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You Pay Your Dues

2007 · 8:00 · written by Robin Brande · produced by Pam W. Coughlan · directed by William R. Coughlan

Roland “Rolly” Gentry is a hardened private eye who thought he’d seen it all. But when a mysterious woman steps into his office and asks him to have a “talk” with her ex-husband, Rolly is tossed into a seedy world where not even his entire collection of self-help books and CDs can assist him: Suburbia. As he delves ever deeper into the darkest corners of homeowners’ association politics, he faces a threat not only to the façade of stabilty society presents, but to the inner wisdom within his own secret soul.

Director William R. Coughlan and producer Pam W. Coughlan are back with this short for the 48 Hour Film Project, from a script by author/blogger Robin Brande. Produced entirely from May 4th through the 6th, “You Pay Your Dues” was Tohubohu’s fifth entry in the competition, and premiered at the AFI Silver Theatre on Thursday, May 10.

TOHUBOHU PRODUCTIONS presents  “YOU PAY YOUR DUES”  starring STUART SCOTTEN  CHRISTINE WILLAND  featuring HUGH HILL  MARY LECHTER  SHAWN “FELT” FELTY  ANDRA WHITT  PATRICK GANTZ  and KORI A. LUSIGNAN  edited by JACOB CREMER  WILLIAM R. COUGHLAN  director of photography ADAM YOUNG  music by BRIAN WILBUR GRUNDSTROM  executive producer WILLIAM R. COUGHLAN  written by ROBIN BRANDE  produced by PAM W. COUGHLAN  directed by WILLIAM R. COUGHLAN
48 Hour Film Project IMDb SAG-AFTRA
Producer Pam Coughlan scored a singular coup for ‘You Pay Your Dues,’ using her status as a children’s literature reviewer to convince YA novelist Robin Brande to join our little troupe. (And somehow, we managed not to frighten Robin off, as she would return to pen multiple short-film scripts for us in subsequent years.) This particular film represented a personal triumph for me as well, as I would finally have an excuse to make a movie in the style of film noir. (Eagle-eyed viewers will note the frequent appearance of a Maltese Falcon replica in my films — my own version of Hitchcock’s cameo.) Knowing our intended 48 Hour Film Project audience, we kept things light, opting to exaggerate the tropes of the genre — from the flawed, almost-stock characters to the chiaroscuro lighting to the convoluted plots — and setting our story not in the gritty underbelly of a major metropolis, but in the innocuous expanses of suburbia. The result garnered us an appearance in the ‘Best of DC’ screening — which in turn opened up a whole new series of networking opportunities within the local independent-film community. The movie is entertaining, but even setting aside its creative merits, this was the film that allowed us to elevate our game to a whole new level.
— William R. Coughlan
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“Best Of” Selection

48 Hour Film Project