The Side of I.T. You Never Knew
“People need to discover the hilarious world of Information Technology.”
That was the primary goal for writer/director Ken Cole, whose previous work includes the PBS documentary Tornado Glory. “For this movie to be funny, it had to be as authentic as possible.” Of course, it helped that Cole himself worked for years in the I.T. field. Using a collection of the personalities and anecdotes he experienced on the job, Cole set out to craft a comedy to which the world’s workforce could relate.
Cole quickly chose Oklahoma City as the setting for his satirical take on corporate computing. “Oklahoma City is a rapidly growing metro area, and a lot of people are discovering it. I just think it’s a perfect, fresh setting for an action mockumentary.”
For Cole, the transition from making documentaries to making a mockumentary was an easy one. “The current style of mainstream action movies blends very well with the mockumentary format. It’s a blast taking these funny, everyday characters and thrusting them into Bourne-style action sequences.”
Cole didn’t have to go far to find the best actors for the job – Jim Wilson and Chris White, who play Jim Dawson and Chris Powers respectively, are real-life I.T. pros. “Not only are these guys brilliant tech gurus, but they have an incredible sense of humor,” says Cole. As a result, a lot of the comedy is based on the exaggerated personalities of Wilson and White.
The Real-Life Pros of I.T. Supremacy
“I would say I’m similar to Chris Powers in a lot of ways,” says actor Chris White. “Chris Powers has a calm, collected demenor that I feel like I have – most of the time.”
Jim Dawson, on the other hand, is a fun-loving jokester who staves off boredom by daydreaming about fighting ninjas. “My character is the Director of I.T., but he can’t stand the mundane office grind. He’d much rather fantasize about being an action hero,” says actor Jim Wilson. “To his surprise, his dreams come true.”
When F.B.I. agent Violet Striker, played by Amber Pape, accuses Jim Dawson of leaking confidential information, Jim launches into a race to find the real culprit. But not before poking some fun at Striker and a new I.T. employee. In fact, Jim uses a novel approach to teaching his new employee: he sings an instructional I.T. song. “At one point, my character pulls out a guitar and sings a song called the ‘I.T. Love Ballad’ – the first ever geek-themed ballad in movie history.”
Shooting an I.T. Comedy
Using authentic I.T. workrooms, offices, and server rooms was a boon to the production, but it required shooting after business hours. As a result, Jim Wilson and Chris White would work all day as I.T. professionals, and then shoot into the night acting as comic versions of themselves. White enjoyed the jovial atmosphere on-set. “Shooting the movie was a blast! At times it was hard to get a good take because we were making each other laugh so much.” But it wasn’t all fun and games for White. “Chris Powers has to do some fighting in the movie. I have trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for about 3 years, so I helped to choreograph my fight sequence.”
The elusive villian in I.T. Supremacy is none other than the ninja hacker, played by Jay Galvin, who also helped to choreograph the action. “I’ve studied martial arts since I was 13, so all the choreography is borrowed from a variety of styles,” says Galvin. “ The toughest part about the fight scenes was that each fight was shot in one evening, so by the end, we were beat up and the next day, we were quite sore.”
Music and the Information Age
In addition to his role in front of the camera, Jay Galvin’s biggest contribution lies behind the scenes in composing I.T. Supremacy’s epic score. A longtime collaborator with Cole, Galvin scored the film like it was a mainstream action movie. “When Ken said to make a Hollywood style soundtrack similar to the Bourne series, I just ran with it. The result is a fun little comedy that suddenly finds itself in the midst of grand, theatrical action.”
I.T. Supremacy, with its blend of insightful humor and deft style, takes the action-comedy genre into the information age. “This is office-themed humor with a whole new twist,” says Amber Pape. “There’s great satire of the tech-centric corporate world, sprinkled with some hilarious jabs at modern action movies.”