LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!
by BOB KECSKEMETY
The last television show to regularly shoot in Broward County was “Caribe” starring Stacy Keach in 1975. The last television comedy shot in South Florida was “The Jackie Gleason Show” in the mid-sixties. That all may change soon.
On Tuesday, July 20, a video crew was shooting a pilot for a situation comedy at the Poverello Center Thrift Store and Java Boys.
The “production title” for the show is “Bummed Out.”
“It’s about two executives who lost their jobs in today’s economy,” said Rose Warner, co-producer and director of “Bummed Out”. “They tried the freelancing and unemployment routes when they realized that bums on the street are making more then they were. So they turned to being bums.” The other co-producer is Alan Darnay who also stars in the show.
The show will be based in Broward County using an all local cast and crew. Warner used to live in this area and knew how much character the area has. She also recognized that so many movies and television shows are shot in South Beach meanwhile, Broward County is virtually an untapped location. She was already familiar with Poverello but found Java Boys when scouting locations and saw that a many people were always patronizing the coffee shop. “The production team came in and asked if they could shoot a scene in the store,” said Nicki Rose, owner of Java Boys. “Then they asked me to be in the scene — which I hesitantly accepted.”
As regular customers showed up at Java Boys while the crew was setting up the lights, camera and microphones, they were asked if they would like to be extras for the shoot. Many of the regular Java Boys customers signed releases and are part of the scene.
“I’m very excited,” said Karlos Lofton, a regular customer of Java Boys-turned- TV-star, “Wilton Manors needs this.”
Realtor Robert Cieslak, another Java Boys customer chosen to be an extra said, “This is great and it would be amazing for the community [if the show succeeds].”
The Florida Film Commission took away the incentives for shooting in South Florida which was a multi-billion dollar business. Many shoots planned for South Florida were cancelled. When the legislature was shown a study that for every dollar spent on film production, $7 is returned to the community’s economy in goods and services, State representatives voted fund the film industry $242 million over the next five years. “Bummed Out” is one of the first new projects.
Shooting for the “Bummed Out” pilot is scheduled to be completed by August 1 with post production finished by mid- October. At that time, the producers will be pitching the show to two broadcast networks which have shown interest. The entire cast, including the extras and crew, will be invited to a wrap party and viewing of the completed pilot at Java Boys.
If picked up, “Bummed Out” should premier in the winter 2011 television schedule.