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!

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.

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.

Fair Lila Films

There’s a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that reads [accordingly to this particular translation] “You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions.”

With intention and effort we work and strive. But there are countless externalities that come into play that determine the results of our actions.

I’ve spent the past few months coming up with the concept for my production company name, logo, and animation with the fantastic [I could not recommend more] Zoe Filutowski. I bounced the name “Fair Lila Films” around with my lawyer, wife, family, friends, managers, whomever would listen. The word ‘fair’ in the title is taken from the motel my grandfather built and my mother’s run for the past 27 years. I like the word ‘fair,’ because there’s karmic implications within it. And Lila, well – it’s my favorite sanskrit word, which has many meanings, but to keep it brief – “divine play.” Seeing this world as a divine play, where we’re all playing our part.

Here’s the animation we landed on, music done by the amazing PT Walkley, who also was the composer for Lez Bomb.  In creating Fair Lila Films, I hope it always serves as a reminder that energy put into work & storytelling can only be done with focus, intention, and aiming for the stars. But in the release of the arrow, we have to let go, and trust the dust will settle as it should.