Private Project

Auto Shop

  • Alex Gross
    Director
  • Alex Gross
    Writer
  • Joe Zakrzewski
    Writer
  • Ed Caiazzo
    Writer
  • Alex Gross
    Producer
    NBC, Rocky VII Teaser
  • Joe Zakrzewski
    Producer
    Rocky VII Teaser
  • Ed Caiazzo
    Producer
    TentSquare, Rocky VII Teaser
  • Joe Zakrzewski
    Key Cast
  • Chris Brooke
    Key Cast
  • Elizabeth Majewski
    Key Cast
  • Chris Cotton
    Key Cast
    The Artie Lange Show
  • Film Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    41 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 13, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography

ALEX GROSS is a writer/director as well as producer & CEO at multimedia company, SAILOR TWIFT STUDIOS (www.SailorTwift.com). Recently wrapping production on the short indie film, AUTO SHOP (starring Joe Zakrzewski & Chris Brooke), Sailor Twift Studios is currently in pre-production of several exciting upcoming projects including the ongoing localized Philadelphia podcast/radio show: ROX TRASH RADIO. Gross has been embedded in the Philadelphia Comedy Scene for several years, producing many shorts and sets for various local comedy acts. His previous work has been primarily as a multimedia agent of CENTER CITY COMEDY in Philadelphia (now based in New York City). In addition to being a director, cinematographer and editor for Center City Comedy, Alex Gross filmed and edited a preliminary submission to COMEDY CENTRAL for Comedian Kurt Metzger's Stand Up Special: WHITE PRECIOUS. Gross' other work includes television studio production for COMCAST LOCAL ACCESS TV, Production Assistant/News Desk duties for NBC 10 in Philadelphia, and Copy Writing/Editing for HBO'S REAL TIME with BILL MAHER. In addition to digital media production with SAILOR TWIFT STUDIOS, Gross extends his services for freelance work to various local organizations.

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

Throughout my career as an independent filmmaker, I’ve maintained two philosophies: write and produce what you know, and only what you feel you can manage completely autonomously. I’ve seen many filmmakers–to varying success–bite off far more than they can chew; producing high concept action/horror films for relatively no budget, relying on the “Robert Rodriguez” method of budget film-making, never realizing that you do not need a huge budget when you’ve got Antonio Banderas & Salma Hayek on your side. Always work small-to-large, plan for the worst and expect the best. No film shoot goes without unexpected setbacks, so why give yourself more of a headache by setting unrealistic goals? You’re never going to make Gandhi for a budget of $100…but you can definitely make Kids for zero dollars.
Auto Shop was born out of a brainstorm. We had characters in mind but where should we drop them? The characters were simple archetypes: Abbott and Costello…Laurel and Hardy…a schlubby, but confident dimwit and a lean, clean cut, but not-at-all-confident straight man. At the heart of the story, we wanted to show a role reversal, of sorts, and turn the unlikable jerk into a sympathetic jerk, while turning the quiet fish-out-of-water into the bully. As the characters began to take shape, and the actors (Joe Zakrzewski & Chris Brooke) began to bring their own personalities in, we knew things were going well.
We decided on the setting of a full service auto repair shop because we’ve all had experiences and memories of the filthy and rustic aesthetic of the environment. We all have relatives who own auto shops; which would also make for a convenient array of options when scouting locations.
The story of Auto Shop is really just a series of crises of varying degrees, all culminating in acceptance of fate; an amoral tale of shirking responsibility until it becomes undeniable and unavoidable.
The film’s look and score was meant to give off a melancholy and bleak impression, sort of like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy never left the farm (wait…did she ever leave the farm? Nevermind. You get it). This was the purpose of the black and white. The environment of the auto shop also lends itself surprisingly well to that look, due to the fact that nearly everything in a garage is in grey-scale.
Growing up in Roxborough, PA (Northwest Philly) opened my eyes to an almost infinite array of film location possibilities. The original intent was to shoot at Nick’s Auto Service on Umbria Street, but timing didn’t work out in our favor. Ultimately, we went with Scally’s Auto Repair in Primos, PA who helped us out tremendously. Regardless, I have made it a personal mission of mine to shoot wherever and whenever possible within the Roxborough/Manayunk area in the future.
As a film-maker, I definitely enjoy shooting and editing things that I would like to see. And since I’m not directly the next Star Wars, my indie-movie sensibilities take me down roads like Auto Shop, where my favorite scene is a pivotal moment where one of the key female characters finally gets to speak–striking a down-the-line emotional blow to our main character.
Auto Shop was an undertaking that we all over-prepared for in every way but the ways that wound up setting us back. But the ordeal was a fun challenge, a great experience, and ultimately–a proud accomplishment. And we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it!