When did you realize you wanted to make films?
I always loved movies. The first movie I ever saw was Rocky 4, Christmas 1985. I was hooked, that was all it took. I loved performing too, but didn't have the guts to start acting until I was in college. After I overcame my internal struggles, I knew acting was what I wanted to do with my life. When most of the independent film projects I acted in seemed to be going nowhere, I decided to take my career into my own hands and I began writing "At the Jersey Shore."
What steps did you take to learn how to write scripts and to direct?
I enrolled in the Master in Arts program in Media Studies at The New School in NYC. I learned all the aspects of filmmaking there.
Is At the Jersey Shore based on real events?
To a certain extent, yes. I was a Jersey Shore Clubber when I was in my 20s! I tried to find true love in those crazy establishments. Those experiences inspired me to write a story about the Jersey Shore. The most "real" part of the entire movie is that feeling of loss and change at the end of the summer. Everything really does change there after Labor Day.
Can you tell us how you met the exec. producer of your first film?
Gregory Rehm and I met during a class at The New School in the Fall of 2008. We worked on mock productions together. l loved his work ethic and enthusiasm. He's a great producer.
What were some of the biggest challenges in making your first film?
Where do I begin?! Everything! Making a film is a crazy experience, especially when you're on a shoe-string budget and filming on location in a resort town. But we got it done! If you keep organized, have a great attitude and bring on some talented and passionate people, anything is possible!
What led to your decision to go to film school in the Fall?
I want to continue to learn and create. I want to learn and collaborate with the great minds at Brooklyn College. I'm super excited to being their MFA in Film program.
Do you see yourself writing romantic comedies in the future, or would you try another genre?
I really like romantic comedies, if they ring true. I stay away from strict boundaries with film. I strive to create something real and honest, something just like life. And often, life is more than just a genre.
For more information on Thomas Bentey’s latest projects, check out his production and acting websites: