A Case Study
Narrative | Dramatic Features
Film Name: Adult Night
Genre: Raunchy comedy
Date: October 2019
Director: Los Alejandros (Kevin Alejandro and Leslie Alejandro)
Producer: Kevin Alejandro, Leslie Alejandro, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Todd Sandler, Dani De Jesus
Writer: Derek Ray
Cinematographer: Nick Mahar
Editor: Todd Sandler
Stunts: Laura Hine
Production Company: Alejandro Films
Shooting Format: 4K
Screening Format: 16:9
World Premiere: Mammoth Film Fest March 2020
– Audience Award (Mammoth Film Festival)
– Best US Short (Rincón International Film Festival)
– Best Actor (Rincón International Film Festival)
– Best Actress (Rincón International Film Festival)
indieactivity: What is your film about?
Kevin Alejandro (KA): Adult Night is about two people who have been living a bit of mundane life as a married couple and new parents. They are trying to rekindle the fire of who they were before they had children. They end up agreeing to join a swinger’s party one night and our story picks up with them meeting in the bathroom trying to figure their way out.
The concept came from the idea that Kevin wanted to film and direct a short while he was in Vancouver filming for Lucifer. He wanted to do something with his Lucifer co-star Lesley-Ann Brandt so he called the writer Derek Ray, who was in Los Angeles at the time and taking a writing class in comedy and asked him to write something that had two people in one location. This was the story that Derek came up with and it’s loosely inspired by a situation that he and an ex-girlfriend had gone through.
Tell us about the festival run, marketing and sales?
Kevin Alejandro (KA): We are lucky to have been to many really great festivals, two of which were Oscar-qualifying festivals. At the Rincón Film Festival in Puerto Rico “Adult Night” won Best US Short, Kevin Alejandro won the best actor and Lesley-Ann Brandt won Best Actress. We also won the audience award for the Mammoth Film Festival. As of right now, we’re pretty much at the end of our festival run. We have been approached by a couple of sale agents and are in negotiations with them now. Our intention for this film is to create a short-form series inspired by this particular short film but not necessarily directly related to “Adult Night.”
Development & Financing?
Kevin Alejandro (KA): Derek Ray initially wrote the short screenplay a couple of years prior to us actually working on it. He wrote it out like a half-hour comedy and gave me, Kevin and Todd Sandler, who is our producing partner on the film, the go-ahead basically to do what we wanted with the actual script. The three of us sat together and we moulded it out of a half-hour comedy and put in a little bit more breathing room so that it felt more cinematic.
We had prepped so much prior to shooting. When Kevin and Lesley-Ann were rehearsing it together, we found a lot of moments that we wanted to keep out of those rehearsals making the connection feel more real on screen. We were able to use those moments during the shoot. On top of that, because we had rehearsed it so much and blocked it prior to actually going into the space, we were able to shoot it quickly and get it all out within 11 hours from “set up” to break down.
Kevin Alejandro (KA): As soon as we figured out that this is what we wanted to do, we started pre-production rehearsals. Nick Mahar, our DP brought his wife Jillian Mahar, who is an incredible AD, and she did the schedule after Kevin and I did the shot list. We ended up renting the actual shooting location that I found on Peer Space, which already had “sets”, and we knew that this was the space we wanted to use. We really wanted to have the location be the other character in the film so when we found it we instantly knew that it was perfect. The day before we did principal photography, Kevin, Lesley-Ann, Nick and myself went to the location and completely blocked it and shot it with Artemis, it’s an app on your phone where you can input your exact lenses and the camera you are using. We created all of the photoshoots and knew exactly what shots we wanted to capture. Through Artemis, I was able to put everything in chronological order basically like a storyboard and sent it to Jillian who then was able to create the schedule.
We are unofficially sponsored by Black Magic and they gifted us the Black Magic URSA mini camera so we used that to shoot with. Todd Sandler, our producing partner, edited the film as well. Once we had finalized the edit we sent it to a colourist and a sound designer. We had an amazing sound girl and she really made it so that we didn’t need to do any ADR. From there we added the music and that’s pretty much how final the cut came to be.
Festival Preparation & Strategy?
Kevin Alejandro (KA): There were festivals that we really wanted to submit to like Sundance and Tribeca. Those two were our biggest goal. We didn’t end up making it in but were down to the last wire. The head of programming actually sent us a really great personal email letting us know that we didn’t get in which was lovely. As far as a strategy we went to Kimberly Browning, who not only started the Hollywood Film Festival but she also consults for film festivals on the side. She knows the ins and outs of all the festivals, what types of genres they are known for and what festivals would fit “Adult Night” specifically. Because the film is a bit raunchy and contains explicit language there were certain festivals that we knew that we could get into. As far as publicity, our incredible team at Sharp & Associate PR led by Pete Larsen was able to find festival PR contacts and coordinate press for us. With all that information and the help from both teams from the festival to our own, we were able to get the press needed.
Advice from the Filmmaker?
KA: If you’re a beginner and you have yet to learn how to shoot just take any camera and go out there and shoot. Write what you want to shoot, find what you want to shoot and shoot it. Once you’re at a point where you’ve done this a few times then learn from the content that’s already out there and find out what kind of content people are looking for.