Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jeffrey Goodman on "The Last Lullaby"


What was your filmmaking background before you made the film?

JEFFREY: Before Lullaby, I made six short films. I also worked production for about two years out in Los Angeles. First as a production assistant then as a loader and camera assistant.

The highlights of my production experience were probably driving the camera truck for about a year on Marcus Nispel commercials/music videos and loading the film Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her for DP extraordinaire Emmanuel Lubezki.

Where did the idea come from to make The Last Lullaby?

JEFFREY: Lullaby is based on the Max Allan Collins' short story "A Matter of Principal." The short story centers around Max's great character Quarry, who is also the star of a couple of other short stories by Max as well as about seven or eight novels.

How did you work with the writers on getting the script ready to shoot?

JEFFREY: It's something that never really stopped, actually. The script was written by Max Allan Collins and Peter Biegen. But then we had to make revisions to the script, due to weather, during the shoot. And then we continued to make revisions all the way until the very last day in the editing bay. I don't write but felt particularly fortunate to have two very talented writers on the project.

How did you fund the film?

JEFFREY: I raised the money for Lullaby myself. I have 49 private investors, 48 of whom are from the Shreveport, Louisiana area where I live and where we shot the movie. To help incentivize investment, I used a combination of state tax credits and federal tax deductions as part of my fairly extensive business plan.

What obstacles did you have to overcome to make the film?

JEFFREY: Money is always a tough thing to find. So I had to figure that one out. Also I think a first feature for any director is completely overwhelming. So much of the process is new, and you're constantly hitting a wall and having to find a way to keep going. I had an unusually great team though.

What did you learn from making the film that you can take to other projects?

JEFFREY: More than anything, I learned that it's a really tough time right now to monetize a finished film. In fact, I cover this challenge and struggle in my weekly blog for MovieMaker magazine (http://www.moviemaker.com/blog/category/adventures_in_self_releasing/). Knowing this will definitely affect the way that I budget my next film as well as approach distribution once the film is done. For instance, I'll make sure next time around to have even more money in the budget for P&A and a staff that can continue to work for the film as we try to get it out into the world.

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