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Oct 4, 2016 12:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Quogue Actor Shoots His Screenwriting Debut 'Love And Everything In Between' On The South Fork

A scene for
Oct 4, 2016 12:54 PM

Throughout September, across the South Fork, from Quogue to Montauk, cameras rolled on “Love & Everything in Between,” written by and starring East Quogue native Michael Dougherty.The movie is the first of many projects he has planned with his father, Ned Dougherty, through their new production company, Hampton Filmworks.

Their film and television projects will run the gamut of genres, from noir/action to a redemption story based on a period of the elder Mr. Dougherty’s life when he owned Club Marakesh in Westhampton Beach.

“Love & Everything in Between” is a romantic drama. “It’s about two families that meet and become intertwined in love relationships in the Hamptons,” the younger Mr. Dougherty explained. “And their choices and loyalty are put to the test after a Hamptons summer party ends badly, causing the relationships to implode. And what unravels is love and everything in between.”

Now 25 years old, he said he found his passion for acting at Our Lady of the Hamptons School in Southampton Village, where he performed in plays under the direction of the principal, Sister Kathy Schlueter. He went on to attend St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, and then went away for college, but only briefly. He left college and enrolled instead at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Manhattan.

“I was originally preparing for a Wall Street career, and I came home from college and said that I wanted to be an actor. This was my passion, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing something that I absolutely love doing,” he said.

He found work as an extra on the USA television series “Royal Pains,” which was set in the Hamptons, and as a stand-in for the film “Something Borrowed,” which was filmed at a house in Water Mill. The latter gig just fell in his lap in 2010, when he was 19 years old, and made him eligible to join the screen actors union, SAG-AFTRA.

“I was walking down the street on Jobs Lane, and casting directors came up to me and said, ‘We think you have the look,’” he recalled. “Two weeks later, I was on ‘Something Borrowed’ as a stand-in, and that gave me SAG eligibility.”

He then went to Los Angeles to further his studies and pursue acting, and he joined a boutique talent agency. He’s been “working in the trenches” for four years, acting in theater and low-budget films—including ultra-ultra-low-budget horror films, he said.

“Now I’m creating projects that I absolutely love, and that resonate with me, and that I’m passionate about and I want to do,” he said.

He wrote the screenplay for “Love & Everything in Between” in June last year over the span of just three weeks. “I went in my room and filled up legal pads and wrote and wrote and wrote.”

It’s a film about seeking love, and a coming-of-age story, he said. He had felt inspired after visiting France with his mother, Ginnie Kearns, last year, and wanted to write something for the millennial generation, exploring themes of “the pressure to succeed, the pressure to overcome obstacles and endure what life throws at you.”

The elder Mr. Dougherty called it “The Graduate” for millennials—though he offered the caveat that there is no Mrs. Robinson.

Wanting to help translate his son’s script from the page to the screen, but having never worked in film before, he attended a one-month intensive program at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles to learn how to become a producer.

“What I learned in that program is just enough to know that I have to rely on the experts, and we have a very professional crew of 26 people, and approximately 30-some actors involved in this project,” he said.

They hired an experienced director, Jeremiah Kipp, to helm the film, and they enlisted many locals to be extras in scenes requiring beachgoers, surfers and partygoers.

In addition to filming at public beaches in Southampton, Hampton Bays and Montauk, and at private homes in East Quogue, scenes were also shot at Gosman’s Inlet Cafe in Montauk, Beach Bar in Hampton Bays, and Southampton Arts Center and 75 Main restaurant in Southampton.

In the scene at 75 Main, Mr. Dougherty’s character, Matt Lynch, is arrested by two police officers for an earlier incident, and the arraignment was filmed at Quogue Village Court.

Principal photography on the East End is wrapped up—with the exception of some possible pickup shots for anything that might have been missed or was not quite right the first time—though filming continues in New York as the last scenes are shot at a hospital.

The Doughertys’ plan is to prepare a “Love & Everything in Between” teaser trailer to bring to the American Film Market in Santa Monica in November to try to sell the distribution rights. Then they expect to hold the premiere in Southampton during Memorial Day weekend.

Hampton Filmworks’ next movie—set in the warehouse district of Los Angeles—is “The Butterfly and The Butcher,” which the younger Mr. Dougherty also wrote last year.

“It’s about three hit men that are all assigned the same mark, so to speak, and then what unfolds is the crime bosses all assign them to kill each other,” he said.

He has also written a treatment for “The Shelter Island Project,” an eerie horror film along the lines of “Poltergeist” he would like to make on Shelter Island.

Meanwhile, the elder Mr. Dougherty has written a television series titled “South Beach Spirit,” set in Miami Beach, and he is planning a feature film five years down the line about his life from 1976, when he opened Club Marakesh, to 1984, when he turned his life around. “It resulted in my getting sober after eight crazy years,” he said.

He would like to shoot that film five years from now, when his son will be 30, and old enough to play him in 1976.

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