Lights, camera ...

Teens get first-hand experience with cinematography during production of film

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Brendan Beachman sits in front of his computer watching the screen critically.

"Man there I am again," he said, almost in disgust. "I make a lot of appearances in this movie."

This time his reflection -- blond hair escaping from underneath a backwards baseball cap with a camera protruding from below the cap -- can be seen in a car window.

"Man that is frustrating," he said.

Running on the screen are spliced clips Beachman is trying to put in the order of a movie. The clips range from scenes shot in June to as recently as January.

A cow on a unicycle, a gorilla chasing a after zombie and a guy in a space suit on a pogo stick are just a few of the characters in their latest production. One may have seen any combination of the three in Craig in the last eight months. The police have sure noticed.

"We've been pulled over several times," Drew Lyon said. "I guess filming a movie in Craig isn't something that goes on all the time."

Lyon and Beachman have been writing and producing "Nightstriker Rebooted." It is the third and most complex of their Nightstriker trilogy and is probably one of the last films the two will do together after starting in fifth grade.

Back then Beachman, Lyon and Nathan Silva started their cinematic productions making parodies of cop films. After a couple of short movies they came up with the name of Trash Can Productions for their work.

"We were zit-faced and squeaky-voiced kids with some ideas we thought were funny," Lyon said. "I don't think we even want to watch those films now."

Things have come a long way for Trash Can Productions.

With film editing available on personal computers, they no longer have to film in exact sequence. Beachman's new digital camcorder can film in different modes and produce special effects.

While the technological aspects have improved, the lives of the directors are, at the least, a little more busy.

"It has taken a lot longer to put together than originally planned," said Beachman, who initially wanted to show the movie for a first-semester class. "It's hard to get the five or six of us together and to get anything done since it seems like we all have A.D.D."

Athletics, jobs, a band and the occasional date have taken away from time on the movie. What ended up being shown at then end of the class in January was a chase seen "trailer."

"If we could have done it all this summer we would have got it finished," Beachman said. "Things are just too busy for all of us now."

The release date for the movie is still undetermined, with a goal being set for April or early May.

Things are a lot more intricate than the initial three-person cop films. The movie includes a stuntman, extras and two trunks full of costumes. Filmed entirely in Craig, the filmmakers have been surprised by the options available to them in their home town.

"A lot of people ask us in what city we filmed our stuff in," said Kyle Morris, who plays several characters. "But we just looked around a lot in Craig."

A night scene is filmed under the bright lights of the Golden Cavvy. A lot of the chase scenes are filmed in the alleys of downtown.

"Not very many people have been in the alleys," Lyon said. "There are a lot of different looks we found."

In the movie Jack Mathers (Lyon) is a washed-up detective who has dreams of being a superstar cop. He is assigned a new partner, Chip Walters (Nate Paschke). Walters and Mathers go around town trying to solve the big case. A main theme throughout is the interaction between the personalities of the protagonists.

"There is a lot of play off the relationship of the two partners," Lyon said. "Chip is all serious and Jack is really laid back so they are a fun duo."

The cast promises several twists in the end of the movie that, of course, they wouldn't divulge.

Making movies has turned into more than just a hobby to pass time with for Beachman and Lyon. Montana State University's film school is Beachman's planned destination after high school. He has already been accepted to the school but he hopes that "Nightstriker" will help him with some money.

"The school is really competitive for scholarships," he said. "They only give out one or two for the whole school."

Lyon has been accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. He hasn't decided what he will major in, but writing, producing and acting in a movie can only help.

"'Nightstriker Rebooted' will be the most complicated production yet," Lyon said.

"And best," Morris said.

Shortly after Lyon left for track practice, Morris for play practice, Silva and Paschke left for work.

"As long as we can get it finished," Beachman said.

Then he left to for band practice.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 970-824-7031 ext 211 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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