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'The Dorm Room'

Madison native Bear
premieres his first feature film in Chicago

He calls filmmaking 'a great learning experience'

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(November 2006) – Back when he was at Madison Consolidated High School, Josh Bear and his friends would spend hours creating films in the art department. Bear was fascinated with filmmaking but ended up in Sarasota, Fla., where he studied at the Ringling School of Art and Design and received a bachelor’s degree in illustration.
It was years later while working in Chicago as a video game designer for High Voltage Software that Bear, 27, would once again return to his passion for filmmaking. Bear’s independent film “The Dorm Room,” by Zero Hero Productions, will have its world premiere and pre-show reception at 6 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, Ill., a suburb in Chicago. Refreshments will be provided by Domino’s Pizza. Tickets for the show and reception are $12.

The Dorm Room

Photo provided

“The Dorm Room” is about
college relationships.

Bear read a script written by a friend, David A. Rodriguez, that he thought would be perfect for making into an independent film. He acknowledged he needed to keep the audience’s attention; the script had to be good if the entire 1 1/2-hour movie was to take place in the same spot. “I thought this particular script would fit my needs perfectly,” he said.
He also realized he needed to keep the film simple because of financial reasons, so he decided the one-setting script would work out wonderfully. Bear self-financed the entire production, which had a budget of just under $5,000.
The movie was filmed in a tiny apartment in Rockford, Ill., that the crew transformed into a dorm room. It took about one month of constant filming to complete the entire script.
“The entire production crew and cast worked long hours at other jobs, so we filmed at night and on every weekend to get finished,” said Bear.
He added he was shocked that it took nearly two years to completely finish the entire film. “I didn’t realize the process would take so long, but it is a huge task to put it all together.”
In addition to editing the 20 hours of footage, Bear had to find someone to compose the music and then produce the sound track. “It was a great learning experience and loads of fun.”
There are eight characters in “The Dorm Room,” including two main characters and a comic relief guy. Rodriguez plays “Alex,” Lewis Harris II plays “Charlie,” while Cef Grima plays the funny man, “Richie.”

Josh Bear

Bear

In the movie, Charlie and Alex are two womanizing college roommates who appear to be having a bad day. The film deals with the typical problems that most college students have to deal with at some point: kicking the freeloading Richie out of the room, finding a lost phone that won’t quit ringing and finding a girlfriend for another naïve friend. Things go badly, however, when Alex decides to change his womanizing ways and suddenly realizes he doesn’t like how Charlie treats women.
“Although the movie is simply about the relationships between a group of friends, it is very entertaining,” Bear said.
In a recent career move, Bear quit his job in Chicago and relocated back to Madison to form his own software company, Twisted Pixel Games. Two other company owners, Mike Wilford and Frank Wilson, both from Chicago, have also moved to Madison.
“Madison is familiar to me, and it is the perfect place for a small company to start out,” he said.
Twisted Pixel Games is in pre-production development of several video games that will be available on the future generation of video consoles, including Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s Playstation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii.
In addition, Bear said the company is working on delivering top quality games through a new video game model, which is digital distribution through the Internet onto the video game machine. “There are already some lower quality games using the new model of distribution, but we plan to bring top notch, very competitive games to the public,” he said.

• To read more about Josh Bear’s film, “The Dorm Room,” visit: www.dormroommovie.com.

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