Craig Zobel

Director Craig Zobel presented his film, “Great World of Sound” at the Humanities Center Thursday, Oct 28, 2010.  This was the second film in the Humanities Film Series at YCP.  Zobel was born in NY and graduated from North Carolina School of Arts.  His movie won several prizes across the country and was featured at “The Sundance Film Festival” in 2007.  Magnolia Films, impressed with the movie, funded and handled the distribution. 

The movie was filmed in Charlotte, NC and dubbed a “funny drama” by Zobel.  The story of two music promoters, actors Kene Holiday and Pat Healy, try to find the next amazing act only to slowly realize their true positions are master scam artists.  The actors start unsure of how to perform their sales pitch and gradually become more into their roles.  They play off each other, tell stories to make the sale and pledge their support for the unknown superstar.  The singers and bands are excited about this chance to make it big.  Genuine concern shows on their faces when the promoters begin their pitch on why they must commit their own funds for a recording contract.  Eventually the two main characters realize they are part of a scam and after taking their final payment, they give up music promotion.

Zobel took a unique method to film these audition segments.  Filmed behind a one way mirror, the musicians did not know this was a movie production.  The set was built to look like hotel rooms and the promotions headquarters setting was “dentist office decor in 1983.”  The actors leaned on each other, often improvising on the spot depending on responses they received.  This kept the movie incredibly fresh.  After the pitch scene was filmed the auditioners were let in on the production and asked to continue participating.  Less than 6 people refused and from that point forward they were led by Zobel to achieve what was needed in the film.  The film was cleverly cut to present the characters growth from money hungry to being ashamed of taking people’s money .

The audience was given easy clues to realize the music promotion was a scam.  “Great World of Sound” teased the conscious of its characters and viewers.  Zobel stated “I didn’t want the audience to think ‘this is a scam’ and lose interest.”  He also recognizes a theme to his films of “people rationalizing doing something bad” for their own gain. 

Zobel had great support from his family and friends, often pitching in for free to see him complete his movie.  Zobel’s father assisted the actors portraying scam artists with his past salesman days.  The next film wrapping up in January 2011 is about a Swedish Mobster who decides he should produce video games as a legitimate income.  Fans of Zobel’s film work and his online Japanese cartoon, HomeStar Runner will be eager to see his next film release…hopefully featured on YCP’s campus.


  1. vysizd Kudos to you! I hadn’t thugoht of that!

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