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Summer Blockbuster

Top: Goth Kid (Willie Conrad '02) is an unlikely hero in a video arcade confrontation between love-struck homeboy Traz and his nemesis, Winfield Augustine Peterson, the rich-kid captain of the Yacht Club team. Middle: Jim Coach (Tom Roy, WPI grad student), church janitor and coach of the Disc team, is confronted by his arch-nemesis Maximillian Westford (Ben Alrich '98), the coach of the evil Yacht Club team. Bottom: Director (Calvin Swaim '02) prepares to shoot a rooftop scene as dusk falls on the WPI campus.

What to do on summer vacation? Chad Pytel '02 and other members of WPI's sketch comedy troupe, KILROY, decided to make a feature-length film. One year later, Disc is ready for the big screen. The story is a classic 1980s sports send-up in which the main character, Traz, lands on the church ultimate Frisbee team with a group of kids who don't know a Frisbee from a pizza. "With a whole lot of luck and heart, as well as a little help from the man upstairs, this ragtag group of wacky characters must overcome all obstacles, including themselves," according to the movie's promotional blurb.

Disc plays in Boston and Worcester in August, and the production crew plans to submit the final cut to film festivals. "We learned something quite profound through this," says Pytel. "Producing movies and sketch comedies is what we would like to do for our careers." For now, the principals (Pytel, Calvin Swaim '02, Willie Conrad '02 and Jon Yurek '02) still have day jobs: they've formed an IT consulting firm, thoughtbot, offering Web design, software development, and technical support for small offices.

"It became clear to me personally that sometimes the things you learn from college are not taught by your professors ... sometimes it is necessary to take the project or idea you have into your own hands," says Pytel. "The students that WPI draws are dynamic individuals waiting to explode. Given the right circumstances, it will happen."

Disc by the Numbers:

6 weeks spent writing script
6 weeks spent filming (mostly weekends, weeknights)
8 months of postproduction work in crew's spare time
30 hours of footage shot
126 minutes of running time in final cut
500 dollars spent on postproduction
1,000 dollars spent on production, raised mostly by performing handyman tasks for WPI faculty and staff
3,000 dollars, projected cost to produce Disc, the DVD

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Last modified: Sep 02, 2004, 11:36 EDT
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