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.”

 

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.

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.

Girl Night Stand // Part 2

Girl Night Stand will be included in WxW: For Women. By Women. The event takes place April 22nd at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. You can RSVP here.

WxW Short Films

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a follow up short to Girl Night Stand. A part 2, if you will.

Would it be a before or an after? How much would we find out about each character?

I’d love feedback, suggestions, ideas, enthusiasm! Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at Jenna@LezBombMovie.com.

Girl Night Stand trailer from Jenna Laurenzo on Vimeo.

 

Script Writing Lessons

 

I went off and got married, disappeared on a honeymoon, and haven’t blogged in forever. On the honeymoon, my wife and I had an amazing adventure in Bali. One of the days, we ventured off to visit a healer. Our driver took us to a village where we waited an hour for locals to chat with this healer, until it was finally our turn for a little divine intervention. One of the things he told me that’s chimed in my head since was – I need to make decisions and stick with them, and not get stuck in the chaos of “what ifs” and the crippling tangents our mind is so naturally inclined towards that create stagnation, and prevent action.

I’m in the middle of a rewrite on a script I’m developing with a company. While digesting the notes, I see my main character, my protagonist, doesn’t really know what she’s doing in all the scenes. Yes, the scenes and dialogue are funny. But she doesn’t always have a clear objective. She’s lacking the decisiveness I sometimes struggle with in my own life.

Story structure is a wonderful reminder that we’re all the hero of our own journey, and have the option to choose the narrative we want to tell. The problem is, we often find ourselves reactionary – life happens at us, and then we react, instead of us creating the space for life to happen, giving ourselves a moment to observe, and then actively choosing our next step on the narrative we long to tell. I loved choose-your-own-adventure-books as a child. It’s a mystery why I so often forget to choose my own adventure.

My biggest regret in life would be to be on my death bed and look back at my life as if it were a script and realize my protagonist didn’t always know her objective and didn’t always make clear decisions that would lead her on the journey she wanted to embark upon.

Instead of getting stuck in the stagnation of the world happening around us, lets gently reminder one another that habitually reacting to the chaos doesn’t give us the space and opportunity to give meaning to the chaos, and decisively choose our next step, in a way that helps us actively create the story we’d like to tell on this adventure of life.

Buttermilk Falls

This past weekend I was struck by the biggest surprise of my life.  My girlfriend asked me to marry her.  The second biggest surprise, I said “yes!”  For all who know me, the idea of spending my life with someone is terrifying.  My parents even warned her, “You know, it’s Jenna…could go either way.”  But once I saw the ring in front of me, beyond the sparkles and my many questions, I was flooded by images of what our life would be like together and the many adventures we’d have while evolving together and simultaneously forcing the other to grow.  The answer became simple…”YES!”

She had asked me to go hiking and we took a detour to check out a waterfall…all of which she meticulously planned.  I love water.  I find it calming while invigorating. There’s so much promise in water as it reminds us of nature’s rhythms and the universal consciousness. Leonardo Da Vinci said “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”  The quote feels most appropriate for an engagement that happened on a bridge over a stream leading to a waterfall.

She had planned the spot she’d ask me…a tree that looked like the imaginary tree I often describe meditating under.  The tree was at the top of the waterfall.  As we climbed our way to the top, she told me she wanted to check out this tree.  A girl kindly interjected, “I’d be very careful over there…I just saw I copperhead snake.”  I kindly thanked her, looked at my girlfriend and said “F*CK THIS!” And ran in the opposite direction.  My girlfriend caught me on the bridge, tried to talk me into going back to the tree, I protested “YOU KNOW HOW TERRIFIED OF SNAKES I AM!” And before I knew it, she was asking me to marry her.

The symbolism of getting engaged on a bridge is evident.  Not to mention my fiancé is an engineer and loves bridges.  But I found it amazing to face two fears at once: snakes and engagement. Ha!  The symbolism of snakes varies across the spectrum.  Joseph Campbell said “The power of life causes the snake to shed its skin, just as the moon sheds its shadow. The serpent sheds its skin to be born again, as the moon its shadow to be born again.”  And with that my fear of snakes and engagement subsided as I watched my sense of self shed it’s skin and step into a partnership where a lifetime of adventures awaits.

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Happy birthday to my lovely Irish fiancé. @aineod8

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