Friday, December 27, 2013

The History of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® 2000-2013 Part 5 of 5

Dawn of A New Era


It was 2008 and Joseph met a former actor by the name of Fernando Rosas.  He’d worked on such films as Autumn in New York, Table One, Shelter Island, and an undistributed project called Cemetery of the Damned.  The two clicked instantly and Joseph recruited him in 2009 to appear in a story about a boy who’s scared of open spaces. 

Agoraphobia’s plot revolved around a boy who never left his house but was enamored with a neighbor who lived nearby and dated an abusive boyfriend.  They would correspond via written letters.  Fate intervenes and puts the girl in danger and forces him to choose between the safety of his home or the fear of open spaces in order to save her.  He ultimately chooses to save her and they live happily ever after. 

Fernando was cast as the main character.  Joseph recruited Joanna Festa’s cousin Carolyn Paredes to play the leading lady with a cameo from her sister Patty Paredes.  The cast was rounded out with David Rerecich playing the abusive boyfriend.  Former Holy Cross classmate Charlie Olivia was going to be the cinematographer but came down with the flu right before the shoot and had to cancel.  Shooting was done over the course of two separate Saturdays during warmer days in March.  It was set as a music video to ease Fernando into the world of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®.  Joseph also had the system down to a science at this point.  Everything went off without a hitch and the video was cut together using the song Satellite by P.O.D.  It was a dramatic video with more artistic shots than “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® usually produced.  The experiment was a success and received much critical acclaim.  It also set the foundations of what turned into one of the best directing acting collaborations “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® had seen since Matt Leabo’s first appearance in A Girl Lost in Bellerose.  Fernando was a natural talent and the next breakout star.

Fernando Rosas was an enigmatic individual who was typically known as a lover and not a fighter.  In Fernando’s youth he had acted in professional works but had taken an extended sabbatical in the past decade to focus on himself.  By the time he met Joseph he was looking for the opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and get into the acting scene again.  “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® was a good launching point to reacquire his skills.   His easy going persona fit right in with past recurring actors such as Mike Cody and Matt Leabo.  His prior experience helped push performances to another level.  Fernando’s natural acting ability brought “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® to a new level in presentation.  After his introduction with Agoraphobia, Fernando’s skills were about to be tested in ways he would have never imagined.  

Fernando trying to fulfill his life long dream of becoming Johnny Depp.

Jessie’s Girl

It was supposed to be Joseph’s last music video.  It was an idea so brilliant that he was never going to top it.  He also wanted to take “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® into more scripted content.  Jessie’s Girl was going to be the swan song.  The idea came about after several fans requested a video for the song Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield.  This was mostly because Joseph was known to heckle live bands to play the 80s pop hit wherever he went.  Joseph found the song to be hilarious but never had any vision to create a story for it.  He felt nothing could top the campy awesomeness of the original video.  As repeated requests mounted Joseph lulled over some ideas and then it occurred to him.  What if Jessie’s Girl was a blow-up doll?

Jessie's Girl was from the Finally Miley (Miley Cyrus) blow-up doll collection courtesy of Spencer's Gifts retail outlet. 

He ran the idea by Fernando who found it hilarious and requested the part of Jessie.  Joseph then began to flesh out the story.  It became a man’s obsession over his best friend’s blow-up doll girlfriend.  The obsession would culminate into a hostage situation and the doll getting popped and deflating.  Joseph then decided if it was a hostage situation he would need a police officer.  He recruited Dave Rerecich to make a cameo as Captain Floral Park and his overzealous police antics are what cause the gun to fire and kill Jessie’s Girl. 

Dave's cameo as Captain Floral Park.  A character he continues to vow he'll never play again, until Joseph harasses him for one more final appearance.

Joseph booked an evening to shoot the video and invited everyone who had ever worked on an “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® video to participate in this last music video.  Scheduling conflicts prevented almost all from attending the shoot.  It appeared as if Jessie’s Girl was going to be a dud before it even got off the ground.  Joseph was determined to finish shooting the project no matter what.  Unable to attain enough actors he cast himself as the leading man and named him Noah Drake after Rick Springfield’s character on General Hospital.  He bought a cheap doll at Spencer’s Gifts and shot his video as best as he could.  The entire video consisted of a cast of four people but that’s all it needed. 

Joseph named the character Noah Drake after Rick Springfield's character on General Hospital. 

While in post production Joseph was unhappy with certain shots taken during the video and proceeded to do a few reshoots.  This was the first time “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® ever did a reshoot for a music video during post production.   It was essential that the last music video end on the comedic tone he wanted.  After editing was completed Joseph premiered the video to rave reviews.  Everyone loved it. It garnered the biggest laughs since Fun With Dolls! was first shown back in fall 2000.  It was the perfect  closeout to a major chapter in the history of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® but it wasn’t the end.

A Lesson In Drinking

Following the success of Jessie’s Girl in 2011 Joseph trademarked “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® to ensure it would remain his creative entity.  The first video that was to be under the new trademarked logo was an animated short called A Lesson In Drinking.  The concept came about in 2005 while Joseph was wrapping up his time in college and his work on The Late Show with David Letterman.  He wrote what was supposed to be a comedic live-action short about teenagers drinking.  Joseph based it off actual events in his life and submitted a first draft to David Rerecich who did a rewrite in the same fashion as he did with Officers in 2004. 

Joseph did not wish to repeat the same mistakes of Officers and this time contributed more stipends to the rewrites.  Dave eventually lost interest in the process due to the demands surrounding the script revisions.  Joseph then showed the script to some Late Show coworkers in hopes to get some feedback on how to enhance the story.  He received positive feedback from the work but nothing constructive.  The script was eventually shelved while he focused on other projects. 

As the years went on Joseph was stuck trying to figure out a way to get a young cast to act in his teenage comedy.  His regulars were aging and could no longer believably play high school kids.  He got the idea to animate the story using simple round clay creations he called Potato People.  His main motivation behind the idea was to make the mother blue, the father red and the son would be purple.  As the years progressed he looked into the logistics of creating such creatures and even in its simplest form it would be too expensive and time consuming.  Joseph eventually settled on animating the video using Legos.  He created a series of test videos featuring audio from Batman: The Animated Series that he reanimated shot for shot with Batman Legos.  Joseph submitted a copy of his Lego Batman to producer/animator icon Bruce Timm at the 2011 New York Comic Con.  During the 2012 New York Comic Con, Bruce Timm revealed at the Warner Brothers Animation Panel that WB Animation would be releasing a CGI Lego Batman.  Some may feel this instance was unjust because Joseph was perhaps a catalyst for the Warner Brothers idea.  Joseph did not see it this way though.  He felt it was truly a great moment for “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®, it meant that he had ideas that were genuinely marketable.  He also held no intellectual property over the Legos or DC characters.  There was no claim over an entirely original animated story whose character designs are Legos. 

After Jessie’s Girl wrapped Joseph wanted to begin his work on skits.  He went to his library and pulled out A Lesson In Drinking.  Shooting was a breeze because he was able to record all the different actor’s audio separately and animate the scenes later.   It took Joseph another year to get around to animating the work and in 2013 after seven years from its inception A Lesson In Drinking premiered.  David Rerecich who co-wrote and did a voice was very surprised in how well the story worked.  All the actors were proud of their performances and enjoyed the silliness of the work.  Its generally positive feedback has opened the door for future animated skits.

Separate Ways

While working on Jessie’s Girl a nagging idea shot into Joseph’s brain about a sequel.  He’d done his best to dismiss the concept because it was supposed to be his last music video.  He did casually mention the idea to Fernando Rosas while shooting Jessie’s Girl and Fernando loved the idea.  This was not the deterrent Joseph was hoping for.  Whenever Joseph heard the song No Easy Way Out by Robert Tepper and Separate Ways by Journey it would instantly remind him of the Jessie’s Girl 2 story idea.  Joseph discussed a sequel idea with David Rerecich who stated that the original Journey video was a classic that could not be altered. 

The months wore on but Joseph couldn’t shake the idea.  He started running his idea by the Jessie’s Girl fans to see if they wanted a sequel.  He then started discussing his idea with potential actors for the video.  Before anyone knew it Separate Ways (Jessie’s Girl 2) was being created.  He chose the Journey song because he felt it best summarized the story of the three characters of the first video branching away from one another.  It was also a grander story with a larger cast of characters.  A lot of time went into making sure nothing was overdone so as to avoid the same mistakes of More Fun With Dolls!.

Matt considering if he should reprise his role as Bobby Sunshine.
Fernando reprised his role as Jessie, Joseph was Noah Drake, David Rerecich returned for another cameo as Captain Floral Park; this also marked the last time Dave would ever play the role of Captain Floral Park.  Additional cameos were Bill Wikstrom as Detective Bellerose and another Officers alumni Matt Leabo returning as Bobby Sunshine.  Bill Ammendolea made his return to “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® playing Friendly Fireman, his first appearance since his cameo in the Breakin’ Hundred video Follow Me.  Chris Elworthy rounded out the cast as a prison inmate.

The last known appearance of Bill and Dave appearing as Detective Bellerose and Captain Floral Park

Taping was done over the course of six months in order to account for all the actors’ schedules. When production finally wrapped and the video premiered it was met with the same adulations as Jessie’s Girl.  Joseph even added homage to Rocky IV as tribute to the song No Easy Way Out which helped inspire this epic sequel. 


It was February 2013 when Joseph finally decided to create  He wanted to start a .com since the late 1990s when he became a reader of  The idea evolved into a website for “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® back in 2000.  Sadly he didn’t have the time, money, or computer savvy to design his own website.  As technology improved and became more affordable in the past decades Joseph began researching what a website would entail.  He recruited a small writing staff of people consisting of Steve Rogers, Christmas Snow, himself and an assortment of other guest writers to ensure a steady stream of weekly updates.  All the silly writing is a secondary to the primary focus of the website which is amateur videos. Whether the videos are produced by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® or another entity it is created to ensure that there is an easy to find outlet for fans to view the latest creation. 


“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® started out as a silly name required in a high school TV class and has grown in a small but loyal community of people that create stories for theirs and their friend’s entertainment.  If strangers happen to enjoy their silliness as well that’s an added bonus.  The future of the company is to continue to produce videos but also challenge itself.  Perhaps another attempt at a full length movie could be in the works or just the next viral video of the week.  Whatever it might be, you’ll have to keep logging on to find out.

Written by
Steve Rogers,
Christmas Snow,
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, December 20, 2013

Alternate Officers - Jump Cut Bobby Sunshine

A lovely long and boring outtake from Officers.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Venture Brothers Interview

The plan was to take this interview and report about some nonsense that was so absurd it couldn't possibly be true.  (Much like the Breckin Meyer announces The Home Court Feature Film article). Unfortunately or very fortunately, depending on your perspective, the creators of The Venture Brothers Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer had their own nonsense in mind.  They seemed to be more concerned with interviewers' T-Shirts and obscure minutia then talking about their show.  It was awesome to watch the serious news reporters scramble and still spew out their importantly detailed press related questions regarding a show about failure when it was completely apparent Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer would have none of that.  They wanted to waste everyone's time and "I Like To Play With Toys" Productions® is all about time wasting.  Enjoy the video below. 

Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, December 6, 2013

Breckin Meyer announces The Home Court Feature Film

Breckin Meyer announces The Home Court feature film to be produced and directed by George Lucas.  (See video below).

This is an “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® exclusive.  Breckin Meyer announced during the 2013 New York Comic Con that he will be involved in a feature film version of the short lived NBC sitcom The Home Court.  For those of you who don’t remember the mid 1990s classis.  Sydney J. Solomon (Pamela Reed), a Chicago family court judge, who can intimidate the toughest prosecuting attorney and the most hardened repeat offender can lay a hand on the one group capable of "benching" her honor, her own children. Meyer costarred as Mike Solomon a reluctant college student intent on taking a non-academic route to "finding himself." 

A cast photo of the 1995-1996 season of The Home Court.  From left to right a teenage girl, tween girl, a judge, Meyer, and a mid 90s douche in flannel. 
One can now deduce that the real reason George Lucas sold Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), which included the film franchise Star Wars, was not retirement.  It was to garner capital for this impending mega blockbuster.  There has been no confirmation as to whether Meyer's costar Pamela Reed, Charles Rocket, Meghann Haldeman, Phillip Van Dyke, Meagen Fay, or Robert Hy Gorman will also return. 

A picture of what we think it looks like when Breckin Myer and Geroge Lucas hang out. 

Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, November 29, 2013

The History of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® 2000-2013 Part 4 of 5

A Whole New Media

 2005 the creation of YouTube

Prior to 2005 all the videos made by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® were distributed amongst friends or any captive audience Joseph could find.  Joseph wanted to get his production company’s videos posted online since its founding in 2000 but the technology wasn’t readily available.  Completed videos could not even be sent via email because the file sizes were too large to permit mass distribution through mailing lists. The creation of YouTube changed the world and how media is digested.  On a smaller scale it allowed Joseph to share his work with friends via social network and email links.  What no one was prepared for was the global reception the works were exposed to.  The isolated audience for a few hundred people grew to potentially millions.  With all the potential behind this new medium, Joseph resolved to run “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® as usual.  All the works created are for the entertainment purposes of those involved in the projects and their circle of friends.  If people outside the core audience find amusement in the work it is just icing on the cake.  A successful video will never be gauged solely on YouTube views.

More Fun With Dolls!

In the summer of 2005 Joseph acquired a new video camera that allowed for the use of stop-motion animation.  The goal was to complete an idea he had following the success of Fun With Dolls! called More Fun With Dolls!  A direct sequel to the original, it involved a cross dressing G.I. Joe coming back from the dead and seeking revenge against the man who murdered him.  Joseph wanted to make a grander video when compared to the first one and added more scenes and action.  It was an ambitious project but fell short of the shock value the original had.  It did mark the return of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® stop-motion animation division.  It was technically the first official sequel produced by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®.

A Boy Lost in Bellerose

While More Fun With Dolls! may technically be the first sequel produced by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®, A Boy Lost In Bellerose is actually the first sequel.  It grew out of a TV Production class Joseph was taking at St John’s University.  The class was required to do a still picture project while learning how to use the college television studio.  Most classmates used simple pictures of items they liked.  Joseph noticed how much the assignment mirrored Mr. Burns TV Production class in high school and took the opportunity to duplicate his success by creating A Boy Lost in Bellerose.  He casted himself as the boy and with the help of his current girlfriend Kendra Aliano they proceeded to wander around popular spots in Bellerose taking photos that were not previously explored in A Girl Lost in Bellerose.  Joseph then enlarged the photos and organized them in a way that a story was told.  Since the class was TV Production the project was broadcast live to the TV class and he opted to overlay the main theme music from Last of the Mohicans.  Joseph got another A for yet another piece of video work.  Unfortunately since the project was broadcasted live it was not possible to have a copy for himself.  He also did not wish to have any videos created by him without an “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® logo appearing at the end of the piece.  So Joseph put the pictures in storage and after attaining the new camera he broke out the photos and also added additional stills that were cut from the class version.  This time around, the first song of his choosing was running much too long so he opted for a song that fit the length of the compiled pictures.  Eruption by Van Halen was placed of the track and while not considered a critical or commercial success it was a nice change of pace by returning to the roots of how “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® started. 

Broken Hearted

Broken Hearted stemmed from two sources.  The main inspiration for the video was from an amateur video made by a boy in England to the song Broken Hearted by the band Eighteen Visions.  The English boy’s video was disjointed and hard to follow but appeared to be about a boy and girl who dated and broke-up and the boy was broken hearted until he met another girl.  The video reminded Joseph of his own work Photograph.  He decided to remake the English boy’s video by correcting some of the plot errors that appeared in the original piece. 
The second source of inspiration came from Joseph’s real life experience with his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Lehr. Symbolic elements of their relationship were thrust into the video, items such as the Donkey Kong shirt Dave hilariously noticed Joseph wearing while on a date with her, the sweatshirt that he lent to Stephanie when they went ice-skating together.  Also, the ending sequence was mirrored when the girl leaves the boy for an older man.

                                                         The version that helped inspire "I Like To Play With Toys" Productions® video. 

Joseph recruited his girlfriend of the month, Christine, into playing the lead girl in the video.  He had to cast himself as the lead character because no one else was available.  After cycling through most of the story Joseph was left with only the ending sequence to shoot.  He was able to contact David Rerecich who stated they could film the ending sequence at his apartment.  When they arrived Joseph pitched the video premise to Dave who declined the role.  Luckily Bill Wikstrom was intrigued by the story and volunteered for the part.  With principal photography completed Joseph was in the editing room once again.  As he cut the story together the video was running short on time.  Joseph decided to fill in the gaps with lip syncing.  He contacted Mike Cody and asked him to assist with music shots.  It was fitting to have another one of the stars of Photograph perform in a video that paid homage to a video that reminded Joseph of Photograph. 

Mike and Joe on the left in Broken hearted mirroring Joe and Mike on the right in Photograph

After the video was completed Joseph showed the video to the usual audience and was met with the typical positive feedback.  Mike Cody liked the video so much he urged Joseph to post it on YouTube. 

After a brief stint experimenting with YouTube, Joseph became disenfranchised with the website because at the time MySpace, the social network his core audience was primarily using, would not allow YouTube links.  He deleted all his YouTube posts and decided to post directly to MySpace in hopes of reaching his audience more efficiently.  It was sound logic but unsuccessful. 

Without the MySpace media outlet for his videos, Joseph decided to follow Mike’s advice and “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® first official post on YouTube went semi-viral.  Its view count even surpassed the original video that inspired the creation of Broken Hearted.  Joseph also capitalized on the negative YouTube comments that run rampant throughout the website.  He decided to provoke any person who posted a negative comment into commenting more and more about how they hated the video.  By increasing the amount of comments for the video it helped increase the overall view count and made Broken Hearted the more popular search result.  

Breakin’ Hundred

From 2004 – 2008 the hottest unsigned band on Long Island was Breakin’ Hundred.  The pop rock quartet consisted of Eric Maestre on vocals, Philly Lao on Guitar, Judd Jarowski on bass, and Mark Corso on drums.  Joseph wanted to expand “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® role and start producing music videos from unsigned bands.  It would be another thread in its arsenal of media products. 

He’d pitched several video ideas to them and the band was enthusiastic about making a video but scheduling conflicts always prevented everyone from gathering together to shoot.  The solution was an animated piece for the song Follow Me.

A more elaborate video followed for the song I’ll See You Again and featured a storyline centered around a man whose best friend dies and the main character becomes a drug addict.  It starred Matt Leabo and Mike Cody and was meant to be a serious piece of work.  It was poorly casted and ended up being a parody of itself.  The project would have been scrapped entirely but was deemed too funny not to distribute.  Breakin’ Hundred was unavailable to shoot band shots for the video so stock footage was used as a frame around the storyline.

The next video Leave Us Behind was footage Joseph recorded at one of the bands shows and then cut to the Terminator 2 movie as if Breakin’ Hundred did a the soundtrack for the film. 


Where To Go was a quick edit job using clips from the cartoon G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.


The last video Die Tonight was delayed by several years and was not actually released until after the band broke up.   Philly Lao requested a music video be made of the song but the band never released the CD so Joseph never attained a copy of the song.  Therefore he could not edit the footage recorded.  Eventually Joseph attained a copy of the song in hopes of sparking a Breakin’ Hundred reunion he cut a video together of the band performing Die Tonight.  It ignited immediate fan adoration and longing that soon the band would return to the stage.  A reunion show is rumored to be in the works.

Mediocre Man

Mediocre Man, a lesser known video created by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® was formulated by Joseph while taking a film class at Nassau Community College in 2003.  The class did not allow for the artistic freedom allotted to him in his Holy Cross TV Production class so he put it on the backburner to create at some other point.  The story idea came back into the limelight in 2005 while at a Hofstra Film club meeting with his graduate classmate Jason Kennedy.  Jason wanted to create a video but did not have a story idea.  Joseph whipped out the concept of a man who thinks he’s a superhero and runs around trying to save people from the mundane dangers that they choose to ignore.  Jason loved the idea and stated the title of the work should be Mediocre Man. 

Another year passed before Joseph could begin work on his project, by that time Jason had moved back to New Jersey and was unable to assist in the production of the video.  When casting time came around Joseph sought regulars Matt Leabo, Mike Cody, and a first time performance from longtime friend Joanna Festa.  Joseph and Christine made cameos in the video.  It was a cold February night but filming with such a small and experienced cast made the shoot move quickly.  First time actress Joanna Festa also assisted with jazzing up Mediocre Man’s costume.  It was her idea to create the fancy M that appeared on Matt’s costume as well as the MW she wore at the end of the piece.  Joanna stenciled and cut out the letters for the costume and was an important addition to the overall quality of the video.   Matt’s comedic acting was perfect for the slapstick Mediocre Man roll and Mike Cody was the perfect character actor throughout the story.  

The video has met with enormous praise from all those who’ve viewed it, it was never submitted to the Hofstra Film Club, nor was the envisioned version with the Superman Theme posted on YouTube due to the WMG dispute.  Very few people have been exposed to this classic in its intended version but it is considered by Joseph the funniest thing created by “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®.  It was also the last video to ever feature Mike Cody.

Even More Fun With Dolls!

In 2008 Joseph decided to conclude the Fun With Dolls! trilogy with its final installment Even More Fun With Dolls!  The stop-motion animation project started right where More Fun With Dolls! ended.  Joseph scaled down the filming of the project to fit more with the roots of the first video.  The story was meant to be as shocking as ever, Barbie witnesses her boyfriend get murdered and then becomes a coked out prostitute who eventually dies at the end of the video.   The song White Lines by Grand Master Flash and the Furious 5 was dubbed over the tale and thus ended a story that began eight years earlier. 

Written by
Steve Rogers,
Christmas Snow,
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, November 22, 2013

2013 NYCC Part 4

Part 4 of our infinite coverage of 2013 NYCC

Friday, November 15, 2013

2013 NYCC Part 3

Part 3 of our never ending 2013 NYCC coverage

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013 New York Comic Con Part 2

Check out part 2 of our never ending coverage of the 2013 NYCC.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween ComicFest

Check out all the excitement of Halloween ComicFest at The Comicbook Depot in Wantagh.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The History of “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® 2000-2013 Part 3 of 5


Officers was an incomplete project that was conceived in the mid 1990s by David Rerecich and Bill Wikstrom.  It was a follow-up to Battles, Homophobia, and Kristmas, all stories that took place in their established Bellerose/Floral Park universe.  The early concept revolved around a typical day in the lives of Detective Bellerose and Captain Floral Park.  It was to include classic cop clichés such as donut jokes and dry cop banter.  Dave and Bill created and starred as two iconic police characters.  Bill played the dry talking, rough and tumble, Detective Bellerose. Dave was the quirky Captain Floral Park.  They filmed minor scenes but abandoned the project due to lack of focus in the script.

It was late 2003, Bill and Joseph were at Dave’s apartment watching old videos Dave and Bill created back in the mid-nineties.  Joseph was trying to come up with a concept that would cater to Matthew Swiatocha wanting to create a musical score to a movie.  As luck would have it outtakes from an abandoned Officers movie began playing.  Joseph inquired about the footage and what happened to the movie.  After hearing the story he proposed to complete the script for them.  He jotted down some quick notes and ran through some story ideas with them.  They dismissively agreed to his plot ideas not thinking he would actually write a script.  A few months later Joseph completed his script and sent it to Dave for review.  Dave shocked that Joseph was serious about finishing an Officers movie read through the script doing his best to tear it apart by making fun of all the static dialogue.  When Joseph received the revised version he thought it was brilliant, it was the comedic touch that his draft was missing.  The script was then sent to Bill who made additional alterations and afterwards the three collaborated together on one final draft before setting forth on production. 

An outtake still from the first attempt at an Officers movie and also used in the opening of the completed project.  Joseph wanted to confuse the audience by showing outtakes of the film in the opening title sequence instead of the traditional way by showing such sequences at the end of a movie.
Joseph wrote the plot in a simple format that was filmable but also called upon a plethora of characters.  Understanding he could not amass such a large cast all at once he modeled the story around a film noir mystery that would lead the main characters to different quirky people before solving the case.  The two main characters were David Rerecich returning to his role as Captain Floral Park and Bill Wikstrom playing the iconic Detective Bellerose . 

Bill Wikstrom was a typical Bellerose underachiever, a quick witted boy with a talent for the arts but never quite got his due in life.  His claim to fame was a stint as the lead singer of the band Endangered Feces.  He was also the lead singer and guitarist for the lesser known rock band Idiot Squad.  While Bill’s main distinction was in music he was also behind the creation of Detective Bellerose and would regularly collaborate with Dave on all his video ideas. 

Bill doing what he does best! Rocking out! 

With the script completed production began but it was riddled with delays and three scenes required reshoots.  The majority of the issues were scheduling conflicts and also a lack of a crew.  Joseph was directing and doing the cinematography at the same time.  He was accustomed to the double tasks while directing music videos but it allowed him to talk over the camera and give needed stage directions.  While filming a talkie it significantly limited his directing abilities during the shoot.  The length of the script was also difficult for the amateur actors to memorize which required close-ups for a majority of the takes so they could read the script while performing their dialogue.  The visual look of Officers became rather static with stiff acting while on a time crunch. 

A still from a much disputed take between Joseph and Dave's vision of the movie. 

The burden of comedy rested on the main characters who kept trying to add lib with mixed results while Joseph was trying to complete a page count during each scheduled shoot.  Tension rose on the set when Dave and Joseph disagreed with how some of the performances should be portrayed during the shooting.  Dave requested to edit the film to his preference of a 1970s style cop show and was performing the role accordingly.  Joseph had a grander noir spoof in mind which caused conflicts during certain takes.  Bill, who was left with the burden of carrying the film was handed much of the dry dialogue while doing his best to jazz it up with a variety of vocal inflections.  Officers took more than a year to shoot but was finally completed in 2005.

Two known cuts of the movie exist.  Dave’s version respectively known as Officers: The Adventures of Detective Bellerose and Captain Floral Park (the editors cut) is modeled after a classic 1970s cop show complete with 1970s style music, vintage commercials and a runtime of thirty minutes.  Joseph’s cut known simply as Officers is compiled of mostly videogame and some pop music.  The music track used for the film was supposed to be an ample track that would be replaced by a score created by Matthew Swiatocha.  Unfortunately Matthew dropped out of the project which left Joseph with an incomplete score. The runtime was going on about 45 minutes when Joseph was discussing his venture with his coworker Eileen at The Late Show with David Letterman.  She advised him to cut the work down to thirty minutes, Joseph decided to extend the piece to a full hour.  He added two different segments into the movie that consisted of Detective Bellerose and another character looking at one another with no actual conversation happening.  He also added a drawn out opening scene with clips that included miscellaneous takes and items off the cutting room floor.  These segments are what most people reference as their turnoff to Joseph’s cut of the movie.  Dave’s movie premiered  Christmas 2005 to a select circle of Dave’s friends and garnered positive feedback.  Joseph’s movie had no such premier and was not available for a mass audience to see until it was posted on YouTube years later. 

A still from Dave's version of Officers.
The reception of the two movie versions remain mixed.  Many appreciate Dave’s shorter running time but find his addition of commercials burdensome in rewatches.  With the exception of the staring scenes and long intro, Joseph received better praise for how he cut the scenes together.  Dave’s vanity prevented him from using certain takes in his version that involved him performing funnier antics.  Joseph had no such apprehension when cutting together Dave’s performance and thus demonstrated the actors in more powerful presentations.   With all of that many find it hard to justify a one hour amateur movie.  When comparing both versions of the movie to YouTube views, Joseph’s cut has a significantly higher count which makes his the winner on a commercial level but perhaps not at a critical level. 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Coming off what Joseph perceived as the failure of Officers he decided to go back to his roots with a music video.  He wanted to up the ante and chose to adapt a popular story.  He selected the Twilight Zone episode A Passage for Trumpet about a drunk musician who has a near death experience and rediscovers his love of music.  Joseph included some dialogue at the beginning to add some additional context to the video.  He also decided to disregard his rule to use black and white in a video, the cardinal sin of the amateur filmmaker.  The story begins in color and after the character is hit by the car it shifts to black and white to show he’s been transported into another realm and also pay homage to its Twilight Zone origins. 

A still from the episode A Passage for Trumpet

Joseph casted “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® regulars Mike Cody, David Rerecich, Angelica McKessy and himself in the video.  The video also marked the first time Joseph created a shot list to work off of.  The choice to use actors accustomed to Joseph’s prior works coupled with a written script helped the shooting be one of the most efficient directorial jobs by Joseph.  Even the camera movements, though not as elaborately planned, were heavily influenced by Matthew Swiatocha. 

A still from While My Guitar Gently Weeps

When Joseph premiered the video it was met with outstandingly positive feedback.  Many praised it as “I Like To Play With Toys” Productions® best work ever.  Dave exclaimed it was how Officers should have been made.  The video even went semi-viral on YouTube with a current count of almost 300,000 views. 

Written by
Steve Rogers,
Christmas Snow,
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®