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Eric's Personal Reflections
Filming in Washington, DC:
The day we went to DC, it was just Frank, JT and myself. We improvised everything with JT, got some establishing shots and then crashed at JT's mother's house. JT was from DC, and because we had left New York around 4AM, we were out of it by noon. We headed back to New York after an afternoon nap, bringing back all the footage, which was about one hour's worth of raw material.
Only one day was dedicated to filming in Long Island. We hopped to various towns, from Valley Stream to Syosset, and when we felt like we had enough we went back to the city. Some of the material obtained in Long Island proper were the shots of Chris Diaz collecting signatures from various Long Islanders. These shots were improvised and many of the characters seen are just regular Long Islanders that we asked to participate.
Many shots... of New York City:
In retrospect, I realize that there is an unusually high number of shots of New York City. Establishing shots, random inserts, excessive use of skyscrapers to fill out shots where they're otherwise completely unnecessary. I have been told this before, by my own collaborators, and viewers not affiliated with the film. To be honest, this was my first NYC movie and I was excited to be creating something here. If I were to re-edit the film, and restore it, you bet I'd include ever single city shot, and even add some of the ones that didn't make it in the first time.
I was informed some years back that some of the participants had gone on to produce some of their own films, and that they would have never had thought to produce their own films had they not seen how Frank and I and embarked on this project. It's rewarding to know that despite the fact that the film didn't go anywhere substantial, it inspired others to pull the trigger on their own projects. That's at least, something worthwhile after all of we went through. That's a legacy.
At first, I liked the film a lot, mostly because it was so much fun to make, and I honestly found the whole movie quite entertaining and meaningful for the era I was living in. This was the mid-2000s, Bush was the president, we were still in the early stages of the War in Afghanistan, and well-intentioned political/media satire seemed to be the answer to it all.
Between completing the film at the end of 2005, and forming my own production company in 2008, I slowly became disenchanted by the apathy for it. A lot of people hated it, and quickly disowned it. Even some of the people involved. I think their expectations may have been unrealistically high. I tried many things to keep the interest alive, from making myself a YouTube partner and putting the full movie up (when most users were still limited to 10 minute time limits for each video), to authoring an on-demand DVD that was sold exclusively through Amazon. But the excitement of the era waned, and people moved on.
After a while, I began to hate the film.
Years passed, and I made many more films, some even won awards and got the recognitions I'd hoped for L.I.P. I even took five years off from filmmaking to return to my education.
After being away from THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT for nearly ten years, I went back to it while under pandemic lockdown. I couldn't believe the fog I was in... this film is great! I love it! I don't know why I let others feelings about the movie affect my own, but with a fresh brain, and a slightly different attitude about filmmaking, the movie still works for me, despite the technical flaws.
That's why I decided to make it available for free on Youtube. I consider it an achievement, regardless of the fact that it's never screened for an audience. Additionally, I have begun making other assets from the film available, and am currently in the research phase of a possible restoration of the full movie. This, however, will be announced once I've managed to rescue all of the raw assets.
Please check out this playlist on YouTube, where I've begun stockpiling
all video assets related to THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT.