“Trip” and Other Stories

Film students have a hard time being taken seriously. They’re often depicted as hipsters and hippies, bored 20-somethings majoring in something frivolous to get their overindulgent parents off their back about doing something with their life. There’s nothing about director Dominick Evans that fits within this stereotype. Outside of pursuing his BFA degree in Motion Pictures Production at Wright State University, Dominick is an activist and a family man. Boredom would be a luxury for him and his girlfriend, Ashtyn Law, who is pursuing her own degree in Screenwriting. In addition to working on a web series and various film projects, the couple have been raising their son Robert and fighting for the rights of people with disabilities.


As a result of the pair’s hard work and dedication, their first major film project, a short titled “Trip,” was recently completed and submitted to various film festivals. “Trip” tells the story of 19-year-old Casey and her relationship with Gavin, the father of her 3-year-old son. While Gavin struggles with his addiction to drugs, Casey tries to cope with her addiction to Gavin. In just 15 minutes, viewers are given a glimpse into the reality of a teen mom’s life with the grittiness that you just won’t find in a so-called “reality” TV show. The lead performers — Sarah Jordan as “Casey” and Jay Taylor as “Gavin” — deliver natural and genuine performances that make the film feel more like a documentary than a work of fiction. Of course it helps to have a script that contains those same qualities, a feat that screenwriter Ashtyn Law achieves.

The successful completion of the project is attributable not only to Dominick’s directing and Ashtyn’s writing but to the contributions of the cast and the crew, many of whom are part of WSU’s Film program. The project also received the support of family members of those involved. Dominick and Ashtyn’s son Robert, for example, worked as a production assistant and Ashtyn’s mother handled catering on the film set. Music for the film was provided by local band Curse of Cassandra whose members include Dominick’s professor and coordinator of the film program, Dr. Nicole Richter, and her husband, Jacob Richter. And the adorable blonde boy who plays “Jack” is the son of fellow cast member Heather Caldwell who plays “Rena.”

While “Trip” was in production, Dominick and Ashtyn also dealt with more than their fair share of personal issues. With Robert reaching the age of majority, the couple struggled with making sure that his medical and emotional needs related to his autism were being met as he transitioned into adulthood. They have also devoted a lot of time and energy to forming MEFPWD (Marriage Equality for People with Disabilities) which seeks to protect the rights of people with disabilities who are often forced to choose between marriage or health care, an issue that affects not only Dominick but many of his friends. During the making of “Trip,” he also faced mobility problems due to a broken wheelchair and he suffered the devastating loss of his grandfather.

So what’s next for the couple? They’re currently in New York City, auditioning actors for their next project, “Inamorata,” to be produced by their company, Electric Marshmallow Productions. Dominick and Ashtyn have a collective goal of making films with realistic women characters and LGBT characters which they’ll be doing with “Inamorata.” This next short film focuses on a same-sex couple, Lili and Emma, in the 1960s as they face “love, loss, and betrayal in suburbia.” They also hope to develop more projects featuring characters with disabilities. Dominick states, “I had no media representations to look to growing up as a kid with a disability. I don’t want that for future generations.”

To keep track of their progress on these and other projects, follow Electric Marshmallow Productions on Facebook. If you’d like to contribute towards the production of “Inamorata,” watch the film’s Facebook page for fundraising opportunities.

By April

If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.

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