The Making of Physical

by Roger Turner Jr (director)

In February 2020 — just before the world went psycho — I got a text from Dylan asking me to read over and give him notes on a short script he had written for fun. Little did we know, that same story would go on to receive praise at screenplay contests around the country and ultimately became the premise for our next short film. It’s called “Physical”.

THE SCRIPT

The original script of Physical was similar to what we shot this Summer, however, figuring out what would make the shooting script was a process in-and-of itself. The first, and most profound revision, came after speaking with a former producer on SNL whom we connected with by chance. Long story short — because how we met this man is worth mentioning — Dylan’s father met this guy at a bar. He mentioned he had been a producer on SNL since the 80s. Dylan’s dad took the hint, gave him Dylan’s contact info, and the next day he called us. We were excited because this was the first legitimate producer in the industry whom had reached out to us and he seemed genuinely interested in helping us develop Physical into a better script. But that is where the praise for this man is relinquished. After giving us notes, which if there is one positive that came out of it, it is that he opened up another side of our brain that we had not been using before, and by that I mean his notes illuminated the idea that we needed to tell a story that would be entertaining throughout the duration of the film, not just some regular old amateur short. 

We then revised the script, and cut many crucial parts of the story from the shooting script. To give you an idea of how much we cut, the original script was 20 pages, and we had cut it down to nine. About a month prior to filming, Dylan walked into my room. Distressed with his hands on his head and anxiety fuming from his pores, he confessed: “I want to shoot the original.”

To which I replied: “Let’s do it.”

THE LOCATION

This was without a doubt our biggest concern throughout the entire preproduction process. Dylan and I were worried because the cost for renting a New York City doctor’s office was not something we could afford. Our alternatives consisted of shooting out-of-state, using a dentist office, or using Dylan’s pediatrician’s office. To further heighten our concerns, we knew we couldn’t continue to move the crowd-funding campaign, and ultimately the production as a whole, forward without securing a location ASAP. 

Then one afternoon our Executive Producer Anne called me with news that she was able to talk the wife of Dylan’s pediatrician into letting us rent the space for a reasonable fee. And when I say “reasonable”, I’m not exaggerating. We ended up renting the location for 5x less than what we would have had to pay had we rented a space in the city. As filmmakers working on a shoestring budget, we were beyond grateful for Nina and Frank DeVito allowing us to use the office for our shoot. We honestly probably would have never made it if they did not open their doors to us. And we also have to thank our E.P. Anne for being the true New Yorker she is and going out of her way to secure a location. 

The moral here being: Appreciate the little things, because without them, a grand idea is just that — an idea.

Director, Roger Turner & Writer/Actor, Dylan J. Murphy on the set of Physical.

CROWD FUNDING

After we knew what we were shooting, we put our heads together on how to fund Physical. All of our projects up until this point had been primarily financed by our Executive Producer Anne O’Driscoll aka Dylan’s mom. And this one was no different. She was still our primary contributor, and we are forever grateful for her, but we also launched a crowd funding campaign on IndieGoGo which proved to be a huge help leading up to, and when we began filming. Our goal was to raise $10,000 over a 60-day period. We came close, but we fell just short of our goal when the campaign ended. On the bright side, we were able to account for the difference out of our own pockets. But make no mistake we would not have been able to make the film the way we envisioned it without the contributions from the crowd funding campaign, which covered equipment expenses, catering, props, and wardrobe. 

With that said, if you are reading this and you contributed to the making of Physical, THANK YOU!!!

THE SHOOT

In what was hands down, no questions asked, the most fun thing either of us have ever worked on, the production of Physical was an absolute blast for everyone involved. Our crew consisted of the usual suspects and some new faces who proved to be huge additions on set. So we would like to thank and give credit to the following:

The cast and crew of Physical (from left to right: Melonie Bailey (Maya), Dylan J. Murphy (writer/Jim), Fernando Mateo Jr (Dr Carpenter), Devan Kelty (Gaffer/PA), Nicholas Delisi (Director of Photography/AP), Roger Turner Jr (director), Wade Bethel (Security Guard/Script Supervisor), Kenneth Harris (Sound Recordist/Boom Operator), Gary Murray (AD/AP), Matthew DeTitta (Dr Lewis), Christian Straub (Key Grip/PA); not pictured, Jeff Carlson (2nd Camera/PA)

Gary Murray – A.D./Associate Producer

Nicholas Delisi – Director of Photography (Culture Forge Productions)

Devan Kelty – 1st Camera Assistant/Gaffer

Christian Straub – Key Grip/Production Assistant

Kenneth Harris – Sound Recordist/Boom Operator

Wade Bethel – Script Supervisor/Wardrobe 

Jeff Carlson – 2nd Camera Assistant/Production Assistant

Without the aforementioned crew members, this film would have been 10x harder to make. You guys made directing a fun experience and I can’t thank you enough for your time and commitment to the vision of this film. 

Most important of all though, the entire cast and crew for Physical had fun every step of the way. What was once an insurmountable feat turned out to be the best UpStream production to date.

Thank you all for your support. We truly could not have done it without you.

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