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“The Dinner Scene” Directed by Nicholas Thurkettle

The Dinner Scene, Directed by Nicholas Thurkettle

The comedy short film, The Dinner Scene, is an official selection of the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017. The Dinner Scene is also the winner of the Best Romantic Comedy Film Award.

  • Director/ Writer /Producer: Nicholas Thurkettle 
  • Category: Comedy Short Film
  • Cast: MacLeod Andrews, Holly Bittinger and Jenaha McLearn
  • Cinematographer: J. Van Auken
  • Tagline: "In a cafe somewhere, a solitary screenwriter battles frustration and self-doubt to craft the most dramatically juicy scene between a couple at dinner."
  • Website | IMDb
  • Review: "An amazing romantic comedy film that humorously shows the writing (and rewriting) process developing a good scene for a film. The acting performances are very good and the production value is top notch as well. The audience at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017 enjoyed the film and talked about how 'different and original' this film is, compared to some of the other more traditional comedies."
The Dinner Scene Nicholas Thurkettle Best Romantic Comedy Film Award Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017

The Dinner Scene: Film Synopsis

In a cafe somewhere, a solitary screenwriter battles frustration and self-doubt to craft the most dramatically juicy scene between a couple at dinner that she can; and we watch the characters she creates stop, re-start, and revise their way towards a thrilling dialogue.

Photo 7 The Dinner Scene Director Nicholas Thurkette Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017

Nicholas Thurkettle: Director's Biography

Nicholas Thurkettle is an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in Southern California. He studied theatre arts and music at Bradley University in Illinois and started as a script reader, then development executive, for independent film producer J. Todd Harris (The Kids are All Right, Piranha 3D.) He sold his comedy screenplay Queen Lara to Room 9 Productions (Thank You For Smoking), and optioned the thrillers 7 Red and Snowblind to producers while collaborating with director Antonio Negret (“Arrow", “Lethal Weapon") on the action thriller Under the Knife. He is the writer of the animated pilot Children of Ether for the Crunchyroll streaming network, and co-producer on the horror feature A Ghost Waits., now in post-production.

Poster The Dinner Scene Director Nicholas Thurkette Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017 11x17-Poster

Nicholas Thurkettle Screenwriter Background

Thurkettle is a member of the WGA and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance, a writer/performer with the audio drama podcast Earbud Theater, author of the short story collection Stages of Sleep, and co-author of the novels Seeing by Moonlight and A Sickness in Time. His acting resume features voice-over work, on-stage Shakespeare, and roles in the feature films Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine, Reclaiming Friendship Park, Aventura!, and The Revelator. His short film Samantha Gets Back Out There premiered at the Laughlin International Film Festival, and was an Honorable Mention and Finalist for Best Comedy at the IndieFest USA Film and Music Festival. His follow-up The Retriever played at a range of acclaimed festivals including Durango Independent* (*programmed in “Best of Fest” short film block), Boomtown, the North Hollywood Cinefest, Cinema at the Edge, Bare Bones, and the Phoenix Film Festival.

The Dinner Scene Photo 2 Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017

The Dinner Scene: The Story Behind the Story

  1. Why did you think that your film was a good fit for the Austin Comedy Short FF? "It's short, it's funny (we think), and screening at an Alamo Drafthouse is a bucket list accomplishment."
  2. What inspired you and your team to make this film and how did you come up with the title? "There are many films about writers, but precious few that I think portray the silly and neurotic struggles of the actual writing process well on-screen. We thought we had a funny way of bringing it to life, and the title sprung from the challenge the writer within our story is facing."
  3. What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? "All were friends and colleagues I trusted; I promised them lots of laughs and to waste very little of their time."
  4. How were you able to get the locations for your film? "Filming in Orange County as opposed to Los Angeles gave us much more flexibility to get locations on a handshake. The cafe let us cordon off a corner while they stayed open for business, and the backyard dining patio belonged to a close friend who was willing to let us come over and play for an evening."
  5. Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film? "I made a couple hundred dollars doing a voice-over gig for a "talking animal" movie, I bring in side income narrating the audiobook versions of romance novels, I cut back on my dining budget for a month, and I literally found a $100 bill in a parking lot (which, since our whole budget was about $800, that was a miracle!) We got locations for free, our cinematographer shot on his personal camera, and basically everyone worked for way less than they're worth."
  6. What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making this film? "At both our locations, we lost an hour due to factors beyond our control and had to cram to finish on-time. In the cafe we had just 4 hours to capture a list of 70 shots depicting the writer at work."
  7. 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. "Garden Grove and Costa Mesa, two cities in Orange County, California"
  8. Can you tell us about a time when something really funny happened on set, that didn't get caught on camera? "There's a shot where Holly is pouring out a bottle of wine, and we had her pouring it into a cooler to protect the patio and lawn of the kind couple letting us use their house. The spattering sound captured on the mic sounded pretty much exactly like someone taking a leak in a toilet. So when Holly has that look of perfect romantic turmoil on her face, that's the actual sound happening underneath."
  9. Can you list any awards, nominations or official selections for this film? "We are just beginning our festival run! Our world premiere is happening only days prior to Austin Comedy Shorts - at the Alameda International Film Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. We hope there are fests and awards to come in the months ahead!"
Photo 5 The Dinner Scene Director Nicholas Thurkettle Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017

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