Local filmmakers re-ink shop in Shoreline

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Co-directors CB Shamah (left) and Mark Jones (right) are filming their second feature together, “Worst Laid Plans”, in Shoreline at the former Top Tattoo shop off Aurora Avenue North and North 200th Street. Photo by Anna Erickson

By Anna Erickson

From the front of this small red painted shop planted between North 199th and North 200th streets on the side of busy Aurora Avenue North, there appears to be no activity. The windows are masked up and there are no signs, with the exception of a faded red mailbox painted with the word “Top” on the side, suggests the former Top Tattoo parlor has been closed for a while.

As of last week however, a production team has converted the shop into a film set and is shooting a new independent film titled, “Worst Laid Plans”, written and directed by Mark Jones and CB Shamah.

Influenced by a tattoo shop that Jones has spent time at since 1999, the set has been transformed to match the actual “A-1 Tattoo” that still runs in Franklinville, NJ. 

“Everyone at A-1 are like the best dudes I’ve ever met in my life, and at the same time they’re all absolutely out of their minds,” said Jones. 

Back in 2008, Jones made a reality TV pilot about A-1 Tattoo called “The Shop”, in which he spent a year and a half going into the tattoo parlor three days a week immersing himself in the shop’s personalities. Since the making of “The Shop” had inspired the screenplay, the directors contemplated shooting the film back in New Jersey, but realized the budget wouldn’t cover the move. 

The Aurora set location was first discovered by Shamah when he was driving home from Costco. 

“I thought, ‘Man, this is a perfect shop for Worst Laid Plans,’” Shamah said.

As the film got closer to production, Shamah went back to check out the former Top Tattoo shop once more, which to his luck, was up for lease. 

“Worst Laid Plans” is a dark comedy about four guys working in a tattoo shop who are terrible at what they do and are about to be evicted by the landlord if they don’t come up with their rent in a week. The characters decide that the best course of action to collect money is to rob people from online casual encounters. As the title  suggests, one of the encounters doesn’t go well. 

Jones and Shamah first met in school at the Seattle Film Institute, but had never worked together until after graduation when Jones invited Shamah to come help on his first feature film, “Spree”, which circulated festivals in 2007. 

Jones writes, directs, as well as acts in his films, handling more of the acting, while Shamah directs more visual aspects of the projects. 

“I think we trust each other enough and we know what our strengths are,” said Shamah. 

“Worst Laid Plans” will wrap up filming at the shop this last week of May, heading to post-production, and finished by 2015 to show at festivals. 


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