Category Archives: Andrea Ajemian's blogs

Blogs posted by Andrea Ajemian – PRODUCER

Boybands are Back!

The movie is complete. We just screened it for distributors in Los Angeles, right before Sundance. They all requested DVD screeners. Now they are at Sundance watching all the art house indie films and thinking to themselves “Hmm. These films are kind of slow. They are very serious. What we need is a wacky comedy! What we need is something that can make money! What we need is…..a movie set in the 80’s about the first ever boyband. Yes, that’s it. That’s what we need. And guess what? There just happens to be a really great one called “BoyBand” we saw last week, just before coming to watch all these dreary, slow art house dramas. In fact, now that I think about it, those songs are stuck in my head.” – multiple distributors at Sundance (possible interior monologue on a daily basis while freezing and getting coffee after yet another unmarketable indie drama).

Well, we put the energy out there people, and guess what? Boybands are back! I’m thinking that due to all of our fans’ energy in the universe, supporting our film BoyBand, all these boyband projects started taking off. Nickelodeon just launched a new series about…guess what? – a current day boyband made up of former hockey players (sounds familiar…our story has a football player). Their show is geared towards kids under 12. The pilot premiered to 2.5 million viewers. That’s great for us. It shows current interest in boybands. Most importantly, all the moms are watching it thinking to themselves, “This is great, but I wish it was set in the 80’s and PG-13.” Guess what mom, we’re coming soon! Also, Simon Fuller (creator of American Idol) and Perez Hilton (genius pop blogger) just announced plans for a new reality show called…guess what? – Boy Band, (hmm, sounds familiar) about this generation’s search for the next big boyband. Clearly, our director and music producer need to be guest judges on that show people. Clearly a smart distributor would be advertising our film during commercials for that show. Obviously the stars are aligning and it’s not just us who were missing the boyband craze and knew it’d come back. It’s just boyband destiny people! Ha. So, now we just need a smart distributor to recognize that: – a)boybands are back and relevant, b) our film is fresh, marketable, and FUNNY, and c) it can make tons of money if marketed right. Just check out the website: http://www.boybandmovie.com, and it’s pretty clear who our audience is – TEENAGERS who spend their part-time job, hard earned money going to the movie theater on the weekends. They want to laugh. They want catchy pop songs. They want cute young actors. They want “BoyBand.” It’s our time people! “OMG! Brad Roberts is so dreamy.” (Future high school girls tweeting after seeing BoyBand).

On a serious note, I’m trying to go see a movie tonight. I want to laugh. I already saw “It’s Complicated,” and I’m searching through the theater listings, and the theaters just need BoyBand. It’s that simple. Hello? Where are all the funny movies? Funny movies make money people. Boybands are funny. They dance in the rain with no shirts on! Where’s the popcorn? Gonna go drive around and listen to my “A New Condition” CD. “Legion” doesn’t sound funny. “The Lovely Bones” doesn’t sound funny. Hmm. “The Book of Eli” doesn’t sound funny. BoyBand sounds funny! Yahoo!

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PRODUCERS POST: RUMOR HAS IT

I love that our lead actor is all over the internet today on literally every entertainment website.  If Michael Copon gets this role in “New Moon,” the sequel to “Twilight,” that would be huge for “We Got the Beat.”  When you cast a film, you cast it based on talent, looks, personality, work ethic, and a general feeling you have about the person.  You hope you are casting people that other directors and producers want to cast.  You hope they get cast in big projects.  You hope they become house hold names.  It’s been a few exciting weeks for our cast.  The trailer for “Friday the 13th” came out.  It’s the remake by Michael Bay and will be out in February.  Ryan Hansen from “We Got the Beat” plays a big role in the film and is in the trailer.  Rachel Specter (Pamela from our movie) recently shot “My One and Only” starring Kevin Bacon and Renee Zellweger.  Rachel apparently plays Kevin Bacon’s character’s mistress.   Ryan Pinkston (Greg in “We Got the Beat”) just guest starred in the new “Hannah Montana” episode, where he went on a date with Miley Cyrus’ character.  Laura Breckenridge’s big news is that she’s been cast as the new hot, young teacher on “Gossip Girl.”  Laura plays Samantha Hughes in our film.  And, of course, the internet is buzzing about whether Michael Copon is going to get the role of Jacob Black in “New Moon,” or not.  I for one think it’s a no brainer.  Of course he should get it.  He’s older than Taylor.  He’s taller.  He’s hotter.  He’s more love interest leading man type.  But…then again, I guess I’m just a little biased.  Jon and I have always loved the casting process.  When we hired Mary Vernieu to cast our film (Scary Movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions), we knew that she was known for breaking young talent.  We trusted her on that.  The funny thing is that Hillary Cohen, our 1st A.D., is the person who actually found Copon before we ever hired Mary.  Mary confirmed that Hillary was right on regarding Michael being perfect for the role of Brad Roberts.  Now let’s hope the director of “New Moon” thinks he’s perfect for Jacob Black.

“POST PRODUCTION” by the PRODUCER – Andrea Ajemian

I feel like my life has just been a blur since May.  Once we secured funding for “We Got the Beat,” (something I worked towards for two full years), everything happened so quickly.  From hiring the crew, to casting the film, to securing locations,  we finally got to that first day of the shoot.  That’s the day it all comes together and the magic happens.  Of course, at the time, my mind was spinning.  My uncle had a massive heart attack just a week earlier and we didn’t think he’d make it.  The day prior to production beginning, one of our main cast members dislocated his knee cap (he just happens to be the main breakdancer in the boyband), and one of my grips got into a car accident, in the rented Budget truck, on that lovely first day of production.

My family, who has lost many members of it at far too young, finally got our miracle.  My Uncle John not only survived, but after being told he’d have severe brain damage, is almost 100% now.  Sure, he gets upset if he can’t remember certain things about his past, but he looks healthy, knows everyone, is back to work, and is smiling like he always has.  Mr. Breakdancer came through and although he was told he wouldn’t be dancing for 3 months (keep in mind he was told this the day before he had 2 weeks to shoot his scenes), he somehow moves like Gumby in the film, and does things with his body that I couldn’t dream of doing with two healthy knees.  Oh yeah, and nobody got hurt during the Budget truck accident – thank God!  There were some minor damages, but luckily $7000 in insurance covered the $1000 in damages.  Hmm.  Now that I write that it doesn’t sound like such a great deal.  Ha. (I’m exaggerating on the $7000 of course, but it was pretty close.)

Once production ended, it was sad.  We had over 40 cast members, hundreds of extras (many of them like part of the crew, with us every day), and a crew with volunteers totaling around 40.  I loved all the people around.  Having such a high concentration of talent all working towards a common goal is a beautiful thing.  Everyone worked together and helped to make everyone else that much better at their jobs.  Production ended and people cleared out – went back to L.A. or New York, off to other jobs, back to school.  Kaz, Dave, and I remained in the production office in Worcester, with an office full of so much stuff it drove me crazy.  First thing I did was to have some Production Assistants come in and help clean the place.  That got rid of about 1/8 of the clutter.  Then I donated about 30 bags of 80’s clothes to the Salvation Army, redesigned the reception area of the office with some vintage couches from the film, and slept, for about 3 days straight.

For the last three months, it’s been all about editing.  We now have a solid cut of the film which we’ll be testing with audiences during the next couple of weeks.  Jon and I will review all the feedback and make final decisions on the cut at the end of December.  January and February will be for the audio mix, color correction, and music!  (Kaz has already written and produced over 15 songs currently in the film, but we need more.)

The best news is that the movie is hysterical.  It looks great and it’s funny.  Now it’s my job to sell it and make sure it gets out there so everyone can see it.  No pressure, right?

Making Dreams Come True and more ROBB RUSS!!

This is what it’s about. On this day we had call backs for the local cast. We cast 8 local actors in speaking roles. Some of them are members of the Screen Actors Guild, and some of them are non-union with dreams of getting into the union and becoming professional actors. All of them will be paid SAG Modified Low Budget wages, and the non-union actors will become eligible to join the union from this film. I am someone who understands that opportunity so well.

I moved to L.A. in 1999 to pursue an acting career. It took me a few years to get into the union out there. I have always wanted to give opportunities to talented people from where I grew up, Worcester, and Massachusetts in general. This day was awesome. The people we cast were excited, appreciative, and ready to work. To Jon and I, it’s about talent, attitude, and personality. We have a lot we are trying to achieve with this film, and everyone who is a part of it from the cast to the crew to the volunteers, are all going to help make it all it can be. Call me cheesy, but dreams do come true. My eyes are sore from being so tired, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is wicked mint!

Uncle John had a heart attack

I know that these blogs are supposed to be entertaining and teach people something about making an independent film. This might be a bit more serious of a blog, but I have to write what I’m feeling. Two days ago, my Uncle John had a heart attack. Heart disease runs in my family. My grandfather died of a heart attack. One of my uncles died of a heart attack. My dad was having heart problems two years ago. He went to the doctor and they did a bunch of tests, including a stress test. He passed all of them. Because of his family history, they did some type of a dye test, where they put dye in your heart and they can tell if there are blocked arteries. Sure enough, my dad had two arteries that were seriously blocked, and they put in two stents. Since then, he’s been fine. So, Uncle John has always been expecting to have heart problems. He’s only 51 years old, works out, plays softball, and is in great shape. The last few months he hasn’t been feeling great. Two weeks ago, he went to the doctor’s office and told him that he’s been having chest pains. They kept him overnight for tests. He passed them all, including the stress test. He requested the dye test, but was told “no,” that it was too invasive, that they were 99% sure he wouldn’t have a heart attack in the next five years. Two weeks later, he had a heart attack.

I realize horrible things happen everyday, but it kills me that this could have been prevented. So, of course they go in and find out that one of his main arteries was 95% blocked and they put in a stent. (They could have done this two weeks ago.) Now his heart is fine, but he has brain damage. Last night, we weren’t sure if he was going to live, and if he did live, if he’d ever leave the hospital bed. Today he said “Hi Julie” to his wife. So, my family has hope. There’s hope he’ll recover. And even if he can’t ever work again, or play softball, if he can walk and talk, and know who we all are, than we’ll get him back. So, I’ll keep praying and hoping and sending my positive thoughts his way. What does this have to do with making a film you might ask? Nothing. But, we start shooting in a week. The actors arrive tomorrow. I’ve worked for 7 years to get to this point, and for 2 years full-time on raising money for “We Got the Beat,” yet right now, nothing matters but my Uncle John being ok. I have a great crew. We’ll get things done. Somehow the movie seems a lot easier today than it did last week.

Somehow, getting insurance, and renting UHalls, and giving actors per diems doesn’t really stress me out right now. I wish we had a different health care system. I wish we practiced preventative medicine more frequently. I wish doctors listened to their patients and were always thorough. Making a movie – yeah, it’s hard work. It takes a lot of people, a lot of love, a lot of time, and a lot of energy, but it’s not that important today. Today I’m hoping for a miracle.

Caffeine

I do not need caffeine. I am not supposed to have caffeine. I have really dry eyes, and dry skin, and am always thirsty. I’m usually pretty energetic too. Lately I’ve been drinking coffee. Andrea and coffee equals complete spaz. Yesterday in the office, I was so silly. I can’t wait until the first day of the shoot. I can’t wait. I’m freaking out I’m so excited. I get emotional just thinking about what I’ll say to everyone on set on that first day. This process has been tough, but that first day, with all the people, and all the equipment, that’s when it is all worth it. Until then, I’ll drink my coffee and practice old cheerleading moves in the office while I work on the budget.

Lack of sleep

For two years my life has been trying to get this film made. Now it’s happening and I’m so nervous that I’m going to do something to screw it up, I’m forgetting to enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? There’s a lot of stress on the Producer – insurance, payroll, SAG paperwork, hiring crew, making deals with companies to save money, cast, logistical things, mansion concerns (our crew is living in a mansion turned college dorm in Worcester).
Anyway, I love making movies. If I didn’t, I never could’ve pulled any of this off. Right now, what’s making it worth the lack of sleep, super long days, and constant feeling that I haven’t done enough as I lay in bed at night, is my team. My Production Manager Dave is amazing. My assistant Christina is keeping everything organized. I’m very lucky to have the team I have. It’s everyone’s movie now. OK – I have to try and go to sleep. What can I count in my head to try falling asleep? I’ve tried sheep and I know this makes no sense since my eyes are closed, but it hurts my eyes when I try to count sheep, because I move my eyeballs from left to right trying to watch the imaginary sheep I’m counting.