Name: Jeff Moffitt
Occupation: Actor, Writer, Producer of Two Man Crew Productions’ thriller The Watchers
Professional Website: http://www.jeffmoffitt.webs.com
Acting Reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLQdy_F6NGs
Discuss the birth of Two Man Crew Productions? How did you and director Sy Cody White come into contact?
MOFFITT: In the fall of 2009, I ran an ad on Craigslist as I was seeking an editor with experience using final cut pro to work with me on a travel show concept that I developed. Sy’s resume really stood out, so we set up a meeting and started working together. Over the next few months, Sy and I developed a solid friendship. We collaborate very well and we found out that we have a lot in common in regards to taste in film, and the entertainment business.
How did you and Sy craft the story for The Watchers? Take us through the writing process.
MOFFITT: Well, Sy suggested that we shoot our own short film. We started compiling head shots from actors that I had previously worked with. This helped us brain storm and think about specific roles for the actors that we were considering. We sat at the Malibu Diner in Hoboken, NJ for nearly two hours until we both agreed on the story line/script. We purchased the Cannon T2i camera, and shot a mini trailer. We did this to show the actors that we were considering the quality of the camera and the fact that we could create our own high quality independent film. This is how The Watchers was born.
(Jeff Moffitt as John Porter in The Watchers)
What was it about John Porter’s plight that fascinated you most as you were preparing to play him?
MOFFITT: John’s life is spiraling out of control. He’s separated from his wife, and young daughter, he’s having issues at work and he thinks that he’s being watched and followed. He’s basically struggling to keep himself together.
You not only star in the film, but act as co-writer and producer… talk about the process of wearing three complicated hats?
MOFFITT: I didn’t consider it complicated. It was truly a labor of love. I enjoyed every aspect of making this film. I loved the acting aspect the most, this role required a wide range of emotions: sorrow, anger and fear. A lot of this was conveyed through my body language and facial expressions. From the writing standpoint, collaborating with Sy was and is always fun, as we constantly bounce ideas off each other and then start typing away. Its a very relaxed, stress free collaboration. We challenge ourselves to come up with new fresh ideas. On the producing end, I financed the film and coordinated most of the logistics and secured the film locations, Sy was involved all of the decision making as well.
According to another review I read of the film, The Watchers was filmed in 7 days, at a cost of only $350?
MOFFITT: Yes! We had a very tight schedule. We developed the story, completed the script, cast the actors and scouted locations in NYC and NJ over the course of 4 days. The majority of the film was shot in Manhattan as we felt that Manhattan would lend itself perfectly to this story line. All in all, we shot the film in seven straight days. It was an exhausting week but it was worth every minute. I have always been thrifty and I love to find ways to save money. The main expense was food for our actors. This was a no pay gig but it was important to me that I provided everyone with a good meal. Even though the actors received no pay, they did receive a credit on the Internet Movie Database. I hand built a track and dolly system out of PVC pipes and a wooden appliance dolly, while Sy found plans for a home made steady cam holder. I picked up the parts and built the steady cam using plumbing pipes and a 2 1/2 pound dumbbell weight. The total cost $26.00.
Talk about the casting process? Did you have a hand in that as well?
MOFFITT: Yes, Sy and I hand picked the cast. I had worked with most of these fine actors before, on various short films, TV pilots and commercials. It was a relatively easy casting process. Everyone gave their all to the project.
The film was featured in New York’s Big Apple Film Festival last week: How was the film received? What happens now? Is The Watchers being submitted to other festivals? Is there a possibility of expanding the story into a feature film?
MOFFITT: We were honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the Big Apple Film Festival, where we received an overwhelmingly positive response to the film. Right now, we are exploring a possible distribution deal for the film, and I have to say that Sy and I are very excited about this. Sy and I just set out to shoot our first short film together, and it’s exceeded our wildest expectations. We just submitted the film to the Tribeca Film Festival and the Myrtle Beach Film Festival and plan to submit the film to several other festivals around the United States and possibly in other countries. Quite a few people have stated that they would love to see The Watchers developed into a full feature film. We have a few ideas in mind in the event that we decide to make it into a full feature but for now, it’s just a 28 minute short.
What’s next for Two Man Crew Productions?
MOFFITT: We have several concepts/ideas in mind for our next film. We recently shot a spec commercial and we are currently working on another commercial opportunity right now. I consider myself very fortunate to have met Sy Cody White. He’s an extremely talented young man with a great eye for the camera, and he’s one heck of an editor. One last thing…if I may, I just wanted to recognize my friend Darin Biss for his unwavering support and friendship! Darrin was a huge part of The Watchers. Besides playing the role of Philip Bleaker in the film, Darrin graciously allowed us to use his apartment and basement for the film. Darrin also purchased sound equipment, and shuttled some of the actors to several of the film locations. Without Darrin Biss, The Watchers wouldn’t be what it is today.
Please view the Official Trailer for The Watchers at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Y0bLAsD9Q&feature=player_embedded
Please view the Official Website for Two Man Crew Productions at www.twomancrewproductions.weebly.com/