A scruffy looking group was seen hanging around a local ranch last weekend. A few “ladies of the night” were trying to look nanchalant right in plain sight. Nearby were a couple of outlaws that looked like bad news. There was “Scarface Jack” with blood all over him and “Josephine,” a young girl who had been separated from her family in this desolate cowboy town. Fortunately, no harm was done. They were just waiting their turn to be in front of the camera for a short western film called, “Ghost in the Gun.”
What better place to shoot a western than San Benito County? That’s the conclusion this small San Francisco filmmaking group came to after searching around the Bay Area for while. “A lot of the standard places we looked at were paved or had light posts sticking up here and there,” says Tony Jonick, a co-producer of the upcoming short film. Jonick says they were looking for an authentic location and ended up at Fox Creek Ranch in the Paicines area. They found it through a Google search.
Director, script writer and project owner Andrew Chen was on set last weekend as the crew finished up their final day of shooting. Chen was written several scripts and has been the sound technician on more than 25 films. The plot is about a man left for dead in the middle of no where. When he comes to, he finds a gun. He picks it up with the intention of seeking revenge. But the gun has its own agenda.
The group works with Scary Cow, a film incubator co-op that has been operating in the Bay Area for more than eight years. Basically, professional sound engineers, filmmakers, actors, producers and make-up artists get together with the goal of producing a film a together. This project was largely funded by Indie-go-go, a website for crowd funding independent films. The group helps each other in a low budget way to create a professional level end product. According to Jonick, it is a substantially cheaper way to make a movie. They gathered about $12,000 via Indie-gogo in August and September. “We pool our services together,” says Jonick, who also acts and helps with public relations. “This would normally take about a $150,000 budget to do something like this and we’re doing it for about a tenth of that,” he says.
“Scarface Jack” is played by actor Christopher Weddle.
The gun has a character of its own and the voice will be done by well-known actor Tim Russ, who was in “Star Trek- Voyager.” Russ played a Vulcan named Tuvok in the film. A couple of child actors were also on set; Josephine will be played by Haley Camille, of Los Gatos, and Julian Crouser, from Half Moon Bay plays a young boy. Their dedication was tested over Halloween, because filming went late and they barely made it home to dress up for trick-or-treating.
Samantha Purdy, who helps with the media coverage and is a co-producer, was standing nearby the set while “Scarface Jack” was wiping off the fake blood for the third or forth time. “Everytime we do this,” she says,” I wonder why I am working so hard. But when I see the dailies, it’s all so worth it!”
When the film is complete, it will be shown at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre “Scary Cow Film Festival.” Scary Cow shows films at a special showing three times a year. It is expected to be about a 10-minute film and the groups hopes to promote “Ghost in a Gun” as a series. To see more, visit “Ghost in the Gun” on Facebook.