Independent Film Prospectus – Crossing Walter – Comedy

 

For several years I’ve been asked how we go about funding our movies independently, and so a discussion usually follows regarding all that goes into development and pre-production of a film. Now, there’s a lot involved, and I have at times tried to breakdown the process for people and all of the work that goes into it. As a way to clarify further, I will be adding “no-frills” versions of documents we’ve developed over time to present to investors, production companies, and/or producers that helped us along the way. Several of these documents we’ve polished and updated, but for educational purposes for those interested in independent film production, I can share paired down samples of what we use for certain documents.

My next sample is a very basic, Movie Prospectus.

It’s for a movie that we are still very excited about, but have put on the back burner for now, so I don’t mind sharing this as an example. I hope you find this to be helpful:prospectus-title-page

Business and Product

     Company’s Business

Crossing Walter, LLC (herein also referred to as “CW, LLC” or “The Company”) is an Arizona-based company formed for the purpose of developing and producing a full-length feature film currently titled “Crossing Walter” (herein also referred to as “The Film”), a family comedy.  Brothers’ Ink Productions serves as the Member-Manager of The Company.

     Overview

We are seeking film production financing in the amount of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) that includes the cost of pre-production, principal photography, and post-production for a theatrical and/or DVD release for the film.

$25,000 per Membership Interest, an aggregate of 130 Interests available for a total of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) for the production. (PPM available upon request.)

This package has a high success potential due to the following reasons:

  • Recognizable TV actors, which makes the film more marketable, commercial and more attractive to a wider audience.
  • The Comedy genre is extremely attractive in the indie feature industry and sells well to foreign markets.
  • Brothers’ Ink is well established in the Phoenix Film market and will utilize their influence and reputation to recruit cast and crew for all stages of the production. This will create a buzz throughout the region and a sense of community for the film. The filmmakers and actors will in essence, market the film to all of their families and friends, building up an audience for the release of the film in the Phoenix market.
  • Brothers’ Ink has secured a letter of intent (LOI) for distribution…(Request to view LOI)

     The Product – Crossing Walter

Crossing Walter, LLC owns the option on the original screenplay, written by John Waldron, who is also on board as Executive Producer.

     Feature Film Logline

An average family man accidentally mistaken for a human trafficker gets deported the weekend of his daughter’s wedding.  With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time to walk his daughter down the aisle.

     Synopsis

“Crossing Walter” is a film about Walter Wheeler, a compulsive tax accountant and over protective family man. His world is turned upside down when his daughter comes home for the weekend to announce that she is quitting college and getting married on Sunday.

At the advice of his hapless brother-in-law, Walter innocently picks up a few day laborers and gets mistaken as a human trafficker (coyote) and deported to Mexico. With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time for the wedding.

Through the adventure, Walter finds a renewed strength with the love of his family and learns to let his children live their own lives.  “Crossing Walter” explores the themes of love, endurance, respect and commitment and that nothing is more important than family.

     Audience

  • Families
  • Couples

     Genre

  • Comedy
  • Family

     Comparative

  • Sideways
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Stranger Than Fiction
  • Garden State

     Business Strategy

 Brothers’ Ink, LLC’s business strategy is not predicated on luck. Given our knowledge of the film industry and the track record of our team, we are aware of the challenges and risks involved in moviemaking. We also know how to apply our professional experience in business affairs, creative affairs, development, production, and marketing to manage the inherent risks. We have a talented management team with business ownership backgrounds, film industry backgrounds, negotiating acumen, and storytelling abilities.

The film will be produced independently of a major motion picture studio. That is, it will be created and financed outside the major studios. However, Brothers’ Ink, LLC will seek leading distributors (including the distribution divisions of major studios) in the United States and abroad in order to obtain the widest possible distribution of the film and to maximize revenues.

The production cost of an average Hollywood film produced by a major studio continues to rise and now stands at over $60MM according to industry estimates. Each of the major studios has established units to produce pictures at lower budgets.

According to recent research from the Motion Picture Association of America, the average production costs for these subsidiaries and affiliated studios (companies such as Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, New Line, and Miramax) is still high at $34MM. As a result, Hollywood has a strong incentive to work with independent producers who can deliver quality motion pictures that have wide audience appeal.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to create a financially successful film without the burden of significant overhead charges, which in the case of major studios, have little to do with the production of the film. The Company will keep overhead to an absolute minimum and will devote our resources to delivering a quality film to the screen.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC will attempt to earn revenue and generate investor returns from the exploitation of the following film rights in the United States and worldwide:

  • Licensing the rights for theatrical exhibition
  • Foreign Distribution
  • DVD sales and rental
  • Pay-per-view
  • Television broadcasts (cable, free TV)
  • Other ancillary markets (including licensing and merchandising, etc.)

Obtaining an “acquisition deal” is a primary business objective. In this type of distribution arrangement, the independent producer raises production monies from investors, but distributor funds are not used to market and distribute the movie. The distribution agreement is usually entered into after the film is produced (i.e., the film is already “in the can”). This approach to film finance and distribution generally provides the producer and creative team with the most creative control and the investors greater profit participation.

In order to deliver the film on budget, the management of Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to adhere to the highest standards of cost control and financing reporting. Key reasons for budget overruns on films are the lack of financial controls and the lack of overall project management. We will implement and maintain an accurate budget and related financial reports, a pre-production schedule, a shooting schedule and a post-production schedule. Tight internal procedures, the implementation of accounting policies in accordance with US GAAP, and outside review of financial statements by a CPA-certified auditor will ensure that the Company’s management and investors have an accurate fiscal assessment.

     The Industry

 Though the U.S. motion picture industry continues to be both profitable and financially stable, box office receipts, once the cornerstone of motion picture distribution, continue to become less and less important as emerging technologies both create new distribution methods and make those methods more accessible to independent filmmakers.

  • Filmed Entertainment
    • Strong box office receipts will fuel spending worldwide.
    • DVDs and digital distribution will continue to boost the home video market.

No other country’s film industry creates entertainment that is as well received as U.S. produced movies. In Europe, American films currently capture from 50%-90% of the box office.

The licensing of films for home Video/DVD and television (network and syndicated, pay cable, and basic cable) is now overtaking revenues derived from theatrical release. Nevertheless, the stronger the box office returns, the more money a film property will command in ancillary markets.

While the theatrical market has enjoyed steady growth, the home Video/DVD sector has been even more impressive, with digital distribution continuing a strong and steady growth worldwide.

The video IPOD, IPAD, IPHONE as well as online download and burn services create additional distribution methods for studios and independents alike. This bodes well for independent filmmakers who often find it easier to obtain home video distribution.

With robust industry conditions projected for the next five years the underlying fundamentals are in place to support independent film production and distribution.

     Independent Films

 The market for independently produced films in the U.S. has increased significantly in the last five years. The outstanding box office success of films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($368,744,044 Worldwide box office), Little Miss Sunshine ($99,121,298 Worldwide box office), and Napoleon Dynamite ($46,118,097 Worldwide box office) is well known. However, there is a well-established trend of independent films being embraced by ever-broader audience segments.

Above and beyond such record-setting results, there is a larger trend emerging at the box office. Independent films are no longer limited to niche or art house releases. Broad audiences across the country are now embracing independently produced films.

In part, this growth is being fueled by the continued expansion of theatres presenting independent films. “The proliferation of indie screens enables distributors to keep their films in cinemas longer, even if they aren’t breakout hits,” notes the business daily Crain’s New York Business.

     Distribution and Marketing

 When the film is completed, the Management team will explore the most financially optimal arrangement for Brothers’ Ink, LLC and its shareholders. This will include a domestic distribution deal with a major distribution Company, selling off of individual international territories and/or the combination of both. The intent of the management team is to structure a distribution deal that not only pays the Company monies up front but also ensures that the film will get the maximum exposure and marketing support by an established and well-known distributor. To this extent, the management team may accept distribution contracts that initially may not pay the most upfront for the picture but, at the discretion of the management team, presents the most viable opportunity to make revenues long-term.

As an example of the various opportunities that may be presented to the Company, a foreign distribution deal involves an advance against sales in all non-North American territories from a foreign sales Company. This advantage can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, depending on the perceived value of he film and the structure of the contract. The film sales Company will then sell rights to distribute the film territory-by-territory. The film receives monies over and above the advance after the advance and the foreign sales Company has recouped the distribution expenses. Generally a cap is established in the contract for all expenses of the film incurred by the sales Company. Additional revenues, if any, are split between the foreign sales Company and the producers of the film. The foreign sales Company will take a percentage of revenues from a low 15% to a high 40%, depending on the amount of the initial advance. All these points are negotiable and are dependent on the needs of the individual film.

Domestic distribution deals are similar, except that the distribution rights are sold to one distributor rather thank to multiple distributors in multiple territories. Generally, the domestic distributor will acquire all rights, i.e. theatrical, television, and home video, in order to maximize exposure and coordinate marketing and advertising.

Foreign and domestic theatrical distribution, as well as home Video/DVD, are the primary revenue streams for independent films. Additional revenue may be derived from television and ancillary markets. Success in these ancillary markets will usually depend on the quantity of success enjoyed by the picture during its theatrical exhibition.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC has developed several strategies to obtain distribution for the picture. First, we will leverage and further cultivate existing professional relationships in the entertainment business. We plan to develop direct connections to both studio distribution executives as well as to production companies with “studio output deals”. (Studio output deals allow certain high-profile production companies to utilize the global distribution arms of major studios.)

To gain access to an even broader set of distribution decision-makers, we will seek to create an aura of desirability for the film from the very beginning. We will generate publicity for the project in the pre-production phase and we will start creating “buzz” within the industry and the comedy fan community. This is accomplished by, among other tactics, communicating with industry trade magazines and providing updates to insider websites. This early level of awareness will help strengthen our position as we begin to brief executives at the major studios. However, based on the commercial potential of the film, studio executives will want to keep track of our progress. When the film is complete, we will enter it into festivals around the world. The festivals will enable us to expose the film to influential moviegoers and to gain press attention.

In addition, we will retain a sales agent to represent the film at major film markets including the American Film Market, which takes place each November in Santa Monica, CA and Cannes Film Festival, which takes place each May in France. Film Buyers from around the world gather at these markets seeking motion pictures for foreign and domestic distribution in theatrical, television and ancillary markets. All of these elements will help us to expose the film to influential moviegoers, to gain press attention, and help our film stand out from competitive films.

The film will be particularly appealing to distributors due to large audience appeal because of the family and comedy genres and the PG targeted rating. With a film that is well received on the festival circuit, which connects with a broad audience, we should be suitably positioned to obtain a distribution deal from a major distributor. We will seek distribution from companies that give the films a theatrical run, but that are also strong in DVD/Video distribution. While the film business is inherently risky, we are producing the film at a small enough budget that will enable us to generate a profit under a number of different scenarios.

 Production

Principle photography is planned for the Fall/Winter of 2016.  Pre-production has already begun.   The films will be shot entirely on location in Georgia.  For further information on the benefits of filming in Georgia, see ‘Georgia Motion Picture Tax Incentives’ on Page 13.

 Rights

Brothers’ Ink intends to negotiate all ancillary rights to Crossing Walter worldwide.  Ancillary rights include but are not limited to the following:  Network TV, Premium Cable TV, Syndicated TV, DVD rental and sales, Pay-Per-View TV, Posters, Soundtrack CDs, Toys, Soft Drinks, Games, etc.

All rights are currently with John Waldron and Brothers’ Ink Productions.  These rights are to be negotiated with each individual distribution territory worldwide.  We seek to retain all publishing rights.

 Merchandising

We are looking for partnerships with major advertising like Pepsi, Apple Computer, and Dominos Pizza to help with creating merchandising for the films to possibly include a music soundtrack, toys, clothing, special promotions, posters, games, books, etc.  The merchandising rights will be negotiated as needed.

Licensing

Concurrently, we will negotiate television licensing, cable, DVD/Video and all other ancillary rights Worldwide.

Net Profit

Net Profits will be distributed after all expenses and fees are met and will be paid as follows:

  • 90% to the investors, 10% to Brothers’ Ink Productions, until 150% of initial capital investment is reached;

For a profit projection, see Figure 3.5 under ‘Revenue Forecasting and Projections’ on page 15.

Casting

We are committed to including at least two (2) “A” list actors that will attract studio distribution and/or audience interest.

Potential Cast:

WALTER:

  • Paul Giamatti
  • Jeff Daniels
  • Bill Engval

DeWAYNE:

  • Bruce Campbell
  • John Tuturro
  • Jim Belushi

PATRICIA:

  • Holly Hunter
  • Frances McDormand
  • Bonnie Hunt

GUY:

  • M.C. Gainey
  • Larry the Cable Guy

FAST FACTS

     Rating

  • 78 of the films in the top 100 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13.
  • 22 of the films in the top 25 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13. Out of the other 3, two are G and 1 is R.
  • All 10 of the top 10 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are PG or PG-13.

     Genre

  • Over 50% of all the films on the one hundred top grossing films of all time (Worldwide) would fall under the Family or Comedy Genres.
  • Out of the 18 films entering the top 25 (Worldwide) since 2000, 13 of them are Family or Comedy.
  • So far in 2007, 8 of the top 10 grossing films (Domestic) are Family or Comedy.BrosInk Logo (1)

     Executive Summary

      Brothers’ Ink Productions

In 2003, Donovan Montierth, Adam Montierth and Jason Walters created Brothers’ Ink Productions. They released their first 35mm short film, “Reveille” to audiences in 2004 and have since produced or partnered with other production companies to produce over 15 short films based on Brothers’ Ink scripts.

The company has participated in over 40 film festivals across the country, won over 20 awards for their films and screenplays, and sold and optioned several screenplays. Many of the films have aired on TV and most recently, Brothers’ Ink Productions signed a contract with the Department of Defense for them to play “Reveille” on the American Forces Network and the Pentagon Channel throughout 2007. Brothers’ Ink Productions won a Rocky Mountain Emmy® Award for “Reveille” on October 6th, 2007.

Brothers’ Ink Productions added Nick Stahr, Neil Mather, John Waldron and Adam Devaney as Creative Directors in November 2008. This enabled Brothers’ Ink Productions to increase production and in 2008 they produced 6 short films and went into development on 3 feature films.

Brothers’ Ink Productions is an award-winning production company focused on creating commercial films that are high in quality at conservative budgets.  Brothers’ Ink recently finished their first feature film called Locker 13 starring Golden Globe Winner Ricky Schroder, Rick Hoffman, Jon Gries, Jon Polito, Curtis Armstrong, Krista Allen, Tatyana Ali and lensed by Academy Award Winner Russell Carpenter.

Member Managers

John Waldron

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

John Waldron is a professional stand-up comedian, comedy writer and producer. He produced and co-hosted “Morning Coffee”, an AM radio morning show on KFHX 1620 AM, produced and co-hosted “Happy Hour”, a drive-time comedy talk show on NBC radio, and has written comedy for KDKB’s “Tim and Mark Show”, “The Howard Stern Show”, and several local radio programs.

He has trained with David Razowsky of Second City, Tony Vicich of The Tempe Improv, and performed with the likes of Jeff Altman, Charles Fleischer, Franklin Ajaye, and Steve Bluestein. He has hosted several television programs, including “Arizona Express”, “Arizona Book-Nook”, and “Live!…on tape!”, a short-lived but hilarious comedy talk-show in the Phoenix Market. He has Directed, Produced, and Acted in several Brothers’ Ink films, including “American Big Game”, “Dirty Laundry”, “Relocation”, and “Neighborwood”.

Donovan Montierth

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

 Donovan has written, sold and optioned several screenplays, including adapting two novels from popular thriller authors into scripts. Donovan was also included as an Honorable Mention in the Best American Mystery Stories 2007, edited by Carl Hiaasen, for a short story called, “Capacity to Kill” which is published in the Thuglit Anthology Hardcore Hardboiled by Kensington Press. Donovan won an Emmy Award along with his brother Adam for writing, directing and producing Reveille, which was shown on the Pentagon Channel and all over the world on the American Forces Network.

Adam Montierth

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

 For many years, Adam has specialized in directing, writing and producing a plethora of programs in classic and new media. He specializes in providing a cinematic storytelling experience for advertisers/brand marketers that want to reach their audience in a new and effective way. Some highlights include a 30 minute interview with New York Best Selling Author J.A. Jance, a viral public service announcement for battered women, a10-minute short film about military veterans that was viewed over 6 million times on Google and the release of an informative children’s book called, “Dream” that included a book tour where he spoke to elementary schools throughout Arizona about the importance making your dreams come true.

Revenue Models

SELECTED INDEPENDENT FILMS COMEDY GENRE
(Millions of Dollars)
ESTIMATED BOX DVD TOTAL
BUDGET OFFICE RENTALS REVENUE
Napoleon Dynamite $400,000 $46,541,000 $43,800,000 $89,941,000
Little Miss Sunshine $8,000,000 $99,041,006 $46,320,000 $137,361,006
Sideways $16,000,000 $109,336,065 $37,700,000 $131,036,065
Garden State $2,500,000 $35,825,316 $19,800,000 $53,125,316
Being John Malkovich $13,000,000 $22,863,596 $28,300,000 $38,163,596
My Big Fat Greek Wedding $5,000,000 $241,400,000 $65,100,000 $301,500,000
Calendar Girls $10,000,000 $96,543,000 $28,300,000 $114,843,000
Thank You For Smoking $6,500,000 $39,232,211 $27,310,000 $60,042,211
About Schmidt $30,000,000 $105,834,556 $51,000,000 $126,834,556
Muriel’s Wedding $3,000,000 $57,500,000 unknown $54,500,000
(Note:  Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources:  Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com
SELECTED STUDIO FILMS WITHIN THE COMEDY GENRE
(Millions of Dollars)
ESTIMATED BOX DVD TOTAL
BUDGET OFFICE RENTALS REVENUE
Stranger Than Fiction $38,000,000 $53,227,000 $35,690,000 $50,917,000
Are We There Yet? $32,000,000 $97,919,147 $44,010,000 $109,929,147
Nacho Libre $35,000,000 $99,253,544 $34,290,000 $98,543,544
Adaptation $19,000,000 $32,801,173 $48,800,000 $62,601,173
The Family Man $60,000,000 $124,745,083 $86,900,000 $151,645,083
The Family Stone $18,000,000 $92,283,851 $42,970,000 $117,253,851
The Upside of Anger $12,000,000 $28,198,143 $44,500,000 $60,698,143
A Good Year $35,000,000 $40,679,283 $15,730,000 $21,409,283
RV $50,000,000 $87,528,173 $41,740,000 $79,268,173
Must Love Dogs $30,000,000 $58,405,313 $36,190,000 $64,595,313
(Note:  Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources:  Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com

Expected Budget:

SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED PRODUCTION COSTS ESTIMATE
Acct # Description Page #  Total
1100 Story and Other Rights 2        77,927
1200 Producer 3      183,300
1300 Director 4      117,970
1400 Cast 5      388,764
1500 Travel and Living 6      208,125
1600 Miscellaneous 6        59,689
1900 Fringe Benefits 6      133,672
TOTAL ABOVE-THE-LINE    1,169,447
2000 Production Staff 7      117,333
2100 Extra Talent 8      211,400
2200 Art Direction 9      146,880
2300 Set Construction 10        20,050
2400 Set Striking 10          6,240
2500 Set Operations 11      173,280
2700 Set Dressing 13        39,072
2800 Property 14        43,040
2900 Men’s Wardrobe 15        43,200
3000 Women’s Wardrobe 16        29,200
3100 Makeup and Hairdressing 17        36,360
3200 Electrical, Rigging, and Operations 18        66,884
3300 Camera Operations 19        69,782
3400 Sound Operations 20        42,952
3500 Transportation 21        79,720
3600 Location 22        88,824
3700 Production Film and Lab 23        12,000
4000 Second Unit 25        45,000
  4900 Fringe Benefits 26      112,591
TOTAL PRODUCTION PERIOD    1,383,808
5000 Editing 27      378,000
5100 Music 28        90,000
5200 Post Production Sound 29          9,324
5400 Main and End Titles 31        17,500
TOTAL EDITING PERIOD      494,824
6500 Publicity 32        25,000
6700 Insurance 33          7,300
6800 General Overhead 34          5,700
7500 Fees, Charges, and Misc. 34          8,000
TOTAL OTHER CHARGES        46,000
TOTAL ABOVE-THE-LINE    1,169,447
TOTAL BELOW-THE-LINE    1,924,632
ABOVE AND BELOW-THE-LINE    3,094,079
Contingency      154,704
GRAND TOTAL    3,248,783

Revenue Forecasting and Projections:

In regards to utilizing private financing instead of having a major studio produce the film, “Crossing Walter” has two distribution options; 1) Negative Pick-Up1 or 2) Distribution Only2.  Relative to the direct expenses of the comparative Family Comedies listed above, below is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and a potential return for “Crossing Walter”.

1In film production, a negative pickup is a contract entered into by an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to purchase the movie from the producer at a given date and for a fixed sum. Depending on whether the studio pays part or all of the cost of the film, the studio will receive the domestic, international, DVD and/or TV rights to the film, with net profits split between the producer and the studio.  (source: Wikepedia.org)

2In film production, a distribution only deal is a contract entered into between an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to advertise, market and distribute the film.  The studio will recoup Direct Distribution Expenses prior to the disbursement of net profits.

Description Negative Pick-up  Distribution Only
US Theatrical Gross Box Office  $  15,000,000  $    15,000,000
US Gross DVD Sales & Rental  $  17,931,051  $    17,931,051
US Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV  $    7,500,000  $     7,500,000
International Theatrical Gross Box Office  $  22,500,000  $    22,500,000
International Gross DVD Sales & Rental  $  26,896,577  $    26,896,577
Int’l. Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV  $  10,800,000  $    10,800,000
Cumulative Gross Receipts (SUB-TOTAL)  $ 100,627,628  $  100,627,628
Direct Distribution Expenses  $  77,064,191  $    71,234,140
Negative Cost (BUDGET)  $    5,000,000  $     5,000,000
Talent Residuals  $    3,000,000  $     3,000,000
Producer’s Gross Receipts  $  18,297,624  $    24,190,675
Talent Participation (if any, @ 7%)  $    1,280,834  $     1,693,347
Producer’s Net Receipts  $  17,016,790  $    22,497,328
Studio’s Share  $    8,508,395  $                 –
Producer’s Share (NET PROFIT)  $    8,508,395  $    22,497,328
Investor’s Share  $    7,629,198  $    21,538,894
Investor ROI 153% 431%

Brothers’ Ink Productions is looking for funding or Production Partner for the feature film with an expected budget of $3.25 Million. For Script, Prospectus, Executive Summary, PPM, Budget or more info:

Please contact John Waldron at CrossingWalter@Brothers-ink.com.

 

Lloyd Bridges

 

Not only did Lloyd father two very fine actors, he was also one of the most interesting actors in his own right. Lloyd Bridges was a very versatile actor being very successful in just about every genre over the years. He had a successful TV show Sea Hunt in the late 1950’s for 155 episodes. Bridges returned to television a year later in this ambitious 30-minute series, designed to showcase his range and depth as an actor. For The Lloyd Bridges Show, he played journalist Adam Shepherd, who would research a story, and then imagine himself as the protagonist, and the episode would thrust him into a new character in a new situation every week. TV Producer Aaron Spelling came up with the concept, and Lloyd Bridges, later said the show really should have been called “The Aaron Spelling Show”. Bridges said Spelling was a genius. It was a family affair, however, as Jeff Bridges appeared in three episodes, and Beau was in two. Lloyd’s daughter Cindy was also in an episode.airplane-lloyd-bridges

Now, as a child of the 80’s he came to my attention in Airplane, from the Zucker brothers (and Jim Abrahams). This is by far the best of the parody movies, that seemed to flood the movies in the 70’s and 80’s from Mel Brooks and the Zucker brothers. Most of his movies before these featured him in very serious roles, but here he found a new audience as he was extremely funny in these movies. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker chose actors such as Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, and Leslie Nielsen because of their reputation for playing no-nonsense characters. Until this film, these actors had not done comedy, so their “straight-arrow” personas and line delivery made the satire in the movie all the more poignant and funny. Bridges was initially reluctant to take his role in the movie, but his sons, Jeff and Beau, persuaded him to do it. Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey spoofs his role as airport manager Jim Conrad in the TV series San Francisco International Airport (1970).hot-shots-part-deux-lloyd-bridges

Because of the success of this movie, Bridges would be cast in another parody series; Hot Shots! (1991), and Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), written and directed by Jim Abrahams.  He wasn’t the original actor hired for his role however, as he replaced George C. Scott, when he had to decline the project. Hot Shots! parodies the scene in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) in which Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) sits atop on a piano and sings “Makin’ Whoopee”. That film starred Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges as the title characters, Jack and Frank Baker. In the sequel, Hot Shots! Part Deux Jim Abrahams originally wanted Marlon Brando instead of Lloyd Bridges to play The President. Later in 1993, Charlie Sheen, who played the lead in this series, would go on to play Aramis in The Three Musketeers (1993). Interestingly, that role was previously played by Lloyd Bridges in The Fifth Musketeer (1979), which also featured José Ferrer as Athos. Miguel Ferrer, his son, also appears in this Hot Shots! Part Deux.bridges-lloyd-jeff-beau

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

 

If you’ve been to Disneyland lately, specifically California Adventure, you will notice a “new” character walking around the theme park. It’s non-other than Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. I say “new” because he was actually the first animated character created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks in 1927, before he created Mickey Mouse, but he never owned the rights to him, until the Disney Company traded the rights for Oswald and all of his original Disney produced animated shorts with NBC/Universal in 2006 for the services of Al Michaels as play-by-play announcer on NBC Sunday Night Football (thank you Al Michaels, that was a Win/Win for us all).oswald

Now, if you’re a Nintendo game fan, then you’ll recognize that they put Oswald to use almost instantly in the video games, Epic Mickey, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.  Here’s some more interesting facts about Oswald:

  • He was voiced by the same person that eventually would go on to become the voice of Goofy – Pinto Colvig, from 1930-1931.
  • Was voiced by actor Mickey Rooney after Pinto left in 1931.
  • Was voiced by Walter Lantz in 1935, who would become famous later for creating another famous animated character, Woody Woodpecker.
  • In the last animated short to feature Oswald, The Egg Cracker Suite (1943) he was voiced by June Foray, who would go on to voice Natasha and Rocky the Squirrel, in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.
  • Featured in DC Comics and Dell Comics over the years.
  • Was the first Disney character to sell merchandise.
  • The full version of the animated short Oh, What a Knight is included as an unlockable cartoon in Epic Mickey by collecting various film reels in the game.
  • Oswald won Best New Character in both Readers’ Choice and Editors’ Choice in Nintendo Power’s Best of 2010 awards.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

 

Continuing the trend of quotable movies this week is the ultimate…Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) starring Steve Martin and John Candy and written and directed by John Hughes. This would have to be one of John Hughes best movies, for me. John Hughes, in an interview on the ‘Those Aren’t Pillows’ DVD edition, said he was inspired to write the film’s story after an actual flight from New York to Chicago he was on was diverted to Wichita Kansas, thus taking him 5 days to get home. John Hughes wrote the first-draft of the screenplay in 3 days. His average writing time for a screenplay in those days was about 3-5 days with 20-some rewrites.steve-martin-planes

Upon receiving the script through his agent, Steve Martin was surprised to discover the script’s 145 page length, with a comedy typically aiming for 90 pages. When Martin met with John Hughes, he asked if the director had any intention of cutting the script. According to Martin, Hughes looked at Martin strangely and said “Cutting?”, making Martin realize the director had no intention of cutting the script. Steve Martin was convinced to join the production after favoring two scenes he had read from the script; the seat adjustment-scene in the car, and the F-word tirade at the car rental desk.steve-martin-trains

The film was also, reportedly, a favorite of John Candy’s. Interestingly, the car in the film that Steve and John drive was modeled after the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), which John Hughes wrote 4 years earlier and which also stars John Candy as the security guard at Wallyworld.

Here’s some really great dialogue from the movie:

Neal: Del… Why did you kiss my ear?
Del: Why are you holding my hand?
Neal: [frowns] Where’s your other hand?
Del: Between two pillows…
Neal: Those aren’t pillows!
[they both leap out of bed, screaming and shaking their hands in disgust]those-arent-pillows

or

Neal: You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You’re a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They’re not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! “Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith, he’s got some amusing anecodotes for you. Oh and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.” I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, “How can you stand it?” I’d say, “‘Cause I’ve been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.” You know what they’d say? They’d say, “I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy. Woah.” It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh! And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!

orpta-airport

Del: You play with your balls a lot.
Neal: I do NOT play with my balls.
Del: Larry Bird doesn’t do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!
Neal: Are you trying to start a fight?
Del: No. I’m simply stating a fact. That’s all. You fidget with your nuts a lot.
Neal: You know what’d make me happy?
Del: Another couple of balls, and an extra set of fingers?

or

Del: Simple. There’s no way on earth we’re going to get out of here tonight. We’d have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak.

Classic…just classic…thanksgiving

Real Men

 

One of the best unknown comedy movies of all time would have to be the hilarious, Real Men (1987) with Jim Belushi and John Ritter. Jim Belushi plays a super-competent secret agent on the trail of Russian thugs. John Ritter plays a milquetoast dad who gets mixed up in the caper. The story follows their adventures over the course of a week, in which Ritter develops some guts and Belushi gets in touch with his sensitive side. It was written and directed by Dennis Feldman, who also wrote Just One of The Guys (1985), The Golden Child (1986), Species (1995) and Virus (1999), but only directed this one movie.real-men

The movie has some of the greatest buddy-buddy scenes I’ve ever seen, especially when Jim Belushi tries to teach John Ritter some spy skills. It’s so quotable…my brother and I always find ourselves quoting lines from this movie almost on a daily basis. (I used to have a pretty good pen, Bob…) Just as an example, here’s some other great exchanges:

REAL MEN, John Ritter, James Belushi, 1987. ©United Artists
REAL MEN, John Ritter, James Belushi, 1987. ©United Artists

NICK: Would you feel better if you had a gun?
BOB: Maybe…
(gives him the revolver and Nick turns around, Bob tries to fire it  at Nick, nothing happens)
NICK: You don’t have to test it Bob, it’s not loaded.

or

Bob: I didn’t know you smoked.
Nick: Just after sex Bob.
Bob: Well how much is that?
Nick: About a pack a day.
Bob: You know that will kill you?
Nick: It won’t kill you Bob, but it will make you very sore.

or

Nick: I’ve got good news and bad news…
Bob: Whats the bad news?
Nick: We’ll never get out of here alive.
Bob:  Whats the good news?
Nick:  We won’t be here that long.

or

Nick:  We’re as safe here as we are anywhere.
Bob: How safe is that?
Nick: Oh, not very.
Bob: They’re gonna shoot at us, aren’t they?
Nick: Probably, Bob. It’s what they brought the guns for.
Bob: What are they trying to do?
Nick: They’re trying to kill me. They know I can’t afford a loss like that.real_men_us_ld

3 Things

 

I was done. I can’t fully express to you how I felt exactly, I just was exhausted and was just simply done. Done with trying, done with caring, done with crying, done feeling everything- anything. I decided that this was it and that my marriage was over.

So the next morning after yet another sleepless night, I told her that I wanted a divorce.divorce

She was beyond shocked. She was devastated. Now, mainly she was devastated because she never saw it coming. You have to understand something about me to understand this about her…I have not always been “Mr. Right”…but I have been “Mr. Everything is Alright”. I usually keep all my anger or sadness or unhappiness inside and just tell people, “Everything is alright.”. I try to keep a smile on my face at all times, no matter how I’m really feeling inside. I try and let things go, if I’m feeling confronted…I run.

Call this avoidance, or non-confrontational…however, you slice it, if my wife and I ever fought, or got angry or anything like this, I would just walk away. I felt I needed to get away and time away to cool down or whatever it was. Now, she is the complete opposite, as she wants to “hash” things out. Keep talking or hitting that problem head on until it’s completely worked out. But to me, early on in our marriage, this just felt like we were talking “it” to death, or just “beating a dead horse”…it was sheer torture for me.

But this avoidance also had a small side effect that I was unaware of at that time. Early on in our marriage, I wasn’t honest with her, with any of my “negative” emotions. Because I pretended that I didn’t have any. I never told her when I was hurt by something she did or said and then it just would fester in my mind later. If she did anything that hurt me later, or we would find ourselves arguing or mad at each other, I would bring up these “old” hurts and then blast her with multiple problems all at once, which undermined any current problem we were trying to hash out at that time.

Now, to be helpful, I’m not going to tell you all the little things that finally lead to my decision to leave my wife…because every one’s “little things” are different and they all add up over time. Needless to say, it all added up simply to me not feeling like I was getting what I truly needed from my wife and my marriage.

Back to the moment I told my wife I wanted a divorce…at this point, I thought she would yell, scream, throw things and generally hate me forever. But she didn’t. She did something I didn’t expect. She said, “OK, if that’s what you want.”

She moved out.curtain-rods1

Just so you know…she still loved me. And she showed it over the next 4 months. She went to great lengths to show me that if we couldn’t be great as husband and wife then she would make sure we were great friends. She told me she couldn’t imagine her life without me, so she wanted us to be best friends, if that is what it took to keep me in her life.

We started talking on the phone…every day. She started to drop by every other day. And through all this, she never showed anger and she never showed sadness. Just support. And love. And deep down inside she was lying to me. Inside, she was broken in two. But she put on that same smile every day, that I was in turn giving to the world, while we were married.

I realized then that if this woman was giving it 150% to try and make things work, regardless of how she truly felt inside then I was the breakdown…I was the one that was not trying any more. I never wanted to be the problem.  I wanted to be the solution.150-percent

So I thought long and hard about what I really wanted. I did want her. I loved her with all of my heart. But I did need things to be different.

I came up with 3 things.

These 3 things were things I needed above all else. It was 3 things that I needed from her at all times. They were indisputable and simple. Moving forward I realized that I needed my wife to give me these 3 things in order for me to be happy in my marriage and happy with her.

So, I called her and asked her out to dinner.date

While we were out at dinner I told her that I still loved her. She cried and told me she still loved me too.

I told her about my thoughts about my “3 things”. She smiled and said that she would always keep those things in mind and that every day she would dedicate herself to giving me those 3 things. So, then I asked her what her “3 things” would be. She thought for a little while and then I could tell that she had thought about those 3 things quite often during our first few years of marriage. She told me about her “3 things”.

They were different than mine, of course. But just as valid. They made sense.  I told her that I would think about these 3 things and dedicate myself to giving them to her every day.just-3-things

We also made 2 rules, never to go to bed angry and never to leave each other without a kiss and an “I love you”.

And I can happily confirm that we have been married 20 years more after that dinner date. And we have never been happier.

Now, you may think it was that simple, but I’ve analyzed it over time and I have come up with some contributing factors:

  • I started to communicate with her. I finally told her what I needed. It took me some time to identify what it was that I really needed from her, but once I did, and we started to talk about those things, then we started to “really” talk to each other.
  • We re-committed ourselves completely to each other. Every day I realize that being with her is my choice. And every day, I make that choice again. I own that. I choose her.
  • I’m dedicated to making her happy. I’m not thinking of my own happiness because that is her concern. I’m going to think about and give her those “3 things” every day. And she does the same for me.
  • I can confirm that she has given me those “3 things” ever since. She probably would have done so in the beginning, only she didn’t know what those 3 things were, and I never took the time to tell her. Once, I did, everything changed.

Some people have asked what my “3 things” were, and I won’t tell you in this post, but I will tell you that they are different for everybody. They were simple, but they were crucial to my mental, spiritual and physical happiness. Now, if you really want to know, we can go offline and have that discussion, I will be more than happy to tell you what my 3 things were and what her 3 things were, if that is helpful and gives you more perspective.dani-and-i-1

I also realize that those 3 things may change over time, so it may be important to have that discussion and re-focus on the new “3 things” because we may be at different stages in our lives. We never had the blessing of children, but I’m sure that if we had, our 3 things would have definitely included them.

I hope this post can give those of you that are having a little difficulty in your marriage something to think about. I hope this is helpful. Just know that you are not alone, and that others have been through similar situations. You can get through this…and from experience, I know…it’s worth it.dani-and-i-early-days daniella-donovandani6

Young Victoria, Charming History

 

This movie surprised me when it came out. I saw it while on break when I was working at the movie theatre and loved it so much I brought my wife to see it after work, then saw it again a few more times while it was still there. It’s really a great little film and my wife ended up loving it as much as I did.  We laughed later when we both gave it to each other for christmas that year. But did we take one back for a refund…no we did not, we still own both copies! We keep one and lend the other out to everyone we know!the-young-victoria

The Young Victoria (2009) stars Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria and concentrates on her struggle as a young Queen early on and her romance to Prince Albert played by Rupert Friend. There are some very fine actors in supporting roles as well with Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, and Miranda Richardson. It was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, who would go on to critical acclaim with the follow-up movies, Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Wild (2014) and Demolition (2015). He’s a versatile and incredibly strong director. All of these films are definitely worth watching, if you get the chance!Young Victoria

The film was written by Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of Gosford Park (2001), but who’s most recognized for being the creator of the hugely popular TV Show, Downton Abbey! I personally think he’s one of the best things to come out of Great Britain in the last decade and love just about everything he does. Let’s hope he continues to create fascinating characters and incredible drama! By the way the art direction and the costumes in The Young Victoria are amazing! Patrice Vermette and Maggie Gray were nominated for an Oscar for the Art Direction and Sandy Powell won the Academy Award for her Costume designs! Once you start looking at the amazing detail in this movie, it gets hard to just focus on the story…it’s that amazing. These things were very expensive to recreate for the time period, just to give you a few examples; Emily Blunt’s costumes worn were insured for £10,000 each and the very tall green bed cost £25,000 to build. The Duke and Duchess of Rutland, owners of Belvoir Castle, purchased it after filming.best costumes young victoria

Scavenger Hunt

 

A little known movie that my brother and I really enjoyed growing up was a fun family comedy called, Scavenger Hunt. It came out in 1979 and had an all-star cast of great comedians like Richard Benjamin, Richard Mulligan, James Coco, Dirk Benedict, Clevon Little, Cloris Leachman, Robert Morley, Ruth Gordon, Roddy McDowell, Tony Randall, Scatman Crothers, Stephen Furst, Stuart Pankin, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Richard Masur, Pat McCormick, Vincent Price, Meatloaf, and Willie Aames. The film is about the will of Milton Parker, who made millions inventing and selling board games and creates the ultimate game for his employees and famliy. Upon his death, his relatives and domestic staff gather for the reading of the will and it stipulates that a Scavenger Hunt will be held to determine the beneficiaries of his sizeable estate. The winning team gets all the money, the rest get nothing. It feels like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad (is that enough Mads?) World (1963) or Midnight Madness (1980).Scavenger Hunt 2

The film was directed by Michael Schultz, who also directed the Richard Pryor classics, Car Wash, Greased Lightning, Which Way is Up and Bustin’ Loose as well as the features Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Carbon Copy, and the Last Dragon and a TON of Tv Shows. It was produced by Melvin Simon who also produced other hard-to-find movies such as Love At First Bite, When a Stranger Calls, The Stunt Man, My Bodyguard, Zorro the Gay Blade, Chu Chu and the Philly Flash and the 3 Porky’s movies. I’ve looked for most of these movies and I found it to be pretty hard to find any of them.  Especially Scavenger Hunt, which only seems to be available on VHS, but will be released very soon on DVD and Blu-Ray:  https://www.kinolorber.com/Scavenger hunt 3 Scavenger Hunt