|My Name Is Jerry|
Official poster for the film
|Directed by||Morgan Mead|
|Produced by||Rodger Smith|
|Written by||David Hamilton|
|Music by||Rick DiGiallonardo, Ryan M. Brewer, and John C. Fishell|
My Name Is Jerry is an American independent drama film released on DVD on October 19, 2010. by Clothespin Films LLC, in association with the Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. It stars Doug Jones (an alumnus of the university) as Jerry Arthur: a forty-something door-to-door salesman going through a mid-life crisis. Jerry has to deal with the stresses of work, his estranged daughter returning home, and a sudden interest in punk music - sparked by a chance meeting with a group of teenagers. The film is directed by Morgan Mead, with the screenplay written by David Hamilton, both Ball State alums. Filming began in July 2008, and wrapped in August 2008. The film first screened for Muncie audiences on May 7, 2009 to a sold-out screening room attended by over 800 people. It has since made its way through the film festival ranks and continues to earn awards and praise, most notably for the performances of leads Doug Jones and Katlyn Carlson. The film is most notable for featuring Steven Yeun before he achieved widespread fame for his role in AMC's The Walking Dead.
Door-to-door salesman, Jerry Arthur's life is filled with slamming doors and low expectations. The world has lost its attraction. He is a middle-aged divorcé who lives on his own. He has an unsure and unwanted future, a daughter he has had no contact with for ten years, a dead-end job and low self-esteem. In other words, Jerry is close to hitting rock bottom. Jerry's life changes when his ex-wife dies and their daughter moves in with him. Around the same time, he stumbles on a group of young people with their futures before them. Their energy and music reminds him that you can influence your life for the better regardless of the past...if you choose to do so. Through new and old friends alike, Jerry discovers you can move forward even when you can't see exactly where you are going. As Jerry puts it, "What happened to going with your gut? My gut's been telling me to turn things around."
Originally conceived in 2006 by Mead and writing partner Andy Janoch as a starring vehicle for Doug Jones, Mead took the original project to Ball State University professor Rodger Smith, who along with his Institute for Digital Education and Entertainment (IDEE) program, was interested in involving the university with a film project. Mead, Janoch and Smith went through several scripts drafts before Mead contacted David Hamilton, a college-friend who was working in Los Angeles for the series ER. Hamilton did a script re-write and along with fellow 'ER' alum Zach Baliva, came on board to produce the film.
Though Ball State University had the equipment to produce a motion picture, they did not have the necessary personnel, so professionals from Los Angeles, Chicago, and Austin were hired to take the roles of department heads, to further the student's experience on the project, and to give the film a more polished-look. Nathan Wilson was hired as the Director of Photography, after having worked on several high-profile films. Michael Bricker was brought on board as Production Designer, based on his work on smaller films produced in Austin, TX and with the University of Texas at Austin. Blair Scheller was hired out of Chicago for his experience in the sound departments on big-budget motion pictures. All of this led to a more rounded experience for the Ball State University students who would fill out the support crews and production positions.
Originally slated for a January start, the script was re-written to be a set in the summer time, with a New Year's Eve celebration being changed to a party taking place on the Fourth of July. Production finally began in July 2008, in Muncie, Indiana, after Jones had completed his promotional duties for Hellboy II. Principal photography lasted for 20 days. During the shooting of several scenes, the temperatures would reach triple-digits, but the young crew and the experienced cast kept working and shooting wrapped only one day behind what had originally been scheduled, with only a single pick-up shot filmed some time later (to replace a shot that was unusable due to a digital glitch in the original footage).
With star Doug Jones already in place, casting sessions began in Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Muncie, Indiana. The Los Angeles casting sessions brought Allison Scagliotti, Don Stark and Catherine Hicks into the mix. From Chicago, Josh Breit, Steven Yeun, Levi Holloway and Jonathan Keaton. All the other roles in the film were performed by local stage actors from the Muncie area (where the film was shot) and students from the University. The trickiest part to cast turned out to be that of Jordan, the young woman who steals Jerry's heart and motivates his journey. While the producers were unable to decide whom to cast for a long period of time, Mead found his Jordan in an audition for Trisha, Jerry's daughter, from Chicago-based Katlyn Carlson." Mead has been impressed with the actress' abilities and physical presence, and insisted that she was Jordan. The producers agreed and Carlson won a role for which she did not audition, but was nonetheless excited to receive.