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The Best of West
BestofWestLogo
May 14, 2017

Directed by

Scott Pincus

Written, Filmed and Edited by

Scott Pincus

Starring

Alex Fanelli

Andrew Gkonos

Abby Pincus

Gabe Sagherian

Release Date

May 14, 2017

Studio

Bio-Builder Productions

Music by

Steve Jablonsky and Marco Beltrami

Running Time

4 minutes

The Best of West is a short film written, directed and edited by Scott Pincus. The film was shown during READY Day, a school-wide event that welcomes the eighth graders to Downingtown High School West. It was released a year after From DMS to West, an informational video that provided details on West to the eighth graders.

The film focuses on the experience of a West senior, played by Alex Fanelli, as he guides two eighth graders through the school, with Andrew Gkonos and Abby Pincus co-starring as the eighth graders. Several of Scott's recurring cast members cameo at the end of the film.

The project was written in May 2017, after which it was filmed on May 12 and released on May 14. It was shown to the eighth graders at READY Day on May 23, with Scott, Alex and Abby attending the viewing. Scott hopes for the film to air during the next READY Day in May 2018. 

PlotEdit

In the middle school parking lot, a Downingtown West senior, Alex (Alex Fanelli), talks to two eighth graders, Andrew (Andrew Gkonos) and Abby (Abby Pincus). Alex discusses moving on from high school, expressing how much he enjoyed his time there and also hoping the best for Andrew and Abby as they join the school. Andrew and Abby are nervous about going to West, and they ask Alex to give them a tour.

Alex walks them through the school, and promises them they'll get used to it. He encourages them to stay confident and take chances at West. As Alex speaks, the trio goes to Kottmeyer Stadium. Alex says that soon he'll graduate in the stadium, and Andrew and Abby will do the same in four years. Andrew asks Alex how it feels to move on, and Alex says it's not hard to do when you leave a legacy behind. He urges them to stand out, make an impression, and leave a legacy. 

At the front of the school, the trio prepares to part ways, with Alex giving Andrew and Abby a wooden whippet  - the school's mascot, which will remind them of who they are. As Alex rides his car down Manor Avenue, Andrew and Abby walk up to a sign in front of the school, and Andrew holds the wooden whippet up to the whippet on the school logo. 

Elsewhere, Alex meets with several of his friends. Gabe (Gabe Sagherian) asks Alex how the tour went, and Alex says they had a lot of fun. The two agree that Andrew, Abby and the other eighth graders are ready for high school. 

CastEdit

  • Alex Fanelli as Alex, a senior at Downingtown West who greatly enjoyed his time at the school. He guides Andrew and Abby through the school while providing encouraging words about their future there. 
  • Andrew Gkonos as Andrew, an eighth grader preparing to move onto West. He is friends with Abby and, like her, is nervous about going to the school. He is encouraged by Alex to be himself and make the most of his experience at West. Andrew is upbeat, joyful, and full of energy. This marks Andrew Gkonos' first collaboration with Scott. 
  • Abby Pincus as Abby, an eighth grader preparing to move onto West. She is friends with Andrew and, like him, is nervous about going to the school. She is encouraged by Alex to be himself and make the most of her experience at West. Abby is serious, kind and understanding of others. 

Gabe Sagherian, Ryan Grier, Austin Brinser, Chris Lombardo and Sean Larkin all cameo at the end of the film as Alex's friends. None of them are credited in the film itself, but they are credited in the description. Of the five of them, Gabe is the only one who has dialogue in the film. 

ProductionEdit

Early ConceptsEdit

Earlier in high school, and as far back as 2015, Scott hoped to make a short film that has a senior touring the school and reminiscing on it before he graduates. He spoke with his guidance counselor, Nicole Lipkin, about the prospect of making it. The two agreed the film could be made for READY Day - a school-wide event that introduces the upcoming freshman class to the high school. Scott hoped to fulfill his vision for the project, but soon found that Mrs. Lipkin wanted a more informational-based video, and would have members of the student council "star" in the film. Scott worked on the project one afternoon after school, and in April 2016 released "READY Day 2016 - From DMS to West". Scott and his other cast members, who didn't appear in the film, weren't entirely happy with the final product. 

Pre-ProductonEdit

Through his senior year, Scott kept his hopes up to fulfill his original vision for the project for the next READY Day event. By April 2017, he had spoken with Mrs. Lipkin about the project, and discussed his plans for it. Originally, she suggested that they reuse the video Scott made last year, though he opted against this. In early May, Scott began writing the script for the film. He cast Alex Fanelli as the senior, with Gabe Sagherian having been a top choice for the role, though Scott decided to switch things up. He also cast Abby Pincus and Andrew Gkonos as eighth graders. 

Filming and CompletionEdit

Filming for the project took place on May 12, with Alex, Abby and Andrew present for filming. Gabe Sagherian, Austin Brinser, Chris Lombardo, Sean Larkin and Ryan Grier were also present to shoot cameos for the end of the film. The film was edited over the next two days, and was released on May 14. The upcoming freshman class viewed the film during READY Day on May 23. 

In April 2018, Scott confirmed that he's hoping the film will be played during the next READY Day, which occured in May 2018. Despite contacting his guidance counselor about the possibility, she didn't respond and the film wasn't screened. 

ReceptionEdit

The film was met with a positive reaction, including by Scott's guidance counselor, Nicole Lipkin, and his teacher and graduation project mentor Brian Hassel, who made the wooden Whippet seen in the film. The film was also shown to several teachers in the school shortly after its release, and several of them complimented the group for their work. Alex was commended by the principal, Kurt Barker, for his role in the project.

The film had a major viewing on May 23, during READY Day, and received a positive reaction. Scenes such as the stadium segment, Andrew and the wooden whippet, and Gabe asking "are they ready?" were applauded by the audience. 

TriviaEdit

  • The film marks the end of an era, as it was the last "school project" Scott made in his high school. 
  • The film's music is "X Marks the Plot", the music played at the end of Logan, and "Purity of Heart", a suite composed by Steve Jablonsky for Transformers: The Last Knight
  • This is Abby Pincus' first major acting role since Jurassic Shark in 2012, as well as the acting debut of Andrew Gkonos in Scott's films. 
  • Often, Kottmeyer Stadium is closed off to students, and Scott believed they would only be able to film outside of the stadium. Surprisingly, they found that the stadium was open, and took the opportunity to film on the field. 
  • This was Scott's second film shown to a large audience, after An Aspiration to Excel in March 2015 (not including films he's shown in several of his classes). 
  • Gabe Sagherian was set to play the role of the senior, as he's had such a big part in Scott's other projects. However, Scott chose to cast Alex Fanelli instead, so a new actor could step up and take the lead role. 
  • In real life, Alex was a senior at West like he is in the film. However, Abby and Andrew were sophomores, and they play eighth graders in the film.  
  • As a freshman and sophomore, Alex didn't go to West; he instead went to the STEM Academy, a high school near West. He transferred to West in his junior year. On the other hand, Andrew Gkonos had gone to STEM for two years, and will continue going there for the rest of high school. 
  • In real life, Andrew is a friend of Scott's sister Abby. Scott worked with Andrew on the school's musical, The Addams Family, in which Andrew appeared as Cousin Itt during the show's intermission. Scott, a student producer of the musical, also had the part of kicking Itt out of the auditorium because he didn't have a ticket. Prior to one of the showings, Scott approached Andrew about the READY Day project. A month and a half later, they created the film.