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Goons has Tacoma influences

T-Town native Skylar Holcomb raises funds for thesis film

GOON SQUAD: Local filmmaker Skylar Holcomb, a Washington High School graduate, is currently in the pre-production phase of Goons, a short film that will serve as his senior thesis at the Art Institute of Seattle. Courtesy photo Tyler Mitchell

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In 1985 the world met The Goonies, then nothing happened for a while. Suddenly, goon-mania returned with a vengeance last year, starting with the Seann William Scott's hockey comedy called ... yep, Goon. And only last month did Matthew Perry begin starring in yet another sitcom entitled Go On. (Okay, so that last one doesn't fit so neatly into my goon-spiracy, but close enough.)

You may find all of this just a bit strange and confusing, yet fear not - I have finally arrived at the point to all this rambling. (Hooray!) The only cinematic "goon" that should concern you for the time being calls itself Goons (with an "s"), an upcoming short film written and directed by local filmmaker Skylar Holcomb. A full-time student at the Art Institute of Seattle, Holcomb is currently in the pre-production phase of this project, which will serve as his senior thesis.

But let's backtrack. The first flickering of film's strong influence on this 21-year-old occurred a few short years ago, during his sophomore year at Tacoma's Washington High School. The acting parts in school plays eventually gave way to appearing in front of the camera for his friends' movies. Add to this his enthusiasm for writing, and Holcomb took notice of film's ability to unite multiple disciplines.

He describes the medium visually, as "a big ball that rolled up all my interests, so that by the time I was a junior, it was pretty set what I wanted to do."

Tacoma's blending of old-fashioned and modern architecture also opened his eyes to its filmic possibilities. He remembers weekends spent at one of his choice haunts, Ruston Way and taking in the piers with their distinctive concrete foundations.

"I loved the aesthetic of that," Holcomb says, "sort of a broken-down, lonely feel, and that really influenced a lot of my interest in film noir," his favorite genre.

Fellow Art Institute student Chris Taylor also knows Tacoma well, having lived there for a time and shot several projects in town including Fantastic Confabulations (now known as Half Empty) and Scamp. Taylor plans to lend his cinematographer's eye to Holcomb's short.  

Though Goons strips away many of noir's archetypal characters like detectives and gangsters, its depiction of a morally gray, corrupt world stays true to the genre's spirit. In Holcomb's story, rocker John Moses has possibly lost his brother to the punks camp, and must rely on femme fatale Rehab (played by Seattle actress Andi Norris) to help him infiltrate his foes' lair.

Holcomb has kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film's shooting costs. (Search "Goons" on Facebook or for more information.) The time to donate comes to a close on Sept. 13, and as of this writing his team has reached nearly half of its goal.

So after finishing the movie, after graduating, what comes next for Mr. Holcomb?

"I guess the best possible outcome is that I become massively successful," he jokes.

But in the meantime he'll happily settle with his original plan: "My goal is to make movies."

And that's no goon talkin'.   

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