OU Student Produced Film ‘Call the Shot’ Coming to Athena Nov. 9

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Being a student at Ohio University, there’s ample opportunity to create and collaborate with others, especially when you’re nestled in the foothills of Appalachia- inspiration is everywhere. For some, this means working on passion projects with a group of talented students and making dreams become a reality.

Call the Shot, a short film set to premiere this weekend at the Athena, was written, produced and edited by Ohio University students. Raan Shalom wrote the screenplay, and Dean Parker, Mackenzie Keaton, and Josh Lehrfeld produced the film. Parker also directed and edited the film. The film tells the story of the life-defining conversation a suicidal bar patron has with the bartender. Call the Shot was shot in two days and takes place at local Jackie O’s, provides a rather minimal set for this heavier piece.

Call the Shot IMDB poster

“The idea of two guys talking came from Martin McDonagh’s short film Six Shooter and that was one of the first situations where there wasn’t anything massive going on, it was just two guys on a train talking, and then things happen at the ends.” Raan said, when asked about what provided inspiration for his script.

“Raan reached out to me in October 2018, and he showed me the script and I thought ‘Oh, this is great!’ Not only because the script was great, but it was a great script to shoot on a college campus because it’s in one location, with mainly two actors. The film kind of presents itself as not a college film, because it’s not about college students, just these two guys.” Dean said.

Once they began the crowdfunding process and successfully raised enough money for the film, Dean posted casting calls for actors, secured a location, and assembled a reliable crew for the film. Filming began in late March of 2019.

Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes of Call the Shot, written by Raan Shalom and directed by Dean Parker. (Submitted)

“This was the first time I had directed a project that I hadn’t written, so I was actually excited because I felt like I could focus more on directing, and not be too attached to the writing.” Dean said.

Raan had reached out to Dean in October of last year after having other plans to get his short produced, but those plans had fallen through.

“After that, I found Dean on Facebook or something, and was like ‘Hey! Wanna read my script?’” Raan said. “It was meant to be,” Dean said.

While listening to Dean and Raan reflect on their collaboration over Call the Shot, it was evident they both learned a lot during this process.

“I’ve never directed anything, but just being on set for this, they’d do a take and I’d hear a few words from the script the actors would change up, and I would be like ‘oh, it sounds better in the script…’ but then I’d be like ‘wait- I’m not directing, I’m not going to worry about that,'” Raan says during the interview. “I’d sit back and the more I’d hear their version- the actor’s version- I’m like  ‘Yeah, that does work better, they’re right!’”

Since Raan had come to Dean with an already completed script, the two of them still had to work together and produced multiple drafts before settling on a final version for shooting.

“Raan had written a whole thing in the script that proved to be too complicated to shoot, and we were trying to figure out, ‘man do we want to get rid of this? Will it not make sense with the story?’” Dean said. “Then we found a way to take it out and make it work with the story if that makes sense… I don’t want to give anything away.”

“We probably saved like, $75 of our budget without it.” laughs Raan.

“We saved $75, but then we found that by taking it out, it actually adds more intensity to the film.” Dean said.

“It was very much a collaborative process; I didn’t want to change too much, it was his creative vision of course.” Dean said.

“My mindset when I gave the script to Dean was like ‘If he wants to direct, then that’s it, I’m done.’ I’m essentially selling my screenplay to him. But then, I found out that we ended up collaborating throughout the entire production,” said Raan. “The script was constantly changing and evolving, and being open to other people’s notes it the most important thing.”

Other than a small location issue, both Dean and Raan were happy to report that production was smooth sailing. Everyone on the crew did their job and did it well, and by having a scheduled day of rehearsal they felt that it made shooting days much easier.

“Sometimes when you do passion projects, and you’re not getting paid, people might not put all their effort into it, but I honestly feel like everyone gave 110%,” said Dean. “It was really awesome.”

“I have a feeling that most other productions I’ll be apart of, will not be this smooth,” said Raan. “Not even close.”

You can catch the premiere of Call the Shot November 9 at the Athena Cinema (20 South Court Street, Athens) at 2 p.m. This premiere is a free event and is open to the public

“One of the biggest things I learned is to really trust the people you’re working with. I’ve been so used to – with my high school films – doing everything on my own, so to actually have people doing their roles and doing them well was something that was new to me,” said Dean. “The results were great, it turned out amazing. Just trust the people you hire, they want to help you out.”