Just like a pregnancy, the final months of post-production are the most difficult to endure. It seems an eternity since conception, and as the final details form and fall into place the discomfort and anticipation are almost too much to bear. And yet, for one’s offspring to have the best chance to flourish in the world – be it a movie or child – you have to wait until it’s ready. Odd Brodsky nearly is.
Its parent, writer/director/producer Cindy Baer, seems barely able to contain her excitement at the prospect of finally being able to unleash her flick, an absurdist satire concerning a woman dropping her long term day job to pursue her dream of becoming a Hollywood star. Nearly a decade since her dark, daring first feature Purgatory House hit film festival screens across the country, Cindy finds herself eagerly finalizing a very different cinematic experience with the end so very clearly in sight.
With a premiere expected sometime later this year, Film Threat had an opportunity to ask Cindy for an early taste of what Odd Brodsky might have in store for us.
You’ve been an actor most of your life. How much did you draw from your experiences for this, and how much is taking an invented absurdity and running with it?
Although Odd Brodsky is completely fictional, much indeed was drawn from my own life and certainly from my philosophies on life. Like our main character Audrey Brodsky, aka Odd Brodsky, I moved to Los Angeles at the age of 22 to pursue a career as an actress and got quickly side-tracked by a job. Unlike Audrey, the job that claimed my attention was a successful clown company I had created. Look for the reference in the movie!
The ironic part is that I sold my business seven years later to pursue acting full-time again. And the person who bought my company was a talented up-and-coming actress named Tegan Ashton Cohan, who ended up eventually playing the lead role of Audrey in Odd Brodsky! So it’s kind of crazy how everything came back around. Incredibly insular and somewhat kismet, too!
Beyond that there’s all sorts of other similarities. Everything from the lead male character Camera One – played by the extremely funny Matthew Kevin Anderson – being loosely based on this sweetheart of a cinematographer I eventually married, to the women’s group called “The Angeles” that Audrey belongs to, which is a wink-wink to a women’s group I belonged to called “The Goddesses.” But maybe the biggest thing that anyone who knows me may recognize is the character of Sammy Bank, played by me, who is obsessed with a movie she made ten years ago called Hell Is Here. This is a parody of myself, and my first feature Purgatory House! However, there are also many situations that are entirely created from the absurd, including the character of Spuds, played by hunky actor and musician Scotty Dickert, who represents that carefree person that gets everything without having to try very hard; the nemesis of the person who thinks too much. And most of the wacky schemes that Audrey comes up with are plans I’ve concocted, but never acted out myself.
Obviously this is quite a different beast from your last feature, Purgatory House. How’d it feel to slide from something so serious into deep comedic waters?
It felt exciting to be creating something so different. And yet, both are surprisingly similar in ways too. They both sort of tap into the same philosophies that I espouse in in my own life. For Purgatory House I think the movie’s main theme is about learning to accept yourself and taking responsibility for our own life; that the power lies within each of us. And with Odd Brodsky, it’s the same, but takes that idea a bit further by demonstrating it.
Both movies revolve around female leads who spend a lot of time watching television, and have a need to be validated by the outside world. They each have a spiritual disconnect, and feel invisible. In Purgatory House, the protagonist is a teen, and her disconnect is a call to action for our audience to help today’s teens, who may not have the life skills to help themselves yet. In Odd Brodsky, the protagonist is an adult, and hopefully her disconnect will inspire audiences to help themselves if there’s something in their lives that isn’t fulfilling. Both movies are a reminder that life is what you make of it. We’ve all got the power in us to change things. So even though Odd Brodsky is a comedy, and Purgatory House is a drama, it truly seemed like the next logical step.
Are you concerned that because it’s about Hollywood and the acting game, Odd Brodsky might be too insider for a general audience? Or do you think it’ll read broader than that?
Actually, I’m not concerned at all! Although it’s about an aspiring actress, it could be about anyone who’s unhappy with some aspect of their life and decides to make a change. I do think it will be fun to see what it’s like to be an aspiring actress living in Los Angeles these days – auditions, sides, theater, marketing, head-shots, creating work – and I hope it’s entertaining! But people should be able to relate to Audrey and her journey regardless. I always like to say that this movie is for anyone who’s feels stuck. Stuck in a job they hate, stuck in a project that should have ended long ago, stuck in a relationship. Just stuck. Speaking as someone who had a lonely childhood, never went to college and has created work for myself for almost my entire life, I know firsthand that anything is possible. You just have to believe it’s true. Because we create what we believe. Generally speaking, what we focus on expands, and the Universe simply says yes. And this movie is a reminder of that.
Odd Brodsky‘s been in post-production for a while now, and rumor is you’ve got quite a few special effects shots. Even from your teaser this movie seems pretty visually ambitious. What can we expect from the finished product?
Why, thank you! Mark Alan Thomas is the guy that gets the credit for that. He is a spectacular effects artist and sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe we got him on our project. His amazing effects make our movie’s world complete. And it can be a thankless job too, because many are “realistic” effects, so the audience may not realize they’re seeing an effect at all. Here’s an example: In a scene two characters are paying Yahtzee. Well, thanks to Mark, if you watch the dice, even the most discerning eye will witness the roll of one grade-A, bona fide, 100% authentic – artificially created – Yahtzee! Of course, that’s just a small example. It will be interesting to see if the audience can tell what’s real and what’s not.
On a similar note, the credit for the visual style of the movie goes to my super-talented cinematographer Matthew Irving. I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish for the look of the piece especially in regard to the lighting, composition, movement, tone and feel. In today’s world so many low budget indie filmmakers use a faux-documentary hand-held style and skimp on lighting — not for the sake of style, but to save time and money. I’m just tickled that even with such a small budget, we never once considered going down that road, and that our modest comedy has the look of a main-stream traditional comedy!
And here’s the million dollar question – when do we finally get to see Odd Brodsky? And where do you hope we’ll be seeing it?
Well, right now I’m working on score with my wonderful composer David Gonzalez. I’ve gotta say, being a comedy, there’s a lot of score! I’m talking over sixty cues. I’m really excited because the main theme music is based on classical greats including Vivaldi and Bach. And then we have contemporary cues that David is creating from scratch, as well as a few parodies that are stunning. I’ve also begun working on the sound design with sound guru Victoria Rose Sampson, who is not only an extremely talented supervising sound editor, but a director as well. And all the while I’m knee deep in music clearance proposals and paperwork.
The movie should be ready to start screening in the second half of the year. And it will be available wherever we can get it out there. I have to admit, one of my dreams is to have a screening at the Laemmle in Beverly Hills because we shot a scene of the movie there. That would be a great “art imitating life, imitating art” moment, especially for all the members of the cast and crew. Fingers crossed.
To find out more about Odd Brodsky, including where and when it’ll premiere, “like” the flick on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oddbrodsky.
Paul Osborne is the director of film festival documentary Official Rejection & screenwriter of cult thriller Ten ‘Til Noon. His latest movie, Favor, world premieres at the Phoenix Film Festival on April 5th, 2013. Follow him on Twitter at @PaulMakesMovies.