Commentary

Granados: Ravenscroft grad makes indie film in Raleigh

CorrespondentNovember 8, 2013 

I went to high school at Cardinal Gibbons back when it was a trailer park across the street from North Carolina State University. Our rivals were the big, bad boys of Ravenscroft, at least when it came to all things sport. Strange how rivalry can turn to appreciation as the years pass. When I heard a Ravenscroft grad was shooting a movie around town, I felt nothing but pride.

His name is Drew Boyd. He was a few years after my time. The movie he’s filming is called “Well Wishes.”

“We describe it as a Southern tall tale,” he told me. “Kind of in the vein of the old Frank Capra flicks.”

Brandon White is the production manager on the film. He gave me a few more details.

“It’s about a guy who takes what seems like a setback/disadvantage (losing his job on a coin toss) and turns it into an opportunity,” he told me in an e-mail. “He determines to find inspiration in it, and becomes very successful because of it.”

Positive fare, to be sure. And what better place to film it than this repository of positivity I call home?

The film is an indie, but lest you think Boyd is some amateur, let me tell you about his credentials. He’s worked in the film industry for a while now, mostly on the post-production side. You may have heard of the film “Winter’s Bone” – the movie that helped actress Jennifer Lawrence break into the mainstream. Boyd did editing work on that.

“That was one of the more exciting and thrilling ones I’ve worked on,” he said.

After Ravenscroft, Boyd went on to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to study filmmaking. “Well Wishes” will be his directorial debut, and he says there is nowhere he’d rather film it than his home state.

“I wrote the script and just kind of refined it for a while,” he said. “I knew I wanted to make it in North Carolina, no matter what it was.”

Much of it is filmed in Raleigh. He told me that if he could make every feature film he ever works on in Raleigh, he would.

“It’s kind of the best of both worlds,” he said. “It’s got its cosmopolitan metropolis feel downtown and the quaint suburban saccharine feel all around it.”

As you read this, filming might be complete. He told me he was shooting for Nov. 7. He was leaving Raleigh when I talked to him and heading to Charlotte and then Asheville for a few more scenes. After that, Boyd is taking a break.

“I plan on coming back to Raleigh for a week and watching a bunch of bad TV on the couch for as long as possible,” he said.

Then he will edit for the next five months or so, and when the film’s complete, he will start hitting the festival circuit.

The film isn’t just an opportunity for Boyd, however. White took a risk coming on board and hopes to reap the benefits.

I asked him how he got involved with the project.

“The director … hired many of my colleagues, so one day I get a call from a friend of mine … and she asks that I sign onto the film,” he told me.

The answer was an immediate yes.

“So I quit my job and drive out to Raleigh the next day,” he said.

White is a relative newbie to Raleigh. But he came to appreciate both its pros and cons in his time filming here.

“I learned that there’s an awesome Char-Grill burger joint on Hillsborough Road, and to stay away from Capital Boulevard at lunch time,” he said.

He also came to appreciate the friendliness that is a staple of both the South in general and Raleigh in particular.

“With such a truncated schedule and minimal crew, we needed all the help and smiling faces that Raleigh delivered,” he said. “Without it this film wouldn’t be possible.”

Raleigh is certainly a place that’s made things happen in my life. And it looks like it continues to spread the good charm to its many inhabitants and visitors. Even first-time filmmakers.

Let’s hope “Well Wishes” comes one day to a theater near you.

Alex Granados writes about people, places and traditions in North Raleigh and beyond. Contact him at agranadoster@gmail.com.

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