The Boys Are Downstairs

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Film Short

Crime, Drama

Jeffrey Atella

1 Campaigns | Pennsylvania, United States

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This campaign raised $7,050 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Sure, High School films are nothing new. However, this film offers something far beyond comedic teen high-jinx. This film is an in-depth character study of teen boys in attempts to understand how ego and persona can be extremely harmful - an issue that is present in ALL areas of American culture.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
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Mission Statement

The screenplay is a dramatization of our high school experiences. We are exploring the dangers of ego and persona within these individuals as a way to gain a better understanding of teens' harmful behaviors. We believe that understanding is the first step in changing.

The Story

 T H E   B O Y S   A R E   D O W N S T A I R S

On the surface, this film is a high school crime drama. However, a deeper look will show that this film is really about the fragile egos and the lack of identity that high school boys possess at all times. It explores the constant struggle to be liked and respected by one’s peers. It explores the teenage boy’s need to do whatever it takes to be seen as masculine or strong – even if that means taking huge risks and not doing what one truly wants. In short, this film is a cautionary tale about what can go wrong if you live only to further your persona and never take time to listen to your true self.  

The three main characters let their egos and personas make all their decisions for them. This leads them on an extremely dangerous quest to rob a drug dealer. One character does this because he wants his peers to think he is tough and not afraid of anything. Another character wants to do this because a girl asked him to get her certain "party supplies" if you will. This girl is considered to be extremely beautiful by all of his peers and he thinks that he will be greatly respected by everyone if he hooks up with her... 

Stupid Boys. Am I right? Well, they don't think so. 

COVID-19 PLAN: The health and safety of our actors and crew will always take priority and we will follow proper CDC guidelines throughout the production when necessary. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing masks, taking temperatures daily, social distancing, quarantined periods, etc. We also may ask the cast and crew to get tested a few weeks before production starts.



     C R I M E   L I F E S T Y L E   &  P O P U L A R   C U L T U R E

A large part of this film looks at how suburban teenagers somehow “relate” to the gangster lifestyle portrayed in rap music, movies, and TV. These suburban teens live to the sound of Trap music and idolize criminal characters in film and TV. (Henry Hill, Jordan Belfort, Walter White, etc.)
Rap music has been the dominant genre in popular music for the past decade and for some reason upper-middle-class white teens can’t get enough of it, regardless of the fact that their environment doesn’t resemble the environments described in the music. At all.
The suburban life is very monotonous to these young men. Fantasizing about living a dangerous alternative lifestyle provides them with a bit of escape from the pressures that their affluent community inflicts on them (going to a good college, picking a good career, etc)



 L O O K &  F E E L

*Click the media tab to see the visual inspiration!*  

This film will have a very naturalistic, free-flowing look to it. The use of handheld camera movements, along with long takes and tracking shots will give this film a sense of realism that’ll make the viewer feel as if they are there partying with these kids. The camera will move and follow the characters in a loose playful way to encapsulate the spontaneous and energetic attitudes of the characters.
The film will feature lots of dark scenes that take place outdoors at night, but it will also have lots of vibrant colors emanating throughout. There will be scenes of the boys running through suburbs during both Halloween and Christmas time. The elaborate decorations and light will pop on screen.
What Happens in Basements is meant to feel as real as a documentary film. It will employ a Cinema Verte style approach to the filming process. Realism is the main quality I wish to accomplish with this film. However, there will be several momentary explosions of hyper stylization of a surreal nature. 
Still photos will be flashing throughout this film as well. This is partly a stylistic choice and a thematic choice. This is meant to represent our current social media environment – where today’s teens’ personas live within the images and videos that they post online. The flashing camera and flashing images are meant to be reminiscent of the playful style of filmmaking of the French New Wave, but it also serves as a reference to Martin Scorsese’s gangster films– Goodfellas, Casino, The Irishman, Wolf of Wall Street, ect.– this is a sort of homage to the master filmmaker, but it is also referencing the fact that the teen boy characters are obsessed with this gangster lifestyle portrayed in these films.

They want their lives to be like a Scorsese gangster movie, but they find out that that lifestyle is darker than they thought. (This Scorsese reference is also present within the use of Doo-Wop music at the beginning of the film.)


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Cash Pledge

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Cast Costs

Costs $1,000

It is our philosophy that actors should ALWAYS be paid for their work.

Camera and Lens

Costs $4,000

We want to rent high-quality gear to achieve a top of the line cinematic experience.


Costs $500

To achieve a cinematic look.

Costume and Props

Costs $500

This will help us provide a realistic look for our characters.


Costs $600

To FEED our cast and crew

Equipment Insurance

Costs $1,000

This will cover insurance, just in case anything goes wrong.

Crew Costs

Costs $600

It is our philosophy that EVERYONE who works on a project should be paid.

About This Team

We all share the same belief that film is meant to reflect upon the psychologies of the individuals that make up our society. A better understanding of ourselves leads to improvement within ourselves and the world around us. This understanding is exactly what we hope to achieve with our film!




Current Team