Work Place Woes: Scavengers Among Us
Interview with Writer & Director Michael Pizzano
This story is relatable to anyone who has ever worked in an office (or just a shared home with a communal fridge)! What inspired the story?
Workplace Woes: Scavengers Among Us is based on a true story that happened at my girlfriend’s previous job. Her friend bought a 12-inch sub for lunch and saved half for the next day. When lunch time came around the following afternoon, she unwrapped her six-inch sub and found that it was only three inches. Someone stole half of it, rewrapped it and put it back. This was a chronic occurrence in the office and the employee was never caught. This led me down a road of collecting workplace “horror” stories and writing scripts about them.
Scavengers Among Us is more than just a short film. It’s also a pilot for a Workplace Woes series where each episode is based on a different work “horror” story and would be told in the appropriate genre: horror movie, thriller, etc. I have eight different completed scripts, all based on stories from my life and that of friends, colleagues and even strangers. The BIG idea involves social media – once the series gets moving, I’d invite people from all over the world to share their workplace woes to potentially base future episodes on.
What was the casting process like for this ensemble piece?
I held many, many auditions. The majority took place in person, plus one or two over Skype. For the most part, it was pretty easy. I put out the casting notice, invited anyone who responded to come in for a reading, and the actors I chose for Scavengers pretty much nailed the audition right in the beginning. What made the casting process even more enjoyable was because I have the eight other Workplace Woes scripts waiting to be shot, so I had other roles in the back of my mind. While I may not have chosen a specific actor for this film, I met a number of talented actors who I plan on using for the next ones.
As filmmakers, what comedies inspire you? After seeing the film multiple times, what particular part of the film still cracks you up as filmmakers (because of the way it was shot/thinking of the actors work)?
I have a number of favorite comedies. I’d have to say my biggest influence in life is anything Monty Python -- my absolute favorite being Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As a kid, I memorized all of their films. I would even recite my favorite scenes to my family whenever I could. Everything they do is a perfect blend of comedy, social commentary and general silliness. Another big influence that comes to mind is Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Cornetto Trilogy, specifically Hot Fuzz. Their brand of humor really resonates with me.
There are a number of scenes that still crack me up and there’s one in particular I have to point out:
A third into the movie, Danny brings a homemade cake to work for her sister’s birthday only for someone to steal a slice from it. This is the last the straw and she takes it upon herself to write an angry email to the entire office demanding justice. It’s an intense moment. While she’s typing, we pull back to a wide shot and you can see the janitor in the background having a blast vacuuming. It was a spur of the moment addition to the scene and every time I see it, I can’t help but laugh. He’s having such a great time at work while she’s furious. I’m not even sure what it is, there’s just something about the juxtaposition of these two characters that, at the very least, never fails to make me smile.