Gordy Cam Gordy Contest Gordy Shop Filmmaking Live Hollywood PA - live internet broadcast of an independent film production. Live streaming video of the making of a movie. Digital video camera broadcasts from the movie set of Hollywood PA.
logo_top_ff2.jpg spacer.gif spacer.gifInterview w/ Greg Swartz (1/18/00) spacer.gifInterview w/ Sven Pape (2/5/00)
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The Film Director's Vision
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Interview w/ Greg Swartz

Question: What is the story of Hollywood, PA?

HPA is a story about a discouraged filmmaker Gordy Crbinak returning to his hometown to gain the celebrity status he yearned to receive but never did. Gordy decides to make his life available to the public. With the support of his friend, Gordy sets out to make a daily video diary of his entire life. His camera becomes a part of him as his life is broadcast over the Internet.

Soon, Gordy and his little town in Pennsylvania become worldwide media sensations. They receive fans from all over the world. Some viewers even believe that Gordy's life is a work of fiction.

Question: HOLLYWOOD, PA sounds a lot like EDTV or THE TRUMAN SHOW. How is this story different?

* Swartz: First of all, it?s the Internet, not a Television show. And secondly, Gordy undertakes this project willingly, whereas EDTV became a commentary on the intrusion of media into our lives and a lack of privacy. That doesn't become the main issue in this. We focus more on the greed in the people around Gordy and the desire to be noticed, the desire to get some media attention. People go out of their way and try to create the most demographically diverse environment that they can, so that they can cash in on this guy's idea. Reality can't possibly last in the face of a camera, so this reality becomes highly distorted. That never became the issue in THE TRUMAN SHOW or EDTV. The reality in those films was the reality that was presented, but Holly Ridge's reality actually ceases to exist and becomes a living, breathing commercial.

Question: How would you categorize this movie?

* Swartz: Well, it's a comedy. I think it?s a unique structure in that a lot of what the main character Gordy shows on his web site becomes the film itself. By combining film and video elements, we are going to create a look for this film that is as real as possible. We have made our weakness into our strength. We've taken video, which a lot of people see as limiting, and used it as a tool that's dealt with directly in the story. Some of the shots that Gordy shoots with his camera will be featured in the film, realistically; not as structured Hollywood shots. Basically, a lot of what he sees happening is what happens. It will have a spontaneity to it that is similar to things like JenniCam. And we must deal with the fact that those cameras are, more often than not, very boring. On JenniCam she leaves and goes to her job for X number of hours every day and there is just an apartment with nothing going on. Obviously we can't do that because it is boring, but Gordy has to deal with the fact that life basically is chock full of boring stuff, and he's constantly searching for stories within the boredom

Question: How did you first become involved in filmmaking?

* Swartz: When I was six years old I very clearly remember seeing "Star Wars." And from that moment I had two choices; one was making films and the other was becoming a Jedi Knight. Eventually I found the whole filmmaking thing to be a lot more practical than the Jedi thing because I wasn't able to move stuff with my mind. At that time the only way that my film passion manifested itself was that I saw Star Wars in the theater eighteen times. The summer of 1981 I saw a movie every single day. Every morning my Mom on her lunch break would come and pick me up and drop me off at a theater and pick me up after she got off of work... And that's how it all began.

Question: So, you're using the Internet. . .

* Swartz: Yeah! We are going to take Gordy's idea and apply it to ourselves. People can actually watch the film being made with a camera that we'll have set up on set: with interactive chats with various key members of the cast and crew, ask questions and learn about what?s coming up, and get explanations about how the shooting process is done. And this is a full production on its own and where we got Sven and Gerald involved.
They will focus exclusively on the online broadcast and the challenge of engaging an audience in the film.

Question: Why Pennsylvania?

* Swartz: I'm a native of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, where we are going to be shooting. A lot of people might know it as Pennsylvania Dutch country or Amish country - home of the movie, Witness. That is probably the most famous thing done there. More recently Oprah Winfrey's Beloved was shot there, as was the yet-to-be-released Girl Interrupted with Winona Ryder. We are going to shoot all but one of our days of principal photography there and use the resources that it has to offer. It's one of many Pennsylvania towns that grounded to a halt in the late 70s with the demise of the steel and coal industry. There is a high unemployment rate and more mechanics than car dealerships. There are a lot of abandoned steal mills still standing. The whole area just feels very rusty and that's the kind of look we're going for.

Question: What do you want to achieve with this movie?

* Swartz: I think that the appeal to everyone involved is the "Nowness" of our story. It really fits with our time. There are few, if any, comedies about the Internet; so far everything has been some kind of creepy thriller. But we're going to change that.

Also, digital video Guerrilla filmmaking has become such a popular thing nation wide now, with the success of "The Blair Witch Project," and with the introduction of digital video, which has really democratized film. It has made movie making available to basically anyone who can get a hold of, comparatively, extremely cheap equipment. I recently saw a headline saying that anyone with ten thousand dollars can own their own film studio.

Not only are we utilizing this, but we are making a film about someone utilizing all of these new resources. We are promoting ourselves on our website; Gordy promotes himself on his website. We?re dealing with the roll of media in our lives, which has obviously become something very important as of late. We are trying to approach this from a new perspective and really make something that is successful on a lot of different levels.

Question: Can you tell us about the cast?

* Swartz: Our most known actor is Amber Benson in the roll of the neighbor girl who makes a fortune from Gordy?s idea - while he never makes a penny off of it. She was in last years CAN?T HARDLY WAIT and was one of the two female leads IMAGINARY CRIMES with Harvey Kietel. She's also been in KING OF THE HILL, a Steven Soberberg Film. She had a rather sizable role in SWF and has had numerous roles in television shows. She is also starring opposite Leonardo DeCapprio in the yet to be released DON?S PLUM.

Question: And what about our main character?

* Swartz: Gordy is going to be played by Steve Seeber, a long time friend and colleague of mine. We have written a lot of things together in the past, and he actually helped me to come up with this story. Steve has been in countless plays and has made dozens of his own experimental films, as well as spoofs and parodies
* His wife is the MIS computer systems manager at the magazine in Lancaster and they have three kids now. He is the Assistant Editor of a weekly newspaper, that's how he pays for those three children.
* He's from Woolrich, Pennsylvania. I didn't know him in High School, but apparently he had become such a bizarre freakish legend that, the month they graduated they had a Steve Seeber Dance at his school and the whole gym was just covered with pictures of him. As a fund-raiser for the class they got him to work out and then wrung his clothing out into jars and sold jars of Steve Seeber sweat and hair.

Question: There is always a guy in school that girls just flock to, was he that sort?

* Swartz: Everybody flocks to him, but I don't think he was ever a real lady's man. But I do remember one time in college we were all sitting around at the bar in his dining room; it was after a party. His bedroom door had a tie around the doorknob, so we assumed he was in there and didn't want to be disturbed. We had all been drinking quite a bit and it was about four or five a.m. All of a sudden, his door opens and this girl comes out. She's holding her purse and she looks sort of pale. She just looks around, and she splits. About two seconds later Steve emerges from his room wearing nothing but a pair of gold lame Speedo's, a pink silk scarf tied around his neck and a cigarette in a cigarette holder. And he just walks out and says "Good morning gentlemen" and just keeps on walking. That girl is now his wife.