So my good friends Jennifer Dubin and Cora Olson got a movie made, which in the indy world is akin to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Jennifer and Cora where kind enough to answer some of my questions about the process and the film. The trailer…is…well see for yourself….
Okay, so first, tell me about the fantastic film ‘The Babysitters’ that you both just produced.
THE BABYSITTERS is a dark morality tale about a high school babysitter Shirley (Katherine Waterston), who begins a secret affair with Michael, the father of her charges (John Leguizamo). To assuage his guilt, Michael tip Shirley extra after their tryst, and what begins as a relationship between two lost suburbanite escalates into a prostitution ring with Shirley, a high school Heidi Fleiss, at the helm. It’s a pretty cool little film, if a bit disturbing, that ultimately is a commentary on suburban America.
How did you get into producing films? Tell us a little about your backgrounds.
Jen: After I went to NYU I worked in production on a few films in various capacities – I was a PA, a camera assistant, a director’s assistant, an assistant director- and I decided that being on set wasn’t enough for me and I wanted to be involved with movies from the very beginning to the very end. I moved to LA and had no luck getting a job for a productin company so I started working at ICM for a talent agent to get some ‘industry experience’. After about a year of that I went on to work in development for Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson’s production company. I also spent some time at a company called Escape Artists which had some financing and a deal with Sony. But I found it painful to be in development because it was so rare that movies ever got made. We decided to strike out on our own, and set out to find a script that we felt comfortable doing on a small budget, but that had the elements that we thought were marketable. THE BABYSITTERS was that film.
Cora: After graduating from NYU, I moved to LA and my first job was an assistant in the lit department at Gersh. From there I became a Story Editor at Collision Entertainment – we had a deal with Dimension and financing through Abandon Entertainment and worked on mostly comic book or video game to film adaptations. I was eventually promoted to Director of Development, but like Jen was frustrated that nothing ever got made. The company eventually folded and that was when I knew it was time to make a movie.
Where did you find the screenplay for ‘The Babysitters’?
Cora: (The writer/director) David Ross’ agent (Brian Dreyfuss at Featured Artists) and I were assistants together at Gersh. Brian showed me the script in my early days at Collision, and I flipped for it; to this day it remains one of the best scripts I have ever read. David and I got to know each other during my years at Collision and informally developed the script over that time. After I left Collision, and Jen and I were looking for a project, I called him up.
What was the most difficult part of getting the movie made?
As first time producers, the hardest thing was just getting people to take us and our project seriously. No one knew who we were so every step – from raising the money to getting interest from cast to crewing up – was a challenge. We earned people’s respect by the end but it was an uphill battle.
While on set, what was the most difficult thing? Anything that tried your patience?
The shoot was a tough one too. We shot in 23 days and a lot of it was night shoots which is rough on everyone. The thing that was probably the most frustrating was a demented police captain who extorted money from us.
Is the film exactly as you envisioned it? Is there anything you’d change about the final film?
Its hard to say now exactly what we envisioned, but ultimately, we’re pretty proud of the film and how far we’ve come with it. We tried to support David (Ross), the director, every step of the way and give him what he needed to tell his story.
Do you have any advice for aspiring filmakers; producers, directors, and/or screenwriters?
It’s a war of attrition. Stay with it. Keep at it. Don’t give up.
What projects are you working on now? What is your next film?
We just had a film at Sundance called GOOD DICK which we shot a few months after we shot THE BABYSITTERS. That was written, directed and stars Marianna Palka and also stars Jason Ritter, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Eric Edelstein and Tom Arnold. We have a couple of other films that we are putting together now- one is a dramatic thriller set on a suicide commune and the other is a really fun summer comedy.
John Leguizomo is one sexy man…is he that sexy in person too?
John is a great guy, inside and out! He is totally down to earth and keeps it real, which makes for great collaboration. He makes people around him feel at ease, so David who was a first time director, and Katherine, his co-star, who is a younger actress had a very positive experience.
Where is ‘The Babysitters’ showing?
It’s playing in New York, Los Angeles, Philly, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and will be released on DVD in July.
Okay, so now go see the movie! xo Maggie