Local production company Renaissance Men was founded in 2013 by Clarion University English major Todd Crawford and business owner Randy Shick. It stemmed from a mutual affinity for the arts and the Men’s interest in becoming multi-dimensional artists.
“We want to be writers, we want to be directors, we want to be actors, we want to cover all forms of art,” Shick said.
Crawford and Shick said the group is defined as being post-modern, using traditional filming techniques and storytelling but adding modern elements to their work. “We’re really just trying to find a new form of storytelling,” Crawford said.
Shick and Crawford cited Woody Allen, Spike Jonze, Richard Linklater and Giuseppe Andrews as some of their influences.
Renaissance Men initially had a team of artists, but due to complications, Crawford and Shick have become the only consistent members, with people coming and going depending on the project. Both Shick and Crawford write, act and direct their films, though Shick is more involved in the editing and camera work.
In the past, Renaissance Men produced a series of short films and the first season of web show “Plan 9,” a horror movie review show. The group made its first film, “Last Call,” in 2013 and its second film, “Second Act,” in 2014.
Renaissance Men’s upcoming film projects may include the second season of “Plan 9,” a bigfoot comedy and an unnamed movie, which is expected to focus on a Halloween party and shift perspectives among multiple characters. “The movies are all up in the air right now about what we are doing and when,” Crawford said.
Shick said the group is trying to start a stage show by fall 2015. Shick and Crawford said the show will be based in comedy and essentially be a variety show featuring sketches, videos, music and other acts.
“It’s a more fully realized version of Renaissance Men. We don’t want to just do film…but we wanted to do something more broad, like a vaudeville show,” Crawford said.
Crawford added that he hopes to open a publishing house in 2016, which may be affiliated with the group as well.
Renaissance Men hopes to have most of its film projects completed by fall 2015 and to take the stage show on tour in two to three years.