A Lookback: Director’s Take on the First Season of “The Hooligans.”

Oliver Antone, writer

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In a rush of emotions,  a rush against the clock, and a rush to finish the editing, all five of us stood there under the lights on that Tuesday. Pride, joy, passion, and, most of all, exhaustion. It was a relaxing feeling to know it was over… then again, we never wanted it to end.

“The Hooligans” started over Fall Break 2016 in an email and some boredom. I looked through my drawers and surfaced a copy of “Hooligans in Russian Time” by an old teacher of mine: Stephen Andolfo. I recalled a moment in which he and I discussed making the book into a film, but I denied since I wasn’t ready yet. However, after honing my craft more and more I looked to the book, cracked open my laptop, and began.

Writing went by relatively quickly. I was passionate about the idea and could settle for nothing less than perfect. A few, okay, a lot of hours of sleep were lost by the end of that break, but I was determined.

Casting was the longest process. Early on I knew I wanted Cat Bender to play Bella, the image couldn’t leave my head. From there, everything became fuzzy. I considered Miles Robinson for Jose, but the time commitment prevented me from doing that. During production of “Diary of Anne Frank” however I met my man. I used “What Next, Mr. Wallace” to test the waters with him, and by January I knew my Jose was Stephen Smart. Devon came later on, I sort of auditioned him before asking him to fulfill the role of Sweeps. I considered Mr. Campbell for a time, but, again, decided against becaus the time commitment. Layne as Tri was my wild card. I had never met Layne, all I had was Virginia Sullivant’s word that he could do a Russian accent. With my luck he was in “Shrek: The Musical!” which gave me prime opportunity to grow with him, and learn his abilities. By the end, I knew he was my man.

We did read-throughs often, and, by March, we had our first table read as a cast. We took part in the writers cafe, started an IndieGoGo campaign, and generated excitement for the show. Then came filming.

The temperature was in the hundreds, and we all remember it well. Costumes, so delicately designed by Cat, stuck to the skin like a Elmer’s Glue to a kindergartener’s art project. Whether we were inside or out, we felt the heat. Making the world come to life was an interesting campaign. Josh Bender and Keegan Lampley aided on the lighting, and Keegan helped make the Scrim green so we had a large space to play with.

Throughout filming we took a few days after school and during Innov8, and we even took the first two days out of summer to stay at JPII for 8 hours and film. In this stressful time, the group made some of the best memories, some of which can be seen in the season finale credits. Amongst the stress we managed to band together and produce some of the best work I’ve ever made.

Without JPII, I would not have had the opportunity to film this series. Thanks to Mrs. Smith, Mr. Campbell, and Mr. Patton we had the time and resources to make a product that people genuinely enjoyed. This project continuously shows the need for the arts, and the continued support of them in high school. Support for the arts allowed me to live my dream.

The Hooligans is available to watch here.

 

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