First Take

By Amy Desautell Lysik


Nick Pasyanos never thought he would one day be making a movie. He has spent 25 years as a wedding photographer, and 27 years working for a corrugated box company. But that’s what this native Rhode Islander is doing now. He began shooting his feature-length comedy, "Boxed Man," this July.

"I had an interest in getting into the [movie] industry," says Nick, 46, who lives in Middletown, "and I thought writing a screenplay would be a good way to do it."

According to Mr. Pasyanos, seeing the success of many other independent films encouraged him to give moviemaking a try. If they could succeed, why not him? What, after all, had he to lose? It took Nick about a year to write his screenplay, and when it was completed, he thought, why couldn’t he direct and produce it as well? Given his background in photography and his acquaintance with many people who were in a position to help him with such problems as finding suitable filming locations, Mr. Pasyanos decided he would very well produce his own movie. And so began the production of "Boxed Man."

"I had no idea what to expect when we began," he admits. "But I immediately felt that similarity, between photography and filming. Photography is basically composing and arranging groups to make a pleasing presentation, and that’s what shooting a movie is, [but with movement]. I did have some anxiety, but once I began, I really got into it. Its’ cool – I’m having a blast."

Last spring, Mr. Pasyanos began a lengthy auditioning process, casting over 50 people to participate in his first movie. There are, he says, about a dozen principle roles. Toward the end of these auditions, Nick met and cast Rich "Ace" Aceto in the lead role of the "boxed man"

Rich Aceto, 29, a native of North Providence, has been working as a stand-up comedian in the local area for the last eight years. In May, "Ace" acted in his first play at the Barker Playhouse on Benefit Street in Providence, and discovered his love of acting.

A young local woman named Terry Leander acted opposite him in the play, and has also been cast as his love interest in "Boxed Man." It was Terry who brought this film opportunity to Rich’s attention, after meeting him though the play at the Barker Playhouse.

"I found this whole other world [while making this movie]," Rich explains. "I’m having a blast. I love being in it, and hope I can continue being in it."

"I think he really brought a lot to the role." Says Mr. Pasyanos of Rich’s efforts. "He did a good job with the character."

"Boxed Man," is a comedy about the trials and tribulations of a young man named Rick who has recently graduated after about ten years in college, and is trying to make it in a new position at a sales representative for a corrugated box company. Rick has to deal with various stresses, including a "scum" boss and a love interest, as well as, Nick says mysteriously "a noble cause, a reason why he took this job."

About one third of the film, Mr. Pasyanos estimated, has been shot in office buildings in Lincoln and Cumberland, such as the Lincoln Industrial Park, and offices in Crystal, a company which is located in the Cumberland Office Park. Scenes have also been shot locally in Davenport’s Restaurant and in Eggs Up, both on Mendon Road in Cumberland, as well as in other local establishments.

"We’ve also shot in Newport in the Warwick Industrial Part, in Providence and all over Pawtucket," Nick recalls. We’ve been in Bristol and a little in Massachusetts. We’ve been all over. Most of it, though has been shot in Rhode Island."

According to Nick, his two biggest blessings during the filming of his first movie have been "this wonderful cast, and the help of friends and customers in getting us our shooting locations…People have been great. And there is such a pool of wonderful talent in Rhode Island."

Shooting of "Boxed Man" was done on weekends, as most of the cast members have full time weekday jobs. Most of the filming and directing was done by Nick himself, with the help of a camera operator who was available part-time.

The filming of the movie has been completed during the last couple of weekends, and Mr. Pasyanos has now set to the task of editing, which he anticipates finishing by February. After the editing, he will dub in the sound effects and music, and then transfer the final, finished copy of "Boxed Man," onto videocassette, and seek an agent to assist him in selling his movie. He is hoping to see his movie in theaters, and possible in film festivals, in the future.

"This has really been a great experience," says Rich. "It’s a first movie for me, and I didn’t come in with any preconceived notions. It’s been a huge learning experience for me…I love it. I don’t know what I’ll do on weekends when we’re through."

"We sell this one," Nick smiles, "and we’ll definitely make another one."