My first film, "FAT," went on to premiere at one of the biggest festivals in the world - The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We received great reviews (see links) and the film was taken on by an agent who is seeking distribution as well as post-production funds from Kreate Films to see the movie through. This was unexpected and exciting for a $7,000 movie. I attached the poster and trailer above.
TIFF creative director Cameron Bailey named us in his personal Top 9 Films to See at TIFF '13 and we were also listed in Boston Globe film reporter Ty Burr's Top 10 to See. Burr said we, "Nailed the Boston movie. Making a true and sincere local film." Indiewire called us one of the "Most brave, ballsy films about weight ever" and Collective Friction said we "Captured the zeitgeist the way Clerks did in 1994."
We had the pleasure of showing "FAT" in our home town at the amazing Coolidge Corner Theatre and at the legendary Brattle for the Independent Film Festival Boston 2014.
The outpouring of love, support and cool things that happened with "FAT" made me realize it was time to make another film.
I wrote a new script. I wanted to deal, head on, with another issue that is true to me, in a real way, as I did with "FAT."
"It's Not Funny Anymore" is about mental illness among creative people.
It is about a stand-up comedian who uses his personal issues to create his comedy. He mines his tragedies, depression and everyday ups and downs to funnel into his act. It's starting to get to him though. Eventually, it starts to break him down to where he questions if he can even do it anymore.
Meanwhile he's surrounded by other dysfunctional, but talented, friends, relationships and comics.
Is getting "healthy" in the heart and head the right answer or does he have to be "messed up" to a degree to create and feel good about his art? That is a question most creatives deal with everyday. Most people in general.
Set in the Boston stand-up scene, "It's Not Funny Anymore" is about mental and emotional illness. Seen through the lens of stand-up, the film is a stark, raw look at depression and suicide done in the same, no holds barred fashion as "FAT."
As with "FAT," I wanted to display the issues that I have dealt with. I have pretty severe depression and anxiety and they are usually at the heart of my life and work. I want to present a realistic, unfiltered view of this kind of life. I promised myself that I would always make films this way. After years of doing comedy, now I know the true, dark side of it. Recently the death of Robin Williams crushed me, as it did everyone. This is not what is behind the film, but there is no denying it is connected in some way. I have written a series of essays concerning my battles with weight and depression. I spend my time working on projects that show my true life.
We will be shooting in and around Boston again, utilizing the great locations and artists from cast, crew and musicians.
I want to represent the real city. Not the Hollywood version of Boston, but the streets, clubs and people who live and work here everyday.
We also have our amazing "FAT" crew back together for this one.
On board as a partner this time is Norm Laviolette, co-owner/founder of the popular Boston stand up club Laugh Boston and improv theatre Improv Asylum. Laviolette was also a producer on "FAT." A local, creative businessman in his own successful right.
Composing the soundtrack, along with some other acts, will be MG Lederman. Mel contributed many tunes to "FAT," including the closing scene track. His melancholy music is the perfect companion to the dreariness of our film.
On board to shoot this one is our great "FAT" cinematographer PH O'Brien. PH shoots for everyone from Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") to the "South Park" guys. His gritty documentary style gave "FAT" an intimate feel and will give our new film its look and tone. His doc "Six Days To Air" premiered last year on Comedy Central.
Making a feature film on shoestring budget is crazy, but we have been able to do it because we have people giving of their time without being paid. What our money raised goes to is simple: Feeding our cast and crew and taking care of unexpected expenses. Things break or there is always an emergency amount needed. Then whatever is left goes to pay people if we can, or editing, or film festival submission fees, which can get pricey.
What I promise is that we will put every effort forward to make a real, truthful film about the subject matter. We are not making this for money but to make art and deal with who we are and what a film can be to someone. A connection.
We have a dedicated cast and crew that makes every day count from shooting to getting lunch to designing sets. This is the true backbone of a film that avoids risks and makes a finished film for all to see.
We make a promise to keep everyone updated throughout this process.
We don't just want to be something you give money to, but to be a part of the film from input to coming around, to celebrating whatever good comes from the movie. I want you to be included not just in a reward sense, but WE, as a TEAM, making films in Boston, TOGETHER. This includes working side by side with local musicians, actors, photographers and more to make this a gritty, raw and real drama about the struggles of art. We will also be shooting in local locations, showing the real city from the comedy clubs to the stoops and rock clubs. This is a film of friends. if you can't give money, you are still a part of our team in any way you want to be.
I believe we are in a time when cool indie films can be made for small money and everyone can be a part of it. This is the way it was done in the early indie days that I grew up admiring. Guys like Cassavettes, Gus Van Sant and Lars von Trier have made films they believe in without the giant funding. They also get these films out to the world. These are projects everyone can relate to. These films are about us. Real people that can connect to real life issues.
Then after we wrap the film we are going to throw a big party for the film at Laugh Boston with drinks, food and bands. Just like we did with "FAT" - twice. All are invited. Backers, cast, crew, friends. Details to follow.
Not only am I inspired by the other artists that I know but also from the struggle of guys like Bukowski and the jazz musicians of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Films that will influence our look, tone and texture include "The Wrestler," "Lenny," "The Jimmy Show" and "Low Down."
Risks and challenges
Any film has its obstacles, but after making a film that has had a bit of impact, I feel me and my crew are prepared to handle what comes our way.
I learned how and how not do a Kickstarter with "FAT."
It took me a while to get out rewards and we are finishing them now, finally, but this is my number one priority with this new one. To do it the right way on every level.
We were able to show the film and have a party, which helped. Even during this new film, we are still sending out "FAT" rewards because we believe in keeping our word and making good on what we learned.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)