Pool Shark a big fish

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By Karen Mackintosh

It has all the elements to make it a classic B-movie: a cheesy setting, a low budget and a cheap-looking monster.

The feature film The Pool Shark, scheduled to begin shooting this spring, is the brain-child of Ryerson film studies grad Chris Trebilcock.

Trebilcock, who freelanced as a writer before registering at Ryerson, used a 10-minute short for a film class to create Rosie, the star of The Pool Shark.

The film was originally intended to be a monster movie — heavily influenced by Jaws — about a janitor who thinks there may be a shark in the school’s basement.

But Trebilcock decided to add the more surreal elements of short story writing into the script — which is why Rosie is a mechanical shark.

“Once the shark became mechanical, it stopped being a Xerox copy of Jaws,” said Trebilcock.  “[It] became something that, I think, has a life of its own.”

The producers, whom he found through contracts he made at the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, were impressed with Trebilcock’s work.

Amy Goldberg, one of the film’s producers, was attracted to the script because of the quality of the writing and Trebilcock’s education.

“Ryerson graduates are well-respected,” she said.  “The unstructured nature of the program is one of its greatest advantages because it reflects the realities of the film industry.”

That may be why Trebilcock enlisted the help of fellow film studies grad Darryl Smith and current Rye film student Jonathan Wong.

But Smith, the first assistant director of The Pool Shark, thinks the film program at Ryerson could be better if the administration provided better contact opportunities through job fairs, placements and more industry nights.

Wong, the film’s line producer, thinks Ryerson should teach more of the financial elements of the industry.

“I didn’t know how to raise money for films or about insurance,” he said.  “We only learned the bare bones, like setting a budget.”

But the horror movie-looking Trebilcock credits Ryerson’s film professor for his present success.

“What made them so good was that they went out of their way to help students,” he said, “and to share contacts and experiences.”

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