BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A Bloomfield resident has had a short film of his accepted for admission to the 15th annual Garden State Film Festival, in Atlantic City.
The film is by Brian Parks who wrote, directed and acts in “Narrow and Wide,” a 10-minute short.
“I did it with a friend,” Parks said recently. “It is about two bumbling detectives. He’s ‘Wide’ and I’m ‘Narrow.’ It’s suppose to be in film noir style.”
The film has inner dialogue, Parks explained, so the audience gets to hear what each character thinks about his partner. It is none-too complimentary.
“We’re looking for a watch a guy lost,” Parks said. “But the guy finds the watch himself. That’s basically it. It was something I was thinking about for a web series.”
Parks, 37, has been a township resident for 10 years. He grew up in Palisades Park and attended Montclair State University where he majored in theater and minored in film.
“Narrow and Wide” is not his first foray into the filmmaking. His first was “The Lemonade Stand.” That was made seven years ago.
“I was a little too ambitious,” he said of that effort. “I was over my head. At heart, I’m a performer. I like to write. Technically, there was a lot more stuff involved. It’s as if you can’t be prepared enough.”
Again, “The Lemonade Stand” involves two partners working together at the same job.
These characters are out of work when someone shows them a newspaper story about a kid who made a lot of money selling lemonade. Needless to say, the characters are on their way.
“But we’re adults,” Parks said. “Who wants to buy lemonade from an adult?”
The characters share another trait. They are both wacky, he said.
Wackiness is what Parks likes. His father, who was a stand-in for the singer Eddie Fisher on an early TV show, got him and his brother Chris hooked on Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and similar comedians. He and his brother had a comedy routine called Cap and Derby, the names of their characters.
“My heart is in the old-time comedy,” Parks said. “I’m trying to bring it back, in a way. Stan Laurel is one of my biggest idols. You never saw his name on a credit for writing. You had to read about that.”
He especially appreciates a Laurel and Hardy short called “The Music Box” and thinks it is the best comedy short ever made.
“It won an Oscar for best short,” he said.
“The Music Box” won the first-ever Oscar for live-action short in 1932.
After “The Lemonade Stand,” Parks wrote, directed and acted in “Oh Baby.”
“Oh Baby” is about two adults babysitting,” Parks said. “This time we were babysitters. A friend going out with his wife asks us to babysit.”
On a stroll with the baby, the carriage gets away from the sitters and rolls down a hill in plain sight of the terrified parents.
“In short order, they catch up to us and fire us,” Parks said.
As if cursed, while walking dejectedly away the duo bump into another baby carriage and cause that one to roll down a hill, too The film was accepted by the Garden State Film Festival.
Parks has already won at the Garden State Film Festival. This was two years ago with a comedy short that he wrote, directed and appears as a cameo. But the script started as a comedy sketch for the stage and the comedy group Take Car Now, in which he performs.
“The idea involved too many characters,” he said. “We play all the parts. It involved too many characters and too many locations. I thought it would make a better film than a stage sketch. It’s about a guy who is hired to walk people from their car to their front door.”
He said “Door Walker” did so well that he made a sequel.
“People would see it and suggest wacky jobs,” he said. “A friend suggested ‘The Dog Namer.’ People hire this guy to name their dog. We shot it and are editing it now. A friend plays the character.”
Parks directs this film and only has a cameo role.
But for Parks, the filmmaking, in spite of the success, is not his goal.
“My main focus is writing and acting,” he said. “I’ve put together clips to make a reel for myself.”
He said if he had to pick filmmaking or acting, he would want to perform.
“A lot of comics write their own stuff,” he said. “One agent thought I was great and funny but she wasn’t doing any comedy. Actors are always trying to fit in.”
But not all of the movie characters Parks likes would be considered wacky. He also likes Steve McQueen, Harrison Ford and James Cagney.
“I do have interests besides comedy,” he said. “But as far as comedy goes, I just have a feeling that it is hard to find comedies that parents and their children can watch together. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.”
“Narrow and Wide” will be screened April 2, at 12:30 p.m., at Resorts Casino. A webseries which Parks has made, “The Adventures of Mr. Silent,” can be view at www.parksbros.net.