Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
Fall 2017 Official Selection
The comedy web series directed by Frankie Ingrassia, Hey You, It's Me, starring Suzanne Schmidt, is an Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017 official selection. Suzanne Schmidt won the Best Actress Award.
- Runtime: 8 Minutes and 41 Seconds
- Category: Comedy Web Series:
- Producers: Suzanne Schmidt, Christie Maturo, Mariel Flores and Reliey McClendon
- Starring: Suzanne Schmidt, Christie Maturo, Jonathan Pessin and Cindy Caponera, Reiley McClendon
- Tagline: "A comic look at a kick-ass female friendship and the obstacles and choices women confront while pursuing their goals in the entertainment industry."
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- Judges Comments: "I found the lead characters to be very endearing and relatable. I would love to see more of the characters' "misadventures". The rambling nature of the dialogue was very funny. - Quirky, weird and had me laughing from beginning to end."
- Screening: "The audience connected with Suzanne Schmidt's character instantly and there was a warm appreciative applause and whistles when this web series screened at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017. Several audience members said that they would subscribe and were curious about future episodes of the series."
"Hey You, It's Me" Director's Statement by Frankie Ingrassia
Frankie Ingrassia-I was asked to come on board and help Suzanne with her vision, and couldn’t be happier about it. We were in line in every way in regards to the characters and the story line. I took her scripts with our amazing creative team and together we created a comedy about the tragedy of being actresses over 35 in two different cities. Having a best friend in another city and how to keep the bond while supporting one another in the plight. The abuse that each one experiences is based all on truth. The comedy that comes from the pain of following a dream that you can’t give up on and nor should you at all costs. I am so proud to be a part of this and believe many will find a point of relation, even if they are not women or actors. Thank you for watching!
We had an opportunity to catch up with the "Hey You, It's Me" crew for a behind-the-scenes look at the production of this comedy film.
- Why did you think that your film was a good fit for the Austin Comedy Short FF? “I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in Austin this year and I am very impressed with the artistic community. I submitted Hey You, It’s Me to this Festival because I think the show shares a sensibility with the vibe I’ve experienced in the city.”
- What inspired you and your team to make this film and how did you come up with the title? “Female stories have been underrepresented for years. Hey You, It’s Me is focused around a kick-ass female friendship and the strength that level of female bond can provide aging women (35+) in a male-driven, youth-obsessed industry. In making this show, I wanted to highlight the comedy in the frustrating, and sometimes heart-breaking struggle. I hope the strength of our characters is infectious, relatable, and entertaining. “Hey You, It’s Me” is how the main characters greet each other via voicemail. It symbolized their connection and familiarity. They are the “you” and ‘me” for the each other.”
- What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? “I am lucky to be surrounded by incredibly talented and giving artists. We support each other. The actors in this series were giving of their time and talent because they believed in the project. For this I am extremely grateful.”
- How were you able to get the locations for your film? “Again, I am fortunate in the giving nature of my community. I shared the project with trusted friends, and it gained the interest of Dark Sky Pictures’ CEO, who then introduced us to Geek Nation. Geek Nation donated their production warehouse and DSP donated their grip truck and Red cameras. I also had friends donate their restaurants and houses during the series shoot. I am so grateful for all the support.”
- Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film? “My Pilot Episode co-producer, Christie Maturo and I self-funded the first shoot. We then went after outside investment and were able to procure a budget to finish the season. The in-kind investments I mentioned above were paramount to the successful completion of the series.”
- Has creating this short film helped the careers of the people involved in any way? “I believe so. For me, this has absolutely led to further opportunities. For Frankie Ingrassia, the director of episodes 1,2,4 and 6, this was her first directing project. She has since gone on to direct a number of female-driven comedies and is now a director at One Two Twenty Entertainment. Our DP Drew Ganyer and our episodes 2 and 6 director Kerith Lemon have gone on to successfully collaborate on quite a few additional projects, most notably the recently released short film BARE.”
- What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making this film? “Our limited budget made scheduling a challenge. We shot very long days and I could have done better at scheduling time to sleep! I think during pre-production I forgot I would be acting in the show and might need some beauty rest. Ha. Locations were another challenge because, while we were getting many of them for free or at a low cost, we had to work during the hours when the businesses were closed so, again, sleep was scarce. In short, sleep, or lack there-of was one of the biggest challenges. Low budget filming requires dedication from the whole team. Thankfully Hey You, It’s Me had an incredible team and…we did it!”
- In what city and state was this film shot on location? If outside the US, what city and country? If multiple places, please list them. “We shot the whole series in the LA area. The Chicago scenes were shot inside.”
- Can you tell us about a time when something really funny happened on set, that didn't get caught on camera? “We had such a blast on set and Frankie, our primary director, let the cameras roll long past the completion of scripted lines. We had so much fun playing around as these characters. Some of that play made its way into the show. I also remember well the car shots. What you don’t see is the DP (with huge RED camera), the Director, the 1st AD and the sound person scrunched in the back seat together. During the shots, we had to kill the air conditioning and it was HOT. Now, that’s dedication! And it’s funny to look back on.”
- Can you list any awards, nominations or official selections for this film? “AWARDS Best Webseries -- LA Film Awards Best Short – The Monthly Film Festival (TMFF) Best Director -- The Monthly Film Festival (TMFF) Best Webisode --Yes! Let's Make a Movie NOMINATIONS Best Actress nomination (Suzanne Schmidt) International Online Web Fest (IOWF) and Best Actress nomination (Suzanne Schmidt) Newark International Film Festival (NewarkIFF) Best Actress’ nomination (Suzanne Schmidt) Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Canada's Yes! Let's Make a Movie Film Festival Newark International Film Festival (NewarkIFF) Lake Charles Film & Music Festival London Golden Scout IFF Visual Radio Television Network Festival TV Festival Monthly: TV/Spec Screenplays. Web series Festival FilmQuest, Salt Lake City, Utah International Online Web Fest (IOWF) The Monthly Film Festival (TMFF) LA Feedback Festival LA Film Awards”
Director Frankie Ingrassia Bio
Frankie has been acting professionally since 1993 when she starred opposite Holly Hunter in Michael Ritchie’s HBO original and Emmy Award winning film, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom. In 1999 she worked with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick in the Oscar nominated film Election. Frankie has guest starred in many network television shows such as The Mentalist, Cold Case, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Without a Trace, andThe X-Files to name a few. She is currently a recurring voice on Tyler the Creator’s new Cartoon The Jellies. Frankie has shadowed many directors including Alexander Payne and M.Night Shyamalan. She has worked as a reader for directors Shane Black and Jessica Sanders. In her free time Frankie is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University to better equip herself in the field of storytelling.