When people think of Allston Christmas, they either shudder in residual horror, remembering their moving woes, scoff at the misfortune of others, or point to a ratty nightstand in the corner, which they scored off the street.
What most don’t see is a golden opportunity to film the whole ordeal and make it into a series, but that’s exactly what Jared Vincenti plans to do.
“I wanted to make a movie about how terrible moving is, and I’m living in the right city to do it,” said Vincenti. “It’s just a ridiculous ritual. The more you think about it, the more you look at it, it’s an awful tradition.”
So Vincenti decided to make a webseries, rather than a film, that would look past the junk piled high on the sidewalks and into the worlds of those uprooting their lives. Allston Xmas blossomed into 12 loosely interconnected short stories all taking place on Allston Christmas, that awful day on September 1 where everyone abandons their stuff on the street. Some of the characters are couples who are breaking up and moving out, some people are deciding what’s important to them as they go through their belongings.
“These people are going to be asking: do you just want to throw away everything? Is it easier to throw things away or keep them? Where did all this shit come from?” said Vincenti.
While a documentary of the chaos that occurs on September 1 could probably make for some entertaining reality TV, Vincenti didn’t see the likelihood that a good documentary could get done in one day. He also made the (probably wise) decision of not bothering people actually in the midst of their move.
“Everyone ends up being a monster at the end of moving day, and I didn’t want to be in the position where I’d have to portray all these people so negatively,” said Vincenti. “Plus, there were so many great, local actors who were excited to do the project.”
So on September 1, instead of filming movers, Vincenti will be gathering tools in order to recreate the day as he begins to shoot throughout October. They’ll be gathering filler shots of the wreckage, filming anything that needs to take place outside, and collecting props for exterior shots of the film. The rest will be shot indoors.
As a current Brighton resident who participated in one Allston Christmas moving day, Vincenti believes the personal connections to the terrible experience will call people’s attention to the series, whether they’ve moved themselves or just watched.
“Everyone has their own horror story, but then they’ll say, ‘oh, I have a coffee table that I found on Allston Christmas.’ It’s truly a community ritual,” said Vincenti. “It’s also a spectator sport — people will take out a lawnchair and a cooler and sit outside and watch people suffer all day. We sit there and take bets on who will have a breakdown first. I think that will translate into people wanting to watch a webseries.”
While the series won’t be released until sometime early next year, Vincenti believes that the horror related to Allston Christmas rings true year round, and also that Boston is a perfect market for projects like his.
“It’s not New York or LA where people are filming a movie every weekend; it’s small enough for people to get excited, but big enough to have everything you need,” said Vincenti, who lived in LA for a year after graduating from BU with his masters in film production.
Vincenti is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund Allston Xmas, and with three days to go (it expires on September 1), it’s nearly reached its goal of $6,000, with about $5,300 and 97 backers. The project has been focused locally, because that’s where people have a “lightbulb moment,” but Vincenti said we’ll find out if people in Iowa will care.
Maybe they will, considering just how big of a mess moving in Boston has become.
“It’s a shitshow,” said Vincenti.
Look out for Allston Xmas, to be released online in 2014.