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SILVER SCREEN DREAMS: ’Busco’s Ranney actualizes producer, director role

November 27, 2012

Photo contributed Roger Ranney, originally from Churubusco, is in the process of producing his first short film. Pictured on the set of “Poker Donkey,” are Curtis Armstrong (left), Roger and his wife, Laura.

CHURUBUSCO — Roger Ranney, a Churubusco native, is “living the dream” in Los Angeles as a film producer, director and actor.

Coming from humble ‘Busco beginnings, Roger did not set his sights for the silver screen. Now he has a hand in what is played on that screen.
“This is a herculean effort by my wife, Laura, and I,” said Roger.

The effort he spoke of is an adaptation of a short story into a short film. “Poker Donkey” is a story of a psychiatrist with a gambling problem who is then forced to face his vice while treating a poker champion.

The original story was written by Steve Almond and the short film stars Curtis Armstrong, best known for his role as Booger in the 80s classic, “Revenge of the Nerds.”

“This isn’t your average guy meets girl story,” said Roger. “Everyone who’s had a chance to read the story has had a positive response and we’ve had some amazing feedback.”

As much as Roger is behind the camera, directing shots and coordinating actors’ efforts, he is also doing many of the miniscule tasks necessary on a movie set.

“If we had a huge budget we would have someone for every job, but I am directing as well as putting out food for the actors, standing in the parking lot at all hours of the night hanging parking signs and anything else that needs to be done,” said Roger.

He even has a small role in the film. Roger, who has acting credits in television shows such as “Dexter,” “NCIS,” and “Desperate Housewives,” describes himself as a blue-collar film maker.

“It’s a lot of work, but I love it,” Roger said. “Getting to have Curtis in the film just makes it all the more sweeter.”

Roger and Laura, along with their team at Spilt Milk Entertainment, are aiming for independent film festivals in hopes of launching the short film into a full length feature.

“That is the dream,” Roger said. “The fun thing is you just don’t know for sure what will happen. The sky’s the limit. We could take this to a festival and someone huge could pick it up and run with it. You can win an Oscar for independent films. Can you imagine if that was to happen — standing on the red carpet and knowing that all my friends and family were back home in Churubusco watching it happen.”

To learn more about Roger’s project or to contribute to the film, visit

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