If you ask someone what a second unit on a film set is, they probably won’t know — that, or they won’t care. Whatever the reason for its obscurity, a second unit is a collection of underdogs, and that’s exactly what compelled director Ankush Khemani ‘18, producer Melina Coto ‘18 and writer Nick DiLorenzo ‘18 to make Second Unit: A Mockumentary.
On a movie set, a second unit is a film crew responsible for shooting miscellaneous supplementary footage that the main unit doesn’t have the time to capture. The work seems trivial, but it is extremely important. If they fail, the shots won’t match the main unit’s direction and vision; if they succeed, it will be subtle and virtually invisible. This is the struggle of the unappreciated workers of the world.
“We knew we wanted to tell an underdog story on a film set, but it didn’t really start clicking until we focused in on second units,” says DiLorenzo. As far as the choice to make it a mockumentary, Khemani says that was an easy decision, “I’ve always loved how mockumentaries bring so much humanity and relatability to characters.”
From there, the team began brainstorming. “Moviemaking is chaos, and nothing prepared us for this project like sharing embarrassing on-set stories,” Coto recalls with a chuckle. With an experienced team of film students, Second Unit draws less from knowledge gained on set, and more from the rookie mistakes that have happened over the years.
It turns out that making a dysfunctional film set requires a lot of hard work. Thankfully, the team feels up to the task — and they’re having fun doing it. “My favorite projects are the ones where the crew comes together like a family,” says DiLorenzo, “and we hope that shows through in the film.” Coto adds, “the film is about making a movie, but what really matters are the characters and the strides they take.”
“At its core, Second Unit is a story of overlooked misfits doing thankless work, and that’s a something we can all relate to,” says Khemani. Mix in some quirky characters and the specificity of a blockbuster’s second unit film set, and it’s easy to see where the comedy stems from.
Second Unit shoots the last two weekends of October, and will be released in late March. To see the campaign video, meet the team, and contribute to their fundraising goal head here.