Interview with Filmmaker Lenny Lenox (THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID)

THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID played to rave reviews at the September 2021 LA Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I love films that inspire you to learn from their message. While thinking about this story I drew from experiences in my life and created characters that could remind us of lessons learned and lessons taught from those that we may have looked up to without knowing their flaws and failures in life. It’s always important for us to be reminded that it’s okay to fall just as long as we get back up every time. That when we are truly honest with ourselves is when we find that moment of balance that most of us are searching for in life. The characters in this story are examples in my opinion about our connection to one another and how we can bring the best out of each other.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I finished the first draft of the feature in January 2020 and submitted it to a few screenplay competitions. I also had some former colleagues, classmates, friends and family read it too and I received great coverage notes back. When I was notified that we had made it to the 2nd round of the Austin FIlm Festival, I made the decision to take some scenes from the feature and create a proof of concept showcasing the two main characters’ (Rhett & Bobby) introduction to each other. In October 2020 we shot the proof of concept and completed post production on Christmas Eve, December 2020.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Honest and Hopeful

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

During pre-production the biggest obstacle was the weather that was messing with the logistics of the shoot. It was the beginning of October and we were right at that sweet spot in North Carolina where the leaves were still green, but getting closer to fall colors. Peak leaf usually comes in the 3rd week of October and I really wanted to have more green in the shots to present a spring/summer day more than a fall day because in the script it’s more near the beginning of the year when Rhett runs into Bobby being bullied in a fight after school. Leading up to the shoot a hurricane made landfall in the south that was pushing rain our way in NC and made the forecast very unpredictable. On top of that our co-producer Gary Blake was in California ready to board a plane to make it for the weekend shoot. Sure enough a couple of days out from the shoot I had to push the shoot due to weather and thankfully everyone involved was able to be available for the reshoot including Gary who luckily enough I had booked a ticket with an airline that allowed us to move the date free of charge. If we wouldn’t have got the proof of concept in the can on that first week of October I would have most definitely had to wait until spring of 2021 to shoot.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Gratitude was my initial reaction to the feedback. To hear people’s thoughts that I had no relation to in any way and to hear and see these people in a video that they wanted to see this piece as a feature just made me so grateful to find that there is a place in this very overcrowded big budget superhero blockbuster era for a movie that focuses on us as people, the conversations that we have, and the problems that we have to find answers to. This film is about loss, redemption, forgiveness and family among other themes such as substance abuse and bullying which made it difficult to pick what the main theme for the proof of concept would be. Overall it’s about connection and for the audience to relate to Rhett and Bobby’s connection without knowing their backstories and wanting to see more was very gratifying.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

It was in a theater watching movies when I was inspired to pursue filmmaking and dreamed that I could hopefully do the same for someone else one day. I absolutely love the dark auditorium sitting with others with no distractions viewing a movie on that big screen. I was about 19 or 20 years old and I had recently finished some summer classes on film at a local college in Tampa, FL and enjoyed going to the movies every weekend with my buddy. I come from a sports background and the team atmosphere with the pursuit of achieving a goal is something I have always been most attracted to. After competitive sports had ended for me I noticed more and more filmmaking had those same qualities and I thought that this could be a way for me to live out my dreams and achieve goals. In some regards I made my dreams come true through my days as a freelance filmmaker and it was always great to be able to learn something new on set on every production I worked on. To this day I am drawing from those lessons as I make this transition into producing and directing.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Wow. This is a tough one, but I’m going to go with Rocky. It’s by far one of those movies that speaks to me every time I watch it. I relate to the underdog a lot in life and Rocky has all the elements. The hopelessness, the opportunity, the belief, the hard work, the realization and yet still have the perseverance to go the distance that Rocky goes through is just so inspiring. Just thinking about it makes me want to put it on now!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love FilmFreeway! They have made it so simple for filmmakers to put together an EPK for festivals to view. I’m sure it’s easier for the festivals to organize as well. To be able to create a profile for yourself and for each project I think helps festivals get to know the filmmaker much better as well. I enjoyed being able to really read about each festival I have submitted to, how long they’ve been programming the festival, and having direct links to further your search. I think it has really improved the way filmmakers can get their films out there to be seen. The Watch List, the notifications/emails, direct announcements to social media platforms are all great qualities of the site.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Hands down it’s sushi which is pretty ironic considering I had to be coaxed to try it at first. I’m a specialty roll kind of guy and love trying new takes on rolls however I will always have a rainbow roll and some salmon roe with my order every single time!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Hopefully what’s next is the feature of Things I Should Have Said. I would love to get this picture greenlit and into production, find distribution and watch it with the audience in a theater. Together with my creative partner and producer/director, Gary Blake, we look forward to bringing movie lovers many different types of films that range from sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comedy and maybe even a big budget blockbuster that we could present through Pale Blue Pictures. As of now we will keep developing these projects that have the scripts written, pre-pro on more potential proof of concepts/pitch decks and be as ready as we possibly can for when the time comes that these projects get the opportunity to go to the next level. I’m just going to keep working at it day by day and I have to keep believing in myself and the stories! To date I have gotten a lot out of filmmaking on so many different levels in life and am always excited about not knowing what’s around the corner or who I’m going to meet next. I love collaborating, creating and it is always a thrill to see a project go from script to screen! I’d like to thank you LA FEEDBACK FILM FESTIVAL for all that you have done in supporting Things I Should Have Said!

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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