You could call it “One Kid’s Journey Through The Film Club.”
Dario Silerio went from being a transfer student from Massachusetts who “didn’t know anybody” to being a leading force behind a group of Skyline High School students writing a screenplay for a projected hour-long feature film.
Yes, quite a dramatic journey.
“I came to Skyline before my junior year, and it’s tough going to a new school where everyone’s a stranger,” Silerio said. “I made a friend named Solomon Johnson who told me I should join the Film Club, and I at first I wasn’t interested.
“I didn’t think I had anything to offer.”
Nothing to offer? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Silerio took the plunge and joined the Film Club, and he has written scripts and helped direct short films since then. He has taken part in the club’s Film Festival, which takes place each year in May and draws hundreds of spectators. And he has also made several friends in the Film Club over the past two years.
And this year, for the first time, Skyline students are putting together a feature-length film. Silerio has been a main force behind the writing.
“It’s a really ambitious project, to say the least, but we hope to have a screening before the end of the school year,” said Skyline Film Club sponsor Joe Samulak, a math teacher at Skyline. “It has taken four months to write the script, and really, that’s the hard part, the writing.”
The script for the yet unnamed movie that Samulak says, “knowing these kids, will be a comedy,” is around 80-pages long, and getting it finished was a sometimes painstaking process.
“Writing the screenplay was really rough at first, line by line, because it was a bunch of us all trying to get our ideas together, and it’s hard to write that way,” said Silerio, who plans to go to U-M Flint and study psychology next fall. “Then I asked if I could just write the bones of the script and then we all could come together and kind of fill in the meat and use everyone’s creativity.
“Once we started doing that, things began to go a lot smoother. I think what we’ve come up with is pretty good. And there will be some tweaking of the script once we start filming.”
It isn’t surprising that Silerio has taken a lead role in the writing process. He has been an avid writer “since the sixth grade,” and thought that screenplays would be a better way to get his stories read.
“To be honest, I thought my friends would be more open to watching movies I had written than reading stories I had written,” he said. “But, most of my stories I just write for myself anyway. Sometimes I send them to a friend of mine in Massachusetts to read, but that’s about it.”
Film Club has opened an avenue for Silerio to share stories with others. He also is a prime example of what Samulak hopes to accomplish by sponsoring the Film Club.
“We have three things we want to do,” said Samulak. “The first is to create an environment for students with a common passion to come together to make movies; the second is to create a platform to showcase the art of film by hosting a film festival every year; and the third is to help every kid in the Film Club make at least one more friend at Skyline because they were in the club.”
Silerio embodies all of those goals, and he’s extremely glad he listened to his friend Solomon Johnson and decided to join the club. But there are challenges – lots of them – when being part of a team putting together a feature film.
The team filmed their first scene last week, and it “went a little slower than we thought it would,” Silerio said. “But, it will get smoother as the actors learn their lines. It was just the first scene. It will get better.”
The filming itself often is a secondary challenge.
“Sometimes it’s hard organizing a bunch of kids, because everybody has their own sports, their other clubs and things to do,” he said. “It’s hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time, but when we do all come together, we have a lot of fun.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun.”
For more on the Skyline Film Club and Film Festival, visit http://www.skylinefilmfest.com/