New York City Profile – Beeline Interview: Tom Silvestro

I met Tom when he first moved to New York and he had this genuinely smitten, doe-eyed view of the city. It wasn’t naive, but actually completely refreshing and made you fall in love with the city all over again through his eyes. Even now, over 5 years later he hasn’t lost that.

Aside from being half of one of my favorite couples ever, he’s been writing, directing and producing skits and videos with his friends since college. I was excited to see Scissor Cop #5 viewed at the New York Television Festival this year! (He also does a kick-ass karaoke rendition of Hall & Oats’ Private Eyes.)

Name: Tom Silvestro
Occupation: DC Comics Coordinator
Borough/Neighborhood: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for Scissor Cop: I was trying to think of an easy-to-shoot and highly visual sketch idea and a guy running full speed with scissors popped into my head. Since I love cop movies, I decided he should be a cop chasing someone. The whole premise was a little flimsy, so I added in serious “Lost”-style flashbacks to up the ridiculousness. I never thought of it as a web series with any legs, so it’s quite amazing that we’re five episodes in on Channel 101 with basically the same structure.

Tell us a little more about Escape Pod Films: Escape Pod Films is a short form film making group my friends and I founded in 2007. Scissor Cop was the first thing we shot, but we waited a year to submit it to Channel 101. In the time between, we made a variety of short sketches. We soon discovered that high impact and fast paced material worked best for online viewing, so we tried to keep most of our sketches in the 1:30 to 3 minute range. Online sketches should be this length. Anything longer and it’ll drive people away to youtube looking for cat bloopers or fat people falling down.

Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: Frost Restaurant is right around the corner and it has great Italian food. Whenever my girlfriend and I go there we feel like we’re stepping onto a set from The Sopranos. It can be a truly bizarre atmosphere full of chop bustin’ tough Italian guys and little old ladies. One time there was actually a table full of nuns.

Little known fact about your neighborhood: The mafia hangout that the real Donnie Brasco infiltrated was located a few blocks from my apartment. Also, there’s a parade every year where people hand out bread for some reason. [Discovered that part of the celebration is called La Questa. It is apparently  the”symbolic remembrance of San Paolino giving away all his earthly possession for a life of celibacy.”–Ed]

Favorite watering hole: Currently, it’s The Richardson which is fairly new. It looks like an old timey speakeasy and they have an amazing selection of mixed drinks and beer.

Best pizza in your hood: The best pizza is just outside my neighborhood in Williamsburg at a place called Vinnie Vella’s. Amazing pizza and it’s a block away from a great beer snob bar called Spuyten Duyvil.

If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene: Does it have to be a neighborhood in NYC? I grew up in Amherst, MA so it’d probably be that town’s downtown area. It’s a good college town full of cool stores and cafes. (It’d be a pretty lame movie, though. Just shots of me going into CD shops and then eating a sandwich.)

Alright, now what is your all time favorite monster movie: “The Descent” is terrifying and my favorite recent horror film. Aside from being an inventive monster movie, it has the greatest “creature reveal” of any movie. Now, my favorite giant monster movie is “The Mighty Peking Man” – it’s an old Shaw Brothers movie from the 70s and it’s wonderfully cheap and unintentionally hilarious. It was basically a “King Kong” rip-off since it came after the ’76 remake and it’s a guy in a shoddy ape costume stomping on a city. The best thing is that the mouth on the ape costume didn’t really move that well, so when The Mighty Peking Man screams, the mouth jerkily goes up and down.

Original post, 9/17/08 @ 13:00

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