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Local production company films music video in downtown Elizabethton

Zach Vance • Updated Mar 2, 2019 at 11:51 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Tyler Smith, vocalist for the newly formed pop-rock band Raging Fits, used to work as a waiter and bartender at Jiggy Ray’s Pizzeria in downtown Elizabethton.

On Saturday, Smith again found himself outside Jiggy Ray’s.

But this time, he was working with a local film company, 30 Daze Productions, and a crowd of professional actors and actresses to produce Raging Fits’ first music video, showcasing their song “Stand Tall.”

“Honestly, having all these actors come in from out-of-town, it’s crazy,” Smith said. “It’s really flattering. I love it. It just lets me know we’re doing something right.”

Raging Fits is comprised of Smith, an Elizabethton native, guitarist Jamon Lee and guitarist Stephan Yampolsky. The trio has played together for several years in other bands, but just this past year, Smith said they decided to form a new band that focused on indie pop-rock.

Erik Kitchens, founder of 30 Daze Productions, said he’s followed the band for a while. When the opportunity arose to produce Raging Fits’ first music video, Kitchens said he was in.

“I thought they were talented before, so I really wanted to be a part of helping them out with this song. We came up with a really great narrative vision for this song to follow, and everybody was onboard,” Kitchens said.

Once they settled the details, Kitchens’ partner Angela Caito began contacting professional actors and actresses.

Among those at Saturday’s shoot were Cylk Cozart, who’s appeared in “The Last Movie Star,” “Conspiracy Theory” and most notably “White Men Can’t Jump.” Cozart’s daughter Nikki was also part of the production. She’s known for her appearances in “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” “House of Cards,” and “Thespians.”

Davon Revels, Celeste Wilson and roughly 11 other actors and actresses were on site. Saturday was the first day of shooting for the music video, but Kitchens said the video has been in pre-production for about five weeks.

In one of the scenes filmed Saturday, Nikki Cozart, playing a detective, sees a drug deal happen right outside Jiggy Ray’s and begins chasing the dealer on foot. At the same time, Revels stumbles out of Jiggy Ray’s appearing to play a drunk man, while Cylk Cozart is a homeless man, watching all this unfold.

“In any mid-or-bigger size city, this is a typical scene you’d see on any street corner. Passers-by, shoppers, a homeless guy, a drunk walking out of a bar. We have a junkie coming up,” Kitchens said.

“The concept of this video is so great because we’re taking a junkie, a homeless person and an alcoholic — and we’re not demonizing them — but we show everybody, ‘Maybe we wouldn’t want to stand next to them in line at Wal-Mart, but at the end of the video, you’ll feel like a bad person for judging them.”

Kitchens, who lives in Elizabethton, said he thought it was important to have the music video filmed in Elizabethton.

“It’s incredible to be able to work with so many talented actors on this music video, and we really love the fact that we’re able to film in our local area here in Northeast Tennessee,” Kitchens said.

“We’re trying to build an industry in this area ... Let’s try to keep some people here. We’re just trying to kick the door open and show people what we can do with our projects.”

Smith said the music video should be released in a few months, and he hopes to host a local watch party. 30 Daze Productions will also be premiering a short film titled “Driving Shame” this spring at the Bonnie Kate Theater.

To learn more about 30 Daze Productions, visit https://www.facebook.com/30dazeproductions/. Information on Raging Fits can also be found at https://www.facebook.com/ragingfits/.

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