By Ziyad Saadi | Indiewire April 10, 2014 at 10:12AM
The Texas heat can certainly take its toll, but perhaps never more so than on director Andrew Disney's shoot of his sports comedy "Intramural." Fortunately, the production went on to make what Disney hopes will pay homage to the classic sports movies many of us grew up with -- while also upending their notorious cliches.
Tell us about yourself. I’m Andrew Disney. I’m a Texan. I’m a filmmaker. I’m a husband and father. "Intramural" is my second feature film. It’s a fun, ensemble comedy about 5th college seniors going for one last shot at glory in intramural flag football. It’s essentially my love letter to the 80s/90s sports movies of my youth. Everything from "Hoosiers" to "Cool Runnings," "Rocky" to "Sandlot," and "Teen Wolf" to "Teen Wolf 2."
What was your biggest challenge in completing this project? The Texas Sun… We were able to assemble a fantastic cast (Jake Lacy, Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, to name a few) but scheduling forced us to film a sports movie during July and August, the hottest months in Texas. Most of the football games were at night, but for the opening game of the film we had to shoot three days in 106 degree heat. And the actors… they’re the ones actually running football plays out in the open. Fortunately it’s flag football, so they didn’t have to wear pads, but still… nothing can prepare you for that July heat in Texas. There’s really no way to overcome it. The only thing that helps is playback. Though it was hot as balls, playback would always remind us that it was all worth it.
What do you have in the works? I’ve wrote a sci-fi action comedy called "Make Love Not Robots." I love time travel movies of the late 80s - "Back to the Future," "Bill and Ted," "Terminator" - and it’s my take on the genre. And then Bradley Jackson, screenwriter of "Intramural," and I have been cooking up a TV show pitch. It’s like "Workaholics" meets "Inception"… and I’ll leave it at that.
Did you crowdfund? If so, via which platform? And if not, why? Yes! We used Kickstarter to raise an extra 53K. Some of the money went to renting a 2nd camera and hiring another camera unit to shoot the football games quickly and effectively. We also used it to secure some amazing songs for montages. Gotta have those for sports movies. I love Kickstarter. The biggest fans and supporters of the film always come from Kickstarter. I believe the crowdfunding model is more than a cash-grab; it’s a way to forge relationships with your greatest present and future fans.
What camera did you shoot on? We shot on the RED Epic. Almost chose the Alexa, but we decided we wanted that Epic 5K resolution. It’s perfect for indie comedy because there’s always a struggle between coverage and takes. Normally for an indie, you should do 3, maybe 4 takes tops. But with comedy you want a ton of takes for your performers. The magic happens around take 7, once you’ve got everything in the can, and it’s time for a freebie. That’s when the sharpest (and also weirdest) improv strikes. But because of time, you’ve got to sacrifice coverage. Instead of getting the close-ups, you just shoot the mediums and the master. And with the Epic’s 5K resolution, you have the choice of punching in later if you really need it.
Did you go to film school? If so, which one? I went to NYU. I’m a Tischie. BFA in Film/TV Production. Class of ‘08.
What films have inspired you? For "Intramural" - "Hot Rod," "Wet Hot American Summer," "Teen Wolf," "Happy Gilmore," "Friday Night Lights," "Rocky," "Old School," "Karate Kid." In general - "Big Lebowski," "Back to the Future," "Die Hard," "PlayTime," "Vertigo," "Innerspace," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.