Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
Fall 2017 Official Selection
Here Comes the Neighborhood, Directed by Michael Charron
The comedy short film, Here Comes the Neighborhood, written and directed by Michael Charron, is an official selection of the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017. The film is also the winner of the "Best Texas Comedy Film" and the "Best Original Music" Award. This ten minute film, shot in Austin, was a hit with the audience featuring excellent acting performances by Eric Anderson and Chris Cubas. The judges selected the film because of it's high production value and comedic timing. There is also a nice underlying message about the gentrification of certain areas of Austin and the ever changing culture of the city.
Michael Charron: Director's Biography
As far back as he can remember the movie theater has been Michael’s favorite place to be. As a child, he got lost for hours in the stories he found there, in a dark room, set apart from the “real” world. As he grew, Michael began to see the movie theater as a place where traditions are subverted--where the status quo gets turned on its head. And this is where his writing sensibilities lie--in taking an established concept or idea and finding a way to turn it into something completely different. From slasher films where the “sexy” girls are the most competent ones to a rom-com where the meet cute takes place during casting for a snuff film, there’s no trope he’s unwilling to push to its limit.
Michael Charron: Director's Biography continued
From an early age he was a storyteller, crafting worlds that he and his friends would play in, but it wasn’t until much later that he even realized he could be the guy to create the movies he so loved. After years of pursuing music performance and production, Michael sat down to write his first script, which he eventually turned into a movie. Since then he’s written more than fifteen feature films (and produced four of them) as well as a handful of shorts. Michael has had several scripts place as semi-finalists in festivals and has had multiple short films win awards at film festivals in recent years, including two that took top honors.
Michael Charron: Director's Statement
After living in Austin for the past 16 years, I‘ve seen the landscape grow and change in many ways, some better, and some decidedly not. As young professionals move to the city in record numbers, converting laundromats into specialty bistros with puns for names, the value of Austin real estate continues to skyrocket, which means that Austinites cannot keep up with the rising property taxes. “Here Comes the Neighborhood” is our attempt to shed some light--and laughter--on the correlation between a city’s love of trendy bars and restaurants and the displacement of its longest-standing residents.
Here Comes the Neighborhood: The Story Behind the Story
We caught up with the, Here Comes the Neighborhood film crew, for an inside look at the production of this film.
- Why did you think that your film was a good fit for the Austin Comedy Short FF? "The film is a comedy set in Austin, starring local comedians and dealing with real gentrification issues we have in Austin. Oh, and it's short. And, you know, a comedy."
- What inspired you and your team to make this film and how did you come up with the title? "It's very loosely based on a real story that happened to a friend of mine about 15 years ago. A guy asked him for a ride home from downtown late one night and he agreed and ended up on a really wild night. It was always a favorite story of mine and I thought it would be fun to adapt into a short. During the writing process I thought it might be a good story to make a sort of statement about gentrification issues in Austin in a way that's funny but might make people think."
- What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? "Most of them I've been working with on other projects for years and/or at least been friends with for a long time. I've been lucky to find so many funny actors around town who trust me and like working with me enough that I can just ask and they'll jump to do it."
- How were you able to get the locations for your film? "Most of the locations are just the streets around Austin so we just went out and did it. The one real location was the 04 lounge and I have a mutual friends of the owner and he was more than willing to make it available to us for shooting. He liked the concept a lot and even worked as a background extra in the scene."
- Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film?
Funding was very minimal. We ran a crowdfunding campaign that didn't quite work out like we hoped. So I, the writer/director, just funded it myself. Mostly with favors and borrowed equipment. Two of my main crew members I've known for more than 20 years and the others I've known and worked with for a few years on other things and they were willing to donate their time outside of paying projects. It took a lot longer to finish that way but we really enjoy working together and I wouldn't have wanted to make it any other way.
- Has creating this short film helped the careers of the people involved in any way? "The festivals we've played have helped get their work in front of more people."
- What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making this film? "Money, and locations. Having such a tiny budget we had to work around the actors and crews schedules and spent about 8 months in post working on things between other paying projects. We had to change the opening of the movie because the location called for was too expensive and then we had to find streets to drive on that were well lit enough to look good but also had the feel of the neighborhood we were trying to portray. Not to mention having to deal with other traffic on the streets."
- In what city and state was this film shot on location? "Austin, TX"
- Can you tell us about a time when something really funny happened on set, that didn't get caught on camera? "We actually have a really funny moment on tape that was only funny in hindsight. One night in our rush to get a shot done, the camera rig on the car was not tied down properly and the slack from one the straps came loose and went under the front tire. No serious damage was done, there was a dent in the front fender, but the camera was rolling and the camera jerked with the pull and the look on everyone's faces when it happened was priceless. And the sound guy immediately popped into frame from the hatchback trunk to look around. The insurance deductible on that ate up half the budget but the video of their faces when it happened was a good moment to look back on and laugh at."
- Can you list any awards, nominations or official selections for this film? "Official selection of both Breckenridge Film Festival and Reel East Texas Film Festival."
Michael Charron: Director's Statement continued
Like any good planned urban development, this film is years in the making. Trevor, the film’s lead character, goes on a journey loosely based on the true story of a wild night experienced by a friend of mine about 15 years ago. I suspected that, given the right angle, my friend’s unbelievable narrative would make an entertaining film. A less-than-effective crowdfunding campaign left us with an extremely limited budget, so we spent a year and a half making “Here Comes the Neighborhood”--in our spare time and between other projects--for very little money. Fortunately, I’ve known and worked with most of the cast and crew for more than a decade, and some have pushed past the quarter-century mark in our time as friends and collaborators. Whether we’re short on funds or short on audience, I’m confident that we’ll continue to work together to find creative ways to make the films we love.