It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is
On the eve of their wedding, Josh and Lara's friends take them out for a wild night on the town. Secrets are revealed. Chaos ensues.
On the eve of their wedding, Josh and Lara's friends take them out for a wild night on the town. Secrets are revealed. Chaos ensues. Read more
About this project
"Hey, Josh, for what it's worth, everybody's got a past. There's nothing you can do about it. It just is what it is."
It Is What It Is is feature-length romantic comedy about what happens when your past catches up with your present and throws your whole future in doubt. Set in Birmingham, Alabama, the film follows in the tradition of movies like American Graffiti, Dazed and Confused, and Sixteen Candles, where the entire story takes place over the course of one eventful night. The characters in It Is What It Is are planning a wild night on the town to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Josh and Lara, a young couple ready to start the next phase of their lives. When friends both old and new gather together for the party, secrets from the past come to light, creating an evening of misunderstandings, misadventures, and misgivings for everyone involved. And like all great romantic comedies, there's plenty of laughs, tears, and chaos to go around.
Josh and Terry were best friends in college. Roommates since freshman year, they did everything together: partied, chased girls, and, on occasion, went to class. During their junior year, the duo hatched a plan to sell their belongings, drop out of school, and hitchhike across the globe as bohemian wandering poets. But when it came time to put their plan into action, Josh changed his mind. Always the more practical of the two, Josh wanted to stay in school and finish his law degree, then settle down and start a family with the right girl. Angry that his best friend was backing out on him, Terry defiantly went ahead with the plan and left town by himself, heading for Mexico and whatever adventures awaited him.
Several years later Josh is now a partner in a law firm and engaged to Lara, an attractive and younger lawyer he met three years prior when she started working at the firm. Lara is smart, driven, and focused on her career, but she's always had doubts about her chosen profession. She once had dreams of being a writer, but student loans and work pressures put those dreams on the back-burner. She is excited about getting married, even though she's nervous about settling down and starting a family, something Josh is eager to do. Her best friend and maid-of-honor, Rachel, thinks Lara is just having pre-wedding jitters. She tells Lara not to worry and that everything will work out.
Rachel, on the other hand, has her own relationship issues. Strong-willed and opinionated, Rachel has always had trouble finding a guy who can handle her personality. But she hasn't given up on the idea of finding Mr. Right like her best friend has (even though she and Josh have butted heads more than once in the past). However, she is fiercely protective of Lara and unwilling to let anything spoil her best friend's upcoming nuptials. Along with Josh's younger sister, Nicki, Rachel plans an elaborate bachelorette weekend with Lara to celebrate her last days as a single woman, and hopes to spot a potential Mr. Right of her own along the way.
That same weekend, Josh's friend Rodney decides to take Josh out on the town for his bachelor party. Josh represented Rodney during Rodney's tumultuous divorce a year earlier and ever since they have been close friends. In fact, Josh has asked Rodney to be his best man, something Rodney is deeply touched by. Rodney feels deeply indebted to Josh for helping him through his divorce and is honored to be his best man. He vows to always be there for Josh and show him a weekend he'll never forget.
Still bitter at the breakup of his marriage, Rodney is not looking to start a relationship with anyone. As far as he's concerned, it's him against the world. This bitterness blinds Rodney to the fact that Nicki has a crush on him. Nicki is a free-spirit with a knack for looking past the exterior of people and seeing the person underneath. And even though Rodney can be abrasive and direct, Nicki senses that he just needs someone to mend his wounded heart. Her plan is to find a way to get Rodney alone over the weekend and show him that she's the right girl for the job.
As the weekend arrives, everything is turned upside down with the arrival of Terry. Having learned of Josh's upcoming wedding, Terry decides to come back to America and mend fences with Josh. Surprised at Terry's sudden reappearance, and also hoping to make up for the past, Josh invites him out on the town. Terry regales everyone with tales of his wild adventures across the globe, making Josh wonder if he missed out on life by staying home. At the same time, Terry sees how successful and settled Josh is and wonders if it might be time for him to stop wandering and finally figure out where he's headed.
Meanwhile, Rodney is suspicious of this new visitor and hopes Josh hasn't changed his mind about who he wants to be his best man. Rachel, on the other hand, is intrigued by the scruffy stranger and thinks he might be worth getting to know better. But when Terry and Lara meet for what everyone thinks is the first time, secrets come to light that will fundamentally change not only Josh and Lara's relationship, but the lives of everyone else as well...
On the surface, It Is What It Is is a fun, lighthearted romantic comedy, but it strives to avoid many of the cliches found in similar films. There are plenty of twists and turns that will leave the audience guessing as to the outcome, and, just like in real life, not everything gets wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. Through these characters we are exploring universal experiences like love, friendship, marriage, divorce, and coming to terms with the past. The fast-paced comedic misadventures that take place in the film are just the framework around which we hope to say something a little more profound about how life takes us on the ride it wants to. Sometimes there's nothing you can do but just strap in and try to enjoy where life takes you. The best comedy comes from truth and honesty, and that is the foundation for everything that happens in the film. Our goal is to not only make a film that is funny, surprising, and entertaining, but also one that feels real, honest, and alive.
It Is What It Is will be shot on location in Birmingham, Alabama. The script has been written specifically to be shot for an extremely low budget, utilizing people, places, and equipment we already have access to. By keeping our story focused on a few core characters, we eliminate the need for a large cast. Setting the story in one evening eliminates the need for multiple costumes for the actors, cutting down on wardrobe costs. Real Birmingham locations and landmarks will be used in the film, many of which will be provided for free or at a substantially discounted rate, which will add enormous production value to the film, giving the finished product a much larger scope than its modest budget would suggest.
We are personally funding this film as much as we can, but are using kickstarter to help and get us enough to fund the initlal production. The funding we are looking for on Kickstarter is to pay for our cast and crew's time and meals during the shoot, along with equipment and location rental fees, props, and other production expenses. Our goal is to shoot the film in 20 days or less. It won't be easy, but with careful planning, budgeting, and scheduling (and a lot of hard work), it can be done. The initial $20,000 we are trying to raise is enough to cover some but not all of our costs. We certainly need more money, but this will cover the majority of our production. Once the film is shot and edited, there will be some unavoidable post-production expenses we will have to cover, such as color-correction, sound mixing, and music. Any additional money we raise beyond our initial goal will go directly toward paying for these costs. Every extra dollar helps and is greatly appreciated!
One the film is complete, we are going to enter it in as many film festivals as possible, including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Toronto, and Cannes (as well as Birmingham's own Sidewalk Film Festival). Our hope is to pick up a distributor and get a theatrical release for the film, along with distribution on DVD and cable television. In addition, the digital world has opened up a multitude of other distribution options, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube. We feel that the film has a wide audience appeal and would generate substantial revenue on a digital platform, especially when compared to the low cost of the film itself. The ultimate goal is to have the film seen by as many people as possible, and to make enough from the distribution of the film to continue making films in Birmingham.
Mike Cunliffe (Writer, Director) and Ryan Welch, (Co-Writer & Producer) initially met on the set of Tim Burton's Big Fish in Montgomery, Alabama in 2003. Mike was working as an Assistant Location Manager, Ryan was a stand-in for Ewan McGregor and a stunt double in the film. When production wrapped, Mike moved to Los Angeles to continue his film career, while Ryan moved to Birmingham. After running into each other 10 years later, they both decided they wanted to acheive their lifetime goal of making a feature film, but knew they needed an idea that could be produced on a very small budget. They hit on the idea of a wild and fun romantic comedy that could be shot in Birmingham on a microbudget. After two years in development, they completed their script. In June of 2012, they recruited a very talented and experienced cast and crew to shoot scenes from the script in order to demonstrate the look and tone of the finished film.
Among them are Joe Walker (Director of Photography), an award-winning cinematographer and Birmingham native who has shot on nearly every film and digital format imaginable. Examples of his work can be found on his website http://www.joewalkerdp.com/ . Also featured in the film is actor Jeff Hallman as Terry. An Alabama native, Jeff currently lives in Atlanta and has multiple film and TV show roles under his belt. In addition, Nick Crawford and Callie Mauldin, two founding members of the Birmingham improv group Ugly Baby, will appear in the film as Rodney and Rachel. Both have extensive stage and screen experience and are highly-skilled comedians. The roles of Rodney and Rachel were created specifically with them in mind.
The cast and crew of It Is What It Is are extremely dedicated to this project. They have pooled together their own financial resources and time to fund this film. Every dollar you donate will help them get closer to their goal! Thank you for your generosity and support!
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