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home : columns : columns May 29, 2016

3/20/2013 9:55:00 AM
'Mouse Trap' filmed in Windom
If 15-year-old Ethan Clerc were to someday achieve his dream of becoming a movie director, he'll probably have fond memories of his very first production, "Mouse Trap."
Filmed recently at the Business, Arts and Recreation Center in Windom, Mouse Trap was created by Ethan with full support from his parents, Rick and Julie Clerc, as well as his siblings, Colin and Emily. In addition to his family, Ethan received plenty of help from assistant directors Matt Theesfeld and Luis Orozco. The cast included Ryley Espenson, Daniel Nelson and Colin Clerc.
"The movie is about a group of friends who get dared to spend the night at a condemned school with a creepy janitor nicknamed 'The Mouse,' " Ethan said.
This isn't Ethan's first experience with creating films. He and his friends have been doing videos for the past two years.
"It started out as kind of a fun thing to do," Ethan said. "I liked doing it so much that I decided I wanted to do it professionally. Lately, I've been helping out businesses by making videos for them. I have also been helping out Windom schools. I have also helped Buckwheat Johnson when he has videotaped events."
Ultimately, Ethan decided to try to create his first feature film. He started planning a 45-minute movie complete with a boom mic, script and movie props. However, it took some time to find the right theme.
"I came up with the idea of kids being dared to spend the night somewhere," Ethan said. "And my dad came up with the idea of an all-nighter at a condemned school with a creepy janitor."
From there, Ethan took his dad's idea and began filling in the blanks. Eventually, he had a full script.
In addition to the BARC building, the film was shot at various locations around Windom including some outdoor sites near a restaurant and a convenience store.
"We started at 7 p.m. and went until about 4 a.m.," Ethan said. "It was a long night."
Kent Houppert, a youth pastor at Evangelical Free Church in Windom, was the group's supervisor for the night.
Ethan feels very good about the film and expects to upload it onto youtube.com and also to his website, www.ecmwfilm.com. He will also burn it onto DVDs.
Funding the film
Among the things Ethan has learned during his first feature film is that each movie has a price tag.
He figures he has roughly $600 into the project, including a small fee to use the building, equipment rental costs, food and fake glass and fake furniture (which were used during a fight scene). Ethan is currently working to raise $600 in online donations through a crowd funding site called kickstarter.com.
The funds are already coming into kickstarter through donations.
"We were given 30 days to raise the money, the final day is April 7," Ethan said. "If we don't raise the full $600 in 30 days, everyone gets their money back. So we either get it, or we don't."
Overall, it was a good learning experience for Ethan. There were challenges he hadn't anticipated as well as pleasant surprises.
"There were some struggles with it, especially trying to direct five kids who had never done this before," Ethan said. "There was a lot of messing around to start with, but then it went pretty well."
The experience solidified Ethan's goal of becoming a director some day.
"When we went to Florida, I visited a college I may want to attend, Sail University," Ethan said. "They gave me a tour of the back lot and class rooms. It was fun to see what they were doing."
For now, Ethan will stick to the local films.
"I'd like to make something longer, but not too much longer," Ethan said. "I like everything about it, watching it all come together.
"That moment when you figure out that everything you did worked out, it feels really good."
Steven Spielberg, move over.

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