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A Star is Born in Somers

SOMERS, N.Y. - Simon O’Keefe ’s interest in film was piqued five or six years ago when he was a Boy Scout. “I had a little hand-held camera,” he said. His project, a documentary about charitable organizations in Somers, was his stepping stone to the rank of Eagle Scout.

Once he started, he became fascinated by editing and other technical aspects of film-making. “I was always interested in story-writing and I’ve always been involved in acting. I was in nine productions at Somers High,” he says.

These days O’Keefe, 18, is a Television and Film Arts major at Buffalo State College, with a minor in acting. He upgraded long ago to a DSLR camera but is aiming for even more sophisticated equipment.

“The most challenging part of the course so far is writing coverage,” he explains. “We watch a film, read the script, then write a synopsis and analysis. It’s very time-consuming. And everyone comes up with a different answer.”

In 2007 O’Keefe and a few friends set up their own production company, Straight Sixes . They have posted a number of short films on YouTube. “My favorite is usually the latest one we've done,” he says. The latest at the moment is "The Ruse", a five-minute detective story which he wrote, directed, edited, acted in, scored. The friends made the film during Thanksgiving recess for their own amusement.

“It took two days to write, three days to shoot and two days to edit. It was my first dramatic script,” he adds. “I like making comedy best. Even if a story is dramatic, there are still comedic elements.”

His favorite film? “Anything Woody Allen. I love his natural style, his acting, his direction and his writing. I also admire David Fincher. He did "The Fight Club" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". He’s got a rich directing technique. I like his quick angles. He puts you into the hero’s shoes.”

Favorite actor/actress? “Meryl Streep. I can’t pick one actor. There are so many good ones,” he said.

Advice to other hopefuls? “Get out there and establish yourself. Make movies and post them on YouTube," he says. "There are millions of other people trying to do what you want to do.”

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