‘Scream: The Musical, The Movie’: A Mockumentary About A Documentary About Making A Musical About A Movie

“Scream: The Musical, The Movie,” a parody mockumentary that has been shooting in the Hamptons since last year, is close to being completed. We caught up with local director, producer, and film lead Sam Pezzullo to get the scoop.

Can you tell us a little about the film’s concept?

I think the concept of the film is best summed up by the logline: It’s a mockumentary about a documentary about making a musical about a movie. Essentially, it’s a very meta, satirical comedy that follows me as I play a highly exaggerated version of myself attempting to produce a musical version of my favorite movie “SCREAM” at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Along the way I experience a bunch of wild and outrageous setbacks, scenarios, and interactions with townspeople, all of whom are local performers and many non-actors playing themselves in the narrative. Throughout the film we reference the presence of the cameras and our efforts to make a documentary about making the musical, which becomes more of the focus as the plot progresses. There are many twists and turns along the way, and while it’s somewhat based in reality, it’s entirely staged and scripted and most of the dialogue is improvised in scenes by the actors to give it an authentic conversational feel. A true hybrid between a narrative film and a documentary that will leave people guessing “did this really happen” or not?

Photo by Daniel Reddy

What is your background in film? Can you tell us about the first time you watched “SCREAM” and how it made you want to make movies?

My background in film spans 30 years. My earliest aspirations were to be a performer and I grew up doing lots of musical theater. When I was 10 in 1996 “SCREAM” was released. I remember seeing it in theaters and being absolutely mesmerized by it. It was funny, it was scary, it was campy. It excited me in ways that no other film had ever done. What was so special about it was that I cared so much about these characters and was so invested in the plot, and that has guided me in the stories I’ve tried to tell in my career since then. I found myself watching it over and over again, memorizing all the lines and reciting scenes, and then attempting to write and make similar movies with my friends on my camcorder. I later went to school for film and have worked for various independent film productions and major film festivals like Tribeca and Hamptons, and was a producer at a creative agency called Thinkmodo for many years creating viral video promotions for movies and brands. When I moved to the Hamptons in 2020 I met my friend and producing partner and we started our own company called Made Out East. This is our first attempt to make an original feature film.

Since your trailer for the film went viral, tell us about the decision to create a feature length film.

We knew as soon as we saw the responses to the trailer, which was really just a proof of concept, that we had something special on our hands. People loved it and the unique style of cringe comedy and dry humor really seemed to resonate. We also felt that we were uniquely positioned in a small town with very talented people in a quiet time of year to attempt to turn this into something bigger. So that’s what we did. It also helped that the style of the film allowed for us to shoot it with minimal equipment, which made it feasible from a cost standpoint but did not compromise the quality of the film whatsoever. We had the entire narrative scripted out and we felt that with our combined experience, resources, and the support and generosity from so many amazing performers and establishments in the Hamptons, that we could make a full-length film on a shoestring budget.

Photo by Daniel Reddy

Talk a little about the crowdfunding initiatives and where you are now in the process.

We raised an initial round of funding through a platform called Seed & Spark last year, which carried us through to recently when we completed the principal photography. Once we wrapped we realized we would need more money to edit this properly. We need to bring in specialists to help with cosmetic things like color correction and sound mixing, and we hope to compose some original music for the film, submit to various festivals, and create a marketing campaign to promote it. So, we launched a second crowdfund a few months ago on IndieGoGo, which successfully ended with over 100 percent of our goal. So… we are now putting those funds to good use and hope to have a finished film to share in the next few months!

You cast all local East End actors and film at local establishments. Can you talk a little about the process of filming and the final scenes filmed at Bay Street?

Producing the entire film out East, primarily in the town of Sag Harbor, has been a dream. I was fortunate enough to meet many incredible performers at an improv class that I took at Bay Street Theater in 2021 and all of my “classmates” were ultimately cast in the film. The film also includes dozens of other locals who come in and out of the story in unique and comical ways. From local business owners, musicians, film festival staff, tailors, and talk show hosts. It’s a who’s who of Sag Harbor and we are so proud to feature an incredibly diverse group of people to represent this town. We are also so grateful to all of the establishments who welcomed our film crew with open arms, which makes the production value of the film so much greater. We could have never paid to art direct some of the amazing spaces we filmed in, from SagTown Coffee to The Church, to 1818 Collective, Tutto il Giorno, Dragon Hemp, Ryland, the Launderette, and of course Bay Street Theater and LTV Studios. 

Filming at Dragon Hemp in Sag Harbor. Photo by Michael Candelori

The result is basically a love letter to Sag Harbor and possibly the funniest and most creative tourism campaign ever created! The final scene shot at Bay Street was a spectacle to say the least. It was by far the most complex scene we filmed as we had limited time and had to shoot several different scenes and scenarios with a large camera crew, many other principal actors, props, and installations and over 100 extras. 

Without spoiling too much, it also included some very dramatic acting and lots of physical comedy, which was a challenge but everyone involved rose to the occasion and the end result is something incredible. We can’t wait for people to see it and are so grateful to Bay Street for allowing us to see our vision for this pivotal scene come to life.

Can you tell us a little about your collaboration with Hamptons Hobby Club?

When I learned that my buddy and fellow local, Marco, was starting a clothing line with shared values around community building and positivity, called Hamptons Hobby Club, we jumped at the chance to create a limited edition item inspired by the film as a way to raise funds. So that’s what we did! We released 28 individually numbered hoodies in his popular style, in a custom black and white colorway (as a reference to Ghostface) and they sold out in one week. All of the funds raised have been put towards the completion of the film.

Photo by Daniel Reddy

What are the final stages of the project and when can we expect to see the film?

We are currently knee deep in the post-production process. We are editing the film together and once we have a solid assembly of the scenes we are doing one final round of production interviews with certain characters to tie some loose ends together and give the film a true “documentary” treatment. We are also working with some musicians on some original music for the film. 

Once we have a rough cut we are going to submit it to several major film festivals with the hopes of having a world premiere in early 2024 and then having a theatrical release and streaming distribution. Stay tuned!

Jessica Mackin-Cipro

Co-Publisher/Editor

Jessica Mackin-Cipro is an editor and writer from the East End of Long Island. She has won numerous NYPA and PCLI awards for journalism and social media. She was previously the Executive Editor of The Independent Newspaper.

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