UN$UITED, 20min., USA, Comedy
Directed by Tom Baldinger
Greg makes the “bad” decision to walk away from his inheritance to become a professional poker player not knowing the tremendous risks and implications his decisions will have on him and his family and friends.
Get to know the filmmaker:
What motivated you to make this film?
Kent Radford, our executive producer and co-writer came to me with an idea for a feature film. We decided to start writing a short film version first. As we were writing the short film script, we realized that we had an ensemble piece and that the characters and the story had more depth than just a feature and so we transitioned into a series, shooting the pilot and episode two. We wanted to tell a story that not only poker fans would enjoy, but also for general audiences. We wanted to create a series where we could bridge both of those communities.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I'd say it took Kent and I about 3 months to write it, and then by the time we went into production, it was 3 months later and then another two months of filming, then 2-4 months editing. So what's that....just a little over 9 months from concept to final cut of the pilot and the 2nd episode.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
To be honest, we really didn't face any obstacles. And that's because of the 624 Production team. We've been working together for a number of years prior to shooting UN$UITED. We did a few short films, a music video and a feature prior to making the pilot. In fact one of our producers, Ronnie Marmo, starred in my first short film and also co-starred in another short. Ronnie brought some great talent and some solid crew members to the team. Perhaps our biggest hurdle was when we shot down at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City. That was a real test because The Showboat was no longer a casino and we had to re-build the 2nd floor poker room into a casino. We were down in Atlantic City 24 hours before camera's were up. The owners of the Showboat had all of the tables in storage so we had to carry and re-build all of the tables ourselves. The crew really came together. And then we started shooting.....we had a smoke machine spitting out a little smoke to give the whole casino a certain ambiance....we tested the smoke alarms the night before....but the day of the shoot, about an hour into filming the alarms went off thoughout the whole casino and they immediately had to evacuate the entire Showboat hotel because of us. I thought for sure we were going to get kicked out. LOL!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was really honored and blown away by the reactions. As a filmmaker, you always want people to enjoy your work, but you also have to be honest with yourself that not everyone is going to like your work and be prepared for any constructive criticism. The feedback has been really positive and we are very happy with it so far!
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I would say when I was in high school I had dreams of making movies. Even when I was a kid, I'm about to age myself, but when my father had his first VHS camera back in 1985/86, I think I used it more than he did. Me and my best friend Scott MacFawn growing up would make music videos of Van Halen songs and even action movies....I got my older brother Eddie in one of our films too 😊
After I graduate from Wagner College with a major in theatre, I went to Mike Nichols Acting School for my masters. After one semester, I realized I wasn't a very good actor. LOL. I got a job doing overnight security at the Visiting Nurses of New Jersey office and I wrote my first play. Raised money through family and friends, put up at the Producers Club in NYC for a two week run. I then went on to write more and produce more. I still wanted to make movies but didn't know how to. So when I produced a play called TWO SIDES OF LOVE that I wrote, Jeff Sesselberg (one of 624's DP's) was a stage manager at the Edison Valley Playhouse where the show was running. He approached me and said "Hey you ever think of making this into a film?" A friend of mine knew an actor by the name of Ronnie Marmo (who as I mentioned earlier is one of the producer on UN$UITED) came onto the project and was a mentor to me on that project. We launched 624 Productions LLC and the rest is kind of history.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Oh jeez....Shawshank Redemption, Blazing Saddles, Airplane, The Dark Knight and The Godfather 1 & 2.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I think the biggest thing that filmmakers want to get out of festivals is exposure for their work to the appropriate people in the industry. That our work doesn't get lost in the ether of film festivals.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
It's been a great experience working with filmfreeway.
10. What is your favorite meal?
11. What is next for you? A new film?
We've got a number of projects in the works. Kent and I are currently looking to co-produce our full series of UN$UITED. Kent and I have written a 5 season bible. We will be having a private screening of UN$UITED at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas during the Main Event week. We've got a bunch of great music videos making their way through the festival market and then finally I am working on a new web series called "Beer League The Series". I co-wrote and directed the first 5 episodes with Jimmy Palumbo and co-producer with Greg Alprin from Unhinged Entertainment which is due to premier on the Beer League The Series YouTube page on June 19.