The Making of Wannabe Macks




The first movie I wrote was on a larger scale and would require a substantial budget. I wanted to direct that movie in the future, and not just sell the script; so I had to work my way up.  I first made a few scripted comedy shorts without trained actors. I entered one in a New York independent film festival and won Best Comedy, so that was cool. I worked with Mersad Khatami at a hotel in downtown Vancouver.  He acted in a short film I wrote about the front desk; we filmed it overnight at the hotel with a few other co-workers. I started filming a hidden camera type show where guys try to pick up girls in different places. It was funny but it wasn’t really working out. I was talking to Mersad about making a scripted movie with the same premise, but I didn’t have any money to even feed the actors; which is very important on an indie set if you’re not paying them. Mersad generously offered to put up 6 thousand dollars to start, which is pretty cool if you think about it. That is a lot of money for someone working at a hotel to just hand over to a friend. We would be producers together on a movie titled “Wannabe Macks”, now it was time to start writing this thing.

The Script

When you are writing a movie you will produce yourself on a miniscule budget, you have to limit the props, the locations, the wardrobe and what happens in the movie. I needed four characters that were uniquely funny because this comedy would be very character driven. Adel and Eddie’s characters were based on friends of mine, just exaggerated. CJ’s character was created  because I just really wanted to write for an over the top rich white wannabe gangsta rapper. It was alot of  fun writing for CJ.  I’d LOL a lot, alone in my room like a crazy person when writing lines for CJ. I figured a true poser would try and izzle everything. Stu’s character was the hardest to come up with. I wanted Stu to be more serious and to only join the reality show because he had some kind of disorder. But I couldn’t figure out what could work with the theme of the movie and would also be  funny. I was flipping through the channels one night and stopped on a game show for young people and the question to the contestants was “What is the fear of kissing called?” At that moment I knew that was the disorder I was looking for. I grabbed a pen and paper, waited for the answer, and wrote it down. The rest of the movie just came naturally. I wrote it in order from start to finish not knowing what was going to happen until I got there. It was the first time I wrote a movie that way and it was a fun experience.


Mersad and I got a meeting room in the hotel we were both working at. We put up notices at different acting studios around town. I set up auditions in times slots throughout the day and we saw quite a few people. One of the actors, Amber Borycki had made an audition for herself, but she also brought along two acting friends of hers who didn’t book audition times. They happened to be Cory Monteith and Dustin Milligan. She asked me if we had time to see them and I’m glad we did. Cory and Dustin were in a different league than the rest of the candidates we saw for the lead roles. We had Cory read for the part of CJ and he was funny, but he was more suited to play Stu. When Mers and I met with Cory and Dustin again they also thought Dustin should be CJ and Cory should play Stu. Dustin auditioned for both roles but his take on CJ was just too good. Mersad was already playing ADEL so we had 3 of the 4 lead roles cast but no EDDIE. A week before shooting and we were still without one of our lead characters. We went searching and held a special audition looking for EDDIE. After seeing a few auditions that day we thought we might need to postpone the first day of filming; things looked hopeless. Finally at the end of the day a young man named Louis Kim auditioned and had Mersad and I laughing quite a bit when he read the lines. Thank god! I called Louis I think twenty minutes after his audition to tell him he got the part. We now had all the characters in place; next week’s filming was a go.


The first day of shooting was Cory Monteith’s intro and outro scene. It was not a challenging scene for us (Camera on the tripod, no movement required), a good way to get know the crew and ease into filming. We had a big crew of three to start this movie. Steve Smith was hired as Director of Photography; he had his own equipment and lots of experience in television. Chuk Foto joined the crew as sound engineer and head photographer. Jen Quon was our key make-up… that’s all. We shot Cory’s intro monologues at my apartment in North Vancouver. I said it was an easy scene for us, but not for Cory…there were lengthy speeches he had to memorize. When he did his first take I was a little blown away; it was even better than I expected.  After finishing the first scene we went down to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver to film Cory’s final thought. It’s kind of funny that the very last scene of the movie, featuring Cory, was filmed on the very first day of shooting.