A USC thesis film by Jeremy Michael Cohen Visit us at www.eddiepmovie.com
Table of Contents I. The Basics II. Director’s Statement III. Industry Mentors IV. The Team V. What is a USC Thesis Film? VI. Donate
I. The Basics WRITER-DIRECTOR Jeremy Michael Cohen PRODUCERS Ross Cohen, Adam Ganser, Ian Ward, Jeremy Michael Cohen LOGLINE A rebellious, high school misfit accidentally kills a man and struggles to keep the truth hidden by seducing his teacher. It's the Oedipus myth retold in high school. GENRE Dark Comedy MISSION STATEMENT To produce a fun, entertaining, and moving film that reaches great success at film festivals and that catches the eye of industry professionals in order to help realize my goal of working as a professional director.
II. Director’s Statement I’ve made some mistakes in life. But then again, who hasn’t? The important thing is that I learned from those mistakes and became a better person. That’s what life, and every good story, is about. Most of the mistakes I’ve made in life were in high school. I wasn’t that much different from most teenagers: irreverent, too eager to impress the wrong people, and impressionable. Most of all, I wanted to leave my mark on the world, but I hadn’t figured out how to do in the good way yet. Luckily, I picked myself up by the bootstraps at college and started to make the most of the opportunities before me. THE LEGEND OF EDDIE PUZYNSKI is the story of a 15-year-old with those same qualities. Except that Eddie is dropped into a world with larger-than-life problems. Like manslaughter. And Oedipal love triangles. You know… the kind of things that make for good stories. In the end, Eddie is faced with a choice between two paths. Does he want to continue living a life full of lies, only worrying about impressing other people? Or, can he learn to accept himself? When your only concern is the opinion of other people, as Eddie learns, you end up destroying yourself. At its heart, THE LEGEND OF EDDIE PUZYNSKI is a story about growing up, change, and learning from your own mistakes. It’s about Eddie Puzynski getting off the wrong path before he ruins his own life. Luckily, that’s what I did. Now it’s my goal to make a fun, touching, and surprising film about someone learning to get back on the right path. It’s my opportunity to leave my mark on the world in the goodway. Jeremy Michael Cohen
II. Industry Mentors The Legend of Eddie Puzynski is being supportedby a number of very successful entertainment industry professionals. They are offering their years of experience, good names, and personal support in order to help Jeremy make the best film possible. Jeremy’s industry mentors will guide him through all stages of the filmmaking process, from preproduction to filming to distribution of the finished film. Jeremy’s industry mentors include: Elizabeth Allen (Director) is a versatile filmmaker with a talent for capturing authentic and subversively funny performances from her actors. Her most recent film is Ramona and Beezus, the feature film adaptation of her favorite childhood book series by Newbery Award winning author, Beverly Cleary. She has written numerous screenplays that have sold to studios. Allen has since directed television episodes of Gossip Girl and Life Unexpected for the CW and will tackle the popular Vampire Diaries in the fall of this year. Allen attended graduate school at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts . She directed her 25-minute thesis film Eyeball Eddie, an edgy dark comedy depicting a stormy relationship between a prosthetic glass eye and the insecure boy stuck behind it, which caught the eye of studios, leading to her feature directorial debut, Aquamarine. Bruce Block (Producer) has been teaching visual structure in motion pictures and television since 1977 at USC. He has also produced a wide range of feature films including Baby Boom (1987), The Parent Trap (1998), What Women Want (2000) and The Holiday (2006). Block has been a consultant on films including Pretty In Pink (1986), As Good As It Gets (1997), Stuart Little (1999) and Spanglish(2004). His book, The Visual Story, is used in film, television, animation and design schools all over the world. Barnet Kellman (Director) has directed the features Key Exchange, Straight Talk and Stinkers. Kellman is perhaps best known as one of the preeminent directors of television pilots. He won two Emmy Awards and a Directors Guild Award for his work on Murphy Brown. In addition to the pilot, he directed the first seventy-five episodes as well as the final episode at the end of its ten-year run. His other pilots include the acclaimed Mad About You starring Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser, the long-running series Suddenly Susan starring Brooke Shields, and The George Lopez Show. He created Something Wilder and directed episodes of E.R., Alias, Ally McBeal, Monk, Samantha Who?. In all, he has received seven Emmy and three DGA nominations for his work on the small screen. Barnet was educated at Colgate University and the Yale School of Drama. John Watson (Writer-Director-Producer) is Jeremy’s official USC thesis mentor. In his early career in Toronto, he teamed with Pen Densham to write, produce, direct, and edit more than a hundred films over a 10-year period—shorts, documentaries, educational films, television dramas and specials—garnering over 70 international awards, including two Oscar nominations. Moving to Los Angeles, he founded Trilogy Entertainment Group and has since produced 12 feature films, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (which he also co-wrote), Backdraft, Blown Away, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Just Buried, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007. Watson has executive-produced over 300 hours of television for both network and cable, including seven seasons of The Outer Limits. Watson has completed screenplay adaptations of Tom Wolfe’s novel I Am Charlotte Simmons and Richard Condon’s novel An Infinity Of Mirrors and has adapted the Japanese mangaMonster for New Line Cinema. Please find letters of recommendations from Jeremy’s industry mentors on the following pages.
III. The Team Hollywood films are never made alone. They are a collaborative process, and they prosper or fail based upon the quality of the team that produces them. The same applies to The Legend of Eddie Puzynski. Jeremy has worked hard to put together the most talented and experienced crew he can in order to make Eddie Puzynski a success. The team is made up of some of the most talented students at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, recent USC alumni, and working industry professionals giving their time because they believe in Jeremy and the Eddie Puzynski story. Please take a moment to meet and look over the impressive credentials of the crew of The Legend of Eddie Puzynski.
Jeremy Michael Cohen Writer - Director Adam Ganser Producer Adam Ganser is a writer/director/producer currently earning his master of fine arts at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is a Southern California native, currently living in Long Beach, CA. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Biola University in English Literature, with a minor in Philosophy and Bible, where he graduated magna cum laude. Adam has written, directed, and/or produced over 30 short films, and most recently was first assistant director on an indie musical feature Leave It On The Floor and an associate producer for a behind-the-scenes documentary on X-Japan. Aside from his passion for film, Adam is also a huge music enthusiast, spending hours of time and piles of money on new bands. Jeremy Michael Cohen is a film writer and director currently pursuing his MFA at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Originally from New Castle, Pennsylvania, he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Theory from the University of Maryland, where he was a member of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. His honor’s thesis earned Highest Honors, and he was awarded the Vaughn Scholarship as the most outstanding student in the Government and Politics department. He currently resides in the lovely Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Jeremy’s film work at USC has won numerous awards. His 16mm short film Imahas screened in film festivals in the United States, including the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival, as well as in Europe and South America. The film also was awarded the IHS Film and Fiction Grand Prize in 2009. Jeremy’s spec commercial for Cisco featuring best-selling author Timothy Ferriss garnered the Audience Choice Grand prize with the most online views in the USC-Cisco Digital Cribs competition. He has also produced a 25-minute documentary on motorcyclists in the Angeles National Forrest and served as the first assistant director on three other students’ thesis films. When he’s not busy with filmmaking, Jeremy enjoys reading great books, traveling, and playing sports. He is a passionate, lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Ross Cohen Producer Ian Ward Producer Ross Cohen was born and raised in Liverpool, England, and moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to begin his MFA in Film Production at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts. On his first day at film school, Ross met his friend and frequent collaborator Jeremy Cohen (no relation). Ross has previously produced two projects for Jeremy. The first was a commercial for Cisco Systems featuring best selling author Tim Ferriss that gained the most online views in the 2009 Cisco Digital Cribs Contest and went on to win the Audience Choice Award. The second was the short film Psyche and Eros that Jeremy wrote and directed in 2009. As as a director, Ross’s 16mm short film Last Day has screened at numerous film festivals around the world, including the Foyle Film Festival in Ireland, the Internation Student Media Festival, where it won Best Short, and the Las Vegas Film Festival, which awarded the film a Silver Ace Award. He has also directed numerous music videos including A Little Brighter for British singer/songwriter Pete Lawrie (Island Records). In his spare time Ross enjoys playing his guitar, hiking the hills of Los Angeles and is currently writing a screenplay set in Liverpool in 1961 about original Beatles drummer Pete Best. Ian Ward has worked as a producer in every format imaginable. Having produced theater, documentary, web content, and narrative fiction has allowed him to experiment with different formats while staying true to his greatest passion -- storytelling. Ian is in his third year of the USC graduate film production program and not surprisingly he is concentrating on producing. A recent producing effort, the short film My Hero, was named a 2010 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award finalist. Before moving to Los Angeles, Ian earned his Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University, where he studied Theater Arts. Last summer, Ian produced another USC thesis film. When he is not immersed in the world of The Legend of Eddie Puzynski, Ian is either busy developing a web series, optioning books, or taking care of his dog.
John Defazio Cinematographer Matt MacDonald Editor John DeFazio is a Los Angeles based Cinematographer, Director, and Visual Artist. John holds two degrees from Carnegie Mellon University’s Design and Art programs and a Masters from USC’s Film Production Program. John has since shot over 45 award-winning and internationally recognized short films, some of which have hit Sundance (Crossing, Roam) and the Cannes International Film Festival (9:30). One of DeFazio’s first features, Undoing, starring Sung Kang (Fast & Furious) and Kelly Hu (Scorpion King), was singled out by the Los Angeles Film Festival for its “striking imagery”. Most recently John served as the director of photography on a webisode series for director Joe Dante (Gremlins) and producer Roger Corman (Death Race) starring Corey Feldman and Tony Dee. Off the movie set DeFazio is an avid mixed-media and glitch artist, exploiting the aesthetics and procedure of art-making through data-moshing and the glorification of compression artifacts & intra-frame video break-up. In his spare time, John is an avid weight-lifter and spaghetti sauce specialist—his most notable being a Bolognese ragu slightly modified from his Great Aunt Lilliana’s secret recipie. In the much distant future, John plans to retire in paradise, most likely in Thailand, where the lighting is always perfect, the colors saturated, and the beers cold. Matt MacDonald is an accomplished stage actor and nationally-published author, and is a writer/director/editor currently finishing his MFA in Film & Television Production at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts. His latest project —GoldenBox— is a coming-of-age action/comedy following two best friends who must break into a UPS shipping facility. Other projects include The Secrets of PostSecret, a documentary short commissioned by Frank Warren of PostSecret.com and Los Pequeños, a documentary short following Mexican orphans competing in the competitive field of Tae Kwon Do. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, Matt enjoys video games, Mountain Dew and The History Channel. His favorite Beatles song is “Hey Jude” and you’ll frequently find him in one of the many Greater Los Angeles Area Yogurtlands.
Jay MacLeay Music Supervisor Susannah Lowber Production Designer Jay MacLeay is a native of Bergen County, New Jersey, currently residing in Los Angeles. He is credited with the title of Music Coordinator on the hit MTV shows 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and If You Really Knew Me. He just served as Music Supervisor on the short film by Corey Bodoh-Creed, Gil’s Brother. When Jay is not checking out new bands or working on television shows and films he can be found playing guitar, skateboarding, snowboarding, or at home brewing his own beer. Susannah, as a small child, was constantly making colorful messes and writing stories in the land of make-believe. Building fantastical forts for her adventures out of boxes, construction paper and anything else she could scavenge. Today still ever much the scavenger the sets are bigger and the story world more complex, but the same energy, creativity, and passion fuels her work. Susannah has a BFA in Film and a minor in Studio Art. She finds inspiration in the extraordinary and strives to make the world more interesting one frame at a time. When not on set she can be found painting, writing, documenting, and dreaming in sunny Los Angeles. To see more of her work, please visit: http://www.filmgeekmafia.com/Works.html
IV. What is a USC Thesis Film? So, what is a USC thesis film, anyway? A thesis film is the culmination of three-plus years of graduate education at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. USC thesis films are produced and financed entirely by the students involved. We receive no funding from our school or the government. So, we rely on donations, grants and the kindness and generosity of friends new and old in order to bring out dreams to life. While thesis films begin as student films, their reach extends beyond the student community. USC thesis films have been nominated for and won Academy Awards and regularly receive accolades from global film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes, South by Southwest and Tribeca. Their distribution is immense. A thesis film is the best opportunity for young filmmakers to gain exposure and begin their professional filmmaking careers. How much does an average thesis film cost to make? Most USC thesis films are produced for about $45,000. Some small films cost much less, while some elaborate films cost well over $100,000. How much will The Legend of Eddie Puzynski cost to make? Eddie Puzynski will cost about $35,000 to shoot. The production crew is working very hard to be smart, keep costs low, and maximize the production value on a limited budget. Why in the world does it cost so much to make a thesis film? The short answer is that movies are very expensive to make. Even the most modest independent features generally cost at least one million dollars. And, of course, big action movies cost well over one-hundred million dollars. Every single thing that you see on the big screen needs paid for, as well as everything that it took behind the camera to make those moving pictures. Behind the scenes costs include camera and lighting rentals, truck rentals, meals for cast and crew, location fees, and much more. In truth, USC thesis films are very cheap in terms of filmmaking. USC filmmakers have access to professional-quality facilities at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and many film rental houses and post-production facilities provide deep discounts. The Legend of Eddie Puyznskiwill look like a film that cost at least ten times as much to produce What are some items on the budget and how much do they cost? To give a more specific idea of why The Legend of Eddie Puzynski is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce, here are some individual line items from the budget: camera rental - $5,000; food and snacks for crew - $4,000; truck rentals - $2,000; production and vehicle insurance - $2,000; props and production design - $4,000; hard drives for digital footage - $1,000.
V. Donate The Legend of Eddie Puzynski will be impossible to produce without your donations. Films are very expensive to make, and Eddie Puzynski has to be produced up to professional standards because it is my calling card to the film industry. I’m only willing to ask for your support for two reasons: I’ve paid for all of film school at USC myself (both through student loans and by working as an assistant teacher to support myself), and I’m putting my life savings into this film. I’m not looking for a free lunch; I’m betting the farm on this film. Your donations are completely tax-deductible because Eddie Puzynski is being fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions, a 501(c)(3) organization.That means that whatever you give to the film would likely otherwise be going to the IRS. Donations of any size are welcome — you can’t give too small an amount. The Eddie Puzynski team expects that this film will be made from hundreds and hundreds of small donations and a dozen or so major donations. Either way, we appreciate your support, and you will be credited in the film! Most importantly, your generosity is allowing me to pursue my dreams. Whether you’re an old friend, distant family member, or acquaintance, you’re helping me in a momentous way. For that, I will forever thank you from the bottom of my heart. I promise to reward your support and generosity with my loyalty, friendship, and a great film.
How to Donate Please remember, if you want to support The Legend of Eddie Puzynski and Jeremy, there is no wrong amount to give. Give whatever you and your family are comfortable with that is in line with your other charitable donations. Your support will be appreciated, thanked, and credited in the film. There are two easy ways to donate. If you choose to support the film, please choose the option that works best for you and your family. 1. Donate Online via PayPal Donating online is the fastest and easiest way to support Eddie Puzynski. For your convenience, you can use your debit or credit card. To donate online:
Log onto www.eddiepmovie.com/donate
Click on the large DONATE button with credit card logos below
Enter your donation amount at the top right of the next page
Enter your PayPal credentials or credit card information
2. Make a Tax-Deductible Donation via Check* If you decide to donate via check, follow directions below:
Write a check payable to FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS (the film’s fiscal sponsor, a 501(c)(3) organization). If you are not interested in deducting your donation from your taxes, you may make the check out to JEREMY COHEN FILM PRODUCTION.
C/O JEREMY COHEN 2055 RODNEY DR., UNIT 209 LOS ANGELES, CA 90027 If you have any questions regarding donations, credits, or production of the film, do not hesitate to contact Jeremy at (724) 944 – 2692 or firstname.lastname@example.org. *Please check with your family’s tax advisor about all issues regarding tax-deductions.
7 Great Reasons to Donate Your donations can be tax-deductible! Just think: whatever money you might give to Eddie Puzynski otherwise would have gone to taxes. Every donor gets credited at the end of the film. Your name will be scene up on the big screen around the world… Who hasn’t wanted that before? You can donate quickly and easily online via credit card. Rack up karma points and airline miles at the same time! If you’re from the New Castle area, you will be thanked in a half-page ad in the New Castle News. Jeremy plans to do so to make sure that donors from his hometown are thanked properly and get the credit they deserve. All donors will be listed on the website. You get to be part of the filmmaking process and a member of the private area of the website. Not only will you be publicly thanked on www.eddiepmovie.com and receive a hand-written thank you from Jeremy, but you’ll also be able to follow the progress of the film, see advance cuts of scenes, and look at behind-the-scenes footage in a private, members-only password protected area of the Eddie Puzynski site exclusively for donors. The two largest donors automatically qualify to be credited as EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS.*You will have an above-the-line credit on the film and your name will be listed as such on the film’s IMDB page. You are helping Jeremy to achieve his career goal and dream of being a working film director. *Only donations greater than $2,500 qualify for Executive Producer status.