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About the Production

What happens when you take 1 man’s script, 8 talented crewmembers, and 25 dedicated actors, mix them together for a year with almost no money and dream of creating a movie?

That was the question asked in November of 1999, when pre-production of SECRET MESSAGES commenced. The script, written by Benjamin Freedman, attracted the attention of local press and production staff alike, and though challenged with technology issues, time constraints, and a virtually non-existent budget, production began in February of 2000.

A grueling three weeks later, principal photography was completed, and editing began. For four months, the crew dutifully stared at monitors, listened to vocal narrations, edited sound effects, and collaborated to bring together what seemed like a monster of a project for so few people.

 Finally, in late July 2000, post-production was completed, and Roo Productions announced the Internet release of SECRET MESSAGES. Through laughter and tears, the team at Roo Productions had succeeded in bringing their first child into the world. The finished movie can now be found online at www.rooproductions.com


Roo People

SECRET MESSAGES was written, directed, and produced by Benjamin Freedman. Born in England, Ben moved to North America when he was nine, and after completing his formal education in Canada, he moved to California to work for a software company. From there, his ambitions took him to Mexico, where he worked for Club Med as a SCUBA instructor, while producing videos for the company on the side. This became a passion of his, and he started to write his first screenplay about a communications engineer who receives strange messages through his computer.

Several iterations later, Benjamin found himself with a script he wanted to produce, so he scraped together a tiny budget, and self-financed the production of SECRET MESSAGES himself, relying on new technologies and dedicated crewmembers to fill in for the lack of a high-powered studio and a multi-million dollar budget. 

Ben’s script attracted the attention of David Jon Devoucoux, Bill Davis, and Jay Allen, three veterans of the Arizona corporate production industry. To dedicate themselves to this project, they set aside the production fees they normally commanded, cleared off their schedules, and set to work producing the movie.

Greg Nigro and Faith Hibbs-Clark came on board to play the lead rolls in the movie after meeting with Ben and reading the script. “There are two things that you need to have to participate in a project like this,” Nigro says, “One, belief in the script and a love of the story, and two, belief in the producer, that he can actually get the job done. Producing an independent film of this size is a huge undertaking. I wouldn’t have been involved if I wasn’t confident that Ben was someone who could pull it off”.


Technical Notes

This movie represents a landmark for filmmaking in several different ways. 

All footage was shot on a new digital video camera that had been release by JVC Professional only days before the shoot was to begin. No other films had been shot with this revolutionary new camera.

Matrox, a company that specializes in digital video editing, provided the editing system used to assemble the movie. Special arrangements had to be made with Roo Productions, as the system was not available to the general marketplace at the time Ben needed it. Matrox was happy to help, and this became the first movie to be edited on their RT2000 system.

The entire original score for the movie was composed and performed digitally by Benjamin Freedman, who is also an accomplished musician. The theme song to SECRET MESSAGES was recorded at HeadPop Studios in Arizona, and was edited and mastered entirely using the digital process. The soundtrack will be available in September, 2000.


Distribution

In keeping with the all-digital nature of this production, the movie is being distributed digitally through the fully e-commerce enabled web site at www.rooproductions.com. At this multimedia Internet site, people can download trailers, listen to the soundtrack, and even digitally order the movie delivered to them at home on VHS tape.

Amazon.com will also be offering the movie as part of its huge online catalog of video titles.

Digital distribution on the Internet is still in its infancy, so, in addition, Roo Productions hopes to distribute the movie by more traditional means.

We encourage you to visit the web site, www.rooproductions.com, and let us know what you think. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at info@rooproductions.com, or call us at 480-664-4126

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