This article appeared in the local paper, the Albany Democrat-Herald, in the 'Fanfare' entertainment section of the paper. The interview of the entire group took place on Sunday, Nov 16 and the article was printed Friday, Nov 21. Cory Frye wrote the article and also conducted the interview. The photographs in the article were taken by Mark Ylen, Democrat-Herald photographer.
Bravado Entertainment celebrates its sixth year|
By Cory Frye
CORVALLIS — Six years of a compelling life flicker before Jackson Haynes. It’s so brutal that he shields his 11-month-old daughter Jessica’s eyes from much of the carnage.
In a 30-minute montage, the unfortunate Haynes is garroted, thrown, shoved and generally thumped like a dying mule. He gets his head blown off from various angles and stands immobile in the road as a speeding truck splits him in quarters — three times. But it isn’t until the final sequence that he suffers his worst fate, as a tortuously low-budget yet voracious alien, screeching with Godzilla’s throbbing metallic chords, scoops him up and experiences pure chewing satisfaction.
Call it creative liscense, although much of it is true. Haynes is the most accident-prone of his close-knit circle of friends; they even celebrated his misfortunes with a mock documentary called “Jackson Haynes: A Portrait in Pain,” and devoted its 25-minute running time to his countless mishaps. Haynes has had a lifelong penchant for falling through roofs and seems magnetically drawn towards passing automobiles and the occasional wandering bullet. But the alien thing — that’s probably going a bit too far.
He can thank Alan Winston for that. The 21-year-old OSU senior has been capturing these carniverous moments since November 1991, when he made a film for his sophomore English class at South Albany High School. He and groupmate Dan Martinak composed a script from a short story Winston had written three years before, and recruited friend Juston Chandler to produce the special effects. Winston then picked up his parent’s Camcorder and made history.
The result was the ambitious 13-minute “Day of Reckoning,” starring Winston as private detective Nick Dahlton in his zealous quest to thwart the evil Harridan (played by Martinak). The entire project was filmed with a $10 budget, most of which went to the exploding house.
Well, it didn’t quite explode. The group had taken a model house to nearby Lehigh Park (Winston boasts that the burn marks are still visible on the basketball courts) and crammed it with fireworks. When the house failed to follow the script, they simply drenched it in gasoline and set it on fire.
The climactic fight scene involved some covert undertaking on the group’s part; its rooftop location remains a secret to this day.
Chandler almost spills the beans during an interview, but he’s quickly silenced. Even six years of separation keeps its identity under wraps. Winston’s only hint is that it was filmed atop a local shopping center whose owners were blissfully unaware of three teenagers running overhead.
The group received an A for its daring and Bravado Entertainment was born, providing solace for students who despised book reports.
“We had to read these books for class,” recalled Jason Pape, who played Pap and The King in Bravado’s second production (Huck Finn), “and I hated it. I didn’t like reading them and I was tired of doing dioramas. It was a cheap way out and we got to do movies.”
“We always got As,” added Karyn Fraser, who joined Bravado in 1993 to play both Daisy Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson in “Gatsby ’93.”
The movies, however, would only follow their companion novels to a certain extent. Scour George Orwell’s “1984,” for instance, and locate the Barney-worshipping character, or the chapter where Winston Smith hallucinates a Cream video. Count the number of severed limbs in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Ophelia may have spoken in “Hamlet”’s iambic pentameter, but it’s highly doubtful that she rocked the mic (a lip-synch feat that required 70 takes).
Although it’s experienced massive personnel turnover since 1991, Bravado Entertainment remains very much intact. Many of its members have migrated to various parts of the country, their futures no longer dependent on passing high school English grades. Bravado’s nucleus now consists of six core members — Haynes, Winston, Chandler, Pape, Fraser and Carrie Davis — all of whom have been together since at least 1993. Its offices (i.e. Winston’s head) have moved from a residential home in the South Albany area to the bowels of OSU’s Snell Hall, where Winston, Pape and Davis record the 15-minute television show “Delusions of Grandeur” for KBVR-TV.
The book reports of old are gone, replaced by Winston’s taste for send-ups of summer blockbusters. He injects more cerebral Mad magazine humor into his scripts than cartoon violence (although that remains in refreshing abundance). His “Men In Black” pursue a gleaming toy Chewbacca, apparently piloting the Millenium Falcon as a solo act these days. Pape stars as Forrest Gump, sprinting through Corvallis streets to “Weird Al" Yankovic’s “Gump,” and Winston appears alone as “Gerald Kellerman, Jedi Knight,” a feeble-minded oaf who ridicules himself off Fraser’s front porch after semi-rescuing her from two intruders. And then there’s Pape himself, who fervently wastes airtime with Vanilla Ice videos.
But with Winston in his senior year, Bravado Entertainment’s future is uncertain. After June 1999, he’ll no longer have access to KBVR’s facilities, but he hopes that video equipment will become relatively inexpensive in the coming years.
“I hope so,” Davis interjected. “These guys get insane and I like that. My school (WOU) is terribly boring.”
“Maybe anniversary shows,” Alan mused.
“Parodies,” Chandler added.
“The problem is that it’s hard to get together,” Fraser said. “Some of us have other things, jobs and families now.”
But Jackson Haynes, he of the grille-shaped frame and extraterrestrial diet, believes it’d only be a matter of time before Winston would be on the phone again, begging his friends to make one more appearance.
“Alan has this nagging personality,” he explained. “He keeps pushing you over the edge until you submit.”
Winston’s only reply is an evasive smirk. His eyes are aflame with thought. Perhaps that edge would be a good place to put Mr. Haynes...