Ross Patterson was sitting in theatre class at Ohio State when his instructor said, “Only 1% of you will ever be successful with a career in acting.” Ross couldn’t help but let out a laugh, which prompted the instructor to ask what was so funny. Patterson looked around the room and replied, “I just feel bad for the other 99% of you.”
Yes, it sounds like a line from a movie, but that one incident may be 99.9% why he’s sitting in front of us with Tommy Reid (whom he met in that fateful class), Tommy’s sister Tara Reid (yes, that Tara Reid), Clayne Crawford (co-star) and Raan Williams (Tommy and Tara’s business manager) discussing the upcoming comedy 7-10 Split. Not only did OSU grad Ross write and star in the movie; but fellow alum Tommy directed and produced it.
The story itself is somewhat art imitating life, as it follows out-of-work actors (played by Patterson and Crawford) who aren’t able to enjoy or afford the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle, but always seem to have enough money to go bowling. Tara plays Ross’ girlfriend, a veterinarian who helps support the two boys. Strapped for cash and with no auditions in sight, the three decide to put their bowling and acting skills to work on the PBA Tour and prove they’ve got the balls to win big. Would you believe they even managed to get Eddie George to make several appearances in the movie as a guest PBA announcer?
The cast was in town a few months back to cheer on Ohio State in their epic battle against Michigan. While here, they heavily promoted their movie in the spirit of celebrating OSU’s role in making the movie, since nearly all of the major players met and dreamed together here. We sat down with the 7-10 crew at Rojo in the Short North to shoot our exclusive cover story and play a little verbal tennis in order to find out how exactly the 1% lives.
Who came up with the story for 7-10 Split?
How long did it take you to write it?
Ross: Three weeks.
What sparked the idea?
Ross: At the time it was exactly like the story, we didn’t have enough money to go to Sky Bar and shit like that. We went to a shitty bowling alley about five blocks down from our house. We’d go every night and get fucked-up there. It was open 24 hours at the time. It was Hollywood Star Lanes, but it got torn down. It was like $14 bucks for the night. $14 couldn’t get you an Apple Martini at Sky Bar.
Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Tara: I was Ross’ ex-girlfriend.
Ross: Clayne’s character Mikey was named after my best friend from high school who passed away. Mike Young is his name.
How did the writing process work and did you collaborate at all?
Ross: Tommy helped me with rewrites because we were under a time crunch.
Tara: There was also a lot of improv on set. Once these two start going, you never know what they are going to come up with.
When you were writing the screenplay, did you write it knowing that Tommy would be directing it, and if so, did that affect the writing process?
Ross: No, I had no idea who would direct it. I had no idea if anyone would buy it, to be honest with you. I took over 120 meetings and everyone said no.
Tommy: ‘Cept for me.
What about knowing you are going to play the role you are writing? How does that affect both your writing and your portrayal of the character, as well as watching someone else direct what you wrote?
Ross: It is easier having your best friend direct something you wrote, because it’s easier to collaborate. That way, we were both in the same mindset of where we were coming from, and it was a collaboration as far as someone telling you what to do. And it’s hard telling a writer as an actor what to do in his own story that he wrote.
Did you ever disagree on how a scene was originally set up in the screenplay and how Tommy chose to set it up from a director’s point of view?
Ross: No, the only thing I guess I disagreed with, well not disagreed with, but there were certain days where we couldn’t afford things that were scripted, so we had to make the best of what we could. There was different wardrobe and different songs.
Tara: We made it work.
Ross: You would literally show up on set on the day of and would find out we couldn’t afford what we just wrote, and we’d be like, “Oh, that’s cool, ‘cause we’re going on in like 15 minutes.” So I would be like, “Okay, I’m going to do a karate kick now instead of a white Bengal tiger coming out.”
Tommy: There were times where Ross wrote a scene and we were shooting that scene the next day and I’d have to get my location and have to block it in one day. It was crazy.
How did the idea of adding Eddie George to the movie come into play and what is his role in the movie?
Tara: First of all, Tommy is in love with Eddie George.
Ross: All of us are.
Tara: They met him through me. How Eddie came into this is Tommy and them were obsessed with him and I knew that. I met Eddie out a couple of times with my friends and I would call my brother and say, “Guess who I’m with? It’s Eddie George!” And they would pass the phone around. So every time we were out and I saw Eddie I would make him call my brother. So finally Tommy met Eddie for the first time and I said, “This is the guy who I would make you call.” We started hanging out and became friends. Then, when the movie came up…
Tommy: Ross wrote a scene as like a tribute to Ohio and I said to put it over the edge, lets bring it back to Ohio and get the god of Ohio State Football, and that’s Eddie George. Let’s bring him in as a guest bowling commentator, which really put it over the edge.
Ross: It’s a really funny scene.
Is he really comical?
Tara: He is. He’s so funny in real life anyway. He’s a great dad, too.
You mentioned earlier that you want to help support other young Ohio filmmakers. How do you plan on doing that?
Tommy: Tara and I and all of us appreciate graduating from Ohio State and we want to come back here and make movies here.
Tara: I didn’t graduate from here, though.
Tommy: The backdrop is great for common Middle America and to have Cincinnati, Ohio and Cleveland and Columbus as a backdrop is awesome.
Tara: Plus, there are so many kids here.
Ross: Not only that, but I can’t name a famous director as an alumni, and for the movie to come out and to have a Buckeye, Tommy Reid, directing and being the first director from Ohio State to come out with a movie is awesome.
Tara: This is not just a team that you are going to see go away. We’re going to make many films.
Tommy: Ross and I met in theatre class and we’d love to one day come back here and donate a film school to Ohio State.
Why did you choose to attend Ohio State when it’s not known as a film school?
Tommy: New Jersey has no schools except for Princeton and Rutgers, and I couldn’t get into Princeton. My brother went to Ohio State, so I came out here.
Tara: I almost came to Ohio State. I took the summer off before I came to school and went to California and I got cast on Days of Our Lives, so I deferred a year. But if I didn’t get Days of Our Lives, I would have been a Buckeye.
Tommy: I was graduating in Economics and I had to finish my degree. After I told my parents I wanted to follow Tara into Hollywood, they said, “Will you please finish your degree?” I said, “Absolutely.” That’s where I met Ross, in one of my classes.
What do you like best about taking on grassroots efforts to get the word out about this movie?
Ross: Like today, we get to meet the people and fans and students of Ohio State.
Tommy: We love Columbus and we love C Magazine.
Do you think movies like yours do well because they achieve a cult-like following in its early promotional stages before hitting mainstream?
Tara: Absolutely. Promotion and building the buzz is big in everything.
Tommy: I think we knew we had something special when these three--Clayne, Ross and Tara--got together and became one. Right then and there, in our hearts we knew we had something special.
Tara: We had magic, the three of us. Since we just got it immediately, it was family.
Clayne: Once you have that kind of relationship off-screen, I think it translates, and I think it’s easier for people to delve into that world, regardless of what that world is. With our circumstances, I think you are able to relate, because it’s true love and it’s true camaraderie with one common goal.
How long did it take to shoot?
Tommy: 18 days. We started in February and finished in November, but the actual shoot was 18 days.
This movie seems very Clerkish, because anyone who sees this is going to know a guy like one of the characters. How much of this movie is organic, and how much is prescribed?
Clayne: I think it’s all organic. I think Ross brought a piece that allowed everyone to have to work together closely as a team. The way we bonded on set was phenomenal. Nobody was there for the paycheck. You know what I’m saying?
Ross: There was no paycheck!
Tommy: There was no paycheck for any of us. It was all about love.
Ross: When you have 17 days to shoot, all in the middle of the night, the synergy has to be there. We shot 14 days at night.
Do you think that synergy can be repeated if you work together again?
Tommy: I think what we accomplished can never be repeated again, ever. It was so organic.
Tara: It was his first time acting. It was his first time directing. That can never be repeated.
Clayne: There is definitely something to be said about having people who are close to one another. You watch Good Will Hunting and you see Ben Affleck. He’s not the greatest actor in the world, but in those circumstances, he was amazing, and we all loved him. I think when Ross and I work together, it’s a blessing, because we know each other and we work well together. We’re on the same page and we’re able to finish each other’s sentences, and when you see that on screen…
Tara: Those two together are fucking magic. There is a thing in Hollywood and it’s called “Movie Magic”. It doesn’t happen a lot, but this movie has it, and when you see it, you’ll know.
What drew you to taking part in this movie, other than the fact that your brother and his friends started it?
Tara: I wanted to be part of that magic.
Tommy: I’ll answer that question. I asked Tara, as my producing partner, to talk to an actress for the part. After pitching her the idea of Ross’ script, she was like, “F that. I want that part!”
Tara: Tommy was like, “Do you think you could call Taryn Manning?” I was like, “I’m calling myself. I’ll get it made. Let’s do it.”
Tara, tell us about Hi Happy Films.
Tara: It’s my company. It’s a funny story how it came about. When I wake up in the morning, I’m not the happiest person. I would wake up and come down the stairs and my dad would say, “Oh, hi happy!” I would be like, “Shut up!”
Ross: I did not know that story.
Tara: I knew if I had a company one day, I was going to call it Hi Happy, because whenever you sit in your car or are at the ATM, I thought it would be so cool to see a smiley face and Hi Happy.
Raan: I think something should be said, going back to the synergy of the cast, you really have to give a lot of credit to Tommy, because as the director, he’s charged with bringing everything together and steering the ship. Helping to create that synergy and keep it alive for 17 days in the middle of the night…
Ross: For a first time director, 17 days is impossible.
Raan: All the actors, from Rachel Hunter to Vincent Pastore, all of them loved Tommy and can’t wait to work with him again.
Tommy, you started a clothing store in California with your brother Patrick. Is there any chance you’ll ever bring that store to Columbus?
There is always that chance.
What draws you to so many ventures?
Tara: Tommy’s a dreamer. He has his hands in everything. Sky is the limit for him.
Tommy and Tara, how have you helped each other through the years?
Tara: I hook my brother up with hot girls.
Tommy: Tara’s been everything to me. She’s opened up doors I couldn’t have opened up myself.
Obviously, Tara’s fame has added gold to your name. How do you know when it’s a good thing or when it makes things harder?
Tommy: It’s always a good thing, especially in Vegas and Los Angeles.
The film is the first production from Tara Reid’s Hi Happy Films, and is made along with 2 Sticks Productions. Check out www.710splitmovie.com for up-to-date release information and trailers.
(To be placed on our web blog; have Kristen create intro copy when its placed)
From the Hip
What is the greatest bowling movie of all time?
Ross: The Big Lebowski.
Tara: The Big Lebowski.
Tommy: 7-10 Split.
How heavy are your balls?
Tommy: Ross has a 12 pounder.
Ross: Yeah, the left one is 12 and the right one is 15. Nothing I can do about it. God gave them to me that way.
Do you think it’s possible to make a poignant drama set in a bowling alley?
Clayne: Absolutely, you can have a poignant drama set in a fucking phone booth.
What would rather play, a hero or a villain, and why?
Tara: I would rather play a villain, because the villain can always turn out to be the hero.
What five women would be on your celebrity roller derby team?
Tara: Mother Teresa for sure. Oprah. Gale. Rachael Ray. Who else do we need?
Ross: Bea Arthur.
Tara: Yeah, Bea Arthur. Oh, and Naomi Campbell. She can knock people out. She’s the team captain.
Name three celebrities named after places.
Tara: Dakota Fanning, Johnny Knoxville, Joe Montana.
We say, O-H. You say?
If you had to choose one thing or event that captures the essence of Ohio, what would that be?
Should each of you be writing a movie about your lives, what one song would have to appear on each of your soundtracks?
Tara: “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”.
Clayne: “Sweet Home Alabama”.
Ross: I’ll go three. “Mandy” by Barry Manilow, “Smack that Ass” by Acon featuring Eminem, and “I Want it that Way” by The Backstreet Boys.
Tommy: “Beautiful Day” by U2 on repeat.
Do you ever wear scarlet and gray when you are not in Ohio, and does anyone notice?
Tommy: Absolutely. Every Saturday.
Tara: Every Saturday. They actually listen to the Ohio State Marching Band. They start the day playing the Ohio State Marching Band in my brother’s house.
Is there anywhere you go to watch the games?
Tara: My brother’s house.
Ross: I like to dress up in a sailor’s hat, a dorsal fin and a pair of assless chaps, but all in scarlet and gray.
Are the assless chaps scarlet or gray?
Ross: Scarlet, but the sailor’s hat is gray.