No matter the reason for producing a video, whether it’s for a commercial or corporate project or you’re making a music video, you don’t have to keep it so traditional anymore.
More and more individuals and businesses are utilizing video production to create new and interesting kinds of content, and they’re finding that audiences enjoy watching videos that push the boundaries a bit and aren’t so similar to the others.
Well, after 18 months of waiting, Walt Before Mickey, finally had it’s premiere festival release at The SkyWay International Film Festival on Friday June 12th. It was a rousing success. The film was extremely well received and we got so much great feedback from industry professionals and theatre goers alike. They couldn’t believe the film that we were able to produce under such a low budget. Yes, indeed! We made a film for $500k and made it look like $7 million.
The only way that you can do that is with a dedicated team and a willingness to work overtime in order to make something work. Well, we had both. We had a dedicated crew who believed in our director, Khoa Le, and production team as well as the special subject matter that we were tackling. Yes, we had a great responsibility to tell a very important story about a very important individual, Walt Disney himself. That’s what made us all work diligently to make sure that we captured every little ounce of that era that we could. I think we did him justice.
Thomas Ian Nicholas did an outstanding job as Walt and there were some very great supporting performances as well. Namely, Jodie Sweetin, who did a great job as Charlotte Disney. Here is an article of our opening night premiere, highlighting her appearance at the Skyway International Film Festival.
We also had plenty of other well known actors in it, like Jon Heder, David Henrie, Hunter Gomez, Taylor Gray, Conor Dubin, Natasha Sherritt, Ayla Kell and, of course, me, Frank Licari as the villain. It was a fantastic cast. Shout out to Executive producers Armando Gutierrez and Arthur Bernstein for having the initial vision to recognize that this story needed to be told and giving us all an opportunity to work on such a great project.
A special shout out to Joe Stone and Jay Weber for doing such a great job in Art Direction and to Beverly Safer for doing an outstanding job on costuming. Amazing talent!
There is so much more excitement to come. Khoa and I are already in the midst of searching for investors for our next project, entitled Brandini. It’s going to be a beautifully inspirational story about music, love, family, determination, hope and passion. We can’t wait to start pre-production.
Don’t forget to visit www.Kvibe.com/walt-before-mickey and www.Kvibe.com/BrandiniFilm for all of the information on our current and future projects, and check out the official Walt Before Mickey site to pre-order your DVD copy of the film..
One of the challenges of casting a piece where you are trying to stay true to “real” people or historical figures is that you have a point of reference on their lives that you must abide by. Not only do you want to be true to their character, personality, background, etc. but you are forced to take into account their physical appearance. Obviously, if you did a film on President Obama, you couldn’t cast Tom Hanks or Harrison Ford to the play the president, regardless of how talented you think they are. You would need someone who resembles him in some way so as not to be forced to suspend disbelief so much so that it affects the integrity of the story.
Well, in Walt Before Mickey, we had this issue on more than one occasion. Not only did we have to match Walt (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Roy (Jon Heder) as brothers whom we’ve seen in pictures thousands of times but we also had to match Walt in three stages of his life. We had to get young male actors who could feasibly be him at 7 years old and at 13 years old. We also had to match other characters in the film to their real life counterparts. This all adds to the authenticity of the picture.
One of our most important things was making sure that Lillian Disney (Kate Katzman), Walt’s wife looked like the real Lillian. Well, our lovely leading lady, Kate, had the most beautiful “Blue” eyes and blonde hair which would not have worked. So, other than the obvious brown haired wig that we could use, we also had to use colored contacts for her and it completely changed her look. It also, by no surprise, was very uncomfortable for her to work with and changed her expression quite a bit.
I know that, sitting with her on set, she complained that it was totally different seeing through the colored contacts and it affected her quite a bit. In the end, she soldiered through and was able to stay true to the character. As an actor, it’s always quite a sight to be see yourself in pictures or on screen, looking totally unlike yourself. However, sometimes it can truly help to be able to not only create the character’s life internally and find their voice but also, with the help of costume, wigs, makeup and accessories transform yourself physically for a role.
Growing up in the acting world, my favorite actors were never the personality actors, the ones who looked and sounded the same in every role but I had much more appreciation for the character actors who weren’t afraid to completely embody another person’s looks forsaking their own good looks and comfort.
In the end, it’s just another piece of the story telling puzzle that adds validity, integrity and truth to the final product.
Don’t forget to come and see Khoa and I and the rest of the Walt Before Mickey family at the Skyway International Film Festival on June 12th-14th in Bradenton Florida; the first official screening of a Khoa Le and Frank Licari collaboration. Although it wasn’t our production and we weren’t the ones in control, it certainly became our baby and we hope to see you all there.
Well, I remember everyone being extremely excited right from the start when we signed Jon to our movie. It was back in November and we had our first “real” name actor attached to the film. It was a good day. Now, the only problem was, one of our executive producers was still dead set on playing the title character – no, not Mickey but Walt.
I knew that there was no way that it would fly with Jon and so did everyone including our EP. We were going to risk losing our only name we had all for vanity. I knew that as soon as Jon stepped foot on set, there would be a call to his agent, “get me outta here.” So, it was decided to delay his schedule in order for us to conduct our “experiment” of letting our EP get it out of his system. Thankfully, after six days of shooting, he did, and we were able to film with a new “name” in the title role. This made bringing Jon on set in January much easier and a lot more fun.
The picture above represents Jon’s first day of shooting. It was a bit tense – namely because we had just found the location a day prior and had just secured the picture car a few hours before shooting. This is the way that things went on this film set. Always last minute, always chaotic, always trying to catch up. Why? Because our production manager and location manager all consisted of “favors” by “friends” – friends of the EPs, no experience, no knowledge and not getting paid. It was a terrible mess really. However, Jon (and Thomas) couldn’t have been more understanding. That’s what you get when you cast actors who are also writer/producers themselves and used to working with small budgets. Had we had two “divas” in those roles, it would have been a disaster but, as I’ve said before, Khoa and I made it work.
Walt Before Mickey wasn’t always easy… wasn’t always fun… but in the end it was always an adventure. To pre-order a DVD copy of the film, visit the official Walt Before Mickey website.
As we get closer to the release of Walt Before Mickey, Khoa (Director) and I are going to start to share some behind the scenes footage from our experience on set. We had such an amazing time working on the film together. From the lows to the highs, it was fun to see this through all the way to the finish line. And, of course, these pictures bring back so many great memories.
This first picture is Khoa and I working with our lead actor Thomas Ian Nicholas (Walt) as he prepares for his scene where he confronts the owner of Newman Theaters for the backpay that is owed him. At this point in the story, Walt is at a very precarious place and needs the money badly to avoid certain bankruptcy.
Not only was Walt in a precarious situation but so was our lead actor, Thomas, because during this shooting day he had come down with a bad flu and was forced to perform all of his scenes under the weather. Of course, like the true professional that he is, Thomas, performed admirably and you’d never be able to tell that he was sick from watching the film. A real pro and a fantastic guy. I’m proud to say that Thomas and I (and Khoa) have remained friends long after the picture wrapped.
Of course, Khoa and I, were probably on three hours sleep by this point in production after spending the night before hammering out wrinkles in the shooting script which, by this point, I had re-written more than five times. Great memories. More to come. Stay tuned, and to pre-order your DVD copy of the film, visit the official Walt Before Mickey site. Frank Licari
This was a very exciting week for Kvibe Productions. Mid week we learned that our very own Khoa Le was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Madrid International Film Festival for a film that he DP’d last year called “Lords of BSV.” Kvibe will also have an interest in the film and will be helping with distribution. Congrats to Khoa. Let’s hope for a win!
Then on Friday, I got to read my first completed draft of our “untiled music project” and the development and production team loved it. So, we’ve greenlit the project and will begin to go into our packaging phase to entice some name actors, investors and a few distribution companies. It’s a very exciting process taking an idea from, just an idea, to a finished product in six weeks.
I was very excited when Khoa asked me to head of the development team at Kvibe but I’m even more excited now to be able to show everyone what I’m capable of as, not just a leader in the development process, but also as a screenwriter. This was definitely a fun process and it’s a privilege to be part of the team at Kvibe.
Khoa and I are going to be moving towards storyboarding some of the story for the package as well, along with our storyboard artist, Brandon. Hoping to have the project ready to present within the next two-three weeks. This should be a great followup to our current film, Walt Before Mickey. Very exciting. More news soon!
To learn more about the film or to pre-order your DVD copy, visit the official Walt Before Mickey site.