Police Department (by Mary Alice)

Here's the first of two short films we produced to accompany our "Cancelled" album. It was a lot of hard work but producing and directing both of them was also one of the funnest and most rewarding things I've ever done. We're planning to do another film or two for our next album and I'm really looking forward to it.


Here's the director's commentary for anyone who wants it.


This is the movie that depicts the show that the Cancelled Guy fell in love with and stars Francesca Valente and Frank J. Gómez as two squeaky-clean, Andy Taylor/Barney Fife-style cops in love. We wanted a real-life couple and their chemistry is natural, which I think also adds to the cute-as-hell performance. They also look fucking adorable in their little cop uniforms, which I cobbled together from various sources on the internet (with Fran's help, who sewed my cheap-o badge patches on to the arms of the blue uni shirts). There was no real template for this show or these characters but we drew inspiration from the aforementioned Andy Griffith Show and visual cues from Who's the Boss to make it an uniquely EGesque cop drama.


It also stars Paul Tsiaperas as the bumbling, 3rd wheely Officer (Paul) Denny, who is kind of supposed to call back to the Cancelled Guy himself a little bit because he was written intentionally kind of out of step with the world, stuck in the 90s to the extent that his therapist is Frasier Crane. I don't know why I named him Denny except that Paul does a great impression of the Denny character from the Room and the Police Department Denny is just as whiny as the Room's Denny so it fit in my mind. The voice of Dr. Crane, Denny's therapist and the corpse was played magically by Johnny Fantastic, who endured a 100+ degree day, spending most of the opening scene under the sheet, pulling double duty.


Sadie, of course, is plays the representation of the Troubled Youth trope from cop dramas and is played magnificently by Renée Regan. Renéehad said that she'd never acted before but her performance art demonstrated a near-identical skill set, plus I thought she very much looked the part and it was a really great decision, as it turned out. She killed it. <3 She also put together her own costume, which I thought was just perfect.


A lot of people have asked us why we decided on cop dramas. There are a couple of reasons for this that are entirely apolitical because in our minds, this was about TV and not about police officers. For me personally, the cop/crime drama is something I never really enjoyed or even sat through an entire episode of (excluding "Cop Rock" and "Night Court"), but I thought a cop drama would be ideal for this project because of their ubiquity and the lowness of the cultural significance. I think of cop dramas as being "dad shows," my dad, who watches cop dramas without specific interest or emotional investment. I guess to me cop dramas are shows to fall asleep to, so I thought the idea of the Cancelled Guy losing his mind because of the loss of any cop drama was funny and would downplay the significance of the show itself because that's not really what "Cancelled" is about.


The script was written by Derek Stewart, who was as unfamiliar with the genre as I was to start with but took it on anyway (despite a gazillion other commitments more profitable financially and experience-wise) and he did an amazing job. He also leant a ton of invaluable advice to our woefully inexperienced production team.


(I will have to take writing credit for "it's like baseball," though, because that's my favorite thing ever and I'm really proud of that)


HUGE shout out to my partner in production and direction, Mason Shelby for all of his work on this. He edited it all single-handedly, which I think was actually more work than any other single job. He taught me how to story-board and also taught me how to critically look at a shot and do more creative striking because that's not really my strength. He also coordinated the camera work of Ethan Guralnick, who walked down a very steep hill into a ravine in order to get that shot of Tanner and Miller on the bridge. It ended up beautiful.


I want to tell you guys about at least a dozen other easter eggs sprinkled throughout this and its sister show "Cop Force" but this is long enough as it is and I should spell everything out for you either.


I reiterate, though, this was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again.