Oglesby Native Films Full Comedy – Show Native

He and his comedy won’t go straight to Hollywood — maybe down the road — but Reid Thomasson can add the word “director” to his resume.

Thomasson is from Oglesby and graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree in film and television. Although making a film wasn’t one of his graduation requirements, the 21-year-old decided it was time to step into the director’s chair.

It was more accurate to say, ‘We did it,'” Thomasson said. “I always wanted to make a movie and we decided to do it.”

The result was Common Creations, a 90-minute comedy starring Kim “Howard” Johnson. Johnson’s character, Leonard Shaw, is the newly appointed artistic director of a community college and is tasked with putting together a big show with no budget.

Tomasson wrote, produced and directed the film and penned numerous one-liners from theater experiences at Stage 212, Festival 56, Illinois Valley Community College, Engle Lane and the Prairie Center for the Arts. On Dec. 30, he screened Total Creativity at Stage 212 for friends who found his community theater persona hilarious.

“I found the movie extremely entertaining,” said the 212 veteran. Amateur theater production with limited resources – in this case very limited.

“I haven’t laughed so hard at a movie in a long time.”

Angie McKenzie, Streator’s former Engle Lane board member, said Tomasson developed an accurate picture of community theater and theater people and brought the house down.

“He’s extremely creative and knows how to get inside your head and make you laugh,” McKenzie said.

Tomasson said he’s been a movie buff since he first saw “Jaws” and particularly enjoys documentary parodies like “It’s Spinal Tap” and “Waiting for Guffman.”

One day he sat down and started writing the script. After receiving some outside feedback, it began filming in the summer of 2022. With a large budget, he had to do most of the legwork himself — “There were a lot of assignments,” he said. delays and cost overruns.

“I really enjoyed it,” Thomasson said. “It was definitely a learning process. There were stressful times as we were mostly self-funded, but it was never stressful to have regrets or want to stop the process.

The key, however, was to get hold of Johnson, an actor-writer who taught comedy writing and was a long-time collaborator of John Cleese. Through a mutual acquaintance, Thomasson approached Johnson and showed him the script.

“I loved it,” Johnson said. “I saw a lot of potential, and what really stood out to me was when Reid said there would be a lot of improvisation, which is my specialty.”

Despite Tomasson’s meager budget, there was enough mutual interest for Johnson to accept the lead role.

“I didn’t make any money out of it, but it’s okay,” Johnson said. “Many actors never get the opportunity to play the lead role in a feature film. I am very lucky to have this experience.

Anyone interested in seeing the film can check out local screenings through the Common Creativity Screenings Facebook group. Thomasson also plans to release a small DVD.

Thomasson promises one more film, and she hopes to pursue a career in television or film, perhaps in casting. Although rooted in community theater, he always had bigger aspirations for the big screen.

“I’ve always wanted to make movies,” he said. “This was my main goal even before the theater. I always knew theater would help me, but that was the point.

Kelsey, for her part, said she is confident Tomasso will achieve her career aspirations.

“I’ve seen Reid develop over the years leading up to the 212,” Kelsey said. “No matter what project he’s involved in, he has the talent and dedication to all things theater and to support his vision. I am sure that he has a future in the field of cinema.”

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