By Andrea Parr
In March the Staten Island Clown went viral on the Internet, and speculation grew as to who might be in the mask. Well, Kean students just might have class with the clown, or one of the men involved in creating the clown.
“We did it just to prank friends. Then it started to explode, overnight it got around 100 likes on Instagram,” said Jason Leavy, a communication and film major here at Kean.
Leavy is one of the members of Fuzz on the Lens, an independent film company in Staten Island that came up with the idea of the clown to entertain. Its first appearances were through the social media accounts of the company’s members. The pictures depicted an eerie-looking clown throughout the borough, always with at least one balloon in hand.
“We never thought it would get that much attention,” said Leavy. “We couldn’t believe it went worldwide.”
The Staten Island Advance first reported the story of the clown’s creepy appearances as it gained attention through social media, and gave it the hashtag #SIClown. The story of the clown went on to be featured on Buzzfeed, which described it as “terrifying” and “trying to scare the crap out of everyone.” Leavy added that they even heard of news reports from as far as Great Britain and Italy.
“There’s always a 50-50. People either like them, and think they’re funny, or they hate them,” said Leavy on why they chose a clown. “We scared a lot of people, but also sparked a lot of interesting conversations.”
Initially, the Fuzz on the Lens team denied any involvement, but Leavy noted that people did suspect because they knew their sense of humor. There was also speculation as the accounts of the initial photographers were those of the company’s members.
Their official reveal came on March 28 on radio station Z100’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. Prior to that, they enjoyed seeing people try figure out who it was started by, and why. The group still maintains the mystery of exactly who is behind the mask.
“We treated it like a film, the clown was our character and the world our audience,” said Leavy. On the day of the reveal, they uploaded a short video to their YouTube channel in which the clown “finally gets a beat down.” As much attention as the clown has brought to Fuzz on the Lens, he wants people to know that Fuzz on the Lens is more than just the clown.
Officially founded in 2010, Fuzz on the Lens now consists of Leavy, his brother Michael Leavy, Steven Della Salla and a couple of friends. According to their website (fuzzonthelens.com), their mission is that they “want to entertain as many people as possible, in any way we can.” Leavy’s interest in film started many years before the company was founded.
“It really started with my brother and I running around as kids with our mom’s video camera,” said Leavy. As he grew older, he realized that making films was what he wanted to do as a career. Working with Fuzz on the Lens he is able to work on films of all genres, including horror, drama and comedy. Their horror film, “Catch of the Day,” was one of the winners at the Hot Springs International Horror Film Festival in Arkansas in the “Best in Fest” category. They are also now the official production company for the festival.
Leavy shared that they are working on several exciting projects, although whether the Staten Island Clown will be involved remains a mystery.
“We’re looking forward to keeping people guessing what’s happening next.”