It’s only been two years since Jon Fatigate jumped into the world of filmmaking. But over that short period of time, the young director, editor, and producer has already worked with an iconic heavy metal band, Anthrax, shot a pilot for his original comedy series, and made a documentary about a man’s foray into stand up comedy after tragedy strikes.
The twenty-eight-year-old Fatigate, a former stand-up comic whose work focuses on the entertainment business, said his favorite part about filmmaking is the reward the creator receives when his projects are completed. “You can explore a thousand different things that you want to explore. You can tell a story and learn a lot on the way. That’s why I thought it was cool and different. You find something that fascinates you, learn about it, and tell a story about it. You come out of it being knowledgeable and having a really cool new understanding of it and being experienced too.”
Fatigate made his first major piece one year ago, called “Stand-Up Morales” about Carl Morales, the manager of a restaurant at which he worked. At age 40, Morales faced divorce and addiction problems. He attempted to turn his tragedy into comedy by becoming a stand-up comic, his lifelong dream. “It’s his story, and you get to watch this guy craft an act and bring it to the stage,” said Fatigate. “You really learn about him and he learns about himself.”
In the opening scene, Fatigate and Morales are sitting at a kitchen table, writing the aspiring comic’s routine. Fatigate says, “You’re 40 and divorced. Recently divorced. What is funny about that?” Morales laughs, and starts to respond. “There’s nothing funny about…” Fatigate strikes back: “Yes there is; you just started laughing. Something’s funny about it. There are things that are funny about all kinds of sick s**t.”
On the lighter side of comedy, Fatigate shot a pilot for his new show about four up and coming comedians and good friends, Thomas Dale, Calise Hawkins, Andrew Schulz, and Mike Rogan. “I did a few comedy shorts, and then I decided I wanted to make a TV show pilot,” he said. “So I went into my savings account, drained it, and bought all this camera and audio equipment. I went to a few comics I knew who I thought were interesting and I filmed them all summer long, every day.”
Dale, a regular at The Comedy Cellar who opened for Denis Leary this past year, said that he and the other comics have been in the business between four and eight years. He said the show is “a correct depiction of comedians and their lives and a specific interpretation of our personal lives and friendship.”
The comedians met Fatigate three years ago at the Village Lantern, Dale said. “We hadn’t seen him in two years and he popped up and said, ‘I think you guys have a great vibe.’ We were all focused on different places in our lives so we were friends but not together as we would have been. It was cool he remembered us that way. We’re all good friends. It’s like family. You know when you’re really close and you tend to take each other for granted, so that was kind of the vibe.”
Fatigate worked with another group of four entertainers this past year as well: the Big 4 thrash metal bands, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer, who played at Yankee Stadium on September 14th. He was part of the crew that shot “Stealing Home,” a documentary and music video about Anthrax and their homecoming to the Bronx for the concert. “I’ve never hung out with rockstars before, especially thrash rockstars. They were so cool…They treat you like you’re family right off the bat.”
The next big goal for Fatigate is to produce a film about taking a bike trip across California with his adoptive father and his brothers. “When my dad was my age he just went around California and rode his bike for months…so we’re going to redo the bike trip with my dad as adults.” So he doesn’t drain his bank account again, he’s hoping to raise $15,000, on Kickstarter, beginning in November.
Fatigate said his favorite part of the business is interacting with the individuals he meets on his journey. “I get to keep working with awesome people. As that happens, I am seeing more progression and opportunity. I read how your effectiveness is multiplied by who you surround yourself with and I’m seeing that more and more every day.”