Janice and the Golden Fleece (2015)

“You are smaller than the other ones.” ~Douglas R. Troll

Plot Summary: A young peasant named Janice is prophesied to obtain the legendary Golden Fleece. Being trained by a wise trainer named Walter, Janice sets forth on a journey to defeat an evil Troll that guards the fleece.

Starring Elizabeth Piper S, Paul Sheehan, and Geoff Lerer

Written by Carlos Cordero and Marcus Slabine Produced by Gabriel Liu, Directed by Marcus Slabine

Sparrow Film Project

AWARDS: Janice and the Golden Fleece won Audience Choice award at the SPARROW FILM PROJECT gala held at THE M– USEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE. Pictured from left to right are Elizabeth Piper S. (Janice, SFX Executive Producer) Gabrielle Lui (Producer) Marcus Slabine (Director, Writer, Executive Producer) William Farmer (Production Designer) and Geoff Lerer (Douglas R. Troll) after accepting the award.

My Experience: JANICE AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE was done for the SPARROW FILM PROJECT which is a project where you have 3 weeks to write, cast, produce, shoot, edit and hand in a short film that is no longer than 3 minutes in length. We shot the film in 2 days and spent a week going back and forth writing the script with several incantations being created. Originally it was a lot more serious with very little humor until Carlos and I decided to go full comedy with it and started creating what would become JANICE. We knew a joke would work when we would say it out loud and heard Elizabeth Piper laugh from the other room.  It was the first tie Carlos and I had written together and did it ever flow out of us.

We had no budget and no time to raise funds so the episode was done completely out of pocket and for under $500. The cast, crew and everyone involved were just overly passionate about the project and it shows in the footage. The only thing that is more fun than the final film was shooting this, we were all laughing and just having a great time shooting in Central Park on warm days in the woods. I personally love working with people I know because there is already connectivity between actors and director which I feel is so important when making a film. The chemistry is their and its all about capturing it. Paul Sheehan (who I worked previously with on THE BREAK IN) was there day 1 doing the training montage with Elizabeth Piper and he was actually training her for stunts while we shot.  She was quickly picked up several different types of stick fighting and watching them work was so much fun.

Day 2 we did were in the famous tunnel in Central Park where such films as CLOVERFIELD and THE BRAVE ONE were shot. We showed up with Geoff Lerer already in full prosthetic make up done by Elizabeth and we got right into shooting. The fight sequence was broken up into several shots for safety reasons and for practical gag jokes but primarily the entire film was shot in chronological order. I prefer to shoot this way especially for the actors, as they are able to grow as their characters grow which is always good for performances. Favorite moment of shooting though was doing the overhead shot of the TROLL being yanked back underneath the tunnel from above.

We had to re-edit the entire film in one night and literally took turns editing between myself, Carlos and Liz. We all rushed to the turn it in with literally 15 minutes to spare before entries were shut down.

JANICE AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE screened 3 times at the Museum of the Moving Image on June 6th, 7th, and 15th at the elegant Gala and took home Audience Choice. We all decided after the great response to the episode, that we would turn it into a web series and continue following her adventures as Janice searches for the remaining pieces of the fleece.


Stills From Janice And The Golden Fleece:


Behind the Scenes: