This is the first entry in a regular feature at PressPlay featuring Stephen T. Neave, an actor-writer-filmmaker born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve been friends with Stephen — or Steve, as he’ll be referred to in the title, because it looks cooler, all rhyme-y and such — for 10 years now.
We met on the set of a low-budget movie I was producing. He was working on the lighting crew, one face among may, and he saw fit to pull me aside and politely suggest various ways in which the production could run more smoothly. I listened to him talk about lighting, framing and filmmaking, and then the conversation veered away from practical matters. We started name-checking the various films we’d seen recently, arguing their merits and flaws, and after I while I realized that ten minutes had passed and I’d totally forgotten that I was supposed to be producing a movie.
“Are you working on anything else after this?” he asked me. I said yes. He said, “Well, I got some things I’m working on, too. Tell you what. I’ll help you with your things, you help me with my things, and that’s how it’ll be.”
He held out his hand. I shook it. We’ve been working together ever since.
Steve and I wrote, shot and edited this piece together. It’s partly about the original “Rocky,” his favorite movie of all time. But it’s also sort of a stealth documentary about my friendship with this six-foot-five Bay Ridge wiseacre with the omnivorous taste in film — what it’s like to just hang out with him, talking about movies and life and how one reflects the other. We plan to do more of these. I hang out with the guy enough, I figure I might as well roll video and share that extraordinary energy.
Happy Fourth of July, and happy summer. Yo, Adrian!
–Matt Zoller Seitz