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THE HISTORY OF THE GANG

According to legend, The Gang officially began in May of 1998. The 7th grade class of Central Jr. High School in Evergreen Park, IL was on a field trip in Springfield, IL. Sitting on the bus together were Terry Mulrenin and Mike Paprocki. While the bus trudged on through the middle of nowhere, Terry and Mike began arguing over who's watch had the correct time. The argument continued throughout the day, and by the time they had returned home, a friendship was forged.

Going into 8th grade, the fellowship that would one day be known as The Gang came together for the first time. Terry and Mike were soon joined by Bill Pappas, who completed the foundation of The Gang. Ben Palacios, Eric Pietkiewicz, and Adam Oster would also join the group, and throughout 1999, this unique group of personalities would eventually lead to the development of The Gang's trademark sense of humor.

As high school began in Fall '99, The Gang began to slowly drift apart as they split up to different schools. That's when Terry and Mike came up with the idea of getting everyone together to film a "documentary" of all the jokes they had come up with during their years at Central. Thus began The Gang's first movie, Doin' Stuff. Not only did the movie strengthen The Gang's friendship, but it also led to Mike and Terry discovering an interest in film-making.

In 2001, some...unpleasantness...almost tore The Gang apart (as seen through the failure of Doin' Stuff 2), but they managed to pull things together again thanks to the release of the Dreamcast video game Shenmue. The game gave Mike and Terry enough ideas for a full script, which eventually became The Gang's first full-length movie, Shenmue: The Gang Edition. By the time filming was finished, The Gang was once again stronger than ever.

The Gang continued to grow in strength throughout 2002, especially with the addition of Terry's next-door neighbor and longtime friend, Jay Slykas. In 2003, as they graduated from high school, Mike and Terry were continuing to learn and improve their filming skills, as shown in the two movies The Gang produced that year - Doin' Stuff 3 and The Search for Pappas. At the same time, they released Shenmue: TGE on the internet at the popular Shenmue fansite, Shenmue Dojo, where the movie quickly won over fans of the video game.

In the summer of 2004, following their first year of college, Terry and Mike decided to return to the Shenmue series by finally making Shenmue II: The Gang Edition. With the help of many new friends (including fellow filmmakers Joey Bigio and Tyler Ventura) and a wide array of new filming equipment and editing software, The Gang pulled off their finest accomplishment yet. The 2-hour spoof of Shenmue II was also released on the internet and contributed to The Gang's growing number of fans.

Riding high on the popularity of Shenmue II, The Gang finished their second year of college, releasing Doin' Stuff 4: The College Years in summer of 2005. DS4 would contain some of their most popular projects yet, most notably the music video I'm On My Cell Phone, which was played on WGN Morning News in Chicago, giving The Gang their first public TV exposure.

That same summer, The Gang would produce their 8th film - The Gang Wars. As their 2nd full-length original film, the movie featured almost every member of The Gang and successfully brought together several elements from all their previous movies. Released on DVD in September of 2005, the film was a milestone for The Gang.

Throughout their 3rd year of college , The Gang continued producing short films for their classes, which culminated in the Summer 2006 release of Doin' Stuff 5: Hoopin' and a Doppin'. In this collection, The Gang first began to display their blatant distaste for experimental "video art," and their projects gradually become a rebellion of sorts against the prominently avante-garde atmosphere of the UIC film department.

During the summer of 2006, now with an established internet fanbase and a continually growing number of friends, The Gang decided to tackle their most ambitious project to date. In the absence of a third Shenmue video game, Mike & Terry went ahead and wrote their own ending to the unfinished saga. Thus began the "fiasco in the making" known as Shenmue III: The Gang Edition.

Shooting the full-length film was quite the ordeal, as increasingly conflicting schedules made filming a difficult procedure. However, everybody was able to pull together in the end, and the movie was released in October of 2006. Fans of the Shenmue series eagerly accepted The Gang's version as a fitting ending for a video game series that may never see a true conclusion.

Having completed the Shenmue saga, The Gang turned back to their own saga as they entered their 4th and final year of college. For the first part of their senior thesis class, Mike, Joey and Tyler teamed up to produce Viral Video, an all-new original adventure. Added to the crew was composer Brian Peters, who brought his musical talents to the production by creating an entirely original soundtrack. The movie was premiered at a public show at UIC and was incredibly well-recieved by a crowd full of teachers and fellow students. The Gang's longtime rebellion against video art was over.

As they entered their final semester at UIC in the fall of 2007, The Gang began developing a true conclusion to their work. In their usual style, The Gang would base the story of The Final Jerkoff off several actual events, including the troubles they had producing Viral Video as well as their dealings with the infamous "Stalker Boy" fan. This time, rather than focusing on making fun of art or pop culture, The Gang would turn their critical eyes inwards, putting their own flaws and foibles at the forefront of the movie's story.

After a smooth production, the movie was premiered publicly at UIC's 2007 BFA Thesis Show. The standing-room-only crowd laughed through the entire movie, and The Gang ended their college careers on a higher note than they ever hoped for. The Gang spent their first few months out of school tying up loose ends, leading to the release of Doin' Stuff 6 in the summer of 2008, just after their official graduation ceremony. At the same time, Mike finished remastering all of their old movies and re-releasing them in nifty new boxsets to be more accessible to new fans.
The Gang 2009

With school behind them, The Gang began moving their lives into the real world. In the fall of 2008, Mike left his iconic basement behind to get an apartment with Joey. Soon after that, Terry and Pappas also got a place together. These new settings and lifestyles opened the door to new filming possibilities, and The Gang finally returned to filming short videos just for fun.

Winter 2008 saw Terry & Mike entering a short video contest for Gamefly, which involved dressing up as a video game character for a commercial. After a month of online voting, one of their videos, which featured Terry as Cloud from Final Fantasy, was chosen as the winner. The 2 were flown to Hollywood in the spring of 2009, where Terry got the chance to be in a real commercial for Gamefly. Being on a real Hollywood set was a great experience for Terry & Mike, and strengthened their resolve to eventually make it to the big time.

The Gang dedicated most of 2010 to a single project - a broadway-style musical to act as the finale for their first post-college DVD, Oh, Video! Having made several videos on the topic of "moving out," they decided to have Tyler write a song about how he hasn't moved out. With music composed by Brian and vocals recorded by the rest of The Gang, "Livin' it Free" demanded higher production values. The Gang invested in a Canon 60D camera to give the project a more cinematic look, shooting in full 1080-24p HD video. The finished product was The Gang's finest video yet, leading them to enter it into the 2011 Chicago International Film Fest. The video was, unfortunately, rejected.

In the midst of filming, The Gang's lives have continued to move in new directions. For some, like Kelly Perry and Joey Bigio, this meant literally moving out of the state. For others, like Bill Pappas, Jay Slykas, and Brian Peters, this meant getting married. For Terry and Mike, this meant moving in with each other. With The Gang's executive producers living together for the first time, the group looks towards the future...
 
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