Top 3 Tools Getting Lez Bomb Made

I recently taught a class to aspiring filmmakers. It was a wonderful experience that gave me time to think back on Lez Bomb’s journey and the conversations I’ve had this past year in Q&As. From the filmmaking perspective, the 2 repeat questions are:

“How did you get Lez Bomb made?”

“How did you get the cast and team?”

I thought I’d boil down the 3 most useful tools that helped Lez Bomb jump from page to screen.

#1     I spent 6 years trying to attach a director & star. With no money came no luck. Investors wanted to meet the team. I hit a wall and decided I was the team. I created a proof of concept that would showcase what that would look like. Additionally, I wanted the proof of concept to demonstrate audience in a tangible way.

I made Girl Night Stand with NO money:

I was introduced to Trish Bendix and she kindly released Girl Night Stand in 2015 on a blog she wrote for. I had a specific audience in mind with Girl Night Stand, and by partnering with a writer who served that audience I was able to focus the release. I initially released the short on Vimeo, where it’s views reached over 500k. All the press links were linked to Girl Night Stand’s Vimeo link. People were ripping Girl Night Stand off Vimeo and uploading to YouTube. To prevent this from happening, I uploaded Girl Night Stand to my own YouTube page, where it organically reached well over 3 million views. While the YouTube views climbed, an online fan reached out to inform me someone had uploaded the short film to a site in China where it had also gone viral. I was able to connect with the site in China and do a video Q&A with their audience.

All this to say – once you can demonstrate audience to an investor, it makes the conversation much easier. I had analytics and information about the audience, how they were watching, and which press pieces were most impactful. This information was incredibly valuable. It also demystified the idea of getting press, and how valuable or invaluable that can be. I was astonished to learn which hits were actually impactful, and which fell short.

#2     Even with the viral success of Girl Night Stand, it was hard to get people to read the script. I simplified the process by trying to tell the entire story in 5 minutes with clips from other movies & shows that I felt would demonstrate the tone and feel I was going for:

Creating this video was wildly helpful. Future collaborators could easily hit play on a coffee or lunch break, before committing to read the entire script. By grabbing their attention in a noncommittal way, I found it much easier to hook their attention and get them to eventually read the feature. Additionally, this became an exercise I used to explore tone and dive into the various tropes I wanted lean into with Lez Bomb. I was able to revisit many of the films that had inspired me, and it forced me to ask myself how I could push the LGBTQ narrative forward while nodding at some of these films/shows and leaning into the nostalgia of them to create something that felt familiar, yet we hadn’t yet seen.

#3     Now that I had whomever’s attention, the single most important element was the script. Making sure that script was as strong as possible. I spent years crafting the script, and I had many incredible teachers & mentors along the way. Write, write, and then write some more. And then continue rewriting until you have the script you want to show. Take the craftsmanship seriously.

Go out and make your movies. I hope this helps!

Lez Bomb in Theaters Tomorrow

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Lez Bomb’s been an eight year journey from the first word on the page, to its jump on screen. As we roll towards Thanksgiving, my mind darts to my mom saying when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, you spend so much time preparing the meal, then everyone consumes it in 30 minutes. Lez Bomb took 8 years! Tomorrow we release in Theaters & On Demand. All that time, all that build up, then it’s consumed like a 30 min Thanksgiving feast. Well, 90 minutes. I’m beyond grateful for this journey, and can’t wait to share this meal with those near and dear to my heart.

To catch Lez Bomb in Theaters, visit this page for all theater cities, times, and tickets.

If you want to pre-order the film and get it on your computer tomorrow: Pre-Order HERE

Finally, I found this video of when we wrapped back in December 2016 in the freezing New Jersey cold. In the words of my mom, “Everyone’s in 15 layers and you’re in that stupid dress.”

 

Japan

My wife and I just spent the past ten days on a trip to Japan; a country that quickly rose to the top of my most favorite places in the world list! Despite things getting comedically dramatic as we tried to navigate our food allergies with translation cards, we ate well. And, thanks to miscommunication regarding whether or not clams and scallops count as shellfish, I accidentally ate both – and I’m still alive AND they were delicious. For my wife’s celiac disease, we had to opt out of soy sauce on our sushi adventures, but were able to find a local, non touristy spot in Kyoto, where the chef was willing to accommodate our high maintenance requests. My wife got a belly echoing “NO” when she tried to put ginger on her sushi, really capping off our culinary misadventures.

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Breakfast spread for days.

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By far our favorite place on the trip, and the world, was a gem of a ryokan suggested by a friend who travels to Tokyo monthly. We enjoyed hot springs under moonlight, and 12 course breakfast & dinner in our room. It was…magical.

What really struck me on the trip was the attention to detail – always. From coffee making, to drinks, to dinners, to ingredients, greetings and farewells, there was precision. Every movement, gesture, and act is filled with intention. The sushi chef we experienced in Kyoto was full of mastery. The tasting menu we had in Tokyo was from a chef who proudly said he was a 2nd generation chef. The time and energy put into mastery was a blessing to experience. We’re so often inclined to skate along the surface, not really penetrating the depth of knowledge available once time and energy’s put into really experiencing something so deeply true craftsmanship unfolds.

Taking a momentary break from work, we were able to turn things upside down the past few weeks diving into a new culture and experiencing the world through new lens. Maybe not so new…but a 14 hour flight and time difference defogged our personal lenses which have been caught up in routine these past few months. It was nice to shake things up a bit and see things a bit more clearly once again.

The Bentonville Experience

We premiered Lez Bomb to two sold out audiences at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival last week. It was an incredible experience. About 20 of my nearest and dearest flew in for the premiere and we all got to celebrate in the charming town of Bentonville. I had no idea what to expect dropping the Lez Bomb in Arkansas, but Bentonville was straight up charming as hell, and at times mystical. The audiences were rowdy with laughter, supportive, and had a ton of questions. I’m pretty sure a handful of them thought they were seeing a french film called “Les Bomb,” but they were pleasantly surprised by our dysfunctional family ensemble comedy, Lez Bomb.

First and foremost – the food! My wife has celiac disease, so we were ecstatic when we discovered The Preacher’s Son, which is a restaurant inside what used to be a church. The ENTIRE menu is gluten free. The food was fantastic. So fantastic in fact, in the week we were there I believe we went a total of 4, some of us 5 times. In the basement of the restaurant is a speakeasy, where I had the chance to drink and chat with Geena Davis. Every bit of my A League of Their Own dreams came true!

Lez Bomb ended up winning the best narrative film jury award, which was an amazing experience in itself. But the entire week – I was overwhelmed with gratitude for meeting many inspiring and passionate people, and getting to share the experience with so many members of the Lez Bomb team, along with family and friends. It felt like a second wedding!

We released a clip of Lez Bomb last week on DEADLINE:

I look forward to sharing more information regarding the film in the near future.

Magic

Believing in the impossible has always been what motivates many of my decisions. They say faith can move mountains and I’ve held on to that sentiment since childhood.

While dreaming of things that seem out of reach can be frustrating and a test of one’s patience, it’s also a reminder each day’s filled with mystery. Not knowing how things will unfold is mysterious. The unpredictability of it all can be unnerving. But if we had all the answers it would get boring.

My Dad sent me this video this morning. It was a wonderful reminder to look for magic each day with faith in whatever path you’ve chosen. While there are so many questions that expand beyond our day-to-day, sometimes the greatest miracles can be found within our day-to-day.

Dream Big

“Dream Big” has been circling my mind. One of hashtags the Bentonville Film Festival is using is #DreamBigBFF.

As actors, writers, directors, artists, all who reach for the unknown looking for ways of expressing the depths of the imagination, the phrase “dream big” becomes an endeavor; in dreaming big, artists try and take that dream, and actively translate it to an audience with their medium of expression.

These dreams and expressions hopefully reveal truths. Once those truths reveal themselves, we can let go of that particular dream, which is sometimes more difficult than the actual creation of it in the first place.

On this springtime Friday filled with dreaming, I’m rereading Prospero’s speech in Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Being “…such stuff As dreams are made on…” one of the trickiest things to learn is having the passion to dream, the perseverance to take that dream and turn it into reality, and then the discipline to let go of that creation that will, like our life, dissolve.

Bentonville Film Festival

Lez Bomb will premiere at the Bentonville Film Festival the first week in May.

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A few weeks back I had coffee with a mentor. She asked if I could remember being excited about Lez Bomb. Finishing the script, getting funding, attaching cast, shooting the film, finishing the edit, getting accepted into festivals. The opportunity for excitement and the victories along the way are endless. But so are the hurdles. It’s often the hurdles that blind us and prevent celebrating the victories. Then we forget the victories even happened. Our perception becomes blurred by stress, holding on to the negative, instead of celebrating the small wins along the way. This mentor told me she thinks she missed the opportunity to enjoy the big moments as they happened; she was too wrapped up in anxiety.

The conversation with her was a gift, a reminder, to take each step with presence. Otherwise it’ll all blow by and be a mere memory. A memory colored by anxiety instead of gratitude.

I think endlessly of story and our innate ability to script our life’s authentic narrative. As Lez Bomb begins its festival journey, I hope to script the journey grounded in presence. Making the festival run about connecting with people, visiting new places, enjoying new experiences, and telling stories along the way while hearing others. I’d hate to miss this story, because I was too wrapped up in the pressures surrounding the one already filmed.