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Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:01 am

Two guys make a movie

Seriously Trippin’ premiers in Springfield June 28

Cast and crew of Seriously Trippin’ from left: Martin Miller, Kammy Robinson, Gabe Owusu, Tanesha Morrison, Ozland Banks, Talina Spencer, Shawn Williams, Mario Taylor, Fontaine Krushall, Eik Williams, Daton Vaughn, Bian Parga, Rodney Haley.


Springfield resident Ozland Banks has been independently shooting videos and doing graphic design work for years but his dream had always been to make a movie, with a single camera, a small crew and a gritty, underground feel. This dream is coming to fruition with the premier of the comedy Seriously Trippin’ this Friday at Capital City Bar and Grill.

The journey began one day in the summer of 2013 when Banks mentioned his cinematic ambitions to his friend Daton Vaughn. “Daton said, ‘I wanna make a movie, too.’ But I didn’t think nothing of it, you know?”

Less than an hour after that conversation, Banks received a phone call from Vaughn, who announced that he had just conceptualized an entire film. “I came up with the idea, the characters and the story line in 20 minutes,” beams Vaughn.

The story takes place over a hectic 24 hours in the summertime. After a few weeks of filming and when Springfield’s weather changed it forced the production into a grueling hiatus. “It started snowing,” Banks says ruefully. “It was a long winter, man.”

In order to maintain morale and momentum over the course of those long, cold months of no shooting, Banks and Vaughn cleverly decided to cut together a trailer to show their cast and friends that this was no fly-by-night operation. “We weren’t gonna give ’em much,” recalls Banks, “just enough to make ’em realize, ‘Oh my God, they’re really doing it!’”

The film’s story revolves around the exploits of three friends, one of whom is soon to be married. On the night of the bachelor party, the bride’s ex-boyfriend is released from jail, gets wind of the wedding and does his best to ruin the happy occasion. It was filmed entirely on location around Springfield. The cast is entirely made up of local talent, many of whom are involved in the local hip-hop music scene (although time constraints kept a projected soundtrack disc from materializing).

The characters were often written with particular performers in mind. Sometimes, this worked almost too well, with certain actors taking it upon themselves to improvise, thankfully with happy results. “The guys who played the villains of the movie, they pretty much had no script,” says Vaughn. “I mean, we did have a script, but the first day we shot them it was like, ‘man this is natural for them – I’m scrapping the script, just do that.’

The experience of filming Seriously Trippin’ was a joyful one for Banks. “We got so pumped up when we started shooting, we were so happy about it, everybody shared it and it just got around,” he says. One thing that made it particularly enjoyable was the simpatico nature of Banks’ and Vaughn’s creative partnership. “I have no clue about editing,” admits Vaughn. “I’ve got the comedy background, he’s got the video background.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about making movies,” says Banks. “The difference is, we really did it. And now we’re gonna have a big party for it and have a great time.”

“Two words, though,” interjects Vaughn. “Possible sequel. Just sayin’.”

Seriously Trippin’ will premier at 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Capital City Bar and Grill, 3149 S. Dirksen Parkway.

Scott Faingold is a staff writer for Illinois Times. He can be reached at sfaingold@illinoistimes.com


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