The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Erica Tamposi. Courtesy photo.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign

Making Extended Release
Hollis native’s substance abuse film inspired by NH

By Kelly Sennott

Whenever 2014 UNH grad Erica Tamposi was short of things to do in L.A. this past year — hey, she was in a new city and didn’t know a lot of people yet — she worked on writing Extended Release in her tiny one-room, mattress-on-the-floor apartment.

The film looks to raise substance abuse awareness and is inspired by her own experiences viewing friends and family suffering from this epidemic. Though she would come to find full-time paid positions on TV series like Justified and Mr. Robot, she kept the script on the back burner, tinkering with lines and sending it to about 30 friends, family, past co-workers and advisors for feedback.
After hours and hours of writing, tweaking and researching, Tamposi’s at the point where she wants to turn it into a film. She’s got the cast she wants and knows the right people to put it together. The goal: to be part of a bigger conversation about helping people overcome substance abuse.
“It’s … been a huge epidemic in New Hampshire,” she said via phone from L.A. last week. “I don’t have a drug issue, but it still affects me a ton to see the people I care about struggle with that.”
She thinks many of the challenges have to do with the stigma.
“You don’t go up to someone and say, ‘Just stop having cancer!’ It doesn’t work just to say, ‘Stop drinking,’ or, ‘Stop using.’ It’s not that simple,” she said. “This is such a bigger deal than we think it is, which is why I started writing about it.”
Extended Release, she hopes, puts a face to the issue. It follows a guy, Tim, who moves across the States to escape the death of his best friend, Brendan. He wants to get away from the bad memories, and he wants a fresh start, but he also struggles from addiction to the same drugs that killed Brendan. He finds it’s his only connection left to him. When Tim meets a girl, Peyton, who inspires him to go clean for good, he’s faced with the cost of losing his best friend all over again.
The flick’s currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds; Tamposi needs all the equipment and a cast and crew of an estimated 20 people, including five actors.
She’s already put in hundreds of hours, talking with people via phone and in person about how to construct successful campaigns. (The trick is to remain relevant, do your research and constantly update, they told her; since the late-July start, she’s already uploaded numerous videos promoting the project.) 
Tamposi, a Hollis native, has been making movies in her basement since age 10. When she started at UNH and learned the school didn’t have a film major, she buddied up with the school’s only film professor and snagged every internship she could — at New Hampshire Public Television, MTV, Lifetime, Columbia Pictures and ESPN. Another script she wrote was recently awarded Top 5 in the California Women’s Film Festival. 
She plans on going forward with the project regardless of whether she makes the goal this time around, and she feels lucky at the amount of support and kindness she’s received; people she hardly knows have been offering hands, and so have people she doesn’t. Weeks back, she met with her mom’s friend of a friend for coffee one day — Joshua Butler, who worked on Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries — and talked with him for two and a half hours about filmmaking. They’d never met till that day.
“He gave me so much advice,” she said. “People are so willing to help, and it’s really moving.”
Tamposi has created numerous shorts, but nothing to this scale. Still, after years of pouring coffee, she feels she knows enough information and people to take on the challenge.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky with the jobs I’ve landed — I guess getting coffee for people pays off if you do it well,” she said. “I love the grind of the industry. … Everyone’s told me that if you impress the right people, if you know how to carry yourself and work hard, and if you show that dedication, people give you chances.” 
As seen in the August 6, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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