Thursday, April 19, 2012

3B Entertainment Presents: Right in the Cloaca

A couple of weeks ago I met with some of the crew of 3B Entertainment to discuss the latest film that they are working on, a skit-infused production called "Right in the Cloaca." It's the fourth movie this crew has produced together, and if enthusiasm is any indication, this one might prove to be the most successful one to date. If nothing else, it was definitely the most fun.

Cloaca is a sketch comedy, in the same vein as Kentucky Fried Movie.

"Sketch comedy has been really what we've done for a quarter of a century now, because it's easy," admits Josh Brown, one of the 3 B's in 3B Entertainment. "It's short, it's concise, and there is just alot of stuff to make fun of."

"There's an obscure movie nobody will remember," he continues. "It was from our youth, that we probably shouldn't have watched because it was very rated R and we were little kids, but it was a National Lampoon movie called Disco Beaver from Outer Space. It's kind of like what we are doing here with Cloaca. It's like channel surfing, but what you are surfing to is all the crap we have cooked up in our disturbed little minds."

"It's sort of akin to watching Saturday Night Live," adds Lewayne White. "You're going to see alot of the same faces doing different things. There's not a whole lot of recurring characters in it, but you've got a lot of the same faces you're going to see in different scenes."

White is the president of the Iowa Script Writer's Alliance, a six panel membership club that exists to provide support to playwrights, screen writers and other folks who put words into action. He joined  3B during the filming of  2009's unreleased zombie epic, The Wait. While his forte is obviously in writing script, he has also taken on several acting roles in Right in the Cloaca.

"I am not an actual member of the LLC," Lewayne says of 3B Entertainment. "But I've done some script work, and props and some costumes, you know a little bit of everything."

The LLC belongs to brothers Josh and Dan Brown, and sister Kate. Growing up, they realized that they had a penchant for entertaining, and decided to incorporate it (literally) into a full time hobby.

3B Entertainment founders Dan, Kate and Josh Brown
"We led a twisted childhood, states Dan. "My parents were pretty lenient in letting us absorb everything that we could absorb. They wanted us to experience everything that they could experience, so we really had no rules when it came to music or movies, or whatever it was. I mean my mom didn't mind taking us out and buying us KISS records when we were eight, nine, ten years old."

This paved the way for an active imagination, and as one might expect an outward personality. Josh and Dan realized that they were showman from a very young age.

"One thing Josh and I used to do was put on KISS concerts in the neighborhood for everyone. We'd hang a speaker in our window, and we would put on records, and we had two other buddies and we'd put on the whole show... Everything. We had lights, pyrotechnics, the whole nine yards. So we found out that performing was just something that we were in to."

Kate might not have had the opportunity to perform KISS concerts with her brothers, but she has always been privy to their show-off shenanigans. Ever since they were all young, the Browns have worked as a trio, feeding off of each other's ideas and creativity.

"Our 3B creativity meetings can get pretty wild," she explained. "But there is lots of laughter and sharing of ideas. So far, I have acted, directed, written, held light and microphones, set designed, costumed, held cue cards, ran the camera, created fake props, and more. We have had so many helpful people involved with this project and I would never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Each of us is unique and talented and part of the fun of our productions is being surprised by the talent others bring to the set.

"I have always enjoyed working with my brothers. Each one of us has our own 'style.'" She adds. "But the styles meld together well and all of us have a knack for making people laugh."

A recipe for laughter. L-R:  Matt Curtis, Allie Yungclas, Josh Brown,
Daniel Brown, Steve Kirby, Jessica Bell, Kate Brown
Right in the Cloaca is a recipe for laughter. It is a series of individual skits put on film, each one a parody of what we as a culture have settled for in televised entertainment. Reality TV is ridiculous enough, but 3B has taken it to the next level by exposing it for what it actually is... Unrealistic. It's a product dreamed up in a corporate board room that's presented to the public for mass consumption. It's sold as reality, but it's actually situational choreography. Whether it's Survivor or Meet the Kardashians, it's a product carefully scripted to meet the low levels of consumer expectation and then it's force fed into society like poison candy.

It's almost impossible to escape it... Reality TV is on the magazine shelves at the supermarket, and it's the topic du jour at the water coolers in our office buildings. It's discussed on local radio shows, and lines of product are sold in bulk at toy stores and all the trendy retail outlets. It's become such a vital cog of our society and it's become so extreme, that it couldn't be further away from what is true reality.

That's what epitomizes Right in the Cloaca. It exposes this (un)vital cog for what it is and turns it up a notch or two.

Dan Brown explains his film as, "...One man's journey through late night TV. The gist of it is that a guy just bought a new satellite... Has never had it before, installed it, and now he's going through the 8000 something channels that he has, that he's never seen before. So he's exposed to all of these things he didn't know existed beforehand."

So yeah... It's like Reality TV on psychedelic steroids. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Grab some popcorn.

The title for the production comes directly from a scene in the movie.  The character in the scene, Lance, is clicking through the channels and keeps coming back to this bad '70s B monster flick called "Manphibian". It's one of two or three channels he keeps switching back to during the night. One can pretty much suspect that hilarity ensues... And it does.

And in case you slept through biology class, a cloaca is "essentially the anal part of amphibians and reptiles," according to Lewayne. So, essentially the title of the movie is, "Right in the Ass."

"Most of our stuff is pretty innocuous for the most part," adds Dan Brown. "We are picking on some of the trends you are seeing right now. If you go on TV, the Learning Channel for instance, everything is so extreme, everyone is some kind of freak or whatever it is, so we are kind of picking on those things that are going on. None of us are too fond of it, so we've created Extreme Janitors, Extreme Bigfoot Hunters, and Extreme Librarians, etcetera.We are making fun of all these things."

So in the movie, Lance is switching through the channels on his new satellite dish, taking in a whole new world for the first time.

According to Dan, he clicks to an episode of Time Life Records, lots of advertisements, and lots of satire, some which is quite extreme. "We definitely went a little past the envelope for us." Dan points out. "We went to some of the bluer stuff." There is an episode called The Sex Games which makes fun of ESPN's The X Games. It's the same type of thing, but all the games involve sex.

Josh explains the sexual components of the movie with careful thought. "There's some pretty... How can I put this nicely? Um... specialized portions of this movie that we certainly weren't going to be comfortable asking our own sister, or someone like Jessica or someone, something to do. This movie has got nudity, it's got a lot of sexual content, it's very grown-up... It's sort of like a National Lampoon thing... So I don't wanna make it sound like we are out here shooting hard core porn, but we are doing a Kentucky Fried Movie kind of thing. So, it's dirty but it's not so over the top that people will die or anything.

Matt Curtis, who is working on his 3rd film with 3B Entertainment, knew the right person for the job: His wife, Michael, who normally does make up and hair, and helps with set design.

"I do some of the parts that um... other people are like, 'I don't want to do that.'" Michael explains. "I'm like, OK I guess I'll do it."

She admits that she is very shy when it comes to being on camera, so in this sense she is really taking on for the team. She has known the 3B group for several years, from back when they were still putting on their (then annual) haunted house during Halloween. "I helped with the scenery... My husband and I helped even putting up walls." She noted. Her husband Matt has been much more active in the visual production of the movies, whereas Michael prefers to stay behind the scenes, except when a part comes up that nobody else feels like doing.

Jessica, Lewayne, Dan, Matt, and Josh
Jessica Bell is another actress who is enjoying her first venture into film making with 3B. Like many of the cast members she works at Meredith Corp, where she met Josh and expressed interest in helping out.

"Josh is a little ADHD." she said, laughing. "You gotta reel him in sometimes!" Still though she is having fun. She plays an extreme librarian in a fun-poking skit about competitive librarian skills. She's been involved in a scene involving Bigfoot, and a tornado chasing scene, amongst others.

"I expressed some interest in just helping out behind the scenes, and the next thing I know I've got lines. I started out with it just so I could have some fun, hang out and it's grown from there and if something comes of it, awesome... If not, it was fun!"

3B Entertainment officially took it's name in 2010, and creates much more than just movies. "For the longest time we called ourselves Cheesy Productions, Says Dan Brown. "We actually have a production hopefully coming out this summer into the fall called Cheesy TV that we're going to do for a web series." With so much going on, obviously it can get expensive. The budget for Right in the Cloaca is in the "low thousands," according to Dan. Some of the funding for these projects comes from donors but most of it comes out of their own pockets.

Matt Curtis sees this as the biggest obstacle they face. ""Our big thing is funding," he explains. "You see these other movies that come out on Netflix, internet stuff and whatever not; it's complete garbage, and it's like, 'how did they get the money funding to do that?' We have original stuff that's neat... It's funny, there is actual genuine quality there, and we can't get some of the money we need to buy the stuff we need for some of the props, building some of the sets, and just upgrading some of the camera and lighting equipment that we have. It's not like we have a huge budget. Some of the stuff costs 1500 to 5000 bucks. That's chump change to some of these other productions that we see."

Money is never easy to come by, let alone for an independent film company who is trying to strive despite the state reeling from a horrible film scandal that rocked the Chet Culver (Governor) administration. Film makers were inflating their film budgets by millions of dollars to cash in on tax money that was offered by the state of Iowa. It left a bad taste in alot of people's mouths, and some of those people are influential art types who have donated big money to film projects in the past. Now they are thinking twice about donating money and the film business in particular has taken a huge hit.

"It's just like anything you are trying to get money for," Matt explains. "Whether it is a small business or whatever, it's sort of like pulling teeth from people, and until you can kind of prove that, you know... We're not new at this. Josh has put on three or four full feature films and we're on our second or third that alot of people haven't seen, and it took a lot to put together, and until people see that we're not just a couple of guys down in the basement with an old VHS camcorder recording stuff and wanting to play that... And are genuinely wanting to step it up to the next level and trying to put Des Moines on the map for some of the local filming stuff. I just don't know how to get us there unfortunately."

Josh Brown tends to disagree.

"It's not money," he said. "You'd think that wouldn't ya? The biggest obstacle we've had on these is everyone is doing it for free and so... Everyone has jobs... Everyone has schedules, and so it's not like, 'Let's take five weeks, hammer this thing out and we're done. No, you're two days here, one day there and 4 hours there so you've got to piecemeal it together. So it's the people really 'cause you are coordinating a bunch of different schedules. When you are paying them, they HAVE to show up and you can get it done in a short space of time."

On the set of Right in the Cloaca
"Every movie that we've done has produced a few gems and this movie was no different," he continued. "Jessica and Lewayne have been little troopers. I mean, you get some people that have only showed up once, twice or never... They keep saying they are going to, but never do. Then you get people like Jessica and Lewayne who, if we say we are shooting, they are there. It is difficult to get people to commit to something that they are not getting paid for. But we've had enough people show up enough times that we are going to have a complete movie."

Filming is done and the movie is now in the final editing stages. June 9th is the tentative date for the premiere party. It will be a private event reserved for friends, family and the press.

"I don't want to just call it a release, because we are going to make it an absolute zoo. Heaven help us, and Hell prepare to welcome us..." Josh said with a huge smile on his face. "It'll be here at Meredith in late April, and then our plan is to probably show it at the Fleur Cinema here in town if they will have us... You never can tell. They may tell us, 'Up yours!'"

Then, after a moment of thought, he adds, "Our plan as well is to distribute on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and Voodoo."

Kate Brown sums it up perfectly. "I am not ashamed of anything I’ve done in this movie. This was  the most fun I’ve had in my entire life. I want the rest of the world to catch that when they see it."

Sounds like a cloaca kicking time.


Pertinent links:

To Donate contact Josh Brown

3B Entertainment Official

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cant wait to see this movie! The BD covers more important factions of the Des Moines scene than all the other publications combined.
Great story!

Dan H.