We didn’t set out to make a 25-minute epic.

It was supposed to be a simple little flick about a shark with a mouth full of piranhas and an octopus coming out of his butt. Of course, reading that description in hindsight, it’s kind of easy to see how a child’s request that his uncles make a movie turned into Sharktapiranhapus.


Simple drawings of the creature morphed into hand puppets, and things got even more elaborate once a green screen entered the picture. Suddenly, anything was possible. The creature could fly through the air with the greatest of ease to devour an inlet-jumping dune buggy! We could crown Miss Calamity Beach aboard a yacht, attend a garden party in the Hamptons and sail aboard the doomed S.S. Shamu, yet never leave the confines of grandma’s garage!

But why stop there? Two aunts were pressed into service as the Sharktapiranhapus dancers, an original tune (Love Theme from Sharktapiranhapus) was commissioned and a full-blown script had been written to accommodate the ever-expanding cast.

“Who knew Uncle Ralph was such a ham?” we proclaimed. “Give him more lines!”

“Ruth and Aunt Mabel are a hoot! Beef up their parts!”

When the table upon which cousin Jeff was precariously perched collapsed unexpectedly, we knew we had not only a hit on our hands but a blooper reel in the making.

Of course, once you have invested that much time into a project, you can’t — as originally planned — just throw it up on YouTube. There has to be a premiere! A gala! With foods and stars and… well, at least some homemade lasagna and some folding chairs in a garage magically transformed, if only for one night, into a theater!


By the time the movie had screened for an audience comprised almost entirely of family members with starring roles, six months of planning, preparation, construction, filming, laughing, dancing and fun had turned Sharktapiranhapus into the ultimate passion project, bringing together family and friends for an experience they’d never forget. And by the time there was talk of — heck, practically a demand for — a sequel, the project had become more than just a movie. It had morphed into a labor of love for everyone involved, and exactly the kind of thing that, given today’s technology, any family could do.

So the next time your clan needs something to rally them against the suckage that can sometimes be the outside world, remember: The family that (makes) plays or movies or, heck, spaghetti together… stays together!

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