Tyler Wieseler has always wanted to be an actor, but the big city is not for him.
So, along with a cast of 30 people, he will be producing and acting in his own movie “Thank You For Renting” that will be filmed in Norfolk.
It’s a movie about four societal misfits who contemplate life after their beloved movie rental store closes.
Wieseler grew up in Norfolk but moved to Chicago to pursue an acting career. But after two years there, he decided he liked the small-town feel that Norfolk had to offer.
“I realized I was a little fish in a big pond,” he said. “I decided to come home and be closer to my family.”
According to Wieseler, several individuals have been wanting to create a movie in this area for a long time. After working on a series of short films with Jerome Wemhoff, Wieseler came up with a full-length story idea to be told on the big screen.
Wemhoff has had prior experience with production and acting and also was excited to get involved with Norfolk’s pool of skilled creatives.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t try and film this project here,” Wemhoff said.
Wieseler said he believes there’s a lot of untapped potential in Norfolk in regard to acting ability as well as the city’s landscape.
Wemhoff and Wieseler decided to become co-producers and started brainstorming ideas to make their movie a reality.
“We sat down for about four hours and came up with a plan,” Wemhoff said. “We really started from scratch. We talked to some friends about casting, Dan Wolff started writing a script and we set up a fundraiser.”
Although Wemhoff and Wieseler were the voices behind the idea, the whole cast and crew has had a hand in making the movie happen.
“It has been an inclusive and collaborative process for everyone,” Wieseler said. “We are all very much involved in this project.”
All the plans are ready, and with part of the movie covered by their online fundraiser, the crew will begin filming next month. The funds already raised will go toward hair and makeup, camera rental, accommodations for out-of-town actors and sound engineering, among other expenses. The movie will take 10 days to film.
Not only are Wieseler and Wemhoff producing the film, but they will be playing two of the four main characters. They have both had experience with the Norfolk Community Theatre in the past, which is where the two became friends.
“I have always felt like I had abilities as an actor,” said Wieseler, in contrast to Wemhoff, who is more comfortable with the production side of things.
“I like to call myself a not-actor,” Wemhoff said. “I’ve always been mildly uncomfortable with acting, but since I helped write the script, I’ve had some control over the character, which makes it a lot easier.”
Throughout the process, the cast has remained hopeful and optimistic about the outcome of the movie. In any case, Weiseler said they will continue to create projects in Norfolk.
“A lot of people ask us why we are doing this. Why not?” Wemhoff said. “This is our biggest ‘why not’ moment.”
On June 8, the cast is holding a meet-and-greet with an optional donation. It will start at 7 p.m. at Johnnie Byrd Brewing Company in downtown Wayne.
When the movie is finished and ready to be viewed, there will be a premier hosted at Wayne Majestic Theatre for people who donated to the project.
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Want to learn more?
To find out more about the movie project or donate, individuals can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.