An actor, a producer and a finance director walk into a bar. It's no joke — it marked the start of a new venture for Carnegie Mellon alums and longtime pals Zachary Quinto (A'99), Neal Dodson (A'00) and Corey Moosa (A'00).
They've pooled their unique talents to create a media production company called Before the Door Pictures — a name that draws on one of the first acting exercises required of them in Carnegie Mellon University's drama program.
"We had all these props and there was a door set up in the classroom. On the other side of the door was an obstacle that you didn't want to face but you had to," Moosa explained.
"We wanted a name that would tie us all together," Dodson chimed in. "Obviously, we all had Pittsburgh and CMU in common, and here we are together again, starting a new thing."
Don't start sending in your screenplays just yet — they have a bundle of projects in the works and are focused on getting all of the company's wheels in motion. Projects in development range from film, television and web to graphic novels, as they aim to be at the forefront of using the Internet for storytelling.
"We're trying to build a brand for ourselves and a respectability in the industry in the areas we can," said Dodson. "We want to keep our name in the public eye, consistently having some kind of presence on the web, always having some piece of content out there."
So far so good. Among the first short films the trio produced is Bordeaux, using nearly 15,000 digital still photos and no video footage. Bordeaux was screened with dozens of other "Happy New Year" shorts in France in 2008, as an introduction to the city's New Year's Eve countdown.
And building on a lifelong passion of Moosa's, they have comic book projects underway including "Mr. Murder is Dead" written by Victor Quinaz (A'00), who is a New York-based writer and friend from their Carnegie Mellon days, and "Lucid" authored by another alum Michael McMillian (A'02). Both are due out in the spring of 2010.
"We're excited to give these guys a chance that they otherwise would not have had," said Dodson. "And while our big projects take longer, we can use projects like these to show what we can do."
Right now, they're drawing on Quinto's fan base as their core audience. They hope to broaden this audience with each new release, as people become more aware of their abilities as a team.
Quinto built a successful acting career in Los Angeles, most notably playing Sylar on the hit TV show, Heroes, and young Spock in the recent blockbuster film Star Trek. Moosa conquered the trendy New York City theater scene and oversaw hundreds of productions as director of finance for the HERE Arts Center.
Meanwhile, Dodson went straight from school to performing on Broadway, followed by appearances on television and regional theater — then transitioning to producing out of a genuine drive to create.
"Zach jokes about it, but really, he's the face of the company, I'm the brains and Corey's the heart," Dodson said.