UW alumnus Paul Gorman started a film 22 years ago. Together with his
friend, George Turner, a cast made up entirely of Seattle volunteers, and $500,
Gorman filmed a murder mystery set in Seattle.
Gorman and Turner had collaborated on two film projects before; both were aired
on a Seattle station and garnered positive reviews from local critics. Feeling
enabled by this feedback, Gorman set out to write and produce another film. Citing
David Mamet's film House of Games as inspiration, Gorman took two
weeks to write the script.
"I actually wrote the script at work," said Gorman, who was employed as a designer
at the time. "So it's the only script I've ever been paid for."
Shooting wrapped in about 10 days, and the editing process began soon after.
But life, as it turned out, had a way of changing plans. After a long series of mishaps - including broken editing equipment, an erased master edit, decomposing tapes, and legal disputes - the project found itself relegated to the can. It wasn't until 2008, 20 years after the footage was
shot, that Broken Frame saw the light of day.
Inspired by a relative, who put together a trailer for a different film made years ago, Gorman retrieved the Broken Frame footage from his closet and set about finally finishing the edit.
But just completing the film wasn't enough for Gorman.
"I thought that Broken Frame was a short feature," he said. "Too short to be
commercially viable. I thought, 'Well, how could I expand it?' I thought it would be a neat idea to make a documentary about why Broken Frame took 22 years to finish, and then catch up with the actors who were involved with it," Gorman said.
The end result is the Broken Frame trilogy, a collection of three episodes known as "Reconstructing Broken Frame," "Broken Frame," and "Deconstructing Broken
"Reconstructing Broken Frame" provides an in-depth look at the interim
between the end of Broken Frame's production and its completion. "Broken
Frame" is the actual film that took 22 years to finish. And "Deconstructing Broken
Frame" documents the cast of Broken Frame's reaction to the just-completed project.
To film "Deconstructing Broken Frame," Gorman organized a showing of "Broken
Frame" at the Northwest Film Forum. He tracked down the film's cast members,
almost all of whom he hadn't seen since the end of filming, and invited them and
George Turner to the screening.
The premiere of Broken Frame was a celebration of not just the cast's and crew's
efforts, but also Gorman's 60th birthday.
"I wanted to do something adventurous, but not dangerous," Gorman said. "I wanted
it to be memorable. To me, it was the perfect thing to do."
Gorman is currently producing another project called Beagle Boogie Babe, a
documentary about skydiver Joan Carson who died in a tragic skydiving accident.
After that, Gorman says that he has some projects he would eventually like to pursue.
"I'm retired now," he said. "This is how I'm planning on spending my golden years."
Gorman, who is a graduate of the UW Extension program in advanced film, is
excited about finishing Broken Frame and moving forward as a filmmaker.
"On a personal level, filmmaking is my passion," Gorman said. "Socially, I'm a shy
person, so it's how I express myself."
Reach reporter Robert Frankel at firstname.lastname@example.org.