Friday, August 20, 2010

A Green Screen in the Garage

Although Minneapolis-to-Boston transplant Chip Perro has had the basic idea for his superhero movie Mission Park since he was eight-years-old, it wasn't until the summer of 2009 that he was able to finally bring it to fruition with generous co-financing from executive producer mom Debbie and co-director dad Rick. Ahead of a sold-out world premiere on Wednesday, August 25th at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, the film has managed to generate a lot of buzz about its unique comic book-inspired look, which traces an ever-present stencil outline around each on-screen character.

Perro (pictured below) plays the part of Chris Ember, one of five disbanded Beantown super heroes who reunite for a night to crime-fighting. Echoing the plot of Mission Park, co-stars Casey Preston, Sam Pannier, Lauren Guglielmello and Christopher Pike are also the co-leads of High Heel Samurai, a one-hour Perro web series entering its third season.

"The garage where we shot the film is attached to the house we live in," Perro explains during an interview with FilmStew. "We did all the principal photography on a green screen set up there. It’s a two-stall garage, and the ceiling height is approximately 20 feet."

"The post-production and special effects work have been the most time-consuming parts of the production," adds the 25-year-old Harvard graduate, whose screenplays are registered under his legal name, Frederick R. Perro III. "After all the backgrounds were green-screened in and rough edited, I moved on to the compositing and digital effects work with Final Cut, Shake and Cinema 4D. My father and I worked on the editing together. I did all the visual editing, we both filmed backgrounds, and my father did the sound work."

Earlier this spring, Perro promoted Mission Park with a booth at Comic-Con's in Boston and Chicago. He says the response to the film's trailer was uniformly enthusiastic and that the appearances helped feed a growing e-mail subscriber list.

Perro is clearly an astute fan of the comic book and superhero genres, contextualizing his creation within some very specific ideas about what has previously worked - and not worked - on the big screen. "Comic book characters live in a fantastic world," he notes. "They wear tights, fight crime and can’t be recognized when they put on glasses. When this genre is translated to film, the fantastic element can be lost, and the result can be a movie that feels campy."

"One of the best examples of adapted media from comics to tv-film is Batman: The Animated Series," suggests Perro. "It’s not exactly realistic, but it’s played that way, and the fact that it’s animated allows audiences to suspend their disbelief a little more easily."

"It’s a subconscious thing. I wanted to take advantage of that unique feature of animation and translate it to a live-action environment. I filmed the actors in a way that makes the set look less “real” and then I was able to put them in tights and capes and make it more believable."

Perro is nothing if not prolific. In addition to the aforementioned High Heel Samurai and another even earlier comedy web series Shades of Ryan, he filmed three in-movie commercials for Mission Park (another two will pop up on the website) and is hoping to make a staggering five full-length sequels. Meanwhile, as a member of the family commercial production firm F.R. Perro Productions, Perro has completed assignments for his Alma Mater as well as The Animal Rescue League of Boston.

The August 25th premiere for this very ambitious $100,000 project will be an-all out local affair, with red carpet and the actors arriving by limousine. Perro has begun talking to distributors, and from all indications, there's no doubt he is going to be a Boston film force to be reckoned with. (Perro's first feature Remedial Attraction was made in-between his junior and senior years at Harvard night school.)

"Boston is an interesting city," Perro observes. "It’s beautiful and gritty at the same time, and that balance makes it a perfect place to set a superhero story. I have so many directions that I want to take the Mission Park characters in, and a hard copy companion comic book series is definitely a possibility."

"I have begun working out the details for the next five films, and have plot outlines for each of them," he continues. "The five superheroes will each have a movie that they will be featured in. The script for the first of the next wave, The Sapphire Empire, is partially written and will center on an adventure featuring my character, Chris Ember."

[Mission Park]

1 comment:

  1. "Victor Strength" I love it. I'll have to check out the web series you spoke of. Seems crazy!