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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Teenage filmmakers: Prom House and Eighty Four Media

Photo courtesy of Rachel Klemm
The cast and crew of Prom House after the premiere of the film

Most teenagers cannot say that they have been involved in writing, directing, producing and acting in a film, much less a film that was created entirely by students. For the cast and crew of Prom House, this dream became a reality.

The short horror film by Eighty Four Media, a film company run by WHS senior Jordan Mirrione, began production in August. The cast and crew traveled to Seaside Heights, NJ and spent three days filming on the beach, boardwalk and the Airbnb Mirrione rented for production.

Prom House features four main characters staying in a beach house after prom night. During their stay, chaos erupts when one character finds a possessed tape that disrupts their whole weekend.

Rachel Klemm, who plays protagonist Emily, said, “There’s a lot of great parts to it; it’s funny, but it’s also dark.”

The film was screened at the Cranford Theater on Oct. 12 and had a large turnout, selling 121 tickets. Klemm said that she felt amazing seeing their work on the big screen. If you missed it on the big screen, you can watch Prom House on their YouTube channel, @eightyfourmedia.

But what does it take to create a self-made film? Mirrione said that he began writing the script at least a month before shooting, sometimes creating characters entirely from scratch or basing them off an actor he knew would be involved. Once the script was finished, casting began.

The audition process consisted of a cold read of a part of the script and a monologue. Sometimes due to availability issues, the members brought in peers from former plays or camps to work with them, such as Billy Kasper who played Charley in Prom House and WHS alum Olivia Mazzola who played Charley’s mother in Prom House.

The next step was funding. For Eighty Four Media’s first film, The Fight or Flight Response, Mirrione self-funded the whole project, whereas for Prom House, he opted to raise money to fund it instead.

“Our first film, I put in probably close to $1,000 for the Fight or Flight Response. For Prom House, we crowd-funded, our goal was $5,000 and we made $2,820. I shot high because I knew people would meet us in the middle and that’s exactly what happened,” said Mirrione.

From there, the cast and crew began work on costumes and makeup, getting equipment and designing the set. Once the production started shooting, hours ranged from a few hours to a 16-hour shoot with only a few breaks.

The cast and crew takes the creation of their films as seriously as any professional does: “Everyone in the group takes it [filmmaking] very seriously because that’s the expectation. It’s the experience that counts, that’s what we’re all really looking for. The experience of creating a film that’s professional,” said Mirrione.

Eighty Four Media has already started the process for their next production.

Mirrione said, “After Prom House we’re going to branch out a little bit and explore different directors who will create their own projects under Eighty Four Media. Our next big production will not be a horror movie, it will be something new, and a new challenge for us.”

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