Courtesy of Ross Patterson
If you want something done, do it yourself. Two Ohio State alumni did just that as they made independent films to fit the style of movies that they would want to see.
Ross Patterson, who graduated from OSU in 1999, and Tristan Drew, who graduated 1998, produced four films together through their production company, Street Justice Films.
“It’s just trying to tell stories that the studio system won’t tell,” Patterson said of why the two decided to make the switch to independent film. “It’s the stories, comedically, that I’d like to see that people won’t see (otherwise).”
Drew, who has been friends with Patterson since their college days when they were both in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, combined his production talents with Patterson’s acting and writing skills so the duo would have the majority of creative control when developing films.
“Ross had been doing some films with some other people that we knew in the industry,” Drew said. “Around 2008, we got together and said we’d be better off doing it together.”
The two started a film division of Drew’s production company, which he founded in 2004, Drew said.
Drew got his start in the film industry as a production assistant after he graduated from OSU. He worked his way up the production ladder, eventually producing music videos for performers such as Usher and commercials and creating a music video production company,
Patterson began his career as an actor after graduation from OSU.
“I initially got my start in teen movies. I did ‘The New Guy,’ ‘Accepted’… I had a blast shooting these movies, but you can’t do teen movies forever,” Patterson said. “I’m a comedian. I was basically getting cast off of looks. I wanted to make something that I wanted to see.”
In 2008, Patterson fired his agent and merged his efforts with Drew’s in the production company.
“We started this company and in the last two or three years, we’ve made four films and a TV show,” Patterson said. “It’s been pretty amazing. No one’s putting out this many films at the same time.”
Patterson’s creative abilities as a writer help to expedite the pre-production process, Drew said.
“Because he’s the creator and the writer, it makes it a lot easier for us to get (the films) done,” Drew said. “When Ross brings the scripts to the table ready to shoot … we can get it done right away.”
All of the films Drew and Patterson have made have been comedies, but each film is different from the others, Patterson said.
“Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury,” out now on iTunes and On Demand, “is one of the craziest films of all time,” Patterson said.
He compared another one of their films, “FDR: American Badass!” to an “Airplane!” or “The Naked Gun” type of movie.
“It’s the first time where something that we’ve done has gone viral,” Drew said of the film, out in theaters this summer. “We’re still fairly new to creating our own content. … It’s been a really neat process over the past five months to have something that well-received.”
The trailer for “FDR: American Badass!” was featured on perezhilton.com a few weeks ago, and at film festivals, including Comic-Con, screenings for the films have repeatedly sold out. The DVD is scheduled for release on Sept. 24.
Other films from the duo include “Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend,” out Aug. 28 on DVD, online and On Demand, and “$50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story,” which is in post-production.
Patterson and Drew said they would like to branch out from film with their production company. They already have with a television show in development.
“We’re definitely developing other things,” Drew said. “We want to make bigger and better films … more of what we’re doing now, on a bigger level on a bigger stage.”
Drew and Patterson’s most recent film, “$50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story,” brought them back to OSU, where they rented out Long Street and had Asher Roth perform for the movie.
“For us to come back and be able to do work and work that was really fun, that’s a dream come true,” Drew said.
Patterson said he feels the same way about the experience.
“It’s a dream,” Patterson said. “OSU was easily the greatest time of my life. The Ohio State ties never die. Wherever you end up working, when you meet up with Ohio State people, everyone will take care of their own.”
Drew and Patterson have casting directors and interns who are OSU alumni. Patterson and football coach Urban Meyer are also represented by the same agency, Creative Artists Agency, Patterson said.
“There’s a huge Ohio State contingent out here in L.A., and we’re just all huge Buckeyes. Always have been and always will be,” Drew said. “Our hearts are always at Ohio State.”
They have one main goal in mind when making their films.
“Ultimately,” Drew said, “this is the way Ross would say it: ‘We just want to make cool s—.'”