“ALL SQUARE is about a down-on-his-luck bookie from a blue collar town who befriends an ex-girlfriend’s kid. The kid invites him to his local ball game, and that’s where our hero gets the bright idea to start taking bets on youth league baseball games. Everything is going well for him until degenerate gamblers start to attend games and things get rowdy. Eventually the purity of the sport is tarnished and our hero needs to decide what’s more important: the money he’s making or saving the kids’ love of the game.” Producer Jordan Foley on ALL SQUARE which screens at the 2018 edition of South By Southwest Conference & Festivals.
Congratulations on your film playing in Austin at SxSW this year! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?
Thank you! This is the first time that I will be attending with a movie, but I have been several times for fun, and it is one of my favorite film festivals! I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to attend each of the screenings, but my wife and I have a baby due date fast approaching, so I may have to call an audible.
So how did you get into this business?
I started out like many others, working on lower budget productions as a PA in Los Angeles. I hustled a bit and landed a job at Miramax in NYC for a stint in the early 2000s. From there, I went on to produce a movie called, THE OPEN ROAD, starring Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges, and then PUNCTURE, starring Chris Evans. I worked in TV for a bit, then recently started a company with my business partner, Jonathan Rosenthal, called Mill House Motion Pictures. We currently have three features in post production.
How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!
The script was written by a long time pal of mine, Timmy Brady. He was working on putting the film together with Michael Kelly as the lead and John Hyams directing. I had just started this new company with my partner, and we made the offer to help bring the script in on a tighter budget and put up half the financing. From there, Michael brought the script to Yeardley Smith and Ben Cornwell at Paperclip Limited, and they agreed to come on board to produce and fund the other half of the budget. A couple of months later, we were scouting in Baltimore. Michael shoots HOUSE OF CARDS there and was able to bring on a large percentage of their crew to help us shoot our movie. Post production was delayed at first, as we went to Portland with the same director, John Hyams, to shoot a second feature this past fall. When we returned, we learned there was a chance we may be accepted to SXSW, so we hustled through to get everything finalized in a very short period of time. We are all really happy with how things turned out and that we will be premiering here at SXSW!
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?
I personally think I work better when it’s chaotic… My business partner and I have done three lower budget indie films over the last year or so. Each has had it’s own laundry list of challenges to overcome, which is what’s most enjoyable for me. We are the first up and on set each morning, and the last to leave and hit the sack at night. It’s a grind when we are in the full swing of production, especially since we typically shoot on location in different states and that can require a bit of a commute.
What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?
As an indie film we were faced with the classic ever present challenge of number of shoot days versus budgetary allowance. Being able to leap those hurdles and figure out creative ways to get everything packed into a tighter schedule and still come in under budget – that was a big win for us.
I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.
Our DP was Yaron Levy, who has worked with John Hyams on several projects in the past. They have a shorthand with each other that was invaluable on something that has to be done on such a short shooting schedule. Yaron shot on the Sony F55. On the big baseball days, we had two cameras & two operators. The cameras worked really well and we were able to schedule our time to get a lot of bang for our buck.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?
I feel like this is the perfect festival for this movie. It’s a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has a lot of charm and heart at the end of the day. The team here is so supportive of filmmakers and has really done everything they can to help us prepare and make sure we get our movie launched from the best platform possible. We couldn’t be happier or more excited to be here.
After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?
That is still to be determined. We will see how this goes and then strategize with our sales agent at CAA, Nick O’Giony and our publicist, Weiman Seid at Fat Dot!
If you could show your movie in any theater outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?
The biggest theater in Dundalk, Maryland. The locals in Dundalk were so supportive of our film and the process of production. We would love to take the movie back and screen for all who would want to see it.
What would you say to someone who was being disruptive during a screening, even if it was your own?
This frustrates me. It’s disrespectful to all who paid good money to see the movie. It’s like treating a server at a restaurant with disrespect. Don’t go out in public if you can’t be respectful to your other viewers or your servers, etc. It’s just rude.
We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What advice would you give them?
This depends on what field you would choose, but if you want to produce, my advice is to learn how to read scripts. You can find scripts online: classic award winners or potentially Black List scripts. Try to read 5 to 10 scripts per week for at least 6 months. If you do that, by the end of the 6 month window, you will be on par with any development exec in Hollywood in your ability to discern what’s good vs what’s not… then you just need to find available scripts that are good or that you can develop into something someone would want to produce.
And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?
My favorite film festival movie of all time is FRUITVALE STATION. Ryan Coogler is the most exciting up and coming director out there right now. He’s 3 for 3 and only getting better!
ALL SQUARE screens at the 2018 edition of South By Southwest Film. For more information head to www.sxsw.com/film!
ALL SQUARE online: https://www.instagram.com/millhousepics/