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On Set with Derek Is Funny
On set of Derek Is Funny with Reid Artstein, Duke Denzel Williams, and Francis Marcus Burke
On Saturday, June 17, ROK Productions finalized shooting on the feature film Derek Is Funny. The film is about Derek, a stand up comedian who gets a job writing at a nightly comedy show. Since this is not the type of comedy he loves, Derek finds an outlet performing stand up on the subway.
We were on set and followed the cast and crew on the final day of principal photography which was at The Producer's Club in Hell's Kitchen, 44th Street below the club, and the 8th Avenue L Train Station in Chelsea.
They started in the early morning at The Producer's Club. It is used for a comedy club setting where Derek is taking the stage as a stand up comedian. Derek is played by actor Duke Denzel Williams. Included in this scene is stand up comedian Camille Theobald who played herself, Retro Stinga whom you may recognize from his live performances in the city, actors Cinthia Nicasio, Cinder Petrichor, and Tatiana Lukic. Lukic is coupled up with the lead Williams for this scene and the next one shot outside on 44th Street.
The last shot for the day was just Williams, the director/camera person Reid Arnstein, the assistant director/sound operator Francis Marcus Burke, and production manager/script supervisor Adrienne Anghelone with minimal equipment. The final scene was shot at the 8th Avenue L Train Station. Duke and the crew shot scenes going between the 8th Avenue stop and the 6th Avenue stop. The crew thought to utilize the last car of the train in station, which ran usually near empty if not clear of all riders as the 8th Avenue train stop is where the L line terminates.
And here's a little note for all you indie filmmakers in NYC, not occupying a train car entirely, using handheld equipment, and navigating the train between stations to get shots was permissible thanks to guidelines for producing in the city. According to the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, the following type of shoot would be considered NO PERMIT NEEDED: "Productions using hand-held camera, camera on tripod, hand-held props and/or hand-held equipment, not asserting exclusive use of City property, not using prop weapons, prop vehicles, stunts, actors in police uniform and not requesting parking privileges for production vehicles do NOT need a permit. Standing on a City sidewalk, walkway of a City bridge or within a City park while using a hand-held camera and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property is NOT an activity that requires a permit."
Derek is Funny is the first feature film for director Reid Arnstein, who started in the sound recording business and has worked his way into video. Arnstein came up with the original idea for Derek Is Funny. The screenplay was written by Joe Cocozzello. Also teaming up with Reid is the producer John Andrucci. Andrucci got his start working on After School Specials with Highgate Pictures and then DIC Animation.
Please view pictures we took on set in our PhotoSeen by clicking here.
For more on ROK Productions and Lucky Uncle Productions, check these: