Unless you are under the age of ten, you know what follows those words. As a youngster, the Meatloaf tune was an anthem, as I grew older, it morphed into an overplayed ear worm. Thanks to local filmmaker, Joe Ronca, I can feel good again when I hear, By the Dashboard Light.
A little over a year ago Ambler resident, Joe Ronca, decided to take a break from Yes, Hello! (a sketch comedy group that you may have seen at The Ambler Theater in July of 2012) and focus on a feature film. This is something that he’s wanted to do for a long time and had a handful of half-written scripts and story concepts, but nothing concrete. He was driven to get to work right away and put an ad out on the ISA (International Screenwriter’s Association) looking for scripts. The ad brought in 80+ scripts; some were phenomenal, but were big budget epics that were just not feasible, and some not so good, as evidenced by only a couple pages.
Finally he found the script for “By the Dashboard Light” – a comedy. After being focused on comedy with YH! for the past 3 years, Ronca initially didn’t want to produce a comedy, but the script was so good, that he couldn’t turn it down. Keep in mind, the ISA is an international website and Ronca received scripts from the UK, India and numerous other countries. After falling for the script he learned that writer Sienna Golden Malik was from Media, PA. He took it as a sign and contacted her immediately.
In March of last year they held auditions at 1812 Productions in Philadelphia. They were casting the primary roles of the film and a handful of smaller parts. Close to 200 people showed up and provided some really good auditions (and a ton that weren’t so hot). Ronca also received countless video auditions from people who couldn’t attend. Interestingly, nearly all of the main character roles were filled with people who sent in a video read. The audition process was captured by filmmaker Trevor Senhouse. Shortly after, Ronca selected the primary cast. The lead role of Roger was to be played by the incredibly talented Keith Chandler. Some recent and very exciting news is that veteran character actor Jon Polito (The Big Lebowski) has also joined the cast!!!
They spent the next 3-4 months preparing a short trailer video that could be used as a fundraiser. Ronca and Malik selected their favorite scenes from the film and he wrote a screenplay for the trailer. After a loooooong SAG (Screen Actors Guild) battle over contracts, they finally got the go-ahead to shoot. The trailer was shot in 2 months and took another 2 months to edit. On Christmas day 2014, they launched the early version of the trailer. After some tweaking, the final version came to life (fellow Amblerians will likely recognize the house in the opening shot). The video is used on their Indiegogo fundraising page AND will also play at the Ambler Theater before movies in the upcoming months – followed by a special message from Ronca to the audience.
Fundraising began last week on 4/20. Their goal is to raise $30,000.00 for the film’s primary production, a goal that they’ve been told by fellow producers is very reachable and with our help, they can reach their goal. Aside from the warm fuzzies of contributing to the project, there are some pretty sweet perks for donations at certain levels, including admission to the premiere at the Ambler Theater, tickets to the VIP after party, and BEING IN THE MOVIE! Yes, that’s correct, you my friend, can be a star… Help support a local artist and who knows, Ambler could make the big time! Also, be sure to like the films facebook page to share the journey with them and be among the first to know about exciting new announcements.