Bill McLean has been performing for others more than half of his life. He’s comfortable when all eyes are on him.

That security vanished momentarily Saturday, however, when McLean got up to introduce the first showing of “Scooter McGruder,” the first feature-length movie to come out of McLean’s Freight Train Films.

“I was a little excited when I stepped up to introduce the film, just for a moment, then I was fine,” he said.

“McGruder” made its debut before a crowd of more than 100 people who gathered at Auburn’s Hilton Garden Inn. The site was one of several set up for the inaugural L/A Film Festival.

“Oh, man,” McLean said. “We had a really good crowd. It was the biggest crowd of any of the movies. We got a lot of good laughs.”

“McGruder” is the story of Scott McGruder, a 40-year-old hapless handyman trying to put his life together while winning over the woman he loves.

McLean, who wrote and stars in the film, still was waiting to hear whether “McGruder” had won a People’s Choice Award on Saturday afternoon. The film was one of just five feature-length films, and one of just 25 Film Festival entries combined, to be nominated for the award.

Regardless, “McGruder’s” first showing left ample room for those involved with its production to feel good.

“It kept their attention and they laughed a lot, so it was really good,” McLean said. “It was a good crowd, and they received it well.”

The debut did not go completely as planned, however. Action stopped when the DVD stopped working half way through the movie.

“Luckily, we brought a second disk,” McLean said. “The funny thing is, it froze during a kiss. It think we now have the longest kiss on film ever.”

McLean and other actors fielded questions following the movie. People asked about scenes, the toughest thing to do on set and what went horribly wrong, McLean recalled. One person wanted to know who McLean’s favorite character was.

“We got a lot of laughs at the Q and A,” he said.

McLean hopes to organize a red-carpet premiere for “McGruder” within the next couple of months.

Those who saw “McGruder” on Saturday are already anxious to see what else Freight Train Films has in the works, McLean said.

“That’s good, too,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the outcome.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]


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