Collecting a small fan base by producing low-brow content like Tim and Eric or Workaholics has been the achievement of Flint Rat Films.
The founders, writer and director Cody LaRue, and writer and producer Dylan Grady, met at Churchill’s Food and Spirits nearly five years ago. LaRue and his friends had been making films since elementary school. Grady was trying to get a film produced but lacked a team. Together they formed a company.
A guerrilla-style operation, Flint Rat is run like a punk rock group.
“We both wanted to be in a punk band, but we were both really bad at music, so we just decided to roll with that general idea in film, making our own stickers and shirts and filming wherever we can,” LaRue says.
Foregoing film school to learn by doing, the founders have picked up knowledge along the way.
“If you want to make movies you don’t need to have a degree,” LaRue says. “It’s nice to have that knowledge and you want to learn the rules, but, if you want to write you’re either good or not.”
The project that would solidify Flint Rat Films first began with a perhaps overzealous group that originally set out to make a feature-length movie that never happened. The plot involved the staging of a heist in an abandoned bank building downtown, now home to the Crim Fitness Foundation. After the film was abandoned, the group disbanded, but LaRue and Grady began Flint Rat, launching a YouTube channel and producing skits.
Since then, they’ve come to average a production a week. Some of these include Drunk Takes, which details completing improvisational content in a single night, and a series called “Regular Dudes,” consisting of TV-length episodes.
“We want to do a lot more of the longer content, but a lot of people don’t really have the attention span on YouTube, so that is why we do a lot of short skits,” LaRue says.
Last year Flint Rat completed a short horror film called Bloody Sundae and submitted it to various festivals including screening it at TromaDance Film Festival in Detroit this month.
“We filmed it pretty quickly, but to get it finished with the editing and scheduling on everyone’s weekends was difficult. The last day of filming was from around 7 at night to 3 in the morning,” LaRue says.
Flint Rat Films plans to continue working toward more regular content and eventually hopes to develop a series.
“I would just like to keep it going and make enough that we don’t have to work other jobs, because, even though it isn’t what makes me money, this is what I consider my main job,” Grady says. “It’s what we do.”
Flint Rat Films includes a number of regulars working to complete projects, including editors Dominique Turner and Ethan Kissel, music producer Keith Music, Courtney Stayhue as cinematographer and director of photography, and artist Alex Theodoroff. Jeff Gill is a regular actor and oversees visual effects, and Taylor Decker handles makeup and special effects.
LaRue and Grady say the community of local filmmakers is supportive and helps each other with projects. But they’re always looking for new faces who would like to get involved.
“It is hard to find people who are passionate about it, who will follow through and show up,” says LaRue.
Lead image: The dudes filming. Cody LaRue (left), Dylan Grady (stretched out) and Jeff Gill (right). LaRue and Grady are co-founders of Flint Rat Films.