James and Joel Myrick are pictured Oct. 2 at the Third Street Plaza, where they have spent countless hours in recent years producing “The Wizard Zone, Episode 1.” Photo: Michael Moore

Brothers James and Joel Myrick, longtime Morgan Hill residents, have spent countless hours writing, editing film and sound, and using public wifi in the plaza under the giant oak tree on East Third Street in the city’s downtown to create their latest film project. 

James, 39, recently described how—drained of finances due to production costs over the years it took to finish “The Wizard Zone, Episode 1”—he used to sleep during the days at temporary (if perhaps unauthorized) quarters, then work overnight on his laptop computer outdoors at the Third Street Plaza. Joel, 32, said the estimate of $25,000 he has previously reported in total production costs for their new sketch comedy pilot—which will premiere this weekend—is likely much lower than the brothers’ actual costs, and was significantly funded by his longtime job as the manager of the liquor department at a local grocery store. 

The result is a film—featuring the famed comedian and actor Andy Dick—that the Myrick brothers think has the ability to reach widespread audiences on screens around the world. They will premiere “The Wizard Zone” with a combined screening and wrap party Oct. 7 at the Morgan Hill Masonic Center. 

“We’re both really happy with it,” said Joel. “It’s taken so much time and so much work, and so much money.”

He added of the Oct. 7 screening and after party, “It will be really fun. We’re going to have snacks and drinks and a popcorn machine. We’ve been waiting so long for everybody to see this project.”

The Myricks began working on “The Wizard Zone” pilot in earnest about five years ago, but the film was borne out of various ideas they have come up with since they started producing films as a hobby as children. The film stars local talent, in addition to Dick and his daughter, Meg, and was shot in part at numerous Morgan Hill locations—including Colibri Gallery, Donuts and Things, the Nob Hill Trail Park and the city’s Community Park. 

The brothers have had a shining talent for various artistic endeavors ever since they were children. Shortly after they moved to Morgan Hill in 1996, they began making movies with their new friends—“creative little kids,” James Myrick said. 

“We would make fun little things with a camcorder, and we always figured we would probably do a serious thing one day,” James said. Many of those early movies were uploaded to Youtube. 

The Myrick brothers are also prolific songwriters and musicians, having performed with local bands over the years. James used to play for The Philosophers, which made regular appearances in Morgan Hill years ago. 

In fact, many local residents know the Myricks for their musical background. As teenagers they used to host popular concerts at a previous home they lived in on Church Street for more than 10 years. “People still talk about the shows we would have there,” Joel reminisced. 

In recent years, they have focused on filmmaking as their medium of choice because it allows them to “do all the things”—writing, music, photography, directing, acting and more. James even made original costumes for characters in “The Wizard Zone.” 

The brothers are credited as producers, directors and writers for the project. 

James’s first brush with filmmaking success was with his original production “Hillbillies,” a musical that screened in 2018 at the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival and the Santa Cruz Film Festival. 

Since then, the brothers have been fully committed—in terms of both time and finances—to producing “The Wizard Zone” while living as “starving artists.” James has been working full-time on the production, often at the expense of not having a permanent home, just so he could be available to shoot scenes, write, edit and meet with the show’s talent. 

Joel’s paycheck from the grocery store has largely financed the project, although he has also accumulated and shed substantial monetary debt for the production along the way. The film has also benefited from the gracious support of friends and family members. Some of the actors are friends who generously volunteered for their roles. 

Additional producers for “The Wizard Zone” are Eric Acedo and Chris Perguidi. The Myricks’ mother, Rachel Myrick, has also been a key to the project as she “has always supported us and done everything she can to help,” Joel said. 

As a genre, “The Wizard Zone” “leans fantasy/magic” in the humorous telling of “little folk tales,” Joel said. Described also as sketch comedy, the pilot that will screen on Oct. 7 consists of three stories that James described as “parodies of folk tales—where they don’t quite make sense like they’re supposed to, or you’re not sure if they’re even teaching a lesson.” 

The segment starring Andy Dick is titled “Fart Machine,” and features Dick as a “goofy uncle” who tells bad jokes that his nieces and nephews have to suffer through. 

The Myrick brothers are confident that viewers will enjoy “The Wizard Zone” and that the production will make a splash. Their goal is to draw the attention of a capable distributor that could finance a lengthier or ongoing series for larger audiences based on the pilot. 

“Our hope is it gets picked up by a production company or streaming site. That’s the plan,” Joel Myrick said. 

The screening and after party for “The Wizard Zone, Episode 1” will start at 6:30pm Oct. 7 at the Morgan Hill Masonic Center, 308 West Dunne Ave. The trailer for the film can be seen at tinyurl.com/y2vr3xnc

For more information about the free premiere on Oct. 7, visit the event page at tinyurl.com/btus77bj

Screenshot courtesy of James and Joel Myrick
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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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