Two years ago, 2010 NESCom alum Ray Harrington, had an idea. Now all those months later, the finished product will be shown in Bangor as an advanced screening. Be A Man, a new documentary by Harrington has been a labor of love for the comedian, husband and father. We caught up with Ray after the film had its first screening (an exclusive for Kickstarter supporters) at the Comedy Connection in East Providence, Rhode Island.
Q: From the idea, to the first screening, how long was the production of the documentary?
A: From the initial idea to finally being able to screen the film this month, it has been a two year process. Two years! There’s a moment somewhere in the middle of all of it where passion has to change to determination. It has been an incredibly fun, stressful, and at times very hard process to go through. It’s almost two different projects. The experience of shooting the documentary, the difficulties of being both the subject and the director was odd at times. But the Director of Photography was wonderful in taking the helm behind the camera when I had to be 100% present in front of the camera. The other, wholly different experience was post-production. The editing process was monstrous and being done by just myself and our editor, Joey Fallon. At some point, the film just became what I did. Everyday. Wake up to emails and calls, work on the film all day, be with my wife and son in the evening, then run out to a comedy show at night, get back and work more on the film before going to bed.
Q: Where did the idea for the documentary come from?
A: My wife and I were talking a lot about having kids and we were just starting to let things take their course. I had been talking to my friend and fellow comedian, Derek Furtado a lot about my worries and fears of being a dad. The fact that I didn’t have a father growing up really concerned me when I thought about becoming a father myself. One night, I was talking on the phone with Derek and I said, “I don’t know how to be a father. I don’t even know how to be a man.” And it was an immediate moment of realization for both of us that the image of manhood we’ve been given is changing drastically and rapidly. The things that, in childhood, I had always thought were manly but never had experience with. Fighting, Drinking, Cars, Shaving, Clothing, Women. All things I never knew. Could I learn about them all so I would have that to pass on to my son? And would they make me any more manly?
Q: What was it like to following the process through all the way?
A: We started shooting in September of 2013 with the thought that we would have things wrapped up by the time my son was due in March. The post-production phase was the longest though. With hours of footage capturing everyday life and hours of footage capturing the events we shot, it was a big undertaking. Add to that a newborn baby and a comedy career, and it was next to impossible. Thankfully, our editor Joey Fallon is amazing. I worked closely with him for 10 months non-stop, building this film.
Q: What was the budget for Be A Man like?
A: Our budget was small. VERY small. It’s crazy to look back and realize we made a feature length documentary for $11,000. And it’s good! We started with $5,000 from investors. Stand Up! Records was wonderful in backing us from the start. I’m a comic on the label and when I told Dan Schlissel about it, he was immediately supportive. Then it was the guys at the RI Comedy Connection and a fellow comic, John Porch who all believed in the project and wanted to help. We were able to take that money and cover all of the gear we would need. After the production, we realized we needed money that we hadn’t expected needing for sound mixing and color grading. Luckily, our editor has a lot of connections in London and we met with Soho Square Studios who loved the rough cut we had and were just as passionate about the project as we were.
Q: What was (2011 NESCom alum) Joe Giordano’s role in the production?
A: When I initially had the idea for Be A Man, I knew right away that I wanted Joe on board. We had worked together on a few sketches at the New England School of Communications and we worked really well together. I knew I wanted Joe as my Director of Photography immediately and that we wouldn’t do the film without him. As the director and the subject, I would need to trust the DP entirely to be capturing the moment. Joe was the only person I trusted to see it the same way as I did. It’s also wonderful having a friend behind the camera during some really personal things being shot. There’s a warmth in the final film, a sense of real friendship that I think carries over to the viewer as well.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of the phase Be A Man is in now?
A: It’s the audience. Last night, we screened the film for the very first time to an audience. To hear the roars of laughter and how much people were laughing was astonishing. We felt the film was really funny, but the reaction last night blew me away. And to hear a pin drop during a serious moment is fantastic. We had people in tears by the end of the film and I couldn’t believe it.
Q: What’s next for the film (following the advanced screenings)?
A: After the first advance screening in Rhode Island and the screening at The Bangor Mall Cinemas on June 28th, we’ll be doing a few more advance screenings in New England. Portland, Mass, New York, Connecticut. But I was really excited about having Bangor see the film first. Coming from Bangor and having built a lot of who I am here, meeting my wife here, I wanted to show it to people in Bangor for the first time in a special way. Of course, being a microbudget film, the screenings will help us raise funds to begin the film festival circuit and get this film shown across the country. That’s when we’ll look at our options for distribution and seek out potential streaming like Netflix, etc. But our main goal is for this film to be seen.
The Bangor area screening of Be A Man is scheduled for June 28th, 7pm at Bangor Mall Cinemas. Tickets are available online HERE.
For more information on Be A Man, visit beamanthefilm.com or like the movie on Facebook.