Your new movie The Penis
- in a few words, what is it about?
It is a comic look at the issues that those excluded from the boy's
club at work face.
Some people might
find the title of your movie provocative - so what was the thought behind
calling The Penis just
Well, it is a mock commercial for a
product called "The Penis", so it was hard to get around calling
it anything but that. So to speak ;)
I don't think I'm leaning out too
far when saying The Penis
is a (satirical) commentary about gender equality (or lack thereof) - your
personal thoughts on the subject?
I didn't set out to make
a statement about women's rights, I was more focused on entertaining.
But, of course, the upshot is that there is a message underneath.
The germ of the idea started years ago, when I was having a conversation
with someone at work. He was telling me about an organization, and
he said that the members had to have a number of civic accomplishments
before joining. He didn't mention one of the most basic things about
the club, which was that it was only for men. So he said "You
have to have _____ and you have to have _____ and you have to have
______" and I finished his last sentence with "a penis."
When I decided that I wanted to write this screenplay, I asked a question
on Facebook about ways in which women are disadvantaged at work. I
used some specifics from that conversation in some of the scenes.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing The Penis
- and how much of the film was actually based on a written script, how
much improvised on set?
It was completely scripted and very
tightly shot. I actually choreographed actors' movements. I
knew I wanted it to be very pithy, like a commercial.
Fortunately, my actors were great at taking direction.
Do talk about your directorial
approach to your story at hand!
As I mentioned, I had it
very specifically visualized and thought out. On the day, I asked
for the input from my crew on specific camera angles and where the set ups
should be in the rooms. But once we started shooting, I knew exactly
what beats I wanted to hit.
What can you tell us
about The Penis's cast,
and why exactly these people?
Originally, I scripted it for
the same woman to be in each scene. As I went along, I decided it
would be more interesting with women from different backgrounds. And
one of my friends, Jocelyn Padilla [Jocelyn
Padilla interview - click here], came up with the idea of having one of
the women be a man. A man who is also on the outskirts of the boy's
club. A man who does not get invited to the golf course. So,
once I knew what casting I needed, I reached out to specific people.
One of the actresses I asked originally consented, then after reading the
script declined. I guess the subject matter is too much for some
people. Before people see the film, they probably think that it is a
sexual film. In fact, when some people read the script (guys) they
interpreted the penis coming out as a sexual thing. This is where my
direction got the focus to be more on the penis as an equalizer, not as a
So, I went through a bunch of people before I
ended up with the final cast, and I could not be happier with them.
Each one brought something fantastic. On the day of the shoot, I was
so cognitively occupied that I could not totally focus on the actors'
performances. So when I viewed the footage after, I was completely
elated to see the subtletly and emotion they brought to their characters,
even though they were given 1 dimensional characters to play. They
really showed me the power that a great actor can bring to elevate a
Honestly, how much fun was
it to shoot The Penis,
and what can you tell us about the on-set atmosphere?
was a total blast! It was shot in one long day. I was the
caterer and the cat herder and the director and did some acting.
Everyone on set was extremely helpful. I like to run a lean set,
that is, only people on camera and a strong crew are there. And they
all asked what they could do to help, from moving furniture to bringing
the snacks from room to room, to clear the shooting area. That is,
food was set up in one room, then we had to move it all so we could shoot
in that space.
$64-question of course, where can The Penis
Uncensored version: https://vimeo.com/170394767
Censored version: https://vimeo.com/170394745
Anything you can tell us about critical and
audience reception of The Penis
I posted it on my fan page, and within a day it had 15
shares! I don't think that any of my previous films have even been
Any future projects you'd like to share?
don't have any of my own scripts in the queue for production at this moment.
I've been asked to write and act in a web series called The World's
Worst Director, and I've been asked to direct another writer's short
script. I am currently sending The Penis
and my previous film What the Doctor Ordered out to film festivals.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
was trying to get out of buying a dildo, cause I'm a no budget filmmaker. Someone
told me I could borrow one, but they never came through. So, I
finally broke down and bought one. My director of
photography indicated that it would be good to have a dildo that
could wobble/wiggle. I honestly didn't realize that they did that.
I guess I figured they would be more immobile, like a vibrator. So,
I went online and did some research. I needed to find one that had a
suction cup bottom, so it would stand up on a table. It was quite a
learning curve. And when the dildo arrived on my doorstep,
I was kinda surprised that it was scented. Kinda perfumy. And,
now that the film is complete, I don't know what to do with him.
He's in my drawer. Ha ha!
for the interview!
Thanks so much for interviewing me, and
for all that you do to support independent film, Michael!!!!!