News Column

Local teacher's short film accepted by film festival

August 20, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 20--A fear of spiders, didn't stop Greg Allen, a video production teacher at the Century Career Center, from making a short film titled "Big Honkin Spider."

Created completely with a green screen, the film features Andromeda, a spider that calls home Carson Strickling's classroom at Logansport Community High School.

Allen used that fear to drive a short film with irony and comedy. In the nearly 10-minute short film, Allen goes head-to-head with a large spider and the irony, Allen says, is there is no way he would combat a spider.

Click here to watch Greg Allen's "Big Honkin Spider"

"I wouldn't touch it," Allen said with a laugh. "It jumped at one point, and I thought I was going to drop the camera."

The film is about a lab experiment gone wrong, resulting in a giant, mutated spider. When spiders were being injected with genetic steroids, designed to mutate the silk fluid sac to result in mankind-saving DNA, a lab assistant added too much fluid. The result was catastrophic and the spider not only grew in size, but was considered extremely deadly. Allen, who portrays an extreme exterminator, is called to take care of the spider.

He submitted his short film, featuring local actors, to the Indiana Short Film Festival, and recently found out it was accepted.

"In no way was I thinking this would be accepted because it is very cheeky," Allen said. "I didn't know if it would be short film material."

The short film will be shown at the three-day festival Oct. 11, 12 and 13 at the Royal Theater in Danville. Because of a prior commitment, Allen doesn't think he'll be able to attend the festival.

Allen said he was excited to tell those who helped that it was accepted. Many actors in the short film were students Allen had in class, he said. Students in his class had to create a short film for their finals and while they worked on their projects, he decided to work alongside them with his own short film. He spent much of April putting the film together.

Allen said there was a level of difficulty with green screen because actors had to interact with things that weren't actually there.

Luke Jackson, an actor in the short film, played one of two assistants injecting the spiders. Jackson said although he has never had Allen in class, he has always been in awe of his work.

"Some of it was corny, some realistic and that's the point," Jackson said. "I thought it was cool my character watches an interview of a fellow classmate in the short film. It's like green screen within green screen."

McKenzie Price, a recent Logansport High School graduate, portrayed a news reporter who talked about the events of the "Big Honkin Spider." Price, who had Allen in class last year, said she wasn't interested in video production before taking the class.

"The film is funny; everything Greg makes is funny," Price said. "He is really creative and there is never a dull moment."

Erik Kimbler, a teacher at Logansport High School, portrayed a doctor in the short film. Kimbler described his part as the voice of medical reason or the dry, sarcastic connector.

Kimbler said he has helped Allen on other projects and if asked to participate, his response is to ask when and where.

"It's a hobby of ours and a passion of his," Kimbler said. "He asked me if I would help him with a video and I told him to stop explaining it, I'll do it."

In addition to teaching, Allen owns his own video production company, Greg Allen Productions. What once was considered a hobby became much more about five years ago.

"I've always had an affinity for video ever since I was a kid," Allen said. "I'd go around and make videos with kids in the neighborhood. I drove everyone crazy."

He has two Youtube channels and even started the first episode of a post apocalyptic drama webseries and is hoping to create more. His favorite part, he said, is taking someone's vision of what they want and taking it above and beyond what they expected.

Allen will take something "as small as a grain of sand and turn it in to the Sahara Desert," Kimbler said, explaining why he enjoys doing the projects. He said he would have been blown away if he didn't know Greg, but because he does, it was exactly what he thought the film would be amazing.

"Greg's creativity in the story, visual art ties in to the humor," Kimbler said. "I can't state enough just how talented he is. I'll say it like this, I still can't believe he isn't in Hollywood."

Watch the film: Watch the "Big Honkin Spider" on Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABWAPeSAFYo.

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(c)2013 the Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, Ind.)

Visit the Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, Ind.) at www.pharostribune.com

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