By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
For those lucky enough to land a role in Lake Noir the director, writer and star are making a simple promise: your brush with fame won’t be as the blurry person asking for more salt as the featured performers do their thing.
“In a lot of productions, you’re an extra, you’re waiting eight hours for someone and then someone walks by and you go home,” said director Jeff Schneider. “If you’re in our movie you’re going to have screen time and have lines.”
Schneider, along with writer Abel Martinez, Jr., and actor and casting director Mike Gonzalez, a McNary High School graduate with appearances in the The Shield, House MD, Crank and Jay Leno to his name, are gearing up for their first feature this summer slated to be shot, predominantly, on the outskirts of Keizer. The trio is looking for local actors to fill roles. They currently have openings for 15 actors with a passion for the horror genre or films in general. For more information about the roles available, visit www.mgcasting.com.
The tag line for the film is, “Nothing good happens at this lake.”
“We have a group going out camping and all hell breaks loose when this entity is reborn with superstrength from an incident predating the film events,” Martinez said. “We wanted to do something that would be fun and put together really quickly so we could be local. When we looked at it, the best way to go about it was to do this kind of a film.”
The intense focus on being local is what drew Gonzalez to the project beyond his friendship with his partners.
“Abel went with the Robert Rodriguez train of thought where you write to what you have and you keep focus on the story, so you don’t have to cheapen it with a lot of bad special effects,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez got his start in the movie business after moving to Los Angeles from Keizer.
“I wanted to be a digital editor, but at the time I was also working as a special needs instructor for the Salem-Keizer School District,” he said.
His charges occasionally acted out and hair was the first thing they reached for. To deter them from trying, Gonzalez started shaving his head.
“When I moved to Los Angeles it worked out in my favor because the casting directors thought I looked like a gangster. Those first jobs helped me get a foot in the door,” he said. “From there, I sort of became an ambassador from the streets to the casting rooms.”
Schneider, who is taking his first turn behind the lens after several years as an editor and producer on a small film, said Lake Noir should have appeal beyond horror buffs.
“Abel has looked at a bunch of the horror films out there, but he’s involved himself in it in a new way that will resonate beyond that audience,” Schneider said.
Filming is slated for weekends in July, but novice actors shouldn’t be shy about auditioning, Gonzalez said.
“We’ll be working with them personally and having weekly workshops up to the point where we start filming,” he said.
“Some of the best actors you’ll get are the ones who have no experience, but a lot of enthusiasm,” Schneider added.