Extras Needed! Chicago DIY scene to be featured in "Straight Edge Kegger"

Nearly a year after releasing the trailer for Straight Edge Kegger, a film featuring a young punk and a houseful of drunks squaring off against a gang of militant straight edgers, Weird On Top Pictures and director Jason Zink are ready to begin filming the full movie. Next Monday, September 18th, the Subterranean in Wicker Park will be hosting a FREE show with local punk bands, UGLYBoNES and Death of Self, as well as local ska bands, Bad Timing and The Land Before Tim, so Zink and his crew can film a scene featuring a large DIY punk show.

Locals Only briefly chatted with Zink about his creative direction, influences, and hopes for the scene being shot on Monday. Zink also offered some advice for extras who plan to attend the show. Read the interview and watch the trailer below, and get more information about the free show here.



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How did you develop the concept for Straight Edge Kegger?

Jason Zink: Kevin Smith. No, he didn’t directly feed me the concept — but it all started with him. I was on a big Smith kick just due to the fact that he’s still making original content. I had just read his book, Tough Shit, and I watched all of his Q & A’s. Somewhere in all that info, he started talking about getting stoned and watching a documentary on Wayne Gretzky. He said that he found out that the reason he was “The Great One” wasn’t because of his shots on the net but because of his assists. The golden statement that Kevin Smith took from the whole thing was that Gretzky tried to be where the puck was going rather than where it was. With that in mind, Smith dug deep into his own bag of fears and frustrations and Red State was born — arguably the best thing he’s ever done.
So I took a page out of his book and started digging around in my own head and found conflicts with punk scene bureaucracy and the aisle that separates straight edge from the rest of the folks. I didn’t drink or smoke (still don’t smoke) when I was a teenager but I never called myself “straight edge”. It wasn’t something that I knew about at the time and when I found out, I still didn’t get on the ship. So Straight Edge Kegger came naturally as a concept and then I had to pick the thing apart to make it a real story. It sort of just snowballed.
What was the process like for getting funding for this film?
Z: Let me just start by saying that I hate crowd funding. In theory, it’s great. We all help each other and the fans get to be a part of projects. But in reality, it’s the most frustrating thing to deal with and the stress that goes along with it… is it worth it? That’s debatable. Each flick that we’ve done, up to this point, has come out of my own pocket. With SEK, I knew that I didn’t have the funds or even the credit limit to support what I was picturing. So I turned to crowd funding out of pure desperation and naivety. A good friend of mine had just had a successful Kickstarter that raised $60K more than their goal for a card game. I thought, “Hey! I can do that!”. I was wrong… and so was he in the long run. He has now struggled through two more campaigns and one of them was pulled before the finish date. People keep flocking to campaigns for people that already don’t need the money and the little guys are mostly ignored. I’ve seen amazing campaigns bomb and shitty campaigns soar. It’s a crap shoot. Ours was only successful because of our friends and family members that were willing to step up. Did we have complete strangers contribute? Sure, but it was a small portion. All in all, I can’t be too upset because we hit our goal and it made it possible for me to fund the remaining budget on my credit cards. But I will NEVER do crowd funding again.
What involvement, if any, do you have in either straight edge music scenes or local music scenes in general?
Z: I grew up in small town Indiana. A music “scene” didn’t really exist, let alone a punk one that was worth anything. Not to say that you can’t find those things in the nooks and crannies-you just couldn’t in my small town. But house shows and punk were always something that peaked my interest. A lot of the bands weren’t any good but I had all sorts of bands play at my parents’ house where we also had ramps to skate. We even had some bands that are now on the t-shirt wall of Hot Topic. But truth be told, I didn’t like just about any of the bands that came and played. They were just there. I gave up on having bands play after a while because I just didn’t care. My first couple years in college, I lived in apartments. It was only after I moved into an old Victorian house with a landlord who doesn’t give a damn that I started throwing shows again and this time we got bands that we actually wanted to play.

Judging from the trailer, this appears to be a horror/satire movie about a punk music community. What messages are you hoping to convey through this film?

Z: We’re going with MacKaye’s mindset as an overall theme; “people should be allowed to live their lives the way they want to.” That’s the idea, but I’m not sure if it’ll totally come across by the end of the movie. It is a horror/thriller above all else. So ultimately, its tone is much closer to Romper Stomper and the militant straight edgers are the “bad guys”. But there’s much more going on in the story and we have people both in and out of their scene that are battling with their own internal conflict. While I don’t completely subscribe to the straight edge notion on the whole, I get it and I don’t want to piss off everyone that lives that lifestyle. We’ve tried to keep things, in both aesthetic and in terms of music, to be authentic and compelling for everyone- but this movie and soundtrack are packed to the gills with punk and straight edge. That’s all I can say without giving too much away but I think that straight edgers and the average punk will both be pleasantly surprised.

What kind of scene are you aiming to film on Monday?

Z: What’s happening Monday? Just kidding. Monday is actually the opening to the entire movie. A lot of people applied to be killed on screen during that shoot but sorry to tell them- nobody dies on that day. It’s just your average punk/hardcore show and it’s our introduction to our main characters, both antagonists and protagonists.

What led you to choose the Subterranean as a spot for filming this scene?

Z: The low-to-ground stage was key. The first time I saw Ceremony was at that venue and I immediately fell in love. We want this to feel like a genuine hardcore show and the Subterranean just makes it so easy for us to show up, light it and begin shooting.

Any final words to anyone who’s coming out to the show on Monday? Any advice for what to do?

Z: We’ll be giving people more instructions once they’re in but, I have three main pieces of advice:

A) Don’t wear any big band’s logo (i.e. Green Day, Blink 182 or even Minor Threat). The people who own the rights to those things will ruin us. Keep it street punk; a friend’s band or a plain tee is fine too.

B) Don’t look at the camera! We’re going to be shooting both in and out of the crowd and for things to run smoothly and for us to not have to cut out your image, you need to be natural. Enjoy the show when we’re just shooting the crowd. Mosh and have fun.

C) Don’t be an asshole. There’s going to be a bar at the show because it helps the Subterranean out — but this is the culmination of about 8 months of prep and thousands of dollars. If someone isn’t listening to what we’re asking them to do or can’t handle their alcohol, they’re getting booted. I’m sure that won’t happen and probably doesn’t need  [to be] said, but we’ve all been to shows where somebody does something. So we’re asking nicely that nobody be that guy/girl on Monday.

Where can I find more of your work?
Z: Our last feature, Night Terrors, is available on VOD, DVD and there are still some VHS copies left from the limited run. Our distributor (Alternative Cinema) is the best way to go about it but you can also rent via Amazon, YouTube and Xbox Video. While that flick is definitely worth a watch to see where we started and what we got done for less than $5K, keep your eyes peeled for this one because it’s a different beast entirely. People can follow us on all the regular anti-social media too.

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