SOMERS, N.Y. – A movie script written and developed in Somers by resident Charles Comparetto may also be shot right here using local actors, buildings and backdrops.
A Wall Street financier for almost three decades, Comparetto has long desired to branch out into the film industry. The 20-year Somers resident came up with his idea about 12 years ago while watching three of his daughters play in the backyard.
The game the girls were playing was called “Ghost in the Graveyard,” the object of which is to find a “ghost” who is hiding somewhere in the outdoor area. One player assumes the ghost role while others look for its hiding spot. Once found, the player who finds the ghost shouts “Ghost in the Graveyard,” alerting the other players that they must return to base before the ghost can tag them. If tagged, that player then becomes the ghost.
Comparetto’s script also involves three girls playing the game, with one tragically dying in an accident. Without revealing too much, the film’s plot revolves around the dead girl returning to visit her friends when they are older.
“I call it a supernatural thriller. Some people would call it a horror film,” Comparetto said. “It’s not blood and guts. It’s a ghost story, is what it really is.”
Comparetto began writing the script, which took him down a decade-long path of copyrights and copywriting. Comparetto entered the script in various competitions, including the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in Hollywood, where it was a finalist. Despite his unrefined writing style, he said, producers recognized the potential of the idea and offered to purchase his script.
Not hurting for funds because of his successful career on Wall Street, Comparetto decided instead to hold on to his baby and copyright the idea. He then began taking copywriting classes to learn proper story structure and to refine his script.
“It was actually really poorly written because I didn’t know what I was doing, but there was a lot of good ideas there,” Comparetto said.
He took classes taught by Robert McKee, a respected creative writing instructor. He also took night classes at New York University’s film school.
“I just educated myself to the process over a long period of time,” Comparetto said.
All this time, “Ghost in the Graveyard” continued to collect dust, Comparetto said. About a year ago, he decided it was finally time to pursue making the film. His first step was to form a film company, Cellar Door LLC. He then sought out investors with hopes of raising about $600,000.
Though he has not reached his goal, Comparetto plans to use the funds he has to film the first third of the movie, which he will then use to show potential investors. He has not ruled out asking for the rest of the funds on Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding website where users contribute to projects they support.
He has already contracted cinematographers and actors, meaning there is no turning back now. He said filming will begin in several weeks.
“Once you start setting everything up, everything becomes real,” Comparetto said.
His goal is to shoot the entire film in Somers, using residents as cast and crew. He already reached out to the Somers school district in hopes of shooting at the middle school and plans on reaching out to the town for permission to film in the woods and possibly shut down a road overnight. He is also looking for a local house to use in the film.
“I’m a Somers guy,” he said. “I would love to film in Somers. It has got a lot of what I need to film. Basically, 80 percent of the film is in the woods or in a home.”
Comparetto started casting the film about two weeks ago. After wading through almost 2,000 applicants, he said, he is down to about 50 boys and girls to play the main roles. He estimates “Ghost in the Graveyard” will take about five weeks to film.
One important decision Comparetto has yet to make is who is going to direct the film.
“I want to direct it and it’s kind of my dream to direct, but directing is hard as hell, and also maybe I’m not good at it,” Comparetto said. “So I don’t want to sabotage the film. But at the same time, I think I’m probably the best guy to direct it. I see every frame in my head.”
Anyone interested in helping with the film or being an extra can contact Comparetto at firstname.lastname@example.org.