Fat – A Film

Written and Directed by Mark Phinney

Category: Cast & Crew Bios

About The Crew: Tim Baker


As everyone working on the Fat film knows, Phinney’s home away from home is his local Starbucks.  In fact, the staff might be putting out an APB on him over the next few weeks since he’ll be on set rather than at his favorite table, typing away on his laptop with a splenda-licious iced coffee nearby. 

Up until a few weeks ago, at that very Starbucks, Fat Producer Tim Baker was Mark’s part time lover barista.  In addition to their shared hometown of Medford, MA, Tim and Mark have both spent time in Los Angeles, and both have a huge love of films.  Tim chose to come on board to work on Fat partly due to his sworn coffee-sealed oath to Phinney, but mostly to get to work daily in the trenches of filmmaking – as opposed to sitting in a production office somewhere on a big-budget New York, Boston or LA set with lots of amenities.  Who needs amenities? 

Don’t let Tim’s relative youth fool you (being of the “I don’t remember life without the internet” generation), Tim has stepped up to take on a great deal of responsibility on this production; from leading the production assistants, to helping with scheduling, and perhaps most importantly, being Mark’s alarm clock.  Tim’s expertise in logistics were finely tuned not only while multi-tasking at Starbucks amidst demanding townie, yuppie, and hipster customers alike (where does Phinney fit in?), but as a film student, production intern, and producer.  No stranger to film sets, Tim has worked on numerous film and television productions ranging from studio movies to student films (Tim attended Calvin College).  As a film student, Tim wrote and directed as well.

When not working on the film this summer, Tim will likely join his friends in getting back to nature travelling with friends in Maine (and possibly Nova Scotia).  Maybe they’ll pop in and visit with Sally

International travel is something Tim is accustomed to – and that conveniently leads me to where good ol’ Tim fits into our “What Do A Cannes Film Festival Intern, An NBC Page, and A Nicaraguan Subversive Have in Common?” game?

Since I know you have all read our profiles of Pearl and Sally, you can deduce by process of elimination that Tim was the former (?) Nicaraguan Subversive!  The story behind this subversive activity is as follows – in the Spring of 2010, Tim travelled to Nicaragua to film footage for a documentary about a plane crash in a remote indigenous village on the Rio Coco near the Nicaragua – Honduras border.  The subject village was in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region, home to the Walpa Siska indigenous tribe, and reportedly, the plane that crashed was carrying a HUGE shipment of cocaine from Colombia.  A surprisingly even-keeled synopsis of the event and examination of the tribe’s relationship with the Nicaraguan government and speculation of a relationship with drug traffickers along the Caribbean Coast can be found here – via WikiLeaks of all places!  The tribe reportedly made some money from the cocaine manna from heaven and Tim went down to check things out.

One day, poor Tim was conducting some interviews in the indigenous area and when he was on his way back to a nearby Nicaraguan controlled area, was detained at a checkpoint.  His footage (and the hard drive containing same) was confiscated by police due to his “subversive” activities.  The footage was never seen again.  So yeah, like I said, who needs amenities during filming?  Well, at the very least, no one is going to confiscate the footage when travelling home from the Fat set, subversive though it clearly is… 

Thanks so much for stepping up to help produce Fat, Tim!  While we can’t make your dream of meeting the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park a reality, nor can we hook it up so that you get to live at Hogwarts, we promise to thank you in the form of copious amounts of buffalo chicken and S&S corned beef hash.


About The Crew: Pearl Lung


Emerson College grad Pearl Lung is lending her careful and artistic eye to Fat this summer!  Just one day into filming, and Pearl has already done an admirable job of channeling the psyche of a 30-something depressed, overwhelmed, and defeated man (Fat’s main character, Ken) and helped Mark to create a meticulously slovenly bedroom set.  You’d think she surrounded herself with empty pizza boxes, dirty laundry, and unmade beds every day.

Pearl has a great eye for set decor and art direction – and in addition to writing and directing her own student films at Emerson, she graciously loaned her services as set decorator extraordinaire and producer to the films and projects of her classmates.  A Waltham resident, Pearl is an aficionado of music, art, and films.  Pearl is already sharing her love of UK bands such as Jonquil and Foals with fellow crew members and we can’t wait to pick her brain about other acts she enjoys over the course of production.  One just might find a dance party breaking out in between scenes on the Fat set this summer.   Thanks to Pearl’s skills as a ballroom dancer (Latin dance is her favorite), we might all learn a step or two. 

So, where does Ms. Lung fit in the Fat Film Crew trifecta?  Pearl was an intern at Cannes in 2010 (where a highlight of the screenings she attended was “Blue Valentine”)!  Not only was she an intern, but she had her short film screened as part of the Creative Minds in Cannes project.  Thanks to Chris Stinson and the Boston Film Festival, Pearl’s path crossed with Phinney’s and she made the choice to come on board the Fat crew this summer.  We are so excited to have her on board!

About The Crew: Sally Northrop


Aside from the cast members who are flying out to the Fat set from California, Sally Northrop wins for the longest commute to set!  Driving from the Maine Seacoast to join the Fat crew in the Boston area, Sally brings with her over 20 years of experience in television production.   She has produced shows for ABC, PBS, and The Food Network, among others.

Boston locals (and foodies) will be interested to learn that she also produced Todd English‘s cooking show when he still filmed it in the kitchen at the original Olive’s.  One of my personal favorite shows, Ciao Italia, with Mary Ann Esposito, is another show with Boston flavor where Sally honed her production skills.

Sally’s expertise doesn’t stop at production – it extends to household management as well.  She has a husband, two sons (would you believe from looking at the photo above of the super young and beautiful Sally that they are both over age 10?), a dog, a cat, and seven laying hens that keep her busy when she’s not working on jobs all around the country.  The Fat cast and crew just might be fueled with farm-fresh egg protein this summer!

Sally is a huge fan of Coen Brothers’ movies and inspired members of the crew who have not yet seen it – to catch her favorite, “The Hudsucker Proxy”.  The Northrop family has a tradition of watching it together every New Year’s Eve.  Sounds like a cool tradition to me.

Don’t fret, I have not forgotten to fit Sally into the Cannes Film Festival Intern, NBC Page, Nicaraguan Subversive trifecta.

Sally is the former NBC Page of the bunch!  Am I right, that this is every working stiff / TV / pop culture fan’s dream job?  I know it sounds like heaven to me.  Sally’s time at NBC meant she got to work on Letterman, SNL, and even some early morning news programs, all while juggling her duties with giving tours of the famous 30 Rock NBC Studios.  She even worked with a real-life “Kenneth Parcell“, thus proving that NBC’s page program is a mecca for corn-fed middle-America types.  And far superior to the Congressional page program in every way imaginable.

Though she is certainly no stranger to working in production, Fat is Sally’s first feature film gig.  The crew is so lucky to have her!

What Do A Cannes Film Festival Intern, An NBC Page, and A Nicaraguan Subversive Have in Common?


Day One Marker

What do a (former) Cannes Film Festival Intern, a (former) NBC Page, and a (former?) Nicaraguan Subversive have in common?

They’re all part of the Fat film crew!  During day one of filming, I was lucky to sit down with Pearl Lung, Sally Northrup, and Tim Baker to learn a little more about them and what bizarre twists of fate led them to partake in the Fat film production.  

Any guesses who fits what descriptor?  Well, no need to guess – stay plugged into the blog to find out…

I can promise you this – not only are they invaluable parts of the production, but they are hella interesting individuals!

Everything you never really wanted to know about Mark Phinney….

Mark Phinney

Born and bred in Boston, Fat’s writer / director Mark Phinney began his stage acting at Improv Asylum, now Boston’s # 1 comedy theatre. After leaving for New York, Phinney began writing while taking acting classes at HB Studios on Bank St. in the West Village where he penned his first album as well – “Oh Changin’ Times.”

After falling on his face in the big city, Phinney headed back to Boston, sold hot dogs at Fenway Park and then decided to throw himself into the trenches of LA in 1996. He started out as a writer for various MTV and FOX game and talk shows and even a sketch show or two for Keenan Ivory Wayans.

Trained at Improv Olympic, he began his own sketch troupe, For The Kids, in 2002.  For The Kids played the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival back to back years (performing and with a film Phinney co-wrote).  Following the festival, the troupe landed the cover of Variety, a deal for a pilot with WB and top reps.

Mark also booked a good deal of TV and film roles from King of Queens to Tony Scott’s Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington and 2 Days with Paul Rudd (who also appeared in Phinney’s one man show, Fat Broke & Horny). From there, Phinney continued to write and pitch TV and film. In 2008 he sold a sitcom to CBS with Sean Hayes and currently has a feature in development at John Wells Co. Along the way more sketch writing for FOX and Jimmy Kimmel as well as other development projects with the likes of Todd Garner.

Mark was also a part of the hit stage show Mortified as well as other storytelling stage performances including his praised one man show Fat Broke & Horny, the pilot of which garnered much attention from IFC, NBC and was featured at the NY TV Festival in 2009.

Throughout his adventures in New York and LA, Mark has continued to be drawn to his love of writing – working in TV, film and book form.  From the funny to the sad – all of it from his life.

In addition to filming Fat during the summer of 2012 and working the door at various Boston-area music venues, Mark is currently shopping his memoir graphic novel and a book of essays based on his one man and story shows while he continues to write and pitch TV and film.