Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Maumee High will screen alumnus’ film

Madigan made 'Dead Doornails' in Los Angeles in 2007


Tom Madigan shot his film ‘‍Dead Doornails’ guerilla-style, or without permits. Mr. Madigan will screen the micro-budget movie at the Maumee High School Performing Arts Center on Saturday.

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Independent filmmaker Tom Madigan, Maumee High School class of 1998, returns to his alma mater on Saturday, for a screening of Dead Doornails, a film he made in Los Angeles in 2007.

Don’t expect a cast of thousands, or a multimillion dollar budget. Dead Doornails is a “microbudget” feature movie he made for $2,000.

“I was the writer, producer, cameraman, and director,” Mr. Madigan said. “We had a crew of three or four, depending on the day, and a cast of about 12. Nobody was paid. One of the cast members was my neighbor in West Hollywood. She was a building manager and comedienne. She was perfect to play the 60-year-old prostitute because of her sense of humor.”

The screening will be in Maumee High School’‍s Performing Arts Center, which he has rented for the occasion. Shorts will be shown from 7 to 8 p.m., and the feature from 8:15 to 9:45. Tickets are $5 at the door, but admission for police officers, firefighters, public school teachers, and library staff is free.

“I also want to meet area filmmakers and actors, and encourage them to come,” he said. They can contact him at

His film’s story is about a young woman who kills her boyfriend in the bathroom after suffering abuse. She then flees to the 60-year-old prostitute.

“The problem is, the boyfriend worked for a crime boss, and there’s a bunch of money missing,” Mr. Madigan said. “The crime boss thinks she has it. That’‍s the setup.”

The film was shot “guerilla-style,” meaning no permits were pulled before filming the public scenes, he said, and had a screening at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood in October, 2007, that attracted about 100 viewers.

Mr. Madigan, 34, graduated from Bowling Green State University with a major in fine art, with an emphasis on animation. He would have preferred a film major, but one wasn’t offered.

He lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, and returned to northwest Ohio this year. He plans to return to Hollywood this year or in early 2015. In Los Angeles, he worked a night job at Hollywood High School teaching English as a second language to adult immigrants, work he liked a lot, until his position was eliminated.

“Most people in L.A. have multiple jobs,” he explained. “I was fortunate. I never had to be a bartender or stripper.”

For the time being, he said, he rents a room in South Toledo and is writing a screenplay for a movie producer who is hopeful it will result in a feature film. The movie business is very chancy, he noted.

“Nobody knows what works,” he said.

Contact Carl Ryan at: or 419-724-6095.

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