Martial arts movie shot in Goose Creek, Summerville

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paul Watts reviews the script before the next scene. STEFAN ROGENMOSER

Scene 35 is about to be filmed.
“Sound. Camera. Take six. Action!”
“Kevin” (Corry Williams) walks into the dojo where his friend “Tony Napoli” (Paul Watts) is practicing mixed martial arts (MMA) with a trainer and a dummy.
Kevin asks Tony if he can help him spot weights the next day but it turns out Tony has to watch his kids. They joke and talk of a three-fight win streak.
This scene of Aldo Napoli's movie “Broken” was filmed in December at a mixed martial arts dojo off Highway 78 near Summerville. The actors and crew have to take off their shoes to walk on the padded floor mats.
Broken was filmed in Summerville, Goose Creek and West Ashley and features a cast and crew of locals.
Napoli watches what the camera sees through a portable flat screen monitor that he holds in his lap as he sits on the floor leaning against the wall in the same room.
The crew and actors have fun joking around between takes when the camera isn't rolling. A few takes are completed at one camera angle. The scene is acted out again and shot from a second angle.
They wrap the scene. The crew moves camera and lighting equipment into another room filled with punching bags hanging from the ceiling; the actors sit in a half circle and read lines.
It's 4 p.m. on a Friday and they have two hours of filming left before they have to clear out for a jujitsu class.
Napoli worked on the script during his free time in the past two years while working two to three jobs. He's currently working full-time while making the movie.
The Summerville native and resident is enlisting local talent to shoot and partake in his film. He's also enlisted the help of local businesses that have let him shoot scenes in various locations, such as Black Force MMA, Home Town Auto in Summerville and the Whistle Stop, a tavern in Goose Creek.
“It's about a guy who recently got divorced and is going through an ugly custody battle with his ex-wife over a few children,” Napoli said. “Her family has money, gets the kids.
He's a bouncer at a bar.”
The main character falls for a drug-addicted girl and gets in a fight, Napoli said. He soon starts training for mixed martial arts.
“He goes the distance with it and in the long run helps the girl get clean and him get his children back,” Napoli said. “I'm trying to deal with real life situations that people deal with these days…drug addiction, divorce, fighting for children. You can overcome those.
“A lot of times people make inspirational type movies but they're not movies that people in these positions would watch or enjoy.”
The language used in some of the scenes is realistic and comes from the streets.
“Our first day of filming was Nov. 30. It's mostly evenings and weekends. Most people working here work other jobs. We're working with everyone's schedule.”
Filming was completed Jan. 6 at Charleston Krav Maga dojo in West Ashley.
“Broken” is Napoli's first movie. It's a full-length feature set to run about 90 minutes, he said.
The crew is made up of about eight people and the main cast is 10 actors, although there are about 40 speaking parts.
“I've never had any kind of formal schooling. I had the script idea pop up in my head. I got done writing, talked to a few people, and decided, hey I can make it.
“Our goal is to get it into the Charleston International Film Festival since it's such a local movie. I would love for it to be shown there. That's in April. It has to be submitted by Jan. 11. I'm doing last minute rushing on a deadline. I have an amazing crew.
“Most of the actors and crew are unpaid, but I'm going to try to make it improve their resume.
“I'm not the only director. Everybody from the sound guy to the camera guy have been making suggestions and coming up with ideas. Usually it's about a six- to eight-man crew doing the job of 12 to 20 people. It's been an eye opener and I've learned a lot and I still have a lot to learn. It's fun being the ultimate decider. Seeing what I wrote down on paper over a year ago coming to life and being able to see it through the camera. It's amazing and humbling at the same time.”
Napoli said the characters struggle but MMA gets them to push forward and better themselves.
“I used to be involved in boxing and a lot of friends were in the MMA scene. I was a shop manager and worked part time as a bar bouncer at night for years.
“I wanted my children to be in it. They play a pretty decent role… There were several times where I was going to quit, but it kept on itching in the back of my mind. I'd never forgive myself for not giving it a try.
“Most of the characters are based on real friends. Some of those real people are in the film. I use their names. One of the guys I used to be a bouncer with is playing a different part in the film. They're a huge inspiration. That's where it came from. Working at the shop and the bar…not everybody gets to see what really goes on in these places. I need to share that.
“My wife and I have three kids 4, 5 and 7 –  and me working full time, I haven't been around. I greatly appreciate her taking care of everything.

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