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The Restaurant: Tasty, Talented, and Local

1 Dec , 2009  

Written by Kerry O’Donnell | Posted by:

Filmmakers Bobby Scali and Ted Sherman unveil their short film featuring the talents of 40 local SAG actors.

Question: What do you get when you take actors Lenny Clarke and Frank Santorelli, comedians Tony V. and Patty Ross, and add 40 local Screen Actors Guild (SAG) actors? Answer: The Restaurant.

The brainchild of Bobby Scali and Ted Sherman, and produced by Boston Film Productions, The Restaurant features an impressive array of SAG actors in a short film, with everyone in the cast having at least one speaking line in the film. The goal of the film was to showcase the talent of Boston. When big budget films come to town, if a role has over five lines, the studios go outside the area to cast. “We have the talent,” says Sherman, “Give them the employment.”

The duo co-wrote the script, which integrated some improv lines that emerged during auditions. Scali and Sherman ensured a professionalism on the set of The Restaurant with a crew of approximately 20 people including script supervisors, acting coaches, hair and makeup artists, and a set photographer.

Scali, whose background is mostly in television, describes himself as the “emotional one” (think Men Who Stare at Goats). He describes Sherman as “the zen-face.” Sherman’s background is film, although he also has worked on New York and Japanese commercial projects. Both men feel their mesh of television and film work well together.

In an industry where so many projects appear to be made just for the gratuitous violence, their commitment to quality work is steadfast. Their credo: socially aware entertainment. “As filmmakers, we have a responsibility to give back to the community,” said Sherman, “Glorifying bad situations just perpetuates the violence to continue. Everything we do has to have a message.” Scali added, “The real heroes in life are the ‘Joe Lunchboxes’ that go to work everyday and support their family – not the gangster drug dealers.”

They also have plans to give back to the community in ways beyond providing roles. They are in the process of developing projects that include a program to teach children the effects of bullying and harassment. In addition, Scali explained they are also working on developing a film school for inner-city kids, not only to teach them about “set etiquette,” but also as an outlet to help express themselves. Scali sees artists, photographers, painters, writers – a wealth of untapped talent in these children and wants to give them the opportunity to create in a positive way.

They both believe that the key to the New England area’s media success is building unity. “The film community,” said Scali, “doesn’t compete with each other. We compliment each other.” Experience has also taught them that there’s a right way to produce films and a wrong way. “Independent film needs are a lot different than the big studios,” says Sherman. Sherman and Scali are involved in developing a coalition to provide a resource for independents to tap into for education and information. CINEMA, (the Coalition for Independent New England Media Artists), will help filmmakers “do it the right way.” Information on how to go about pulling permits, contacting communities, acquiring location maps, flagging neighborhoods, etc., are all important parts of the filmmaking process of which a lot of independent producers are sometimes not aware.

With all of these projects in the works, as well as future film endeavors, Scali and Sherman appear to have a full plate in front of them. A screening of The Restaurant is being planned for within the next few months, as well as a soon to be announced SAG blast for episode two. Bon Appétit!

The Restaurant – Outtakes:
The Restaurant – Production Stills:

The Restaurant - Outtakes: The Restaurant - Production Stills: