Newcity, October 2, 2003
"We always have a fair number of scenes that end with some average Joe we don't know who pokes his head into the frame asking, 'What are you guys doing?'" says Fuzzy Gerdes, one of the creative forces behind the Neutrino Project.
That fusion of improv and on-the-fly filmmaking, which made a splash when it debuted last year, is back for a two-month run. Gerdes and his four teams of videographers and improv actors are reprising the form, calling it Neutrino Project 30,000 -- "because 30,000 years in the future, every movie will be made this way," Gerdes jokes -- but this time they've added a twist. At the 3 Penny Cinema -- a real movie theater this time -- musician Ben Taylor will add in a fully improvised score for each movie when the crews return with their improvised footage. "The camera crews might send back a note that says something like, 'This is a chase scene,' but that'll be pretty much it," says Gerdes.
Guerilla filmmaking, however, is not for the faint of heart. Strange things can happen when the camera crews venture out into the real world of bars and restaurants, and the Neutrino pack has its share of war stories. "We're probably not welcome back at Cy's Crab House," Gerdes says. "There were some misunderstandings; the manager wanted copies of all our tapes and, believe it or not, a copy of our business plan."
But that wasn't what sent things over the edge. "We were filming a fake sex scene, a real loud sex scene in the bathrooms," he admits. "The people in the restaurant were into it -- they were totally laughing and they clapped when the scene was over." The restaurant manager was less amused.
"Another time," Gerdes continues, "we did a gig up in Toronto, and we were filming a fight scene where one guy squished an ice-cream cone on another guy's head. And this old man came up to us and was like, 'Why do you have to fight?' He was really upset. And I don't want to upset anyone, because I don't want anyone calling the cops."
And surprisingly enough, Gerdes and company have been able to convince caffiene-addled cafe patrons to momentarily sit still. "One time, we got everyone in Intelligentsia to freeze for about a minute," says Gerdes. "We wanted it to look like time had stopped, that someone had just died, and they were the only one moving in the scene."