By Dan Guarino
Rockaway and Broad Channel have been great places to film in, being the locale of choice for many film and television shoots. Joining that list of ‘made right here’ productions is one of its shortest and certainly most interestingly titled.
Early Sunday morning, March 11, the crew and cast of “I Thought I Saw A Serial Killer” set up bright and early, ready to film at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Post in Broad Channel.
Turns out, the bar at the rear of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 260 on Shad Creek Road, located on Cross Bay Blvd., was the perfect spot to shoot this serio-comic short with a twist. VFW members opened up at 7 a.m. for the crew and hosted them once again to complete filming on Monday, March 12.
Scriptwriter, director and actor Anthony Kaye explained the film is being made for “a competition hosted by Musicbed.com, a subscription royalty-free music website.” A big part of the challenge is that all submissions must be started and finished within 30 days, with a hard March 31 deadline for all.
“Start something. Finish something,” says the Musicbed Challenge website. “You have 30 days to make a film that fits into one of these categories: Documentary, Spec-Ad, or Narrative.” Industry-leading judges will review every film.” Winners will receive the judges’ personal feedback, and $100K in cash and prizes.
Additionally, Kaye noted, each film “can be no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer that 10 minutes.” They must also use one music piece, from a selection provided by Musicbed, someway, somewhere in the finished film.
Back at the VFW, filming is underway for scenes for “I Thought I Saw a Serial Killer.” Kaye says, “The VFW is a warm and welcoming place, with fun and friendly patrons, and we deeply appreciate the generosity of the members in letting us film here.” Having worked on previous productions there, he noted it’s “a special spot, with the added bonus of a stunning view of the Manhattan city skyline.”
“The film,” he explained, “is a parody of an original idea I had for a dark comedy feature-film script after a friend invited me out to a local bar in Queens. Over the evening, I got into a discussion with a stranger who suddenly gave me a very creepy vibe, and started to remind me of a serial killer.” Kaye plans to finish the longer script this summer.
Albeit nervously, he says he is playing one of the two characters chatting at the VFW’s bar. In take after take, surrounded by cameras and sound gear, he and actor Rod Caccavale added touches to their performance, like nervous tapping on a beer glass. Caccavale also suggested draining amounts from his glass as they progressed, noting how often you will see characters in movies with a half-empty glass in one scene which is then “magically” full again in the next.
Joining them are actors Maegan Kaye, Candy Flermius and Harrison Kaye. The film crew consisted of Joe Valva, Donna Valva, Wanda Grobelkiewicz, Edgar Morales, Gregory Grambo, and Flermuis, doing double-duty, with Kaye as Director. All added suggestions to the proceedings, including a bystander, who proposed a dialogue line which did get used in a possible take.
Studying filmmaking, script and storytelling since 2006, Kaye met his production mates while working in all capacities on “over 100 different programs appearing on QPTV.”
“We have worked together ever since on both QPTV programs and our own independent productions,” often with their production roles interchanging. With a number of award-winning productions between them, he noted their working style is very collaborative. “We rely on each other’s ideas, opinions, advice and expertise.”
“The shoot at the VFW took us two days. Editing will probably take one to two weeks.” His next project is a documentary on the Gaslight Key Club. Opened in the 1950s, this “hidden gem of old New York” recreates the speakeasy style of a Roaring ‘20’s establishment, and was “renown for an amazing roster of classic jazz musicians from New York City’s jazz heyday. Elizabeth Taylor shot scenes for her movie ‘Butterfield 8’ there,” Kaye said. “And both my mother and her twin sister were employed as Gaslight Showgirls.”
With the clock ticking though, Kaye and company state they will let the public know when, where and how they might view “I Thought I Saw A Serial Killer.”
“This project was great fun for me,” he says. It was the first project our production team had worked on since the Covid-19 lockdowns were finally lifted, and I am so grateful to be working on on them again.”
About filming in Broad Channel, he said the island community “has a great vibe, a sleepy hidden little gem, with a down-home small-town feel, right on the outskirts of the Big City.”
Photo by Dan Guarino.