They say that time waits for no one. That's exactly what my mind officially decided against when the clock struck midnight to kick off 2018. My twin brother, Rob, and I are twins born in the Year of the Rooster. We were also born in the month of June, which makes us Gemini's. Life is full of these fateful ironies. It is often said that Roosters never give up, no matter how difficult something gets. Even in the face of failure, they pick themselves back up and keep on fighting. That's exactly what Rob and I do for each other, we pick each other up and we keep on fighting. We knew that if we put in our all going into 2018, we would find ourselves in the career of our dreams. We haven't stopped believing that.
It started off with a friend introducing us to Twitch. He helped us with a gaming setup and we worked to get everything running for January 1st. We've been streaming consistently every week since then and we've gathered a wonderful little community of people from all over the world. Some of them have become our best friends and their continued support has meant the absolute world to us both. We've had the opportunity to make changes in other people's lives and they too have changed our lives for the better. We understand what it means to have a community and the responsibility that comes with it. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.
As we continued to stream and manage our full time jobs at Walmart, we strived to pursue our creative passions as well. Rob and I have been writing screenplays together since high school, developing those abilities further in college. We haven't stopped writing and creating concepts that keep our imaginations running all the time. In 2018, we took one of those creative itches and decided to bring it to life. And that was our short film, "VOLLY!!"
We began working on it around the same time as we did streaming on Twitch. We started reading Haikyuu!! and immediately began to develop a script adaptation. Once we finalized a script in the next few weeks, we brought the idea to our director, Carlo Barbieri III, who fell in love with it. He proposed that we make a teaser trailer and then fundraise the money needed for the full short film, which would clock in at around 30 minutes. So that's exactly what we did.
Rob put the full one thousand and five hundred dollar budget on his shoulders and begin to work his butt off to find the cast, crew, connections, and support needed to make the idea happen. It started with contacting the Gardner High School and getting them to agree with us shooting in the gymnasium for free. With that, Rob brought the idea to City Hall and went before the Mayor with the idea. The city fully supported the short film happening in the high school and showcasing the importance of teamwork in the community. Then he pushed to have local businesses assist in the production, not only for their incredible work, but because it would also help those businesses. He ordered the costumes through the local John's Sports Shop and catering through Cafe Edesia. After that, he worked with the MA equipment rental business Fastlights in order to attain the proper lighting and support needed to make the production look as professional as possible despite the low budget. Then, in conjunction with the director of Photography James Woodbury, he brought in two camera assistants and two gaffers that worked at a reduced rate to make the shooting a success. Finally, he worked with the director to bring in a drone that would allow for the most difficult shot possible. It was after all of this that Rob realized, he was meant to be a producer.
In the short film, I starred as one of the two leads, Sean Hindley based upon Shoyo Hinata from Haikyuu!!. It was a dream come true to perform as a character that I admired and respected. Not only that, but I was the one that storyboarded and carefully planned every single shot that we filmed during the two days on set. Those two days on set were some of the best days on my life and instilled in me the feeling I already knew. I want to be an actor, both voice and on screen. To have had the opportunity to create something that people can watch and know that all the hard work paid off. That was what made us realize that this is our calling. We need to write, we need to act, we need to produce, we need to be ourselves. This is what 2018 has given us. This is what it continues to give us.
We started with an idea and with a little effort and a touch of luck, we made it happen. That's all it takes, all you have to do is get up and do it. And now as we fundraise for the full short film, we continue to write and pursue the opportunities that will further push us into a career of fulfillment.
Last year was the Year of the Rooster. But they say that for Roosters, the real luck comes the year after. This year is our year and we're ready to show it.
To anyone who is doubting themselves or feel as if the rejection will never stop, just know that you're not alone. Know that it won't last forever. The universe has a plan for you, you just have to do your part to set the gears in motion. Just like we did.
The Benoit Brothers
VOLLY!! Fan Short Film on IndieGoGo: