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'Film bug' bites Orion resident

Mark Boyd and Nancy Parker act out a scene in front of the cameras. Photo by J. Johnson of ONTV. (click for larger version)
October 17, 2012 - With two movies filmed in Orion recently, the township is getting yet another taste of the silver screen, though this screen might be slightly smaller.

Orion Township resident Caroline McClure got a taste of the film industry three years ago as a freelance writer for Michigan Movie Magazine. The publication eventually stopped circulating, opting instead to go online, but McClure loved the writing aspect.

She decided to stray from journalistic writing in favor of authoring a screenplay.

"This idea came to me and it just kept flowing and flowing," she said. "It's a suspense drama called The Best Laid Plans. Basically the title reflects the whole movie. There's a lot going on for a short film and everything is plotted out by all the characters but everything that is planned eventually goes completely wrong."

The short film, which is roughly 20 minutes long, revolves around main character Claudia, a wife who is having an affair. Her method of deceit involves the act of drugging husband Maurice's wine every evening and telling him in the morning about the passion from the night before.

He always assumes he had too much wine again as he doesn't remember the acts, when in reality Claudia is spending time with her lover.

But Claudia is not as clever as she assumes. Maurice hires a private eye to follow his wife but what will happen when he learns the truth?

While the story has many embellishments, most of the elements are inspired by real stories and real people in McClure's life.

McClure originally wrote the story to be a great deal longer, but scaled back the project due to budget restrictions - she's paying for most of the film out of pocket.

Frugality, including using her home and friends' homes as the filming locations, has helped her keep costs down. She was able to hire a crew of 16 people, including six actors and two featured extras.

One actor, Nancy Parker from Grosse Point Woods, belongs to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) while another, Mark Boyd of East Lansing, is SAG eligible, but spends most his time doing stand-up comedy and voice acting.

In the end, Claudia wanted to prove to herself that she was capable to writing a screen play and producing a film.

"I started this basically to show my ability as a writer and film maker," she said. "There are a lot of film festivals in the area and I want to enter it into the Trinity Film Coalition in Detroit and Southfield. is where the film will show first though. If it does well at the festivals, sometimes you can get offers to find your next project."

The last shoot date is scheduled for Oct. 21 although editing will take between two to six months. Filming is taking place at the Oakland Ridge subdivision on Silverbell Road in Orion Township. Locations are also in Rochester Hills and Macomb County.

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