August 2, 2008

There’s Always Drama At ‘Closing Time’

By Sarah Hoye, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

Aug. 2--TAMPA -- The filming of a light drama for the Internet resulted in some heavy action at the Hilton Garden Inn on Friday in Ybor City.

Marine Capt. Sam Nashagh, creator of "Closing Time," checked video footage on a monitor and helped move equipment around the hotel lobby between bites of his sandwich.

The program, airing online only ( beginning Sept. 5, follows the lives of a fine dining steakhouse manager and his friends after they leave work.

Nashagh began writing the script for "Closing Time" while stationed in Iraq in 2006. Primarily based in Miramar, Nashagh is currently stationed at MacDill Air Force Base.

His inspiration for "Closing Time" came from hanging around friends who worked in restaurants and bars. Nashagh, 34, has a $24,000 budget for the program, most of it from his personal savings.

"No matter where they worked, the issues were the same," said the Hillsborough High and Florida State University graduate. "There's always drama."

St. Petersburg filmmaker Evan Smith joined the efforts three weeks before production began.

"Anything this cool and exciting, I want in on it," said Smith, who screened his film "Good Samaritan" at the Gasparilla Film Festival. "I'm amazed at the film community here. They're not making fortunes but everyone is excited to be here."

In addition to the Hilton, filming also took place at Kizmet, a restaurant and bar in St. Petersburg, and Taps Wine Merchants in downtown Tampa.

"I wanted to keep things here. I love Tampa and I'm happy to be back," said Nashagh, who plans to leave the armed forces in May to pursue writing and directing.

"I'm having a blast. I'm getting four hours of sleep a night, but I'm happy to wake up and start over."

Reporter Sarah Hoye can be reached at (813) 259-7832 or [email protected]


To see more of the Tampa Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2008, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.