In fact, Maspeth native Carl Paolino recently screened his animated short film at Maspeth Federal Savings during an outdoor movie event.
The 13-minute long film, entitled 'The Halloween Pranksta,' follows a boy who looks to pull a mean prank and cause terror on unsuspecting neighbors.
After sneaking into their home, he finds himself in a terrifying situation with some spooky creatures who ultimately teach him a lesson or two. Poalino wrote, produced and directed the film.
“I love animation in general, I’ve been doing professional stop motion animation for over 30 years, and it just seemed like it would be a great subject matter for a TV and Halloween special,” he said.
In order to create stop motion animation, a puppet needs to be fabricated. Then, using wire, you move the puppet just a bit before taking the a frame of film.
The process is then repeated until the animation allows the puppet to do everything it needs to carry a scene, such as walking around and talking.
Paolino explained that it usually takes more time making the puppets and building the miniature sets than actually shooting a scene. However, the process of filming is still strenuous. To film a 30-second scene, it can take the production crew about a week to complete the process.
In total, the project took about four years to complete the short film. Paolino enlisted in the help of friends who he had worked with on previous projects over the years, such as co-workers from MTV’s hit show 'Celebrity Death Match.'
“We shot whenever the professionals were available, so every couple of months we were able to shoot a little bit,” he said. “The people who worked on the film did it as an act of love, it wasn’t about being paid.”
All of the scenes were shot in Maspeth while the voice recordings were done in Los Angeles. The short features voiceovers from some famous actors, including Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in the first trilogy of 'Star Wars.' Hamill and Paolino have worked together in the past and bringing Hamill onto the project was a natural process.
“He’s a great voice actor,” Paolino said. “He did the snake and the tarantula voices in the film.”
A believer in creativity, Paolino has also published two young adult books, 'Penny Dreadful and the Poisonberry Fortune' and 'The Secret of the Cybersapiens,' with a third novel on the way.
“The series are both about youth empowerment,” Paolino said. “It’s more than just a fun adventure, it’s about being the best you could be even if it means not listening to what adults have to say.”
As far as ‘The Halloween Pranksta’ goes, the screening at Maspeth Federal Savings was just one of a few screenings done citywide for the film.
Other screenings were held at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where Paolino is a professor.
He hopes to show the film as part of a Halloween fest in Albany later this year, but he is also looking for more venues in the local area that will want to screen the family-friendly Halloween flick.