Herndon More than 100 people-actors, production crew, and guests gathered at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria May 5, to witness the premiere screening of the feature film, Novacane, a four-part short film series produced by Brian Rose, filmmaker, videographer, and owner of Movoly Productions, LLC. The film is centered on a group of young adults, their coming of age stories and the culture of the millennial generation. Rose, a Herndon native, is currently pursuing studies in Film and Video Production at George Mason University in Fairfax.
Rose produced “Novacane” on micro budget, near zero dollars. He is known for making things happen and literally grew up behind a camera. Rose has been involved with film his entire life. "My parents met while volunteering for Herndon Community Television and my family has been volunteering there since then. Herndon Community Television (HCTV) was a great place for me to learn the ropes of television and develop my craft,” said Rose.
According to Nancy Rose, Executive Director of HCTV, while her son was born with a camera in his hands, "He makes things happen," she said. Rose reported that when her son volunteers at HCTV his perpetual response to film challenges and requests to incorporate innovative ideas has always been, “Yeah, I think we can do that."
BRIAN ROSE said he created “Novacane” as an experiment to see if a bunch of nobodies, he and his film buddies, could produce a high-quality professional feature length film on a micro budget. They did it, but it took them two years from concept to premiere night. They tackled the project professionally, took sequential steps and they were flexible.
First, Rose recognized the need to form a limited liability company, an LLC, before starting the filmmaking. “We incorporated [Movoly Productions, LLC] in May 2016," Rose said. "We’d been doing filming under our names before then. We had this movie ‘Novacane’ in mind, so we knew that was coming up. We wanted to take on more significant projects with a more professional branding."
According to Rose, Movoly Productions, LLC comprises artists dedicated to telling stories through digital media — promotional, advertisement, narrative, and event coverage such as weddings and corporate gatherings.
Next, Rose retained high-quality actors and producers even though he could only offer them compensation of "love, food, and a great experience.” Asked how he got actors for free, Rose said, "We went onto backstage.com, that’s an online site that helps actors book roles. We got over 100 responses...We found that there are a lot of people dedicated who want to [act] for the craft and not for a paycheck."
Using volunteers as actors had its limitations. Megan Zinn from Burke was “Novacane” Executive Creator and Josh Oswalt from Herndon was “Novacane” Producer. Zinn said, "The most challenging aspect of making this film was that it was all essentially volunteer-based... It was tricky to nail down everybody's availability. We got lucky and had a wonderful cast who put in a lot of free hours to make this film as amazing as we did.”
Oswalt reported additional challenges the crew met and overcame. "For some scenes we envisioned, we had to change them significantly, rework things as they were happening. It's one thing to write a script and debate about ideas. It's something entirely different to get behind the camera and position people."
On the first day of filming in September 2016, Rose said he had been excited, "I couldn't wait to get out of bed," but by March 2017, the excitement had tapered, and Rose found it was hard to move forward. Filming was three months over schedule and after six months operating on a shoestring budget with his crew shooting film across a range of locations in Northern Virginia, going to school, and working on weekends to uphold the digital demands of his company, time caught up with Rose.
It was three weeks before the screening premiere date for “Novacane.” Rose had 20 hours of film footage, over a terabyte to edit. He met the challenge head on. He locked himself in a room and worked. Twenty days later he emerged. “Novacane” was nearly ready.
ROSE REPORTED that May 5, the premiere's date, was a stressful day not because of the premiere itself but because they were still editing the film eight hours before they were supposed to release it. The production crew wanted it as near perfect as they could get it.
"We were still making changes to it, so it was pretty down to the wire. It takes a lot of time to get the ins and outs of sound perfect...We were trying to get it as good as we could for the screening," Rose said. As for the turnout and the audience reaction, Rose said, "We had probably around 100 people come out...and everyone I talked to seemed to like it. All the actors were happy with the film."
Dilruk De Silva of Burke played the character of Alvin. He said, "This was honestly one of my favorite roles to play because the character of Alvin was very much like me. He was the funny man of the group but had a reason for being the way he was...This role allowed me to have a lot of freedom as an actor and I would be honored to do it again."
According to Rose, now that the film is complete, he intends to submit it to different festivals. "I want to send it to a whole bunch of them, some big, some small and local. We also want to try to see how much we can spot it online; it’s free on YouTube,” he said. “‘Novacane,’ it was a labor of love,” he added. “We want to grow it. I would hope we would make some money off of it."
Asked where Rose sees himself 40 years from now, he replied he'll be doing the same thing as he is today but with two major changes. "On a much larger scale and with income. Passion is important but so is income."