When Vinny was 12 and Tony Von Wolfe was 14, they went to their dad with the idea of making a movie, they had no idea what they were getting into.
You see, their dad, Tory, grew up in the film business. He worked as a stunt performer and photographer in Hollywood before moving to Idaho to raise his family.
So, this wasnt just any kids-with-a-camera enterprise. They ended up with a feature-length script by Tory Von Wolfe and a cast and crew of nearly 200 mostly non-professionals learning as they went.
But it was as close as they could get to the real thing, Vinny says.
I thought it would be fun, says Vinny, who is now 14. I learned it takes a lot of work and a long time to make a movie.
They started rehearsals in 2010, filmed last year and now theyve got it in the can. You can see Kids Spooky Movie: Finding Grandpas Gold at a free community screening Aug. 11 in Foote Park in Middleton.
Von Wolfe leaned on colleagues in the Treasure Valleys growing film industry he met through the Idaho Media Professionals for production work. But he mostly turned to Middleton neighbors and friends for crew.
The cast is Vinny, Tony and some of their friends who they play baseball and ride dirt bikes with. (The opening segment features the boys on dirt bikes.)
Von Wolfe is the son of actor and legendary Hollywood stuntman David Davy Sharpe.
He has close to 4,500 credits, for films such as Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and The Wild One doubling Marlon Brando. He doubled Brando, Tony Curtis (a regular gig), Fairbanks and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Plus, he did a slew of TV gigs such as Batman and The Wild, Wild West. A member of the Stuntmans Hall of Fame, he tragically died of ALS in 1980.
Von Wolfe worked as a stuntman as a youngster but eventually moved behind the camera, and hes been taking pictures ever since.
When he moved to Idaho, Von Wolfe thought it would mean the end of his film career. Now he has his first solo writing credit.
Vinny came up with the idea for a story based on a family legend about Sharpe.
Back in the day, Sharpe and a few buddies bet on a boxing match in which in classic fashion one of the fighters was supposed to take a fall.
But he was a good guy and he didnt. He won the fight, Von Wolfe says. My dad and his friends made a bunch of money.
But it was mob money, so they turned it into gold bars and now Vinnys story kicks in he buried his share in Idaho.
In Spooky Movie, some kids find a map and clues for their great uncles buried gold, which of course is being sought by a couple of not-so-bright mob guys, too.
On set, the kids really got into their roles both on and off camera.
They built props such as a gun that shoots potatoes and carved bows and arrows out of backyard branches.
They did their own stunts. Vinny practiced learning how to fall into a hole without hurting himself.
It wasnt too bad, he says.
They made the movie all on a relative shoestring a total of $100,000 from beginning to end.
With his background in photography, Von Wolfe was able to get his old sponsor Nikon to donate some pretty fancy cameras for the project. Plus, he got product placement advertising from Buck Knives, Les Schwab Tires, Kerns Nectar and other companies.
We really wanted to make a movie the whole family can watch together, Von Wolfe says.
Von Wolfe is hoping to generate enough interest among his Hollywood connections to at least get a studio interested in developing it into a commercial feature or to create a sequel. Von Wolfe already has another script idea.