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Downsized (2010)

Downsized (2010)

It’s safe to say, along with most Americans, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Having known several people who had been downsized due to the economic crisis, usually the stories I would hear about their situations were so odd that they almost felt satirical, despite the fact that they were absolutely real. I wanted to find a way to make this odd economic crisis enjoyable– a way to memorialize what it was like to live through it. I came up with a few storylines– touching on corporate life, suburban life, and the scramblers in between, and ranging in mood from satire to drama. I called it “Downsized.”

I’ve known I wanted to be a filmmaker for some time, and I was tired of talking about it instead of doing it, so I decided to produce Downsized in a way that was manageable for me at this stage of my career. I sent the script to some friends of mine and luckily, all of them immediately wanted to be involved. Most of the castmembers are long-time classmates of mine from an on-camera master class taught by Peter Kelley, which we referred to as “PK Monday Nights”, and once I got them on board, I became very excited about the caliber of the project.

Once the cast was locked, I spent the next few months rewriting and workshopping the script. I then brought in the brilliant Chris Shimojima as DP and editor, whom I knew would come up with some unique ways to shoot this, having worked with him on his very creative film, The Story of Matthew, while he was still a student at NYU. We discussed the camera options and ultimately decided on the Sony EX-1. Chris brought in a terrific sound guy Brett Van Deusen and we shot six episodes over the course of one weekend. Due to the caliber and commitment of everyone involved, we remained on-schedule or under-schedule from start to finish.

Cast

Datyn Strauss (Beth)
Duncan Murdoch (Lowell)
Michele Mavissakalian (Maura)
Chris Coffey (Connor)
Esra Gaffin (Leyla)
Conan McCarty (Andy)
Shannon Conley (Astrid)
Kaipo Schwab (Nate)
Gerard Urciuoli (Hank)
Meredith Zinner (Priscilla)
Brian Keane (Justin)
Sevrin Anne Mason (Tara)
Dawn Vicknair (Hattie)

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