Virgil, a disillusioned, late twenty-something romantic idealist has finally found true Love only to have it snatched away from him and is forced to undergo his own modern day odyssey to get it back.
Rolling with Virgil is a Music Film about the grey areas between Love, fixation, and possession, and the extreme lengths to which the effects of these grey areas can push people.
Virgil is a man pursuing his version of true Love in the streets of New York City and eventually across the continent. Simultaneously dark, funny, tragic, and inspiring, this film is, on the surface, a collection of music videos chronicling Virgil's odyssey. At a deeper level, it's a collaborative effort of emerging artists across various disciplines, from filmmaking, to music, to dance, and others. It embodies a passion for an idea inspired in the writer, Conrad Shaw, by the underground NYC band The Dirty Urchins to tell a story in a way that stories haven't been told. It challenges concepts of what Love is and what a film can be. It is a hybrid of genres we're calling a Music Film.
Music Film: A postmodern cross between a silent film and a series of music videos; a dramatic narrative that tells its story using only music and lyrics along with the visual action.
This means that there is essentially no dialogue in the film, save a couple of exceptions, since rules, even when self-imposed, were made to be broken.
Proof of Concept Videos
live action SEQUENCE - "DREAM WITH ME"
We shot this in the summer of 2014 on a restricted budget, and it has helped greatly in raising the funds for the feature. It is the second scene in the film, a dream sequence, and it sets up Virgil's mindset heading into the twists and turns ahead.
ANIMATED STORYBOARD - "My Baby rides the subway"
This depicts another early scene from the film, in which Virgil pursues April, the girl of his dreams.
Here's a taste of the The Dirty Urchins--a live version of the film's title song "Rolling with Virgil" from their album, Late as Usual. About half the soundtrack will be from this album and most of the rest will be from Romance and Apocalypse with a couple bonus tracks thrown in.
Albums: Romance and Apocalypse and Late as Usual
What's to Come?
The Kickstarter campaign ended in mid summer 2014, and though ultimately technically unsuccessful, fiscally speaking, it created a great deal of buzz. Thank you to everyone who got involved! 225 backers pledged $25,331. You are the best, and also, congratulations on getting to keep your money (he groans).
Then, we went ahead on the momentum of that buzz and some new connections and shot a short scene late summer 2014 as a live action proof of concept (see the The Film page).
As of spring 2015, we are gearing up to begin principal photography in Spring 2016. The short has helped in raising the funds, and currently we are busy with pre-production, storyboarding, seeking talent for the cast, etc. After we wrap in spring '16, we dive into the edit, getting ready to promote it and show it to the world.
Conrad Shaw: Writer, Actor
Raised in Colorado, Conrad left a career in engineering eight years ago to follow his passion of film-making. He is a New York-based film and stage actor and screenwriter, a graduate of the two-year Meisner training program at the William Esper Studio.
Conrad also spent a large part of his youth as a fiercely competitive athlete in wrestling, soccer, rock climbing, acrobatics, and trail running, among others. He plays the piano and sings a decent tenor as well.
He is unbelievably excited to see this project, which has consumed his attention/obsession for a few years, garnering interest and coming to fruition!
The Dirty Urchins: The Musicians
The Dirty Urchins are perhaps best described as an underground contemporary folk band from New York City, though sometimes they will surprise you with jazz, blues, or even a passionate tango number. Comprised of Freddie Stevenson, Julia Haltigan, Bennett Miller, and David Luther, they bring an incredible poetry and versatility to their music. Each member is a talented singer-songwriter in his or her own right, with a wildly different voice, and the nature of the group allows each of their unique styles to shine through as the other members support in three part harmony.
Legend holds that in their early beginnings, before Julia had joined the band, Bennett, David, and Freddie emerged from a subway busking session, exhausted, dirty, more rehearsed than they were going in, and very slightly better off financially. Looking at his companions, Freddie remarked in his charming British accent (paraphrasing): "we certainly resemble a tribe of Dirty Urchins at the moment," and the band was born.
A super group of sorts, they each nurture their growing solo careers while saving time to get back together with old friends to create and perform. It is that collaborative spirit that has in large part inspired the nature of this film: different arts and industries coming together to create.
KEVIN MICHAEL REED: PRODUCER
Kevin Michael Reed is an internationally published fashion & beauty photographer, producer and director based in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. Though Kevin found the camera documenting his travels while growing up on the stage as an actor and dancer, he spent several years working in accounts at advertising agencies before transitioning to photography as a full-time career. Over the last five years, he has focused on bringing stories to the big screen in roles as producer, director and cinematographer.
Kevin has graduated from Mid-Florida Technical Institute’s Commercial Photography Program and studied fashion & commercial photography at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology where he has earned an A.A.S. in Photography. In 2014, he won the Fashion & Beauty Category of the American Photographic Artists (New York) Photo Contest. He won two Gold awards and the cover of the Graphis Photography Annual in 2009 and received the honor as one of the 100 Best in Photography 2011 by Graphis. Photography equipment manufacturer F.J. Westcott has named him one of their "Top Westcott Endorsed Pros."
Kevin's fashion film "ANDROGYNY" is currently touring the festival circuit including screenings at the Women & Fashion Film Festival, Miami Fashion Film Festival, Chelsea Indy Fashion & Film Festival, and the London Fashion Film Festival.
Kevin is a member of several trade associations including the American Society of Media Photographers where he serves on the New York City Chapter’s board of directors and as the New Media Co-Chair. Kevin is a Founding Member of The New York Fashion Photography Collective.
Matt Landin: Director
Matt Landin is a director, writer, and award-winning editor from New York. Beginning his career in 2006 at HBO, where he created on-air and new-media promotional content, Matt then went on to shoot and direct various short-form narrative and documentary films.
In 2008, Matt directed his first feature film, The Best Laid Plans, a coming-of-age comedy. One of the first features to be fully shot on a RED, the production taught Matt a great deal about marrying the potential efficiencies of the ever-changing digital filmmaking world, and traditional, full-crew production.
Since then, Matt has continued to explore the world of short form, directing several music videos and short narrative pieces, while being heavily involved in the world of advertising and promotion. He has directed and edited content for BET and Al Jazeera America among others.
Outside of all things cinema, Matt enjoys jumping out of planes, climbing cliffs, and surfing in Indonesia, while also having love for all the good food, good drink, and good people this world has to offer.
Joseph Bearese: Director of Photography
Joseph Bearese (AKA Joey B. Who Else?) is an eccentric fellow and a badass cinematographer, some sort of efficiency robot of beauty. He frames poetry at a run. He also is not fond of writing bios, so Conrad has written this little tidbit for him. In truth, what else does anyone want to know about a DP beyond perusing his resume and taking a gander at those pretty pictures it's his job to create? In that spirit, and for love of brevity, here are Joey's IMDB Page and his Cinematography Reel.
Other Contributors, Benefactors, and Good Friends
Zang Toi: Fashion Designer, Sponsor
Zang is an icon in the fashion industry and a friend of the project. The inspiration for the character Ferdinand, he will add his own personal flair and genius to the project by creating the real-life dress and fashion sketch that Ferdinand creates in the film. His styles range from urban and chic daily wear to stunning and luxurious gowns fit for foreign royalty.