By Angie Mayes
Mt. Juliet News Correspondent
Derek Fry, founder and director of Fry Productions, has brought another well-known song to life in a live-action video.
Fresh off the heals of the well-liked remake of the “Thriller” video, a cover of the song made famous by Michael Jackson in 1983, Fry produced a version of “I Put A Spell On You” from the movie, “Hocus Pocus.” The video officially premiered May 11.
“That is our very first video remake of 2019,” said Fry, of Mt. Juliet. “It’s my favorite song to sing during the Halloween season. I am a huge ‘Hocus Pocus’ fan. You can ask anyone that knows me, every fall I must binge-watch this movie from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. I am also a huge Kenny Ortega fan, hence the reason why we are doing a song from ‘High School Musical 2’ this summer. He was the director of both those movies, and he inspires my creativity for all of these videos.
In the most recent video, he had 19 actors known as “triple threats,” which means they excel at acting, dance and singing. They sent what Fry calls, “incredible resumes full of many performances and talents.”
Actress Hillary Mead stars in Bette Midler’s role of Winifred Sanderson. Actress Paige Songer plays Mary Sanderson, originally played by Kathy Najimy. Actress Michaela Lee plays Sarah Sanderson, who was originally portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Fry said he starts each video “by creating my own casting call listing characters I potentially need for the video. I then share the casting call in many theatre and film Facebook groups. Quite a few people submit for their desired roles.”
He said the plot is “the three Sanderson sisters crash the town Halloween party while chasing after Max and Dani Dennison for Winifred’s spell book. Max jumps up on the stage and takes the mic from the skeleton singers and tells the party guests the sisters are back from the dead. Everyone believes he is just telling a joke, and the sisters proceed to take over the stage and sing “I Put a Spell on You.”
Fry said it “took us about three-and-a-half hours to film the video. I had an incredible team of hard workers along my side. To list a few people, Tiffany Fry was an assistant director alongside Paige Songer. Chris Hensley, from Cross Point Church in Mt. Juliet, willingly designed our lights and let us borrow the stage and sound equipment at the church. You can find the full crew list in the description and toward end of the video.
“It took me about two and a half months to completely edit this video. It’s a super long process. I’m not going to lie, but I probably changed the entire video up three or four times before I had the final product.”
“Thriller,” from Oct. 31, currently has close to 1,500 views on YouTube.
“Right now, we have around 250 views [for ‘I Put a Spell on You.’ Our goal for this one is 3,000 views. I’m crossing my fingers that we eventually double the views ‘Thriller’ has.”
Fry said his company, Fry Productions, is a small production company, which I own, here in [Mt. Juliet]. It was created mainly for the fun and experience all while create remake videos from some of my favorite movies and songs.”
Fry, who is still in high schools, said, “I plan on going to college to major in film production as a director or editor. On the other hand, I still really love musical theatre. My backup plan is to go to college to be a theatre director-teacher in a school program, if I don’t succeed in the film industry.”
Fry started his film career by helping his older brother, Matt, film videos for his YouTube channel a few years ago.
“I also got more experience while filming and editing promotional videos for the theatre community,” he said.
In addition to going to school and his production company, Fry Productions will hold a karaoke night at the Roast at 216 S. Maple St. in Lebanon.
“Our first karaoke was also on May 11, 2019,” he said. “I decided to host a karaoke night to raise money for our next few videos and show off the amazing talent I’ve cast into my productions so far.
He said he is planning even more videos.
“My plan for the next big video is ‘All For One’ from ‘High School Musical 2.’ We are also casting another smaller video at this time, ‘I Can’t Stop Singing’ from ‘Teen Beach Movie.’ We will be finishing out the year in October with a very exciting Halloween video. Knowing that we already released “Hocus Pocus,” it gives us the opportunity to release a new video coming out on Oct. 31.”
To view the video, visit youtube.com/watch?v=l-kBrsjOITE.