So I’m going to say right out front that not only do I know the guy starring in this project, he’s one of my best friends and I’ve worked with him on multiple project over many years. That said, I don’t know any of the filmmakers behind the film and have absolutely nothing to do with it- I only found out about it through several tweets from a few Austin, TX folks I follow.
In any event, there’s not a lot of films that center on fanboys and nerds that aren’t either condescending, or so wrapped up in their own self-referential nerdery that they disappear up their own asses. The most successful are documentary films that tackle specific sub-cultures, but even then they are often based on finding the most extreme fans and making them spectacle. Rare indeed is something that really takes a character and uses the sub-cultural crutch as a gentle mirror of deeper, but universal issues. I don’t know if Zero Charisma is a film that will successfully achieve all of those things, but I do know it’s from several of the folks behind Best Worst Movie, which is one of the most successful films ever –documentary, narrative, or otherwise– to look at a group of nerdy people and find heart and value in their obsession without being pandering or condescending.
Zero Charisma is brainchild of director Katie Graham, who served as the cinematographer on Best Worse Movie, and writer/director Andrew Matthews, who served as the editor on Best Worse Movie. Their new project is about a short-tempered, but well-respected Dungeon Master who has to deal with a new charismatic hipster that’s been added to his game. It has the potential to be something special, as the hipster antagonist is the kind of charming force that can threaten Scott the D&D alpha geek, but is also part of a douchey sub-culture that normal people can hate too!
Looking at the filmmakers, it’s important to note their roles as the cinematographer and editor –especially important positions on documentary– of Best Worst Movie. The D.P. on a documentary is often tasked with finding the best way of capturing scenes, places, and people on the fly with no prep, while editor’s are instrumental in working with the director to sculpt a worthwhile story out of (usually) monstrous amounts of footage that could usually be cut dozens, hundreds, or thousands of comprehensible ways. Even more so than on most narrative films these pieces of the filmmaking puzzle or key, and I have strong hopes that the skills that helped Best Worst Movie become something wonderful will translate to this project as well.
I’d really like to see this project take off, and if you would too then the production could use a little help getting off the ground. First, to demonstrate exactly what kind of movie they hope to make, the tone they plan on striking, and the talent they’ve already managed to assemble, check out the trailer they constructed for the film. It looks amazingly like something culled from an already completed feature- trailers shot to be trailer don’t usually cut this well. There’s a strong indication that the film is following formula here, but the humor is sharp and their skill is obvious.
If you’re interested in reading a bit more about the project, then visit their page on IndieGoGo (it’s like Kickstarter for independent films). Spread the word if you feel like there just might finally be a worthwhile fanboy movie just waiting to be made.
As for my buddy Sam Eidson –whose projects I’ve told you a bit about before– I can’t wait to see him lead a film. The Alamo Drafthouse has already recognized he and his crew’s brilliance and have adopted them into The Highball for their stage shows of favorite films (Back To The Future rocked a sold-out house during SXSW), and he also appeared in two features and a short film that played in the festival (Natural Selection, My Sucky Teen Romance, and Billy’s Birthday). He’s going to be someone you hear about more and more.
Let me know what you think about the trailer. Do you see potential for something special, or just another precious, pandering indie?
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(thanks to Teeney Hood for putting me on to this project)