DREAMING IN VHS
SDC Productions uses the old to create the new
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With camera technology moving faster than the imagery captured, the playing field for film production has somewhat leveled for professionals and amateurs.
The difference, though, is the intentions and motivations of the people behind the lens, which is how Super Dope Chronic Productions is solidifying itself in the world of film.
“It started out with just making nothing vanilla, which was our slogan for awhile,” said Micah Vassau, 26. “We are just trying to make new stuff that is not boring.”
Along with Vassau, SDC Productions is comprised of Zach Strum and Justin Dean, among others. Although Vassau admits he is technically trained as an editor, he said that everyone involved with SDCP has to wear many hats.
Vassau met Strum and Dean while attending the UNC School of the Arts, which he graduated from in 2012. His initial goals, and those of his peers, involved moving to New York to find jobs with other films, “but we decided to start our own company instead.”
“There are two goals (with SDCP), the first one is we want to make films that no one has seen before, and the other one being that we’d like to be self-sustaining filmmakers at some point,” Vassau said.
Currently, SDCP is in the works to finish its first feature film, Fingerilla.
“We submitted our movie The Bachelorette Party to a bunch of festivals,” Vassau said, “and got into TromaDance up in New York.”
The Bachelorette Party, per the trailer, follows the story of a bride-to-be who is without friends, and whose pre-wedding party is hosted by her brothers. The ensuing visuals offer obvious and leading sexual innuendo, but then again, this is not your typical “vanilla” production house.
Coming from San Francisco simply to get out of California, Vassau saw Winston-Salem’s UNCSA as an opportunity to see and learn more about his field of interest. He thought Winston-Salem might be a stereotypical southern town, but realized that with the affordable cost of living and his passion for filmmaking in a city with its own accredited film festival and school, he’d learn to love it.
SDCP is filming its first feature, Fingerilla, which doesn’t currently have a release date.
“I’ve been writing it for, like, four years, and we are still filming it,” Vassau added. “Lots of people think it’s an anti-Christian film, which it’s not. It’s anti-church. There’s a difference.”
Fingerilla is about a young girl that gets sucked into church and has to escape the church to save herself.
SDCP videos are, by and large, not of the same caliber as other films being released. This is deliberate, thanks in part to a mutual vision that the writers, directors, and editors have for creating imagery that is meant to evoke.
“The last three films were shot on VHS because we can’t compete with digital format for films – those cameras cost around $250,000,” Vassau said. “Different films have different visual needs.”
For an upcoming project, he said they might end up shooting with a DLSR camera.
Most artists have to subsidize personal projects with some sort of alternate income, and most recently, Vassau found himself working as an office production assis tant for The Disappointments Room, which just wrapped up filming in the Triad. The Disappointments Room is set for release in 2015 and stars Kate Beckinsale, Michaela Conlin and Lucas Till.
“I learned a lot, and it was a learning experience, but it was the worst job I’ve ever had,” Vassau recalled. “Honestly, I did learn a lot, there was one guy from Relativity Media who really taught me a lot – we’d work late nights, just me and him, and he gave me the run down on how indie films can make money.”
One of those ways, undoubtedly, is to find your niche and carve it out, which is precisely what Super Dope Chronic Productions is doing with its visceral imagery, and determined goals. !
Check out Super Dope Chronic Productions’ catalog of trailers at www.superdopechronic.com