Filmmaking of the Future: Brennan Crow
By John Grismer '21
Two men are taken to the brink of insanity from the desire to quench their thirst on a scorching summer day. In the blistering sun, there is only one liberator from the heat: The Last Freezie. How far will they go to obtain this final freezie? How much of their humanity will they put on the line to achieve some relief from the pain of the feverish day? Find out for yourself in the film “The Last Freezie”, the first production of Clover Alley, which is headed by Brennan Crow and Charlie Treacy.
Brennan Crow ‘22, founder of Clover Alley Productions, is going to reinvigorate the filmmaking industry for the better. Crow is a young filmer and director who doesn’t shy away from any challenge when it comes to the production of his upcoming movies. Some of the challenges he has had to overcome are time constraints, need for money, and little to no initial following. Being a highschool student, Crow is booked all year with school and homework, tennis, and alpine skiing. Making films is not a cost-free endeavor; however, with the purchase of a new drone and other equipment useful for film creation, the obstacle is less of an issue now. Finally, Crow needs to get a following in order for his influence to grow naturally. There is no artificial way to grow a business forever, so he needs to plant the seeds of his garden of movies.
The inspiration to create and conceive new ideas to put into motion is truly a gift, and Brennan Crow has no shortage of talent when it comes to finding a story. Whether the story is simply an argument between friends, or a much deeper conflict, Crow knows how to make it a riveting spectacle. His drive to become a filmmaker started as nothing more than a simple desire to put a video on YouTube to show his friends his abilities and creativity, as well as see what he himself could do. With no preconceived notions of how this would go, Crow’s only limit would be his imagination. However, that small seed was planted and his love for filmmaking only grew until he couldn’t contain it within one short film.
He details his long term plan to first get people interested in his films through comedy and less serious themes, then approaches them with an idea that provokes thought during and after the film. Clearly, in “The Last Freezie,” Crow focused more on action and comedy to keep the viewers interested - from the endless fight scenes to the ironic ending. In light of this, he was able to implicitly slip in the moral of choosing friendship over pleasure. As his following and budget increase, he will be able to engage viewers in a more subtle and serious manner. He says his first two films will “focus on simple plots and understanding different aspects of filming such as fight scenes and dark lighting.” As he continues to gain a more consistent and dedicated following, he will begin the real work. The projected future films will consist of a “very complex plot with four layers” says Crow. We do not yet know the contents of these upcoming movies, only the layered structure with which they’ll be directed. Each layer would increase in depth and take a deeper look into the motives of the character. This complexity is often avoided in movies and films today because the people seeing movies just want a quick laugh with no substance. However, according to Crow, the people seeing these movies only enjoy their shallow nature because they just don’t know what they are missing in more profound films.
This idea of a profound and deeper film comes from the famous director Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception, Dark Knight Trilogy). Crow’s idea of a good film comes from its depth and meaning rather than an immature joke for a quick laugh. An example of this is in a Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar. The consequences of actions taken in certain places throughout the universe drastically change the outcome for others, like when two main characters are on a planet near a black hole. The intense gravity of the black hole warps time so that each hour they spend on the planet will be almost 30 years on Earth. This ends up causing another character to nearly grow elderly by the time his companions get back from a one hour journey. Crow aims to make movies like Inception which beg the viewer to think and deeply understand what is happening. In Inception there are several layers (levels of the dream) in the movie. Everything happening in one level of the dream affects the other levels in different ways. Similar to this idea, Crow’s layered movies will show the conflicting parts of the characters and plot and how they work together and against each other to alter and create the story.
Brennan has specific tactics which make his films have this profound effect. He says, “the best movie in my opinion is one that connects you to the characters.” For instance, the famous Hunger Games trilogy shows Katniss’ never ending suffering from the loss of her family and friends to the trauma of taking other human lives in the arena. Creating a relatable character is no small feat. Designing one with a real personality and tangible actions which connect the observer to the character is truly amazing. For instance, in Crow’s first film, “The Last Freezie,” we see the desperation and pain of the two men on the porch and can relate to the discomfort and longing for relief one feels on a hot summer day. Along with quality characters, the best way for the film to reach the audience is to put the audience in the film itself. Brennan’s way of doing this is by creating a movie that “evokes strong emotion using the ‘show not tell’ mentality.” According to Crow, this strategy is what separates his upcoming films from those shallow films which are currently popular.
Crow is eager to break the mold and carve his own way into the film world. This is easier said than done, but as mentioned earlier, Brennan is not afraid of a test of his determination. “This is the risk that I want to take on,” he says. He knows the rut which the film industry is currently in, yet he is resolved to show everyone what they have been missing through his deep and complex films. Combining the basic elements of proper lighting and action with the uncommon impactful and sophisticated plots of true stories, he is prepared to take on the challenge. Brennan Crow is ready to take on the world with his revolutionary films.