Eau Claire Filmmaker Labors for Years to Create Rock-n-Roll Romantic Comedy "The Telemarketer"

Rebecca Mennecke

please stay on the line and someone will assist you. The new locally produced, acted, and filmed rock’n’ roll romantic comedy The Telemarketer is now available for viewing on Vimeo.
please stay on the line and someone will assist you. The new locally produced, acted, and filmed rock’n’ roll romantic comedy The Telemarketer is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

Romantic comedy movies often share a common plot: Girl meets guy. Girl doesn’t like guy. Guy spends the rest of the movie chasing after girl. 

“In the real world, that’s called stalking, and you go to jail for it,” said Todd Pfennig, an actor in the local film, The Telemarketer. “In our movie, guy meets girl, falls in love, confesses to girl that he loves her, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, guy finds other girl, lives happily ever after.” 

The Telemarketer was written by Jay Reiter and was featured in the Eau Claire World Film Festival and the Prairie State Film Festival in 2018. It won best feature at the World Film Festival and was released for wider audiences on July 1, producer Jason Boehm said. 

The film follows the story of Ray, who is in “a metal band that sucks. And he hates his job. And he gets drunk and stoned with his friends,” said Nic Sielaff, who plays Ray. 

Like in any good rom-com, Ray falls for his coworker, Rose, who doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. But the film takes a twist on the rom-com genre; it throws in metal music.

The film features tunes from local musician Brian Bethke, along with music from the bands Stare Across, The Gossips, and Poor Man’s Ridge.

“Music is sort of something that tied most of the cast together,” Pfennig said.

The film had many hurdles to overcome to get to the release date. The current version of The Telemarketer is the third time they’ve tried making the movie. The first two rounds were “no-gos,” Boehm said. Even for the final cut, filming was supposed to take six to eight weeks but ended up taking about six months. The editing process took longer, Boehm said: around two years. Their latest hurdle is getting DVDs out for people to purchase. 

“These guys are probably just finding out for right now the first of what I actually had to go through to get this thing made,” Boehm said. 

Filming was done at a variety of locations around the Chippewa Valley, including two trailer houses, an apartment, four different bars, a bowling alley, Shooters, Banbury Place, and an office which is now the Census Bureau. 

This office also used to be used by a telemarketing company called Strategic, which raised funds for Republican causes, Boehm said. They even found one of their actors, Viola Myers, from this company.

This is the fourth film Boehm has made, after Fenris Unchained, Grand Theft Matrimony, and a documentary about Decadent Cabaret in Eau Claire.  

The Telemarketer was shot on various iPhones using attachable lenses and the app Filmic pro. It cost $15 for the app when they started filming. Now, it’s a pretty reputable company for professional filmmaking on your phone. 

Boehm said The Telemarketer is best film he has made yet. 

“I mean, if you can get me to watch a movie more than three times, there has to be something there,” Boehm said.

The cast said it’s rated R for the “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll” content. It’s available on Vimeo through The Telemarketer Facebook page. The trailer has around 8,000 views, Boehm said.


Learn more about the film at www.facebook.com/Telemarketerthemovie.