Her latest film, When Jeff Tried to Save the World, stars Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) and Jim O' Heir (Park & Recreation). It has been seen at over fifteen festivals and was awarded Best Directorial Debut at the Heartland Film Festival. The lead of her film also won an award for Breakthrough Performance Award at Twin Cities Film Festival. You can currently watch When Jeff Tried to Save the World on any VOD platform( Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, etc). Before you do watch it, read this interview and get to know her and her experience making the film.
1. What is the genesis of your movie When Jeff Tried to Save The World?
The movie started with an inkling of an idea to write a film in a bowling alley. I am heavily inspired by locations, and sometimes I can just pick a place — and think about who comes and goes, who lives there, who works there, etc. -- and all of a sudden I have a story! It started as a movie about the manager of a bowling alley, someone who feels like they have full control of a simple establishment, until they don't. I wrote some of my feelings, fears, anxieties, and concerns into the vessel that is Jeff, and it became a story about a routine-obsessed bowling alley manager trying to save a place he's come to call home when he believes that's all he has.
2. What was the writing process for you and Ms. Rachel Borgo when working on When Jeff Tried to Save The World?
We were living across the country from one another — I was in school in LA and she was in Chicago. We would skype and talk on the phone constantly. We formed the story and outline and character together, then used the software Writer Duet to collaborate on a script. There was lots of back and forth, skypeing and working on it togetherr at the same time, breaking off and working separately, reconvening and discussing, etc. It was an ongoing process for several years.
3. List three adjectives to describe your writing partner Rachel Borgo?
Intelligent, sympathetic, hard-working.
4. Did you have writer’s block on When Jeff Tried to Save The World screenplay? If so, how did you get over it?
Of course. All the time. But it helps to have such a creative writing partner. And you get through those blocks over time. I was lucky to also have four short films to work on throught the five years of trying to get JEFF made. So being able to take my focus and turn it to other projects in the midst of working hard on JEFF was a blessing in disguise.
5. What is your favorite line from When Jeff Tried to Save The World?
Hmm, great question. I have lots, but I think one of my favorite comedic improvised lines is:
Frank (played by Steve Berg) says to Jeff" "You don't need a band. Just give me some turntables, some Norweigian death metal, and a line of cocaine and BAM!"
6. Do you have a favorite memory or story about your time working with Jon Heder and/or Jim O’ Heir?
One of my favorite memories with Jon actually happened off set. The bowling alley we shot at was down the street from my house, so after set, he'd usually come over for a dinner and a movie or board games. We watched BLADES OF GLORY with him giving live commentary, and that was prettty epic.
Working with Jim O'Heir was always a blast, as well. I think my favorite moment with him happened on his last day of shooting. We had about 150 extras as bowlers for a big scene with lots of moving parts. In between shots, Jim got on the intercom system and told jokes and entertained all of the extras. It was pretty hilarious to watch him take over like that. He eats that up.
7. What challenges did you face while making When Jeff Tried to Save The World?
Oh boy. Lots. Finding financing, for one. But who doesn't face that challenge? If you're a filmmaker and you don't have problems finding money, please let me in on your secrets. A big challenge was shooting the film in such a short amount of time — 18 days. From the outside perspective, that might seem like a lot, but it is not a lot of time by any means. We had to move extremely fast, with little room for mistakes. What rreally helped us was we had our editor back in LA editing scenes after we shot them. We'd get them sent back and I was able to watch and see what worked and what didn't. If we ran into any problems, we had the ability to do a few reshoots because we shot 2 out of the 3 weeks in that same bowling alley location. Again, not a lot of time to do so, but it was a great luxury to have just in case.
8. In one word how would you sum up your overall experience with When Jeff Tried to Save The World?
The-best-18-days-of-my-life. That's one word, right?
9. Which director/s inspired you to make films?
Many. The Coen Brothers, Joe Swanberg, Wes Anderson, and Edgar Wright, to name a few.
10.What was your experience being mentored by Producer Richard Gladstein?
Richard was my mentor during my last semester at Chapman University. They do this amazing program called the Filmmaker-in-Residence where they find a working industry person and bring them to campus to mentor chosen students. It happened at a perfect time for me. I was working on finishing my senior thesis film GLORIA TALKS FUNNY and going through final casting stages / prep for JEFF. Richard was there to offer unfiltered, no-bullshit advice, and I am so grateful for what I learned from him.
11. Are you willing to adapt a novel/novella/short story into a screenplay? If so, what type of genre would you be interesting in doing?
Yes, very much so! I have a book that I (hope) plan to adapt in the near future! I'm open to any and all genres, but I almost always am attracted to something with a good sense of humor -- even if it's not a straight up comedy.
12. Could you give us an interesting fun fact about making the music video Lady Sunshineby Appleby?
The artist, Appleby, cameos in the music video as a jogger!
13. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you or any experience screenwriter to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
Reach out over email! It's the best way to be taken seriously. Keep it short and sweet, and don't ask for much. Specifically, don't ask for someone to read a long piece of work. A short sample, sure. Maybe ask for a 15 minute call? Keep the asks to a minimum, and instead try to entice the screenwriter with what you could offer them or help them with. Mention why your work is interesting and why that person, specifically, would like it. Do your research.
14. If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere at any time, where would you like to be?
Wow, great question. I'll go with the first thing that came to mind — a local candy shop during the summer in the 1950's. I'm sure there are way better choices, but that's what came to mind!
15. Last question, what is your favorite Sundae topping?
Thank you very much to Ms Kendall Goldberg for taking her time to answer those questions. If you want to get to know this lovely person and her works just visit her website: http://www.kendallgoldbergfilms.com/about. Go see When Jeff Tried to Save the World right now as it's now available. There's no excuse to skip this one since you don't have to wait to watch it. So, take care and have a great day. Thank you for stopping by to read another blog post of mine.