2001, 59 minutes
Black Comedy, Drama
This is the dark tale of Anna Karina (Naomi Leonard), as she hits rock bottom. She spends her days and nights wandering the streets, selling herself for drugs. When her husband Tony Towne (J. Nation) finds her in the bed of his best friend, small timer Maurry Castel (John Van Slyke), Anna realizes that she can no longer look at herself in the mirror.
Complications quickly arise when Tony produces a briefcase full of heroin that he swiped after killing two drug dealers, it's a temptation that Anna finds difficult to resist and one Maurry is looking to take advantage off. The rightful owner Big Sammy Fingers (Michael John Moynihan) wants his stash back, he'll resort to any means necessary to retrieve it. This includes sending rouge cops and his son Little Sammy (Patrick Hayes), after his possession.
After a night of unadulterated excess with the heroin, Anna, Tony and Maurry wake to find Ricky Castel (Robert W. C. Kennedy), Maurry's con man brother forcing himself in to the deal. This gets to be too much for Anna as the betrayals bring on violence, escalating into a confrontation few will escape from.
Dilemma: A complex 64-page script with 17 parts and only $100. to bring the project to life, what do you do? If you are writer, producer, and director Ross Bigley you get it made, example. Ross Bigley's production, Slacktime.
Ross who has previous experience from making 11 other shorts with his production company Dirty Job Films believed it was time to expand and grow as a filmmaker. He wrote Slacktime, a dark comedy that he believes to be the natural progression of his work but with little money to bring this project to fruit he turned to frequent collaborators and friends Naomi Leonard and John Van Slyke. Naomi who had starred in the last two productions not only agreed to star in Slacktime as Anna Karina, the female lead, but to also let Ross use her apartment as the primary filming location, at no cost. John Van Slyke assisted Ross by severing as the casting director, gathering the finest theatrical talent available in the Milwaukee area, such actors as: Robert W. C. Kennedy, Scott Shulick, Patrick Hayes and John Walski. The male lead role for Slacktime was given to acting newcomer, Jelani Nation who is also an accomplished musician and has lent this same talent to several other of Ross's short movies. His character's name is Tony Towne, Anna's husband and the individual responsible for the series of events that cause the story to turn deadly.
Between the acquiring of locations and actors Ross believed it best to shoot Slacktime on video in order to insure low production costs. Shooting commenced in April of 2000 and ended in August of the same year. Due to the fact that many of the talented actors were also participating in other local theatrical productions several Slacktime segments were shot in pieces to be picked up months later when the other actors were available. To keep things rolling along Ross started editing at M.A.T.A., Milwaukee's public access station which, helped Ross foresee a potential problem, the ending. The problem was that Naomi's character; Anna was separated from the action due to the scene requiring her to be cowering with fear locked in the bathroom. With conflicting schedules Naomi had to react to nothing, and imagine the worst possible horror going on beyond the bathroom door. Through several re-shoots the right balance was found, thus having her deliver an extraordinary performance, her best work to date.
With Ross tolling away editing Slacktime, Jelani collaborated with another actor/musician Ku Mays scoring the movie and donating it to the production. And working with the Public Access station MATA, Ross was able to edit and finish Slacktime with out incurring any more costs. "I just paid for the food, the liquor, and the tapes to shoot on, if you have no money to shoot your movie do it through Public Access. It'll cost you nothing."
Ku Mays, J. Nation, Frank Smith & Damon Joy
Written, photographed, produced, edited, directed by:
John Van Slyke
Associate Producer/Production Assistant:
Michael J. Pinkepank
Bill Ryan of Landmark Lanes
Anna Karina, Naomi Leonard
Tony Towne, J. Nation
Maurry Castel, John Van Slyke
Ricky Castel, Robert W.C. Kennedy
Little Sammy Fingers, Patrick Hayes
Smitty, Scott Shulick
Weinstein, Ku Mays
Big Sammy Fingers, Michael John Moynihan
Brother John Christensen, John Walski
Rodney, David B. Steward
Nasty Tom, Bo Sefus
Robert, Kid beat box
Sebastian, Charles Lubner
The "John", James Hassett
Junkie, Mo Pull
Man on Street, Michael Weber
Michelle, Naomi Leonard