A ‘Dirty’ movie: Jon Taylor’s short film is a finalist in Charleston competition
By Katie Scarvey
Jon Taylor’s new film is “Dirty.”
It’s not actually a dirty movie, though, if that’s what you were thinking.
It’s a short film that is kind of an extended sight gag, Taylor says.
But no skin. Nothing sexy, unless you count Gary Thornburg’s bathrobe.
Taylor made the film, with his partner Phillip Mann, who lives in Charleston.
In 2004, with their friend Steve Attanasie, they made a feature film in Salisbury called “The Depot.”
Taylor ó who graduated from East Rowan in 1992 and then did a stint in the Navy ó admits that back then, they really didn’t know what they were doing.
Their current effort, “Dirty,” was selected as one of five finalists in the Charleston Post and Courier’s 28-Day Film Festival Contest.
Contest rules dictated that it be less than 7 minutes long and shot a 28-day period in January and February ó and the newspaper had to be central to the plot.
It wasn’t hard for Taylor to get people involved with the project, like Gary Thornburg, who stars, and musician Marc Hoffman, who did the score.
“There are so many talented people in Salisbury that aren’t being tapped really,” he says.
“That makes a big impact on the quality of stuff you can do.”
The film was shot in the sunlit kitchen of the home of Brenda and Larry Campbell, who are given producer credit on the film.
Hoffman’s score, Taylor says is “just incredible.”
And the sound work done by Jared Jacobs, he adds, is “just phenomenal.”
Taylor designed his script with Thornburg in mind.
“Gary has always been a fantastic actor,” Taylor says.
Normally a stage actor, Thornburg enjoyed the filming experience.
“I play this obsessive compulsive guy who likes to cut words from newspapers and label everything,” he said.
“I thought the film worked out pretty darn well.”
Musician Marc Hoffman agreed to score the film for Taylor, who has done video and still photography for Hoffman.
Hoffman enjoyed the project.
“Short films are great because it doesn’t take weeks and weeks,” he says. He estimates that he spent about 15 hours on the project.
The music goes back and forth from light jazz trio music, with piano, bass and drums, to string instruments playing what Hoffman describes as an”ominous, almost Wagnerian” music motif.
The ominous music accompanies shots of ó believe it or not ó a dishwasher, which could almost be described as a character in the film.
In “Dirty,” the music is more than just background ó it definitely helps move the story along, Hoffman says.
Hoffman has done about 15 film scores, including another for one of Taylor’s films. That movie, “A Walk in the Park,” was was “goofy, fun stuff,” Hoffman said. Hoffman learned how to score movies when the process was much more difficult ó when it was necessary to use mathematical equations to make sure the frames of film were correctly coupled with the tempo.
“Software has made music scoring much easier,” he said.
“Dirty” was shot in one day, Taylor says.
It’s based on a joke ó “not a joke to tell but a joke to show,” Taylor says.
Taylor describes himself as a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan and loves the visual quality of Hitchcock movies.
“You can watch most of his movies with the sound completely off,” he says, “and they’ll still make sense.”
“I’m always jumping at the chance to do something a hundred percent visual,” Taylor says. “Sight gags are great when you can get them to work.”
Viewers can go to the Charleston Post and Courier Web site and vote on their favorite film until March 27.
Although the top overall vote-getter wins a slot in the Charleston International Film festival, Taylor says that it was an honor for his film to be among the five finalists selected to be in the competition.
Taylor, who has a day job working for Velocenet, says he’d love to be able to make three or four short films a year. He’s filmed several documentaries for a law office, which was a fantastic learning experience, he says.
He’s also worked on a many short films as an actor, and he does editing and post-production work for people.
If you’d like to see “Dirty” ó and the four other finalists ó go to www.postandcourier.com/news/28days_contest/
You can vote on your favorite.