Yesterday, we had the privilege of touring the old Elementary/Middle school in Lordstown, Ohio and it was an awesome experience. From the information that we have come across, the school was originally built in 1917 and was finally closed in 2008. Considering that the school was an elementary/middle school, it is probably safe to assume that it housed students K-8 prior to its closure. We would like to say at this time, that the property is abandoned, but is still owned by Lordstown School District and Trespassing is seriously frowned upon.
We initially contacted personnel affiliated with the school in lieu of using it to film portions of our new short film “Operation Ironhorse” after we [safely] toured the outside of the building. Once we were permitted access into the interior, we soon realized that they layout and condition were near perfect for our concepts. The building is three stories tall and although the footprint of the school may seem a bit small from the outside, once inside, you realize that it is a lot larger that expected. Classrooms and old lockers line the hallways and corridors; the paint on some walls are starting to peel away exposing concrete and brick. A lot of the furniture, equipment and misc school items have been pulled out and either re-used or sold; glass litters the floors from vandals and delinquents; drop ceiling tiles and insulation also litter the floors. Although, it is in rough condition [compared to what it use to be], standing in the main hallway of the school, you get an awe-inspiring feeling of a desolate ‘waste-landish’ vibe. For those who have seen the 2006 video game based movie “Silent Hill“, this school looks like it could be dropped right into the middle of that environment with no issues of fitting in. “As film makers, avid video gamers, and ‘urban explorers’, we could not have found [or made] such a ‘perfect’ filming site elsewhere. This building is just beautiful in its own special way.”
After about an hour and a half inside the school, we started to get our ‘bearings’; mapping out a imaginary mental layout of the school. We then spent a few more hours discussing different ideas, concepts, positional layouts and lighting possibilities. In all honesty, the only problem that we have with the building is that someone has gone through gutting the copper electrical lines for scrap; the ability to run power into the building went right down hill.
Photos of the exterior and interior will be uploaded later on; we will also post on location blogs/behind the scenes videos [from inside the school] later if we are able to work out an arrangement with the property holders.
Laythrom Media Production Crew
Although this is being written in a format more as a FAQ than a discussion, understand that I am writing this in an attempt to help benefit other filmmakers out there.
First I would like to say, that if you plan on having anyone play the part of a military person or police person, you should look into obtaining a consultant and not just rely on ‘what you have seen on tv’. I have seen many films out there where the ‘realism’ has been lost just on an actors inability to pull off the “walk and talk” of their character [being based on a military or police person].
Usually, finding someone to act as a consultant is somewhat easy. You can either contact or inquire with a local or state film office or commission (many film offices have lists of different crew and consultant people (such as the Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania Film Offices and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission as examples)). You can also seek out someone who is either active military/police or prior service military/police. I will say though, the issue most common with the latter of the two is the ability to work efficiently with a Director or a DOP. Let me say that the issue is a lack of desire to work with a filmmaker; you have to just understand that a person in that position has been doing the ‘Tactical and/or Standard Operating Procedure’ gig for a while and it can usually be “by the book”. I say this because it is not that he or she does not care about your vision, they are just use to operating and doing things in a certain fashion and it is not easy to stray away from that “SOP”.
The benefits though, can be huge. That ‘consultant’ can point out small flaws in your script (which is not exactly a bad thing). They are going to want to make it as realistic as possible because that is how they have been trained. If something seems unlikely in the script, that consultant will probably point it out. At the same time, they also have the ability to show you methods or techniques that you may have not even thought of.
Granted, in the end of all of this, after production, post production and distribution (if you didn’t go with a consultant) half of your viewers may not even notice any production errors or hiccups in lieu of your military or police characters, their speech, actions or tactics. But be sure that military or police personnel and prior service veterans will point out a majority of those errors and will generally point them out to their friend and co-workers.
In my personal opinion (as both a filmmaker and a prior service military veteran with tours in Iraq and with the Department of Defense) I would highly suggest either hiring or ‘borrowing’ a military/tactical consultant. It will make things a little bit easier and more convincing in the long run. You can probably even procure one of these consultants for either little or no cost just on general principle.
M.Adkins, Director, Laythrom Media
I look around at my life, my family, my friends and my country and notice [more and more] that there is something terribly wrong with this county, the politics involved and the way that some are being dictated to live their life. This blog post will probably offend people [consider this your forewarning] and although I am aware of this, I feel that people should take a good, long and hard look and stop making excuses. I will share some background information with you [the reader] so that you can understand some of where I am coming from.
I joined the U.S. military right after high school; I did so because I had no working experience [other than working as a material handler in a distribution center], I only had a high school education [due to my inability to pay for college without suffering from serious future debt] and as a young adult, I wanted to see what else this country and this world had to offer. I did get to see and interact with people through-out approximately 40 U.S. States and 15 foreign countries during my six year enlistment and two year involvement with the U.S. Department of Defense. I [like many others] fought for this county, our way of life, our freedoms, our ability to stand up to the wrong doers, our ability to speak our minds, our ability to be part of any religion as well as many other freedoms that we have. Sadly though we [as a whole] still do not stand up against corrupt politicians, lobbyists, damaging laws, insurance companies or others that do more harm to our way of life than good.
Now, at this time, I will also inform you [the reader] that I am not driven by any political party. I do not consider myself a democrat, republican, right winged, liberal or conservative; I consider myself an American Citizen and my opinions are those aimed at attempting to help my fellow Americans and their way of life…not an organization’s bank account. I will also state that, although I feel that I make a paycheck that is a little above average for the general population; I would consider myself to be part of the lower class/middle class population [more lower class than anything]. I tell you this because I want you to understand that I am not attempting to deceive you, fill you full of lies or misdirection nor do I want you to rally against any specific political party or political thought. I just want you to realize that things need to be changed for the greater good of Americans. I plead with you to do your own ‘independent’ and ‘unbiased’ research; something that every American should do. Don’t rely on what politicians say or what the news is telling you, rely on the truths of the scenario.
I do not feel that there is an adequate answer for health care in the United States. It seems like everyone [since the early 90s] has been opposed to a “Socialist System” for medical coverage, sighting a supposed similarity to Soviet Russian “Socialist propaganda equip with “Death Panels” and strict government control over doctors and treatment options. In all honesty, if you look at the Current medical coverage system [consisting of large amounts of corporate insurance influence], we already have a system that indirectly acts like death panels. There have been thousands of cases where corporate insurance has refused treatment to persons [speaking of insured persons] which has resulted in the death of those people. Keep in mind that this is not counting those without medical insurance/health care coverage. Now, please before anyone makes the interjection that this scenario is not possible, please think about a couple things; all of this information is available and people will talk about it. Also think about members of your family who have possibly had medical procedures, injections, or medicine denied by an insurance company. Think about people who you know [that don’t have insurance] who have been refused treatment due to a lack of insurance, or who have had to pay in advance before being able to see a doctor; think about those banners, spaghetti dinners and raffles that are being held on a regular basis to attempt to raise monies for people who are in dire need of medical treatment. Think about those people who you know [either directly or indirectly] who has been effected by companies and lawyers who attempt to thwart worker’s compensation claims. What is extremely sad is that peoples inside correctional facilities [although they do not have their freedom] do have better medical than most people of the lower working class inside of America.
I have also heard many conflicting stories in lieu of Canada’s Health Care System, Britain’s system as well as France and other European Nations. Funny how most people talk down on these programs; but I will have to say during my time in France [I was there on vacation], I was injured and I was admitted to a French hospital. After everything that I went through [including medicine, paperwork, medical care, stay in the hospital, x-rays, etc] my final cost to the country of France was approximately $20.00 USD. I was treated in a same manner as I have been in the U.S., I didn’t have to wait for hours upon hours for treatment, in all honesty I feel that I was actually treated better and my cost of $20 was for my meds [which would have cost me approx $130 if treated in the U.S]. I understand that people are concerned for our way of life, we don’t want things to be bad for us, for our family, for our friends; but I wish that people would stop relying on political propaganda for information, stop relying on the 8:00 news. I wish that people as a whole would do their own research and I do wish that people would stand up to the politicians, large corporate entities and organizations and let them know that We the people should not be bullied around and that they [including Congress] need to start working for the people and for Our best interest, not theirs.
I will finish with this note; I am not saying that France or the UK or Canada has the worlds greatest Health Care programs, I am just stating what I had went through and in MY Opinion, the medical care that I received in France (as a U.S. citizen and a visitor to that country) was far better and less stressful than what I am able to receive here in the US. Furthermore, being a US citizen without medical insurance/health care; having friends and family that have had to take a second or third job to help pay medical bills for surgeries/aliments; and watching people get turned down for medical coverage or cannot afford co-pays; I suggest that something needs to be done fast, without attached strings or feet dragging along the way.
And that Should be a Freedom to the American People
p.s. maybe later I will get into the other things that need addressed, but for now like others, I have to return to work so that I can pay the bills.
I have come to the conclusion that, what this area needs, is a series of short films made by a collaboration of independent film makers. So, with that being said, we are looking to collaborate with other film makers, graphic artists, visual effects artists, actors & actresses, editors, writers, musicians and other production crew members on future short film projects.
This would be a strictly volunteer proposal and our goal is to show everyone in the Northeast Ohio/Western Pennsylvania areas (maybe even Hollywood) that the talent and passion is out there. It should also help the local news media open their eyes to the creative projects that are being created in this region.
All of the short film projects will be internet released (such as YouTube, Vimeo, blogs, websites, [possibly iTunes], etc) and will be free of charge to the public. Anyone participating in the creation of these short films will receive credit for their part; we will also be posting the projects and their perspective credits on IMDB as well.
If you are interested, just let us know. You don’t have to be a film maker either; even if this is something that you would like to look into (as a hobby or side project) let us know. We are open to suggestions and ideas, simple as that. It can be a great way to further your talents, build your resume and meet new contacts.
Contact us for any questions or details.
Local film makers target Kickstarter website for raising donations and funding for their movie and a documentary
Warren, OH, May 2, 2012: Laythrom Media has launched a project funding campaign with Kickstarter.com of New York. Kickstarter is a crowd funding website for creative projects, it is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
Laythrom Media has posted the campaigns and has until May 31, 2012 to reach their requested budgets or nothing will be awarded.
Laythrom Media’s co-founder and director, Matt Adkins stated, “We’re pulling out the stops and [we’re] doing everything that we can to fund these projects. Requesting thirty-five thousand dollars for these two projects may seem like a lot, but when you start factoring equipment, actors, media and accessories; it adds up quick.”
“Within” will be a full featured film based around biological testing on human subjects in Soviet Russia in the late 1940s.
“Starting from Scratch” is a documentary about creating and launching a small business, the trials and issues along the way and hopefully an inspiring video for those looking to start their own business.
Laythrom Media is a group of independent film makers from the Warren, Ohio area. They are focused on creating and producing creative projects such as films and documentaries.
Links to their Kickstarter projects follow below.
For further information, Matt Adkins at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
by: Jacqueline Berk – Penn State University
We sit down with independent film maker Matt Adkins of Laythrom Media for a Q&A. Here’s what he had to say…
Q: What prompted you to want to make movies?
A: It actually started back in high school. I was a member of both the US First Robotics team ‘Delphi ELITE’ and WSCN [Harding’s student communication class]; and to be honest, when I was signing up for my classes in my freshman year, I picked WSCN so it was like a Mickey Mouse class for me. My thought at that time was ‘hey I show up, I’ll probably get a grade, no work required’; but after I started that class [WSCN] things did end up changing in a positive direction. I was around [essentially] a working news room, you know, lights, cameras and action ha ha ha. Long story short, I ended up taking the class again because of the desire to stick around that environment. Somewhere around my junior/senior year [while talking to some of my friends from that class] I looked around and made the comment “I want to make a movie”. There was no script, I knew very little of the industry, never made a movie or short or anything like that before. It was just something that I said that I wanted to do. Fast forward to around 2004-2005; that thought came around again, only the desire was a little bit stronger. I started spending my free time [while I was in the Army] researching movie scripts, screenplays and how movies were made. That’s actually when I first started writing.
Q: What was the first thing you wrote?
A: I ended up calling it “An Evil that Lies Within”, ah, it dealt with a group of kids entering a supposedly haunted and abandoned asylum and of course, one by one, they slowly started dying off. Contrary to popular belief though, it was actually due to a murderous vagrant that was staying in the asylum and not because of ghosts or goblins.
Q: How long did you take to write “An Evil that Lies Within”?
A: Ha, it took me forever! It was a long learning experience. The specs of the screenplay was the easy part and that didn’t take very long. However, the actual script itself though, that was a different story. The script took me about two years to write; that was with me studying examples of other scripts, studying the formatting of scripts, me continuously going back and modifying this and changing that. It was something just short of a train wreck.
Q: Where do you think your inspiration comes from?
A: First and foremost, my Dad. I believe that I’ve inherited my creative genes from him. I do have other film makers and directors that I look up to, but my Dad has been the one who has really been pushing me.
Q: Who are the film makers and directors that you are inspired by?
A: Several ha-ha, definitely have to say Tarantino for starters. I love the way he tells a story with a camera. I mean hell, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, Death Proof, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, he also wrote the story for Natural Born Killers. You also have Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, M. Night, Spielberg, and Ron Howard.
Q: Wow, that is some list, any actors?
A: A lot, so I’ll try to narrow it down a bit. Jeffery Donovan, Bruce Campbell, James Roday, Vincent Price, Johnny Depp, Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Helen Mirren,, Jack Nicholson, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Duvall, Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel and Johnny Knoxville.
Q: Johnny Knoxville? I take it that you’re a Jack Ass fan?
A: Oh hell no, not really. I can’t really stand watching Jack Ass to be quite honest. I just loved his character and his antics in Walking Tall from 2004ish. Ah, while we’re at it we can throw Sean William Scott on the previous question list.
Q: Well okay, with the different directors and actors that you mentioned, it’s kind of hard to figure out for myself, so What is your favorite genre of film?
A: Not a bad question, it does jump around a bit. I’m primarily a fan of action, thrillers, and comedy.
Q: No horror films?
A: Only if they scare me and since that hasn’t really happened since I was like eight…not really.
Q: Why is that?
A: Well, they’re pretty much all reliant on blood and gore. I want a horror film that will give me nightmares. I started watching a lot of the old school horror films back when I was little, so I’m kind of desensitized to the horror genre. I also hate when I can predict most of the movie fifteen to twenty minutes before it happens.
Q: Back to you and Laythrom for now, where do you want things to go?
A: The sky is the limits, I would love to just have the ability to make my dreams and nightmares [films] to come true. Wouldn’t really matter to me if I was the main director or like a secondary director. I would just like to be able to throw my input into the mix.
Q: You’re film “Within”, how is that coming together?
A: Honestly, it’s a big pain in my rear end.
Q: Well I wasn’t expecting that response. Why is that?
A: Doing things independently is rough. We are still trying to get funding worked out and squared away, which is one of the main reasons why it is a pain. A lot of things have to be done before we can start production. Ironing out lighting, actors/actresses, set building, a little bit of construction, so on and so forth. We are at the point where I kind of consider it as a ‘stalemate’; we have the script, actors and actresses are interested and we have a location to film plus a good majority of the equipment. Unfortunately, you need a decent chunk of money for an electrical generation truck, the set still needs to be restored/built, and you need money to pay your talent.
Q: Didn’t Laythrom post a project on Kickstarter?
A: As matter of fact, we did. However, this is our first film; no more shorts or documentaries or filming concerts. We are still small and not widely known about and that is our biggest issue. The media doesn’t really give you a whole lot of attention because we’re not Lions Gate or Paramount; my name isn’t Tarantino or Scorsese. We are just a group of indie film makers that are trying to take the bull by the horns so to say. I wish that we had a tenth of the money that Hollywood throws into the average film budget, but let’s face it, we don’t…and we won’t until something decent and kind of big happens.
Q: One more question, if you can hang out on set with anyone, who would it be?
A: Ah that is a tough one since I’m assuming that I could only be one person…eh I’ll break the rules anyway. If it is for inspiration and knowledge base reasons where I can pick their brain, it would have to be James Cameron; that man is a genius! Now if it was to just hang out and bs with this person…I’ll take the entire cast of Psych!
Q: Well Matt, thank you very much for your time and I wish you guys the best of luck with your filming endeavor.
A: Actually, thank you Jackie for getting a hold of me.