The story of New England's largest abandoned school, in Woonsocket RI

MY OLD SCHOOL

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Who We Are

Jason Allard and Scott Gabrielson are two independent filmmakers with an interest in the old and historic. With combined decades of experience in film and media production, they are aiming to create an original, comprehensive, and artistic documentary to preserve memories of a school both have graduated from.

Jason Allard, Director/Editor

A recent graduate from the University of Rhode Island, he most recently served as primary videographer at the URI Office of Internships and Experiential Education. Jason directed and produced his first documentary, "Perceptions of the Future", in 2011 and created Uncommon Sense Productions in 2007, where he is the director and lead editor (www.UncommonSenseFilm.com). Jason is currently a video producer in a Boston-based company specializing in information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology.

Scott Gabrielson, Executive Producer

Scott's background includes over 30 years of experience in graphics, film, and fine arts profession, as well as 4 years as Media Coordinator for the Woonsocket Council of Community Services. Additionally, Scott served for 15 years as Photography Instructor at CCRI, Lincoln Campus. Production-wise he has created a number of documentaries for The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and for Johnson & Wales University Doctoral Program.

Randy Laskowski, Music Composer

Randy Laskowski is a recent graduate and now staff member at Berklee College of Music. He has produced music for countless clients through his production company Jingle Bell Productions (jinglebellproductions.com). A multi-instrumentalist for more than a decade, Randy specializes in composing music for any need: film scores, video game audio, commercial jingles, Top 40 pop, and more.

Paul G. Bouley, Music Composer

Paul graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston in 1991, augmenting his studies with private lessons from Berklee professors Ray Santisi and Hal Crook. For the last 25 years he has taught piano to students of all ages in both the public and private sector. Besides working as an arranger and performer on many other artist's recordings and film projects over the years, he also released two independent, self produced  CD's entitled Armchair Safari (1998) and Ambient Cocktails (2001).

The Process

DAY ONE: My Old School began in July 2012 while filming for another project outside of the school. We took a peek inside the building and realized everything was left the way it was on the last day of school. As alumni of this huge structure, we knew we had to track its history and preserve its memories.


DECEMBER 2012: After conducting research, story-boarding, contacting city officials, and presenting our idea to the city council and mayor's office, we were granted access to the school. On December 2, 2012 we took our first trip into the building and filmed 30 hours worth of footage, along with over 500 pictures.  We would take another trip into the school on December 16th, the coldest one of the project (temperature inside the school was 10 degrees). This time, with a crew of just 3, we gathered an additional 5 hours of footage and 1,200 photos.


JANUARY 2013: We begin gathering interviews with former teachers, students, faculty, and city officials recounting the history of the building, cultural shifts, and historic events that happened throughout the school's life. The story of My Old School began taking shape.


APRIL 2013: We take our second trip inside the school with a crew of seven. A custom built dolly allows for unique shots to be filmed through the hall, giving the scenes a ghostlike floating appearance. Primary editing on the film begins.


AUGUST 2013: With a starting budget of only $200, we didn't have any funding to promote the film, host a premiere, or distribute the film in any way. Despite meetings and pitches, we didn't receive any corporate backing or support. We turned to Kickstarter and raised over $4,000 in one month - enough to host a local premiere in Woonsocket, print professional DVDs, promote the film, and submit the film into film festivals in 2014. Kickstarter allowed us to keep the film 100% independent. We filmed, edited, printed, and sold everything independently. In fact, every DVD you buy is hand addressed by Jason Allard and mailed by Scott Gabrielson.


OCTOBER 2013: My Old School premieres to a crowd of over 400 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. 


MARCH 2014: My Old School is scheduled to premiere on Rhode Island PBS as part of their annual fundraiser on March 6, 2014.

Jason Allard filming in the old school.

Scott Gabrielson researching a yearbook.

Randy Laskowski. Rockstar. 

Paul Bouley on piano.