Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
Fall 2017 Official Selection
Mr. Mainframe, directed by Stanley Sievers
The comedy short film directed by Stanley Sievers, Mr. Mainframe, is an official selection of the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017.
Mr. Mainframe: The Story Behind the Story
We caught up with the Mr. Mainframe Film Crew, for a behind-the-scenes look at the production of this comedy film.
- Why did you think that your film was a good fit for the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival? "Mr Mainframe is a period piece, and I thought it would stand out at the festival. In the past, i've found that this festival appreciates all kinds of humor, especially specific humor. In our case, Mr Mainframe was about hacker humor and 80's internet jargon. Also, I've submitted a lot of projects to ACSFF before and think the festival is run very well!"
- What inspired you and your team to make this film and how did you come up with the title? "Bryan (writer / lead actor) and I would always joke about The Matrix, Hackers, and other movies like that all the time. He told me he had an idea for a short about a group of hackers with a leader named Mr Mainframe, and their goal was to provide free dial up internet to the world. I was in, because I love those movies and the chance to make my own version sounded great."
- What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? "The actors were all friends of ours in the Chicago area improv comedy scene. Many of us have performed or taken classes together, so it's always fun to get your friends involved with something cool. When we told them about the project they thought it was funny and also just wanted to work with their friends."
- How were you able to get the locations for your film? "We shot at Annoyance Theater in Chicago, which is where Bryan and I both took improv classes. Actually, most actors in the short took Annoyance's improv program. The theater had a really cool look, and we asked the manager if we could shoot there. He said, absolutely. Annoyance has a rich history in comedy, so it was great to be able to shoot there."
- Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film? "Bryan Duff and I (Stanley Sievers) funded this ourselves. Most of the key crew members offered to work on it as a favor, and we paid for everyone's food / coffee. I've built up a group of collaborators that I tend to work with. We're not so much worried about making money all the time, instead we try to make interesting and cool projects that we like."
- Has creating this short film helped the careers of the people involved in any way? "Some of the actors have already added clips from the short into their reels, and the DP has added shots from it into his reel too. We're just getting started on the festival circuit, so we'll see what the future holds!"
- What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making this film? "The biggest challenge while making this film was making it actually seem like it took place in the 80's. I did all the art direction (for the most part) and I really tried to make sure I didn't miss anything. We rented a ton of props at a prop store up here, old computers, etc.. to really sell it. That was the biggest challenge. Oh, also we only had about 1.5 hours to shoot the hacker den group scene. So, we shot that whole scene in that time because all the actors had a hard out at a specific time. We even shot 2 more minutes of material before it was cut out in the editing room. That was hard, because I wanted to make sure I got everything I needed in only a few takes with each actor."
- In what city and state was this film shot on location? "Chicago, Illinois"
- Can you tell us about a time when something really funny happened on set, that didn't get caught on camera? "We had a really funny scene that ended up getting cut. There was a part in the hacker den scene where the new hacker kid suggests people just don't go online if they don't want to be hacked. Originally our friend Alec didn't have any lines and was just an extra. He was sitting in the very back of the room, just a hacker. Then we improvised him just yelling "no!!" really loud as a reaction to not getting online. That was really funny, so we kept it in the credits at the end."