by Kate Sheridan
We’ve been following Worcester-based producer Kristen Lucas and her journey to bring the feature-length comedy short GIRLS NIGHT OUT to the big screen.
When Kristen Lucas and co-screenwriter Rufus Chaffee finished the feature length script for GIRLS NIGHT OUT in November of 2012, Kristen was not content to wait for someone to come to her. She wanted to bring GIRLS NIGHT OUT to life her way. Lucas is the founder of the lifestyle brand and movement “Respect Her Hustle” so no one is surprised she was willing to hustle for it.
After holding a table read of the script, Kristen said, “Hearing the words come to life, we knew we had something great- we thought the best way to drum up interest in the project would be to get the characters on screen to show people just how funny this world was.” Lucas and Chaffee quickly wrote an eight page short based on the characters and situations in the feature length script and with Chaffee set to direct and Lucas to produce, they started assembling a team.
First the auditions. With characters based on real people, Kristen knew she had big shoes to fill, but after a series of auditions that December an amazing leading cast was assembled: Molly Kelleher, Jami Tennille, Erin Olson and Sam Pannier. Co-Producer Barbara Guertin was instrumental in helping to find a few of the supporting male characters, by recruiting some actor friends of hers, Peter Husovsky and Jeff La Greca. Local actor Kevin Peterson rounded out the cast by playing Officer Pecs (for obvious reasons).
From table read to audition all the actresses were able to meet their “real-life” counterparts creating a unique pre-production process. “It is every actor’s dream situation,” said Molly Kelleher. “The chance to observe and talk to the actual person my character is based on helped my process of developing Jo. I felt comfortable stepping in her shoes and authentically bringing the character to life.”
Lucas also called upon Jennifer Dunlea for fashion styling and close friend Lisa Roche (upon whom one of the “girls” was actually based) for hair and makeup. Lisa said of the shoot, “It was such a great experience creating looks for each character, especially when I could incorporate elements from the actual personalities of the women who inspired the script. The small differences between a power business mom (stylish but no nonsense) and an insecure neglected wife (trying to impress, but ends up looking like she’s going to a prom) were so fun to explore and translate to the screen.”
Dunlea, echoed this sentiment, using different colors and dress styles to define the distinct personalities. “In a short film format, you have even less time to get across what you are trying to say and who the people are- we needed people to ‘get’ the characters right away and have their wardrobe demonstrate who they are,” she said.
The film was originally scheduled to be shot in February of 2013, but a record 30-inch snowstorm postponed the one-day shoot, which was eventually filmed in March with post-production completed in May. As Kristen put it, “I was able to pull together a talented team to support the vision; the best of the best. It takes so much work to make things happen in this industry, but they all supported me and my passion for GIRLS NIGHT OUT making it much easier than I even dared to hope for.”
Within hours production designer Rebecca Sumner converted a community center into the setting: a police station. All the props necessary to replicate the scene of an interrogation room and police observation area were assembled. The cast of seven and crew of ten went to work.
“We walked through the front door at 7 am to set the scene, coordinate hair and makeup and start shooting,” said Lucas. “At 3 am we walked out with all our footage. It was a huge accomplishment.” Cinematographer Dee Wells added, “We had a lot to do and not a lot of time. Without the teamwork on both sides of the camera, we never would have finished, let alone get the amazing look and feel that we had envisioned.”
Click here to see photos of the GIRLS NIGHT OUT production shoot on Facebook.com/GirlsNightOutTheMovie
After principal photography was complete, industry vet Don Packer of Engine Room Edit took on post-production responsibilities. In addition, Don brought in the talented folks from Soundtrack Boston and BrewHouseVFX, who created the eye-catching title design. Says Packer of the GNO team, “They’re the top of the heap in my book. I was thrilled at the opportunity to work with Kristen and the Goldilocks crew – it was a collaborative effort from the start; they brought me their best work and honored me by allowing me to do what I do best. I totally appreciate their dedication, creativity and style and I’m really happy with the end result.”
For more information about GIRLS NIGHT OUT, please contact [email protected]
Kate Sheridan is an actor and writer living in central Massachusetts. In addition to a B.A. from Holy Cross, she has trained in comedy and musical theatre at The Second City Chicago and North Shore Music Theatre, respectively. She is a regular contributor to Crazytown Blog (http://www.crazytownblog.com) and can be found on Twitter at @ahhkatesheridan.