My friend Mike Mohan is a filmmaker. We went to film school together, worked on projects for each other, and both got jobs in the industry when we graduated — in fact he’s got one of the coolest breaking-in stories around:
I started out as an intern at Fox Searchlight Pictures. I actually got that job through the strangest of ways. They were having a test screening of Super Troopers at the local theatre, and I snuck in (film students weren’t allowed).
I was really hoping to weasel my way into the focus group at the end of the screening to meet one of the Searchlight executives, but apparently they already had enough 20-year-old white dudes. But after the screening they handed out a flyer that had the email address of someone that worked there. It read something like: “if you have any additional comments on Super Troopers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
At that moment, that was my only connection. This one email address of a complete stranger.
So I stayed up all night long composing the best email of my entire life. The thing would have made Tolstoy blush, it was so long. I discussed every minute detail of Super Troopers -– I even looked on imdb at the upcoming comedy releases, and tried to give them advice on exactly when they needed to release it later that year -– when there were no other competing comedies in the marketplace.
At the bottom of the email I even wrote “it will be in your best interest to call me tomorrow so we can set up an appointment for you to hire me as an intern.” The thing was absolutely and completely naive, but full of passion.
It worked. The next day both a development exec, AND a creative advertising exec called me.
In the years since we both graduated, as I began to develop a career doing comics and talking to all you people, Mike kept making movies. I always joked with friends how I hadn’t seen Mike’s latest film because he’d made a dozen more since the last one. He made slightly disturbing shorts, moody music videos, absurd children’s shows, and a memorable fake infomercial. And now he’s made a feature film.
After two years of shooting on nights and weekends, One Too Many Mornings premiered at Sundance this year. The film is self-distributed — meaning that Mike, along with Anthony Deptula and Stephen Hale (the co-writers and stars), are putting DVDs into envelopes themselves, booking theatrical gigs themselves, and showing the movie everywhere they can to whomever’s willing to come out and watch it. It’s a ballsy move, but it can work — it’s a close cousin to what I do, after all. And folks have taken notice of them: here’s the LA Times talking about OTMM; here’s the NY Times; here’s famous screenwriter/blogger John August, and the filmmakers talk a lot about their process, and link to other interviews, on their blog as well.
I’m hugely proud of what these guys have accomplished, and I’d encourage you to check their screening schedule to see if OTMM’s coming to your town soon, or consider a DVD or direct download of the film. In fact, OTMM is having its next Los Angeles screening next Tuesday, the 16th of March, 8PM at the Downtown Independent, with John August hosting a filmmaker Q+A after the show. Tickets are $7…
OR…how about free? In an amazing example of cross-internet synergy, Mike and the gang have decided to award two pairs of tickets to the March 16 screening to LA-area Wondermark readers, as well as two limited-edition DVDs to anyone out of town! Here’s the word direct from Mike:
In the first 5 minutes of One Too Many Mornings, the main character, Fischer, wakes up with the worst hangover of his life. He’s late to his little league soccer practice — and he’s the coach. You would think that nursing a pounding headache and queasy stomach while being surrounded by excited 8-year-olds would be the most horrible scenario possible, but go from bad to worse: he throws up. Not in front of any kids, but literally on a cute and unsuspecting kid who was quietly tying his shoe behind him.
We pose this question to you: What was the worst thing you’ve ever had to do with a hangover?
Enter to win by answering this question on Twitter or Facebook: either tweet using hashtag #otmmLA (to enter for the screening tickets) or #otmmDVD (to enter for a DVD), or post on the official OTMM Facebook wall (using the same hashtags — I know Facebook doesn’t really do hashtags, but work with us here).
Mike and the OTMM gang will read your replies — and regardless of who wins, everyone who enters will receive a link to download one of their prior short films! “La Dentista” tells the strange story of an illegal dentist operating out of an apartment building. It is pretty nutty.
So there we have it! One Too Many Mornings! Hangover questions! Enter to win! Free! Yes. Okay. Hooray! OH YEAH UPDATE: The deadline is Friday midnight! UPDATE 2: Which is now in the past!