Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 21, 2012

Effingham grad's film coming to town

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Effingham native Travis Long learned something about the movie business in the process of making his first feature-length film.

"I was really shocked that you're only about 30 percent done when you finish shooting," Long said. "I'm kind of glad I didn't know that when I got started.

"It's a lot less daunting when you're naive."

Long, a 1998 Effingham High School graduate, worked on "Kill Me Now," a hybrid comedy-horror flick, almost to the hour of worldwide premieres Dec. 5 in Los Angeles and New York. The film was shown the next day in San Diego.

The movie's fourth-ever showing will be Saturday at the Stadium Cinemas in Effingham. Showtime is 10:30 p.m.

The movie is not-rated, but Long said a few well-placed swear words and subject matter would probably earn it an "R" rating.

"It's not something most younger kids would like anyway," Long said. "Our target audience is 18 to 35-year-olds."

Long filmed most of the movie in and around Effingham during the late summer of 2010. The general premise is that a group of partying teenagers are attacked by a serial killer who quickly gets frustrated with the young folks' stupidity - and doesn't get much killing done as a result.

"There are three characters killed during the movie," Long said. "That's pretty low for this type of movie."

The movie stars unknown actors Michael Swaim, Jacob Reed and Beck Bennett as the three main partiers. "Driller Killer" Brett Fancy may be the best known actor in the cast, at least in Britain, where the Englishman had a recurring role in the long-running British soap "EastEnders" and many, many guest shots on other British TV shows.

Fancy also played an albino hitman in the film "Resort to Murder," and has numerous stage credits throughout Britain.

"The other guys have their cult following, but Brett has had the most traditional success," Long said.

Long said the film was shopped around as an "on-demand" production. If a certain number of tickets for the show were sold in advance, the theater would book the show for a one-off showing.

"We eventually hope to market the film as an on-demand video that people can access through their cable television system, but we're still working on that," he said.

Long said the real work began after the actors filmed their scenes.

"We had to do editing, sound design and color correction," he said. "We also had to shoot more of the film months later - shots that didn't involve the actors."

The film was mostly completed in time for a festival showing last February. But Long said a director's work is never done - at least until the film is actually shown.

"As long as you have it, you will find something to tweak," he said. "They will have to take it out of your hands before you will stop working on it."

The film will be shown in January at major cities such as New York, San Francisco, Houston and Nashville, as well as smaller communities such as Rogers, Ark. and Havelock, N.C.  A complete list of January showings can be found on the "Kill Me Now" Facebook page.

Now that "Kill Me Now" has been released, Long is spending more time with his next project, a comedy tentatively titled "Roll B," co-written and produced by EHS classmate Lenny Miller, a National Guard recruiter who lives near Long in west suburban Chicago.

"Lenny and I used to make movies together in my parents' basement," Miller said. "We're writing it together. I will direct, while Lenny will help produce."

"Roll B" is centered around a disgraced TV news reporter who tries to resurrect his career by filming a documentary. As in "Kill Me Now," the comedy centers around the ineptitude of the main characters.

"He doesn't know what he is doing," Long said.

Long said "Roll B" will be filmed in and around Effingham sometime next year.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.