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THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT STARRING CHRIS DIAZ KEVIN GALL JACK MORAN JOHN TULLY DAWN SIMMONDS GREG VOROB SHAREEF MCINTOSH KATIE JERGENS ROBERT YOUNGREN AND HENRY J. HYDE AS HIMSELF
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY ENRICO CACACE ASSOCIATE PRODUCER ANA GUTIERREZ
WRITTEN BY ERIC NORCROSS
DIRECTED BY ERIC NORCROSS AND FRANCISCO PINA
THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT is a feature length, no budget independent film that Eric produced with Francisco "Frank" Pina and Ana Gutierrez in the summer of 2005. Co-directed by both Eric and Frank, the film was shot according to an original screenplay by Eric.
Pre-production and planning took place in the latter half of spring 2005, with principle photography taking place every week, for two days a week, for the entire summer.
Eric, Frank, and Ana were all working at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square when they produced THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT. Because the film was shot on an out of pocket budget, the production days that required more resources were scheduled immediately after a pay period.
THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT was shot primarily in New York City, areas of Long Island and Washington, DC.
Because the story is a political and media satire, Eric aggressively pursued locations that represented power and influence. Although this was only occasionally achieved, the eclectic mix of locations made for a visually diverse set of backdrops.
The production was able to shoot inside the Rayburn Office Building in Washington, DC, inside the offices of Congressman Henry Hyde, and the chamber of the Senate Armed Services Committee. However, there were moments when the production had to resort to utilizing offices at the Virgin Megastore because so many different locations in and around New York kept falling through.
THE LONG ISLAND PROJECT was originally shot on PAL miniDV video tape, utilizing a Sony VX2000E, which had been loaned to Eric and Frank to achieve the project.
Editing was completed on Avid Express DV and mastered to five separate Quicktime files.
In 2009, Eric imported the master segments into Final Cut Pro 6 and created a new "final master" of the film. In addition to improving some of the coloring, Eric also reorganized some of the sound efffects, transitions and titling. Ultimately, cleaning up some straggler elements.
This version of the film was briefly made available on DVD, but is no longer available, and the original version is what is available on YouTube.
SENATOR CHARLES DEAKINS (R-NY)
Played by JOHN TULLY.
Played by GREG VOROB.
Played by Robert Youngren.
Played by Shareef McIntosh
A character invisible, but important to the story. Not cast.
Played by Jack Moran.
Played by Chris Diaz.
Played by Kevin Gall.
Played by Dawn Simonds.
Played by Katie Jergens.
A group of industrialists and small business owners tire of their tax situation, and begin a movement to secede the region of Long Island from New York, in a push to form the State of Long Island. In this process, they garner the support of the Brooklyn Borough President and a media mogul named Conrad Moynihan.
Things take a turn when their movement draws the ire of Republican Senator, Charles Deakins.
Music of The Long Island Project
Several individuals contributed to the music of The Long Island Project.
For the most part, the primary score was created by Enrico Cacace, according to a list of moods and ideas that Eric needed to achieve. A notable piece is the cue that introduces the film's main antagonist, Senator Charles Deakins (expertly played by John Tully). In a jarring tonal shift, the film hard-cuts to shots of Washington, DC as high-energy percussion begins to reverberate... there's an intensity. Eric directed Enrico to '... introduce the Senator with the drums of war... make it tribal" - and that's how the war drums became a part of the film. You can hear it in this clip from the film.
The rock 'n' roll style "Conrad Moynihan Theme" was created by Joseph Blazej as standalone stock music.
The music that introduces the climactic action of the film was created by Branden Geistert.
Branden created the piece of music for himself, but after Eric heard it, he decided to option it, as it would be perfect to transition the mood of the film from satirical drama to suspense/thriller. Branden also created the "Moynihan News Theme", "Daybreak New York Lead-In", and "Political Mysteries" (a theme reminiscent of Unsolved Mysteries, as it was originally for a scene that parodied the old TV series, but was ultimately cut).
"Political Mysteries" can be heard at the latter half of the end credits, and in a scene where Conrad Moynihan orchestrates a car wreck on the BQE, in an effort to generate a news story.
Visual Effects of The Long Island Project
There are several digital visual effects in the film.
This was the first movie Eric commissioned visual effects for, and he'd go without VFX for many years, until the restoration of his 2002 short film Hero for a Day, and his 2021 feature film, Fractals.
This is the only movie Eric has done that has visual effects. The first is a shot of a bank in Syosset, New York. For this, Eric and Frank paid a freelance artist to change the bank signage to match the surname of one of the characters: Tramain. This supports the backstory that one of the characters owns a credit union.
There are also several shots of the PanAm/MetLife building on Park Avenue. For all day and night shots of this building, the name of the building was changed to MOYNIHAN.
The final visual effect shot was a CGI created "orbital view" of Long Island, New York. This shot appears at the very end of the film.
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.