The Los Angeles Film School co-hosted a screening of Like.Share.Follow with Jeff Goldsmith and the film’s writer, Glen Gers

Check out this brief recap of the interview between Jeff Goldsmith and Glen Gers!

What was your schooling experience. Did you go to film school?

When I was in school, there weren’t any film schools.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, I worked in silent films. I then stopped because there wasn’t any dialogue. Then I worked in theatre, and from there, began writing screenplays.
I studied English at Yale. I couldn’t have gotten in now, but at the time was able to get away with it.

Tell us about your breaking in story.

My breaking in story was after Yale, I was an office temp and assistant for 12 years in New York City. I had a cheap apartment, and worked in publishing for a short time at Simon and Schuster. I then quit and worked as a receptionist. I wanted a job where I could just read and write. I worked there for 11 more years before I got an agent.

My first optioned script is 30 years old now, and still in circulation. It is a romantic comedy thriller about an elevator engineer who gets caught being involved in espionage.
People keep trying to get it made, and I have had 30 years to receive notes on it. There is now someone interested in optioning it.

Tell us about your time working in TV

A friend of mine had come out and gotten work in TV, and was running Cybil. He said, do you want to write one? Of course, I said “sure!” Most of TV is about who you know. There’s a chance you’ll work with these people for 10 years. I had a friend who was doing better than me, and he gave me a break.

I have a fair number of “Everyone was nice to me,” stories.

What was your biggest lesson on 2009’s The Accountant

I had made enough money on television and feature writing. IMDb doesn’t show most of what writers do, and I have 17 other scripts and jobs that don’t show up because they were never made.
Every 5 years I have to stop and do something where nobody can tell me what to do.

The Accountant was a magical realist disaster movie. It had 18 central characters and 81 speaking roles. I knew I could take this wacky story and make it with $67,000. We shot it on 16MM, and it ended up being edited in digital.

I learned I didn’t know how to direct actors. I had not treated actors as well as I could, and I learned a lesson to work better with them.

How did you license the gaming footage of Dead Rising, etc.

I let the producers do it.

Adam Hendrix, etc. These guys are miracle workers, especially on ultra low-budget work. At the time this was made, these games hadn’t been released yet.

How important is outlining to you?

I have no idea how people don’t outline. If you don’t know the ending, I don’t know how you’re able to determine the choices leading up to it. To me, an outline is like a check list.

If you’ve gone through and thought them out, and you make an outline, it is exactly like a check list, and a way of making it smaller steps so you’re less lost and terrified.

How many hours do you work per day?

When I start something, it is like 4 or 5 hours to start a sentence. I’ll usually work for around 4 or 5 hours before my brain starts to fry.

What do you do when you get writer’s block?

If I have more than one project going on, I’ll turn to another project. Over time, I’ve developed around 50 unfinished scripts.

How long did it take to write Like.Share.Follow?

It took around 2-3 months to write.

Blumhouse came back in the end when it existed and took it over. We were in postproduction when they picked it up. We did four days of additional shooting during this production.

What was your budget?

The budget for this film was $650,000 for this shoot. Our total budget was $750,000.

They don’t guarantee theatrical release at that scale. You never know if it would be able to expand out based on interest. At this point I don’t see many films in the theatre.

If you make a movie for $1 Million, they still have to spend $12 Million for marketing to get the word out. If you keep the budget very very low, you can survive.

What was your schedule?

15 days.

What did you do to prepare for this shoot?

Every scene I break down, and make it it’s own section on the script, and list props, mood, acting issues, and storyboard actors. I ended up having two binders with loads of information about everything. If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, you have to know the content front and back.

Did you have any rehearsals?

We had rehearsals for the stunts due to the fight sequences.

Check out The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith

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