The Van Job
by Matthew Green
Scene: Woman wakes up in the back of a van.
That’s how the movie starts. And that’s how the writing started.
“I wanted to make a short movie that had the same kind of dramatic excitement and entertainment value as a full-length feature film,” says director Ken Carlson.
But sitting at their weekly production meeting – over drinks at the Westside Tavern – Ken Carlson, Charles Chadwick, and Johnathan Texidor were still trying to figure out their story. They had worked together on a cable access TV show, but now wanted to make a short movie. Finally, somebody wrote “Woman wakes up in the back of a van” on a piece of paper. They passed it around and added to it until they had their plot.
Along with Travis Blood and Kyle Scott, their fellow producers, they recruited friends to act, write the music, and help with technical aspects. They scouted Olympia locations, many of which viewers may recognize.
Abby Wells plays the woman (yeah, that one in the back of the van). Wells has appeared with several local theater productions, including Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” by Theater Artists Olympia, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” by Olympia Little Theater.
Charles Chadwick, who has played with Cap’n Crunk n’the Crunkberries and local hip-hop collective The O-Town G’s, wrote the musical score.
They had planned on a $300 budget, but General Administration, the state agency that operates the parking garage where they wanted to film, wanted them to buy an insurance policy, which cost over $500.
They also had planned filming in two days. “Film it over a weekend, done.” Instead, “six months later… done.”
Still, it was worth it. “Our goal is to challenge ourselves while creating motion pictures that we would like to watch,” says Carlson.
So, what’s the movie about (that is, after the woman wakes up in the back of a van)? Well, it’s only fifteen minutes long, so we don’t want to give it away. Suffice to say Action! Suspense! A roller-coaster ride of surprise twists! ◙
“The Van Job” plays at the Capital Theater at 1 PM on Saturday, February 20, for free. A DVD with a behind-the-scene documentary, gag reel, and other special features will be available for purchase.