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Many people have been wondering (quietly, to themselves) what does Todd W. Langen do in his spare time. You know, the guy who was a staff writer on The Wonder Years and worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles scripts. Well, Urban Cinefile has found out and here it is.

In his spare time – in this case one full year – Todd W. Langen makes the ultimate indie movie, 42 Story House. It’s the ultimate indie movie because everything is shot in one location, by one man (Todd, of course) with one camera. It’s in fact 42 movies, each between 1 and 4 minutes. “The whole idea was to see what one guy with a camera - and a lifelong love of comedy - could come up with in a year, creating funny shorts around his house,” says Todd.

As his website explains, this is a low budget independent movie, shot on 3CCD miniDV tape and available only on DVD.

From the surreal (Foreign Breakfast) to the silly (Egg-icide), the shorts combine to make an amusing ‘chain movie’ – that’s a movie with a number of links …. There’s sex, too, with one story about how small appliances are conceived, in which a washer and a dryer …er … Anyway, the doors close tastefully at the moment of conception.

"strangely compelling viewing"

In fact, much of his material is surreal; toilet paper rolls that rebel, rocks that fall out of the sky, and robotic, possibly alien neighbours. But yes, there are also a couple of fart jokes …. And much more. It’s strangely compelling viewing: what idiotic gag is he going to come up with next?

Behind the lighthearted sales spiel on his website, Todd’s 42 Story Houses poses a real challenge to Australian filmmakers: turn DIY filmmaking into a part of your business plan. Todd spews out ideas – 42 of them – which vary from woeful to clever, from clunky to funny. Within the concept lies the idea that filmmaking can be simple and fun – and making 42 short films (or 52 for that matter) can kick start a whole chain of ideas for bigger, more developed projects.

Published July 12, 2007

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42 Story House

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