Tim Crockett of www.newcastlestudios.com and www.scooterandpooter.com and www.levelsnightclub.com runs fraudulent operations and owes people money. nThis is a first hand account of Tim Crockett’s seedy business practices written by an actual legitimate and experienced film director Josh Becker, nThe Making of Intent n1-19-09 (Revised 7-13-11) Back in early October of 08 I was sitting in my office when I got an email from an old buddy, Dan, who is a cinematographer (he photographed the reshoots of my first feature, Thou Shalt Not KillExcept, which are the best-looking scenes in the movie). He forwarded me an ad from Craigs List that read: Needed: Michigan-based experienced feature film director for a feature film called Intent. Dans attached comment was, It sure sounds like you. (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))I immediately fired off my resume. Within 30 minutes I was called back by a fellow named Tim, who as best as I understood at the time, was the screenwriter. It turned out that Tim was also the producer, among his many other jobs, as well the owner of a chain of sporting good stores, and a company that put on premieres and wrap parties for movies. So we spoke for about a half-hour and I gave him the big pitch, saying s**t like, I like directing more than sex, and by the end of the phone call I knew I had the job. I was truly elated. I hadnt had a directing gig in over two years. nI met with Tim, who was thirty-seven, six-three, unshaven, with a moronic-sounding southern twang, and looked like some sort of Gomer Pyle-like goober; and his partner, Vi, a broad-shouldered, Vietnamese-American gal of maybe thirty who was a pushy, obnoxious marathon runner. The day I met her she had just run the Detroit-Windsor marathon, which she said was her 28th marathon. I was to find out later that she was also one of the financiers of the picture, as well as the signer of checks and contracts. Anyway, they made me an offer that was insultingly low ten grand less than my last movie, which, at the time, I felt was insultingly low and I of course took it. The shoot was to begin in two weeks, which seemed awfully soon. It was to star Eric Roberts, Andrew McCarthy, and many working actors who were presently appearing on Law & Order and CSI. I then asked, So who are the 1st AD, production manager, production coordinator, and casting director? Tim looked blank and asked, What do those people do? I said, They run the production. Tim shook his head in disgust, Look, I dont need a bunch of people standing around doin nothin. Id just fire em. nI said, If you actually intend to start shooting in two weeks, I assure you that a 1st AD, a production manager, and a casting director would not just be standing around doing nothing. Tim said, Me and Vill do all of those things. nBig red rockets and loud warning bells should have gone off in my head right there forecasting what was to come. Nevertheless, I continued along hoping for the best. Hell, I was directing another movie, right? nRegarding his screenplay, Tim immediately confided in me, Its an eight out of ten. Apparently, he had won some sort of award for it. His slug-line was, Silence of the Lambs meets CSI, and that was pretty accurate, excluding a Hannibal Lector-like character. A kidnapping and lot of procedural stuff with cops. Exactly the kind of thing I dont give a d**n about. I was so happy to be hired to direct another movie, and it being Friday, I decided to go out with my friends to the bar, something I almost never do. I drank four big glasses (pints) of Bass Ale, and I had two shots of rum for good measure. Id also had a couple of beers before I got there. Anyway, I honestly had the best time Ive had in over two years. My on-again, off-again girlfriend, Lisa, sat beside me and we laughed and sang and held hands under the table, and she squeezed my leg and I squeezed her a*s a few times, and things were looking good. nCompletely smashed, Lisa and I both drove back to her house in separate cars. I was so drunk that at a couple of points during the drive I had to close one eye to avoid double- and triple-vision. We got back to her house and started to kiss and fool around outside on a chaise lounge next to the pool. She didnt realize it then, but her cell phone fell out of her pocket, landing under the lounge. We finally headed inside and went to bed. After a little bit more kissing, Lisa hastily got out of bed, staggered into the bathroom and barfed. When she got back into bed she smelled like barf, but what the hell, I started to kiss her again. She then staggered back into the bathroom and barfed again. Thats when I made exactly the wrong decision. I got dressed and drove home. Id nearly made it all the way home and I was driving fine. As I pulled into the turn heading to my street, I was going just a bit too fast and put my front wheels up on the curb. I quickly put it in reverse, got off the curb, and immediately the red and blue lights of police flashers went on behind me. Busted. I then proceeded to fail the sobriety test and was promptly arrested. I have since watched the police in-car video of my arrest, and I must say that I did keep my dignity. I called the acne-covered, 21-year-old cop, sir twenty times, and was as cooperative as humanly possible. I just couldnt stand on one foot, thats all. The verbal part I nailed. Anyway, he put the handcuffs on me very tight I had marks on my wrists for days then he put me in the back of the police car while he and another cop searched my car. They found my can of American Spirit tobacco and asked, Whats this? I said, Tobacco. What do you do with it? Roll cigarettes. What are those things in the ashtray? Cigarette butts, from the cigarettes I rolled from the tobacco. The officer thought about it for a minute, then finally seemed to accept my explanation. I was taken to the police station and booked. Mug shots, fingerprints. They wanted $100 in cash as bail, which I didnt have on me, and of course they wouldnt take credit or debit cards. I was allowed a phone call and I called Lisa, but alas, her phone was outside under the chaise lounge. She was so drunk she probably wouldnt have answered it anyway. I then called my buddy John, but he didnt answer, either. nSo I spent the night in jail. It was a five foot by eight foot cinderblock cell, with a combo stainless steel sink and toilet. There was a one-inch thick plastic mat on a stainless steel shelf that might be construed to be a bed, although comfort was certainly not a priority in its design. Through the window of my cell I could see a mirrored wall that was obviously two-way glass, and I could just barely see through it to an area where cops were lounging around sitting at a table. In the reflection of the mirror I could see a black girl in her late twenties, maybe early thirties, curled up in the cell next to me. At some point during the night we both looked at the mirror at the same time and acknowledged each others existence with a weak little wave of defeat. Yep, they got me, too.nWhen the shifts changed at 7:00 AM I was given another phone call and I called my former girlfriend, Carol. I woke her up and her immediate response was a very sleepy, Can we talk about this later? I said, No, we have to talk about it now. So, thankfully, Carol came and bailed me out. Then we had to go get my car out of the impound lot, for another $150. nMeanwhile, after two weeks of my constant harping, Tim finally hired an actual 1st AD out of L.A. named Mimi, a little Chinese-American gal originally from Chicago, who, thank god, knew what she was doing. She flew into Michigan and began creating the schedule. Except that without a casting director, none of the actors who Tim and Vi wanted, all working actors on various CSI and Law & Order shows, as well as Andrew McCarthy, had actually been booked, and Tim just kept saying, Oh, well get em when we need em. And, since they kept pushing the shoot back, it was now planned for the Thanksgiving week and running right up to Christmas. In reality, Tim ended up getting one out of ten of the actors he wanted, Eric Roberts, and the other nine were cast at the very last second here in Michigan. What that meant was that the actors were arriving on set to shoot a scene theyd just read for the first time either late the night before or first thing that morning. In either case, it didnt allow them to be as prepared as they might have been had they been cast earlier. For the local casting of one day parts and extras Tim had the brilliant idea of putting out an open casting call for anyone who wanted to show up, then had it announced on all three local news shows. He also decided to hold the casting session in a video arcade, which was incredibly loud with all the boi-oi-oings, whoops and buzzing noises that emanate from video games. Over 700 people showed up, most to be extras (we needed about 20 for one night), and the rest were there to try out for the small speaking roles, which included two kids parts. nTim in his unending wisdom had failed to print out the sides, meaning the script pages from which the actors would be reading. He also had brought no lights, and only his little home video camera that hed failed to charge. On top of that, the casting session was held in a room without doors that simultaneously had a party going on with 30 drunk women. I said to Tim, Why didnt you hold the casting session in the middle of the freeway, it wouldve been quieter. Immediately, the casting session became a total (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) I knew that my buddy Carol was coming to audition, so I went out into the crowd, found her and dragged into the casting room. I said, Carol, youre now the casting assistant. Auditioning kids between the ages of seven and twelve who have never had a chance to see their lines, and many of whom were not old enough to read yet, was pure insanity. In the course of the next five or six hours we auditioned several hundred people, and actually found who we needed. Were it not for Carol we would have been completely screwed. nAnd throughout this whole ridiculous ordeal, Vi, Tim and his pal Rodney all talked loudly to one another and yakked on their cell phones showing a serious lack of respect for the actors. This was truly the casting session from hell.n As Carol and I finally left, utterly exhausted, Carol, who has worked quite a bit as a special education teacher, shook her head and muttered, Tim has some sort of learning disability. Meanwhile, here in Michigan we had an absolutely glorious summer and fall, and as we scouted locations in mid-October, it was clear and sunny and 65 degrees with deep blue skies. Then Tim began pushing the start date back, and back, and back, and when we finally did start shooting, on Nov. 17, it was cold, 25 degrees, windy, with swirling snow that kept changing to freezing rain and sleet.However, in the five weeks between when I was hired and when we actually began shooting, nobody had gotten paid anything, nor had any payroll paperwork been done. I finally pitched such a fit the week before we started that they paid me for two weeks of my prep time with a credit card and I put it through my rental company (since they were also renting my walkie talkies and directors chairs). But they didnt pay anyone else, nor had they made any reimbursements to anyone for gas or expenses.Since the crew didnt know that I too was just a hired hand, they all kept coming to me asking why they werent being paid. And, as I said, the week before shooting I had gotten some money, putting me in an ethically odd position. I had no reassuring answers for anyone. Anyway, so the weather was getting worse and worse and they kept pushing back the start date and nobody was getting paid and everybody was getting into a (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) mood. In all of my years in filmmaking Id never seen anything like it, and I hope I never will again. We finally started on a Thursday, shooting exteriors in a snowstorm. We all arrived in the morning at a school parking lot to find that there were no tents or heaters and the caterer was set up out in the open, with big snowflakes coming down. We ate our breakfast sitting shivering at tables in a literal blizzard. Surprisingly, it the shooting all went fine that first day, considering most of the crew had never worked on a movie before, and there were no porta-johns, so we all had to keep asking permission to use the one bathroom at the location house all day long. Throughout the day everyone was told numerous times by Tim and Vi that theyd all be getting their deal memos, W-2s and checks the next day, which was Friday. nOn Friday we shot mostly exteriors all day in a swirling bitter snowstorm, but now with Eric Roberts. The Director of Photography, Dan, had asked for a Condor, which is a truck with stadium lights on it that can light up a big area, or in lieu of that, a scissor-lift to put one big light up high. Sadly, Dan got neither and so he kept telling the lighting crew all day, Okay, guys, were punting. At lunch that day Eric Roberts grabbed my arm and stated, Have lunch with me in my trailer. It clearly wasnt a request, it was a demand. I went with him to his motor-home and few moments later Tim arrived. As we all ate, Eric went into an impassioned rant about his sister, Julia. Shes the most horrid person Ive ever met. I hate her. The whole family doesnt like her . . . I threw a glance over to Tim, who glanced back. Was this guy nuts? Whod asked him about his sister? And the rant just kept going throughout lunch.nIt ended up taking 16 hours to complete Day #2, and by the very end everyone was seriously, painfully frozen. And then, not only were there no paychecks or payroll paperwork, there wasnt even an explanation or an excuse. Crew members kept coming up to me and asking, So were not getting paid today? and I kept saying, It doesnt look like it, does it? I saw Vi standing there gabbing with someone, just as shed been doing all day long, wearing one of my walkie talkies and headsets that she had absolutely no use for, and I suddenly saw red. This was the moment I committed employment suicide and pretty much just requested to be fired. However, I dont recall making a choice. My needle had flipped over into the red zone and that was that. I walked up to Vi, in front of a lot of people, including Eric Roberts, and said, Why arent you in the production trailer signing contracts and checks? Its not going to happen tonight, she said flatly. Next week. She then turned away to finish her conversation. She was giving me the brush-off? After me and the whole cast and crew had just busted our asses for 16 hours in the freezing cold.I said, Let me rephrase what I meant. Get your(((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))into the trailer and sign my contract and check! Now! Move it,(((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) move it! Her eyes went wide and she gasped, You cant talk to me that way. I replied, Oh, really? How about this? (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))Youve stood around all day with your thumb up your a*s doing nothing while the rest of us killed ourselves, so how about actually doing some work. Sign some (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) checks and contracts! Vi turned and walked away. To make sure I was entirely understood, I then went to the production trailer where I found Tim. I said, There are two kinds of people in the world: one hires people to work and pays them; the other is a scumbag. I want my (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) Tim opened his laptop and dicked around for about ten minutes. I finally asked, What are you doing? Im going to print out the contract, but I cant find it. I already printed two copies, signed them and gave them back to you. I dont know where they are. I opened the door out to the chilly, snowy night. I said, You, sir, are (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) Tim said rather hotly, You dont know who youre dealing with. Dont I? Work your worst, a*hole! And I left. I went to Eric Roberts trailer and I explained to him what was going on with payroll and why the crew was so angry. He said, Do you want me to do something about it? I said, No, I think Ive got it handled. I just wanted you to know. Just then Tim knocked and walked in. Eric said to me, No, I dont think Ill play it bigger. I think it should be understated. I said, Okay, play it however youd like, and I left. I then laid awake in bed all of a very long night trying to figure out what I should do next. If nobodys time cards or W-2s had been filled out, then there was clearly no intention of paying anyone. Why would I believe for a second that they were really going to pay next week, when they missed payday last week, and now this week, too, and there was still no discussion of doing everybodys paperwork? These s**t-heads had come in from out of town and were getting us to finance their movie for them. In my opinion this was a totally unacceptable situation.nAt 6:30 in the morning I called Tim and told him I wasnt coming in until he had done everybodys deal memos, time cards and W-2 forms, all of which should have been done before we started shooting. If they got right on it they might possibly be done by lunch and still able to save half the day. A few hours later Eric Roberts called and really laid into me. He said, You (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) , labor relations are not part of your job! Whether the crew gets paid or not has nothing to do with you! Now you get your (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) in here and direct my scenes because Im on airplane back to L.A. tomorrow for Thanksgiving and youre not going to hold me up! Got it? Id just heard from Mimi that the paperwork was all being done, so I said, Sure, Ill be right in. Because Tim had reneged on the deals he made, the Steadicam operator and four of the five transportation guys quit on the spot. He intended to pay these 40- and 50-year-old guys below minimum wage, which I think is illegal. I was at the location a little before 1:00 PM. I set up the scene that was being shot in a kitchen. Eric Roberts cop character enters to find the wife of the kidnap victim sitting at the table and he proceeds to interrogate her. The movement of the scene is between the table and the refrigerator, so I had the camera on a dolly so we could move back and forth between the two places. I planned to play the first half of the scene at the table and the second half at the fridge, but I said to everybody, Mark my words, thats not how the scene will be shot. Erics going to change it. nEric Roberts finally showed up on location at 4:00, at which time he had me brought to his trailer, then immediately let me have it yet again, reiterating that this payment issue was not my responsibility, and that I should just do my f**king job. I nodded, smiled and agreed. He was still my lead actor and since we were about to shoot a scene I really did need him to calm down a little bit and focus on the work ahead.nEric got to the set and didnt even bother to hear me out as to what I had in mind, saying Thats how theyd shoot it on TV. This is a movie.Entirely expecting this, I calmly asked, What have you got in mind? Eric then managed to figure out how to get up and go to the fridge, then sit back down at the table five times! By the fourth time I told the dolly grips to not follow his action anymore, just stay back because the constant movement was making me seasick. Eric also worked out a bit right at the beginning so that another detective stepped up and took his coat and scarf, as though his character was some sort of executive detective or something. He then handed off pieces of evidence to a mysterious hand of an unseen detective, the same one who took his coat, that miraculously appeared in frame at exactly the right moments to remove the evidence for fingerprinting. It was silly, frantic, and basically idiotic blocking, but not all that hard to shoot since I knew it was coming and Id set the camera up in the right place on the correct piece of equipment.Eric kept challenging me after each take with, Notes? Questions, comments? What do you want different, boss? Clearly trying to put me on the spot.I finally felt compelled to say to him that in my opinion I get three takes without having to explain myself. Many times we go again because of technical issues, bumps in the camera move or boom shadows, that have nothing to do with him. I said, Youre a terrific actor, you can handle your own performance. If I have something to say about your performance, Ill say it. I wanted to add, Im not Stella Adler, you schmuck, and this isnt an acting class. Just do your(((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))) , but I didnt. Nevertheless, he kept asking the same questions after every take, clearly challenging me in front of everyone strictly for the purpose of humiliating me. In my humble opinion, Eric Roberts is a d**k, although I still think hes a pretty good actor. Tim meanwhile kept dropping into the chair next to me (my directors chairs, mind you) in front of the monitor making loud comments about the direction, like, You think we need to be that close? or Whys it movin here? and basically just annoying the piss out of me on every single shot. It got to a point where he wouldnt let me move on until he okayed it, and many times he didnt okay it and demanded more takes. Id never dealt with anything like that before, and hopefully never will again. Once again, it seemed like I was intentionally being humiliated. The word was that now everyones paperwork was done we would all be paid our first check on Tuesday at 4:00 PM, the day we were breaking before Thanksgiving. On Tuesday we were shooting in a familys house in Livonia (everything was shot in Livonia, by the way). Well, 4:00 PM came and went, then 5:00, then 6:00, then 7:00. We finally wrapped shooting and Dan said to the crew, Dont strike the equipment, just leave everything where it is, meaning, if we dont get our checks, they can carry all this crap out of here themselves. Dans a very calm, nice guy and this was a surprisingly bold move for him. So we all just sat there for another hour, with very little chatter, everyone basically staring at the floor. Finally, a production assistant came in and said that the checks were here and Tim and Vi wanted to see me and Mimi outside. As we buttoned our coats to go out into the freezing rain, Mimi said, Theyre not going to give me my check because theyre demanding I give them all of my files, but they havent paid for anything. Mimi and I stepped up to Tim and Vi, who had stationed themselves at the back of a grip truck with a pile of payroll checks stacked in front of them. The first words spoken were by Vi, who said to Mimi, If you dont give us your files we wont give you your check. Mimi looked at me, You see.I went nuts yet again. Id completely had enough of this (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))! Youve paid for nothing and you deserve nothing! Vi handed Mimi her check and said, Your services are no longer needed. Vi then handed me my check, and Tim said, You, too. And so we were both fired, as well as two production assistants. The makeup girl quit in solidarity. My final words to Tim were, Your script is not and eight out of ten, its possibly a four out of ten, and at that I was still being kind. Tim and Eric Roberts took over the direction for the next two weeks, then Eric left and Tim handled the last week by himself, with Dans help. They actually finished on time, too. Dan told me that they followed my shot list all the way through the rest of the shooting, which I find sort of interesting, using my plan without me. My check cleared, by the way. They still had my walkie talkies and directors chairs. The equipment was returned three days late. They lost three of the walkie talkies and three headsets, as well as breaking three other headsets. They ultimately found one of the missing walkies and headsets. The loss, damage, and overage charges came to over twice the amount of the rental itself, which of course they wouldnt pay. I tried putting it through on their credit card, but ultimately I just had to eat it. I guess I didnt know who I was dealing with. Oh, and I signed a waiver giving up my ownership of percentage points that were in the contract. I was happy to do it, too, because I didnt want any connection remaining between me and Tim and Vi. Strangely, I dont like them. I also dont believe their piece of s**t movie will ever come out or make ten cents. When I told Lisa that Id quit/ been fired, she concluded that I was truly a schlemiel and decided she wouldnt see me anymore. She absolutely agreed with Eric Roberts that the labor dispute had nothing to do with me, and that nobody designated me union leader. Its true, but I still felt that I had to do it. I saw an injustice occurring right in front of me and I simply just couldnt turn a blind eye to it. Perhaps I was wrong, but I dont think so. It took over seven months to finally get to the sentencing for the DUI charge, which occurred on May 7, 2009. I was sentenced to 10 days in the county jail, a $1,550 fine, and a year probation. The judge angrily waved newspaper headlines at me with photos of children who had been killed by drunk drivers, got herself worked up into a state of angry righteous indignation, harshly sentenced me, then calmly said, You seem like an interesting man, I wish wed met at a party. My jail time began the next day, Friday, May 8, 2009, at 8:00 AM. I was finally released at 4:00 AM on the next Friday. I came home and got smash-assed drunk for a week. I was on probation for the next year, and also had to pay a $1,585.00 fine.Luckily, thats all come and gone now. As of today, July 13, 2011, nearly three years since the shooting of Intent, theres absolutely no word on it. It has disappeared off the face of the earth. Obviously, the film should have been completed long ago. As my late overseas sales agent, Irvin Shapiro, used to say, Film does not age like wine. Film ages like fish. Meaning, if you dont get your movie out as soon as you can after shooting it, you can be absolutely certain that the longer it sits the value is not increasing.Ive run into several of the crew members over the intervening years and apparently everybody got burned on their last check.
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