Tyler Savino has a freshly minted film school degree from Bowling Green State University and his first feature film is on the cusp of the festival circuit.
But he is staying in town with Bucketnaut, his growing media company.
Like Godzilla in Tokyo, the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on Hollywood, but Bucketnaut has three feature films in the works by being based in Bowling Green.
“We really believe in small independent films, in this area. We don’t plan on moving to Hollyawood. We like finding the little gems out here. We’re always going to support those and find projects to hop on board,” Savino said. “In a lot of ways, as rough as this year was, in terms of a year to sit down to do the legwork to start an entertainment business, this was probably it.
“None of this would have happened if I was still working food service half the week,” Savino said of the change in his life due to the pandemic.
He said the filming of “The Cran,” which was done in Wood County, allowed him and his partner, Marlee Carpenter, to sidestep some of the common pitfalls inherent in the independent movie industry.
“It’s to the point where I wouldn’t say we’re the biggest fish in the Ohio indy-film pond, but we’re not going to get eaten by the biggest fish. It’s to the extent that if we were to suddenly pack up and move to a big city, then that’s all the lightning taken out of the bottle,” Savino said of his Bowling Green base.
“The Cran” is exiting post-production this year.
The second film, “Eviscerate Me!,” is currently filming and being directed by Elijah Lothamer, who worked on “The Cran.” Lothamer recently signed on to the production team at Bucketnaut.
Savino’s third project is his second full-length movie to direct, called “Refrigerator.” It will start filming in 2022.
“The Cran” has exceeded Savino’s expectations. The film was made for only $20,000. Meanwhile, he said industry response has pegged it at the $750,000 category.
Release is planned for early 2021.
“No matter how good the final product ends up being, you can always look at it and say, ‘If I had only had one more day of shooting,’ or that I wasn’t going to use that scene and fill it with something else, that’s the part that’s really exciting, taking everything I learned from this and applying it to the next one,” Savino said.
From “The Cran” emerged “Refrigerator,” which will also star Carpenter.
It’s about a missing person’s case where she plays a small-town Florida sheriff’s deputy that pieces the story together.
“I’m somebody that likes to play a lot of different roles. I wanted to play something that’s just as layered and juicy as Hannah, from ‘The Cran,’ but isn’t Hannah,” said Carpenter.
Savino has done more than take the lessons of film-making to heart. He has also taken some of his fellow students into the Bucketnaut fold, expanding his Bowling Green links.
“You meet your best film-making compatriots in film-making school. So, yeah, we made some good connections,” Savino said.
Savino caught a bit of luck in filming “The Cran” in that filming wrapped up just before the stay-at-home orders were mandated.
“Once things really started tightening up at home, I was deep in the edit,” Savino said. “Stay home? Oh no! What am I going to do, stay home, edit and be productive?”
He will be staying home for the holidays to finish editing and prepare for screenings.
“Once we have something we’re happy with, we start sending it out to film festivals. There’s the bigger ones, like Sundance and South by Southwest, that are harder to get into, but have a better chance of getting noticed by larger companies,” Savino said. “Then there are smaller ones, like state-wide festivals or even community-wide film festivals that maybe don’t carry the same weight as something like Sundance, but allows you to kind of build up your resume.”
Any awards the film might receive will then help to propel it to the next level festival. 4x3 Productions would then push it into a theatrical run, unless it gets picked up by a bigger distributor.
“If festivals are virtual, then they are virtual. It will save some travel money. Hopefully by summer people will be antsy to see a movie,” Savino said.
Bucketnaut will have an official production company launch on Feb. 1, which will include new film trailers and project profiles.
More information can be found on the website https://www.bucketnaut.com/, but Savino also recommends that fans continue to pay attention around town for film crews and larger-than-life events that look like they might be part of a movie.