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The Blessings and Curses of Shakespeare for ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost,’ Indiewire’s January Project of the Month

The Blessings and Curses of Shakespeare for 'Love's Labour's Lost,' Indiewire's January Project of the Month

Editor’s Note: Project of the Month is presented in partnership with Blackmagic Design, one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Project of the Month winner with older source material than “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Collectively chosen by Indiewire readers as January’s top in-production project, the film places the events of the William Shakespeare play of the same name at a modern-day boarding school.

Co-directors Jake O’Hare and Jennifer Sturley acknowledge that they’re not the first ones to bring the Bard’s words an story into a more relatable context. Separating themselves from other Shakespeare adaptations not just by style, but by means, was a challenge. After raising funds via Indiegogo, the crew went through an eventful eighteen-day Texas shoot last June.  

As for what’s next, we spoke to O’Hare and Sturley via email about learning lessons from a 419-year-old while making a film in 2015.

What’s next for the project?

We’re currently in post-production, working on finishing up our rough cut and beginning to look at color correction and sound editing. We’ve been collaborating with several artists as we start to plan our soundtrack. Then we’ll be having some work-in-progress test screenings to gather more feedback. Once we have a final cut, we’ll be applying to top-tier film festivals around the world.

What are the biggest challenges for the project?

One of the biggest challenges of taking on a project like this is figuring out how to get Shakespeare’s humor to land with an audience who might be unfamiliar with the language. There are plenty of examples out there of Shakespeare done poorly, and we want to make sure that our Shakespeare film is fun and accessible while not being condescending. Fortunately, we have an amazing team of Shakespeare lovers and experts who are making sure that we accomplish this goal.

Most people haven’t heard of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” or any of us before, so a large undertaking will be continuing to find opportunities for more publicity. An early challenge was crowdfunding almost all of the budget for this movie. People were incredibly generous and giving, which made “Love’s Labour’s Lost” possible. However, the process of creating a professional-looking film with a small team on a microbudget led to a lot of creative problem solving, including a Frankensteinian camera rig and desperate social media promotion to wrangle extras.

Unpredictable Texas weather was also a big challenge!  The whole time we were filming, there were these horrible flash floods and random thunderstorms and intense heat waves, and then literally the day after we finished filming, it was blue skies the rest of the summer.

What are your goals?

We want to get more people – especially young people – interested in Shakespeare by showing them what we love about Shakespeare! We both attended a boarding high school, and this story and these characters really resonated with us and our experiences. The original play feels like such a classic coming-of-age story that so many teens can relate to. With that in mind, we want to bring Shakespeare to a wider audience and show that his plays are not just high art. They’re goofy, they’re fun, and they’re very dirty.

There’s so much more Shakespeare out there than the usual suspects: “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Those are wonderful too, but some fantastic plays have gotten lost in the hype. “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is an incredibly underrated play, one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, and it’s filled with bawdy teenage humor and ridiculous scenarios. By bringing this story to the silver screen, we want to draw attention to some of Shakespeare’s lesser-known but equally brilliant works.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

Jennifer: “Here is a check for $100,000.  Do what you like with it.”
Jake: This is going to eat up your all of your spare time for the next eighteen to twenty-four months of your life. Production’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Jennifer: You’ll have to kill your darlings. Not all of them. But most of them. Brutally.
Jake: Choose your battles wisely, especially when on set with the sun setting in an hour.
Both: Your co-director is gonna become your spouse. Not literally, but your film spouse. You are basically married now. There is nothing you can do.

Project of the Month: Blackmagic Design awarded Indiewire’s Project of the Month winners (November, December, January) with one (1) Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 License each. DaVinci Resolve 12 combines professional non-linear video editing with the world’s most advanced color corrector so now you can edit, color correct, finish and deliver all from one system.

For more information about Blackmagic please visit: 

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