The Making of “Moving Forward”

Baby’s First Mockumentary

The genre of “Mockumentary” was randomly assigned to us by the 48-hour Film Project, at around 7:00 pm on the evening of Friday July 24th. We then had until 7:30 pm Sunday July 26th to write, shoot, and edit our first mockumentary film.

Jeremy was out of town that weekend, so the writing fell to chris and I. But since we both had improv shows that evening we decided it was probably best to stay out drinking and leave the brainstorming to the next day when we were nice and hungover.

And so it was that roundabouts noon on Saturday we came to the realization that mockumentaries don’t need to be written. They’re improvised! We were off the hook! But every good mockumentary relies on a clever premise, so we began casting about for one of those. As we often do when pressed to be creative we turned to ideas we’d come up with in the past, back when we were young and less hungover. We have accumulated several good ideas scrawled on yellow legal pads over the years, but the one that gradually presented itself as most appropriate for this project was an idea concerning “The Unspeakable Adventures of Lewis and Clark,” a sort of documentary expose uncovering the covert activities of Lewis and Clark as secret steampunk government agents.

Unfortunately, much of that hilarious premise we quickly deemed unfilmable within the time constaints of 48 hours. But by that time Mr. Dan Granata had arrived to help brainstorm and the three of us gradually came around to the idea of Lewis and Clark reenacters, which seemed to fit the major criteria of mockumentary premise: pretty funny, but not utterly absurd.

In the past we’ve semi-unconsciously shied away from doing a mockumentary. I suspect this is because in the circles in which we run (i.e. the improv circles) mockumentary films are fairly common. A script is not required, and the whole thing can be shot cheaply and literally “from the hip” (our camera is heavy, and hips make for good resting places and interesting angles). For a mockumentary to work the biggest single requirement is a cast of hilarious people who can be believable and extemporaneous on camera. And so with about 30 hours left on the clock, we contacted our good friends: funny man and frequent collaborator Adam Schwartz, and excellent improviser Dorrie Ferguson, who also happens to be Chris’s girlfriend. That’s not why she got the part, mind you. That’s just why she TOOK the part.

Dorrie and Adam joined Dan to complete our improviser cast, and Chris and I turned our thoughts to the actual, time-constrained, production of this bad boy. More on that in a future post!

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