Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 09:04 am est

‘Tomorrow’ escapes conventional filming methods

Posted on February 4, 2013 | by Jordan Axelrod

With the 2013 Sundance Film Festival coming to a close and movies like “Fruitvale” and “Blood Brother” enjoying the royal awards treatment, it is perhaps Randy Moore’s “Escape from Tomorrow” that left the festival with the title of “most controversial.” Filmed almost entirely on location in Disneyland and Disney World, in Anaheim, Calif. and Orlando, Fla. respectively, but without permission from Disney, “Escape from Tomorrow” follows a man’s mental breakdown during his family vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Cinematographer Lucas Lee Graham spoke with WSN about the process of creating such a daring film and exposing it to the audience of Sundance.

“Before the first screening, [director] Randy [Moore] and I were shaking, we were so nervous,” Graham explained. “Up until that point, nobody had seen it.”

Moore and Graham knew that “Tomorrow” was never going to receive consent from Disney officials to film on the theme parks’ premises due to its dark and adult themes, making guerilla-style filmmaking — a method embodied by shooting in real locations and without permission — a necessity. Moore hired Graham after approaching him in a Starbucks coffeeshop, and the idea of filming in the Disney parks immediately intrigued Graham. Production placed Moore, his cast and his crew at the constant risk of being caught, but an extensive pre-production period helped alleviate the danger.

“We scouted heavily both parks,” Graham said. “We brought the DSLR [cameras] that we planed on shooting the movie with with us, just to get a feel of how it would play out.”

What Graham discovered, however, is that many of the parkgoers used the same cameras that the crew did, allowing them to blend in more easily as they shot their movie.

“That took a lot of the stress off, right off the bat,” Graham said. “We thought ‘Oh my god, we can get away with anything.’”

Since their Sundance screening, Disney has yet to reach out to the filmmakers, but it seems as if the film’s journey has just begun. While no specific distribution companies have publicly announced acquisition of the film, “Tomorrow’s” positive reviews have generated quite a bit of buzz.

As for Graham’s advice to filmmakers who dream of tackling an endeavor like “Escape from Tomorrow,” he gives a simple response.

“Don’t do it,” he said.

Graham also stressed that they did not film at the Disney parks to be “rule breakers,” but rather because the locations were essential to telling the film’s story.

Finally, he concluded, “If you have a story that is worth telling, and there is no other way to do it … go for it.”  Moore’s “Escape from Tomorrow” may not only inspire more use of guerilla-style filmmaking but also open the door for more movies to test the boundaries of filmmaking as an art form.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 5 print edition. Jordan Axelrod is a contributing writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next