One of the classes offered at Florida Atlantic University was Play writing, taught by a very insightful, intelligent, Harvard educated Professor by the name of Tom Atkins. Enrolled in his class was 531's writer, Tom Brown. The object of the Play writing class was to introduce new playwrights and their work to actors who would then perform their work at FAU's Short Play Festival. At the time, Suzanne Kovi (Pregnant Woman) was in the last year of her bachelorĻs degree. Through this playwriting class and Professor Tom Atkins, Suzanne and Tom were introduced. As fate would have it Suzanne was perfecting her skills in a weekly workshop class at night. Taking this same workshop was Rob Goodman. Rob approached Suzanne one day telling her of an idea he had for a script about four people in a taxi cab, and how she would be perfect for one of the parts, if only he could find someone to write the script. Through Suzanne Kovi, Rob Goodman meets Tom Brown.

 


In order to shoot a film about a Taxi Cab, you need to have a Taxi Cab. It was decided that an old Checker Cab would be the perfect set piece for the film, but where do you look for one? One of Rob's friends told him about a Checker he saw in a Plantation suburb. Rob found the house and knocked at the door. A large man over six feet tall came to the door and said ≥Can I help you≤, and Rob's response was "As a matter of fact you can". Rob explained that he was a first time Director and that 531 was an independent film. It turned out that this couple were big fans of independent films, as a matter of fact, they were on their way to the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival. They generously agreed to let Rob use their Checker Cab for the duration of filming. One of the main characters in 531 is a pregnant woman. As fate would have it, this couple also owned a maternity store, and provided some items for the actress.

 


There is a scene in "531" involving two little girls buying ice cream from a vendor on the street. As the Cab and it's driver, Jesus (Reuben Rabasa), waits at a red light, the girls on the street corner begin to taunt and tease him. After several seconds of this, Jesus becomes frustrated, gets out of the cab and moons the little girls. In order for the Director to achieve the reaction he wanted, he did not tell the girls what Reuben was about to do. He wanted to capture on film the most natural reaction from the girls. This approach was discussed, prior to filming, with the parents of the two girls and they granted their permission. When you watch 531, keep in mind that the girls had no idea what would be happening next.

 


Most people become comfortable when they land a good job making decent money. That job provides a sense of security, knowing the paycheck and benefits will be accessible at the end of the week. However, in the film business it is a job to find a job. Then once the job is obtained, it may only last for 3 days, then the process begins all over again. Dean Goodman, who has a Bachelorís Degree in Education, taught for two years in El Salvador. He then returned to the States to follow up his career with yet another four years in education. His situation would be the perfect example of comfortable. The pay was good and the benefits were plentiful. In the mean time his little brother (Rob Goodman) was gearing up to make his first film and he needed his big brothers help. Dean was feeling the itch to try something different. So, after several days of deliberation, a few nail biting sessions and pacing around the house, Dean gave his two week notice to help his brother chase a dream. The system Rob used to complete the film was shoot a little, work a lot. Shoot a little more, then work a lot more. At first it was a shaky for Dean to scrape up jobs in the industry. So, with some help from his little brother and friends, Dean managed to scrape by. Dean has been in the business approximately one year. June is the slowest times for the industry in South Florida; Dean is booked every single day.

 


On February 11, 1998, we were shooting one of the opening sequences on liberty avenue, a dead end isolated street near Miamiís South Beach area. Even though the set was secluded, it managed to draw attention from the local transient population. As we were setting up for our first take, one transient in particular was fascinated by what we were doing and wandered in for a closer look also. He really didnít bother anyone, he just sort of stood there in a daze, occasionally attempting to bum a cigarette from the crew. As we started to shoot another transient from the neighborhood decided he was also going to get a closer look. When he walked over and stood next to the first transient onlooker a small confrontation erupted. The situation was over before it began and one man was fleeing the scene. For most of us on set that day everything happened quite fast, but those who saw what took place were shaken. The second man punched the first man. The first man, being unsteady on his feet anyway fell completely over cracking his skull on the pavement. At the sight of blood, we knew he was severely injured. We immediately called the police. Several minutes later the police arrived and turned our once serene and secluded set into a crime scene. The victim was taken to the hospital and our cast and crew were now giving witness statements. After several hours we were finally allowed to leave. An odd end to a harrowing day. A few days later we learned that the unknown transient who wandered onto our set would impact us more then we could imagine. Our film set, cast, crew and cab 531 would be the final scene in his movie of life. He did not survive his injuries that day and died shortly after leaving our film set. We pay tribute to a man that nobody knew and hope that he will be immortalized as another little piece of the history of 531.