Local filmmakers bring search for Apple 1 to La Grange in short film 'iDig'
If John Scaletta had remembered his sleeping pills, none of this would have happened.
The Brookfield resident was on a nine-hour flight home from a job in Finland. The way there, he took the pills and slept peacefully. On the way back, though, he wasn't so lucky, having left them in his checked bag.
But that's where the story began. Scaletta, co-owner of Motion Source Video Productions in La Grange, with nothing but time on his hands started reading Steve Jobs' biography.
"I read the Apple 1 sold for a quarter of a million dollars," Scaletta said. "Another sold for $375,000."
That got Scaletta thinking about a time capsule his class buried back in 1976 when he was a kid. What if, buried among the trading cards and letters to older versions of themselves, there was an Apple 1 computer?
With that idea, the short film "iDig" was born.
Scaletta wrote the first draft on the plane and handed it over to Craig Bass, co-owner of Motion Source. Bass, a La Grange resident, worked with him on revising and rewriting.
The story centers around Doug, a down-and-out guy who just lost his job and had his car repossessed. While at a coffee house, filmed at Now Serving Cafe in La Grange, he realizes everyone around him is using some sort of Apple product.
That's when Doug remembers in grade school, 36 years ago, his class buried a time capsule, and in that time capsule was an Apple 1 computer.
"It's a treasure that can solve all of his problems," Scaletta said.
Doug enlists an old and nearly forgotten, socially inept friend Eric to find the capsule. But for Eric, the adventure is more about friendship, or those he lost, than it is about the financial award of the Apple 1.
"He's socially challenged — he's only gotten worse," Bass said. "He's still wearing a Members Only jacket."
Eric brings along Randy, the loose cannon of the bunch and the third piece to their grade school trifecta.
Together they head off into the woods next to Pleasantdale School in Burr Ridge — Scaletta's old school — in search of the time capsule. What they find, however, has to be seen as Bass and Scaletta refuse to reveal the ending.
"When John explained this story to me, I thought he was telling me a true story," Bass said. "And it is based on a true story, except for everything that happens in the movie."
The crew started filming the dig scene near Pleasantdale School in the first week of December when temperatures broke into the 50s.
"It was all night," Bass said. "It was one of the most hellish production nights of my life."
They continued filming throughout the area, including noticeable La Grange landmarks, such as Horton's and Now Serving Cafe.
"We're tapping into our resources and our friends," Scaletta said. "It seems like the businesses and people of La Grange really help each other out. It really has been receptive to us as a production company."
Bass said that's important because without the help of the community, there wouldn't be "iDig."
"Filmmaking is a collaborative art," Bass said. "You can't be a loner and make a film. It's a community effort."
That's why Bass tapped La Grange resident Angelo Manzoeillo to score the film. Bass had worked with Manzoeillo's band, Break Even, recording a music video in 2012.
"Angelo is such a great guy," Bass said. "I approached him and said, 'Look, I know you've never scored a film before, but do you want to do this?'"
Manzoeillo jumped at the opportunity.
"You've seen a thousand movies and you know how the music really drives the movie," Manzoeillo said. "There's pressure there. But it's good."
Bass and Scaletta are currently in the editing process, ambitiously shooting for a wrap-up date by the end of the month.
Once the film is done, the duo said they will enter it into the Waterfront Film Festival in South Haven, Mich.
And then, a La Grange premiere at the La Grange Theatre.
"It's unique," Bass said, "with such established members of the community putting together such a creative collaboration."