By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
* * *
They shot the film on weekends while working day jobs doing editing and post-production work for Orbit Media—work that also came with equipment they could use after-hours. The production budget came out of the brothers' own pockets, but once they wrapped principal photography, they showed the project to their bosses, who were impressed enough to come onboard as financial partners, letting Dave and Dan finish it during regular work hours for the same pay.
"Once we decided it was gonna be feature-length, we had to structure it so that the story wouldn't be just 45 minutes strung out with interviews and stuff like that," Dave says. "We had to have enough going on to keep people interested the entire length. If it was just a series of gags, it would've felt a lot more thrown-together."
A 300 parody that plays like a thrown-together series of gags? Perish the thought. But before 305 could be finished, that's exactly what hit theaters: Meet the Spartans, a hastily made parody film from Epic Movie's Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (though these were not the idea thieves the Holecheks had met with). Meet the Spartans topped the box office in January, proving that a nonstop barrage of stale pop-culture references is enough to bring in a certain demographic. Fortunately, 305 is nothing like it, despite their common inspiration. It isn't bereft of pop-culture touchstones—ESPN's SportsCenter, Home Alone and Etch-a-Sketch all get nods—but the big difference is that they aren't treated as punch lines in and of themselves.
"We try to stay away from direct references, like quoting lines—'We dine in hell!' and stuff like that. We try not to be too obvious," Dan says.
"What we're making fun of is portraying these men as heroic ancient figures," Tyra says. "I think our movie is more getting to the point that today's man, especially in movies and television, is this dopey kind of character who's had his fight taken out of him."
Demonstrating a true sense of Christian charity, Tyra is willing to give some credit to the competition. "You have to at least give Meet the Spartans props for exploiting the loophole that they found with throwing crap up on the screen and getting people to buy it," he says. "Whether or not you agree that it's crap or not, I don't think they really care. They're showing you the check at the end of the day. And you almost have to say, 'Well done, good job, you just figured something out.' They can make all their money, but we're gonna do something we actually care about and thought about. We don't need to go through the bureaucracy of the film industry, and I think that's also what YouTube is opening up."
When Hopkins hears this, he jokes that Tyra sounds like an indie-rocker cliché, which sends Tyra into a comedic riff that concludes with him saying, "You know what we should do? We should not sell our movie. That way we'll be successes. Let's put it away in the closet. Let's just have one copy and keep it at our house. Dave, you can have it Monday, Wednesday and Friday."
In fact, the DVD will soon be up for pre-order at www.the305movie.com. Dave won't say who the distributor will be, but he hints that it was originally going to come out in February on a smaller label, but recent interest from a bigger company pushed that back. It's a safe bet it won't be Vanguard Cinema, the coincidentally named indie imprint that put out Arizona. ("People say, 'Oh, how cute! Your school released it!' No. Different company, thank you. I interned there," says Dave.) And if you can get to Palm Beach, Florida, in April, 305 will have its world theatrical premiere there. It's not local, but hey, not every submission can get into the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Meanwhile, the Holechek brothers' future seems bright. Holly Goldberg Sloan—screenwriter for such family films as Made in America, Angels in the Outfield and The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course—recruited the Holecheks just out of college to help her with making commercials and the forthcoming PBS movie Heidi 4 Paws (a retelling of the classic Heidi with an all-canine cast, voiced by celebrities such as Steve Guttenberg and Angela Lansbury).
"If I walk into a room, they're my secret weapons—they just have all this talent," Sloan says. "I'm kind of hesitant to tell the world—it'd be the last time I see them. Though, of course, I only want the best for them."
But first things first, says Dave. "I'd like to be able to finally pay our actors."