This film began with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Our goal was to raise $13,000 which we were able to do. But for anybody who thinks that crowdfunding is easy, let me dispel that myth immediately. It takes an enormous amount of work, savvy, groveling and the help of a mysterious Internet guru. But in the end, it did help this film get made so I can’t say it wasn’t worth it.
One of our biggest challenges (after the money) was finding a shooting location in New York City that didn’t look like it was in New York City. If you have $5000/day to spend on a location, this is not a problem at all. If you don’t, then you’re screwed. There is an unbelievable amount of production in New York City these days and location owners know just how much money they can get to open up their homes to a film crew. It was really starting to look pretty hopeless until I got a phone call from an old college friend. Apparently, we had left a flyer on her doorstep without realizing it. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up shooting at her home for three days. And I honestly think that coincidence and her family’s generosity is the only reason we were able to make this film at all.
Because we were working with a small budget, we had to cram the entire 12 page script into a three day shoot. And, in order to transform the home of a hip young family into the house of an elderly Jewish couple, we had to temporarily replace all of the furniture. In order to do this, our amazing production design team had to remove all of the hip contemporary furniture from the house and replace it with antique elderly Jewish couple furniture and then put it all back. And since we couldn’t stop shooting, we had to shoot around it. In one instance, we framed a close-up of Howard in the living room from below, with the ceiling behind him so that you couldn’t see that the room had been completely emptied of furniture.
When you have no money but you need a crane shot, you use a drone. However, not if you’re shooting in New York City (where drones are illegal) and your location is a block away from the police chief. But if you don’t know that before the shoot, you’re faced with the choice of abandoning your crane shot or proceeding and risk having the rest of the shoot shut down and losing thousands of dollars worth of equipment rental, cast and crew availability, etc. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk, so we rescheduled the drone shoot for another day without any cast or crew. So we had to use photo doubles for the entire family in the car as the it drives away. See if you can tell in the final shot of the movie.
One of the best things about this film is its amazing cast for which we have casting director Bess Fifer to thank. But I was also fortunate enough to be able to cast my mother, Lelia Goldoni, as Mabel. She began her acting career starring in John Cassavetes first film SHADOWS. And over the course of many years has worked with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Richard Gere, Donald Sutherland and even Groucho Marx. After years admiring her prolific career and amazing work, it was quite an honor and a blessing to be able to include her in this film.