exciting day!  St Philip Neri was abuzz with festival-goers.  Our friends and family came to support the show.  I recruited my father to run the spot light and my mother to open and close the curtains.  Alan ran the video camera.  It was time.

The show opened with the Dar setting some cakes out in front of the stage.  The Richard Head character ran through the audience and scolded the Dar for eating some of the cakes.  He then instructed the Dar to turn on the lights so the show could begin.  We had painted part of the backdrop to look like outer space.  We lit up the stars with some Christmas lights.  It looked quite striking. 

The lights came on and the band started playing.  This was Richard Head’s cue to run out onstage and do a stupid little dance.  Then he introduced the show.  We preformed a few skits and then it was time for intermission.  The band played a few songs during this time.  We then did the rest of the skits and once the show came to an end the band played one more song. 

We got a fairly good response from this show.  We set up hats on the tables for donations.  Mrs. Swisher, the school secretary, carried one of the hats around and asked people to give.  She said she could tell we worked hard on this show and had earned it.  When she brought the hat back to us, she had collected $40.00.  We went to the Paramount Pizza Palace to celebrate.  All in all it was a great evening.


To me, this day seemed to be more exciting than the day before.  We felt we had a good show but it still needed some work.  Darren and I arrived at the school in the early afternoon.  We sat backstage and discussed what was right with the show and what we should tweak for tonight’s performance.  We decided a couple of skits didn’t quite work and took up too much time.  Last night’s show actually ran about ten minutes over.  We cut the skits. 

When the rest of the cast arrived we all sat backstage and went over the new order of the show.  Everyone was pretty excited, but now was the hardest part…waiting for show time. Soon the lights went up and we had a blast performing.  It was even better than the night before.

Jesse and Jeremy like to remind me that the show would have been even better if they had helped write and perform in it.  Sure it would have.  But they didn’t.  They couldn’t.  We didn’t know them at the time.  It is what it is.  Looking back on it, I’m proud of what we did with it.

JEREMY: If I have one regret it’s that I wasn’t born with Johnny Depp’s looks.  My second regret is that I couldn’t be a part of this show.  I would have really enjoyed the experience. Joe and Dar expelled a lot of creative energy into getting that show up and running and I’ve always been impressed by that. 




JOE: Darren and I had been talking about going to film school for some time.  We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go but wherever it was we knew we wanted to go together.  We began looking at some college film programs.  None of them really impressed us.  Then Darren came to me one day with a brochure from a school called Full Sail, Center for the Recording Arts.   

DAR: A close friend of mine named Amber Stevens knew I was into film and thought I had talent so she told me about these recruiters for a university called Full Sail who were looking for kids about to graduate from high school.  The presentation was taking place in Tech’s auditorium. Amber and I attended the presentation together and, being a teenager, I was easily persuaded that Full Sail was the bomb. Since Joe went to Cathedral High School he didn’t know about the presentation. I told him about it the next day and he was pretty excited about it.

JOE: I checked out the brochure Dar brought over. It seemed pretty cool.  It was located in Winter Park, Florida, a small town just outside of Orlando.  That was fine with me.  We decided to fly to Florida and visit Full Sail when they held their next open house, which we did in the summer of ’93. We had to go to Chicago to meet up with some of the Full Sail staff and other people interested in attending the school.  There we would all board the same plane and fly to Florida together.

We took a train to Chicago, having left very early in the morning with the intention of meeting up with a friend of mine there who said he would show us around.  The train ride was interesting.  Darren and I spent most of the ride talking about what the future may have in store for us as up and coming filmmakers.  We arrived in Chicago and the first thing we did after exiting the train was find a payphone so I could dial my friend’s phone number. 

Someone picked up on the other end but it wasn’t my friend and they made it very clear to me that they had never heard of him.  I thought I might have misdialed.  I tried again and got the same result.  Oh well, I must have copied the number down wrong. 

We left the station in search of a taxicab to take us to our hotel.  We were immediately accosted by two bum’s wanting a hand out (JEREMY: No, it wasn’t Jesse and I).  We told them we had nothing for them and hopped in the first taxi we could find.  We soon made it to the hotel, which I believe was a Holiday Inn.  After checking in and dumping our meager belongings in our room we went down to the hotel restaurant and got a bite to eat. 

It was early afternoon.  We had a lot of time to kill so we decided to check out a nearby mall.  There we found a movie theater and watched The Last Action Hero.  It was a funny movie.  When we got back to the Hotel we stopped by the restaurant for dinner.  By then it was time to retire for the evening.  We had to get up early to catch the shuttle over to the airport. 

My head hit the pillow and it seemed like no time before the phone rang with our wake up call.  We staggered out of bed, gathered our things and headed for the shuttle.  Once we got to the airport we found the Full Sail group without a hitch.  You could not miss that bunch, believe me.  We checked in and while we waited for our flight we talked to a few people, making polite conversation as we weeded through them for the ones interested in film. 

Full Sail was mostly known for its audio program at the time.  The film and video program was a relatively new one.  We met a lot of people interested in the audio program before finally coming across a man who shared our own fascination with the film and video program. 

Unbeknownst to us at the time, this man was going to play a significant role in our future adventures.  His name was Ben Beck.  He was about our age and liked movies as much as we did.  We seemed to hit it off with him from the start.  We sat together on the plane and talked about movies during the entire trip to Florida. When we arrived at the Orlando International Airport we boarded a shuttle that took us straight to Full Sail, and no sooner were we off the shuttle then the tour began.

Ben, Darren, and I stuck close together on the tour.  We got to see pretty much the entire school, which we expected.  One of the things that impressed us about Full Sail was the hands-on approach it took.  The students got to use the same kind of equipment that would be used in the field.  Lunch was also provided for us on this tour.  This gave us a chance to take a breath for a moment and reflect on our experiences thus far.  Everything about the school looked and sounded good to us.  We were just bothered about the money.  We were gonna have to borrow it…lots of it.

We spied the Full Sail admissions representative, Kirk Squires, walking by and asked him to sit with us.  Once we’d cornered him, we discussed the money situation.  He said we shouldn’t worry about it, that the government wanted us in school.  We would get finical aid.

The next part of the tour presented us with a choice.  We could go on a tour of some of the apartment complexes in the area or do something else.  I don’t remember what that something else was.  We went on the apartment tour.  This would be our first home away from our parents, which meant we would be paying the bills ourselves, so we thought we’d check them out firsthand.

Toward the end of the tour Ben bought Darren and I Full Sail T-shirts.  These shirts were twenty bucks a pop.  Darren and I brought enough money to eat on. We did not have the money to spend on T-shirts.  Ben spent forty dollars on two guys he hardly knew.  I thought this was strange but chalked it up to a new friendship. 

We learned that Ben would be starting Full Sail in August of 1994.  Darren and I would begin in September of 1994. This seemed like a great thing to us.  We would know someone who started class before us.  Ben could then give us a really good run down of what to expect from the classes.  We exchanged phone numbers and addresses.  The plan was to keep in touch and meet up again in Florida

So there it was.  Our ticket into film-making: Full Sail, the Center for the Recording Arts. We would only have to complete our senior year of high school before we could attend, yet it seemed like an eternity.  We did keep in touch with Ben over that time, as well as Kirk Squires.

I met Jeremy Lee Riley at the end of the summer of ’93.  At the beginning of my senior year of high school I met Jesse Handlon.  Together the four of us would slay this mighty beast called film-making.

Next: Through A Glass, Darkly


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