Posters have popped up recently around Clemons Library for “Cute Kitten Video (Please Watch),” though the film isn’t set to be released until December of 2012. The feature length comedy, written by two 2011 graduates, was shot partly on grounds this summer, and we called co-writer and producer, Josh Luckenbach, to figure out more about his ambitious project.
WUVA: A feature length movie on your own is a big first step, how did you end up deciding on this project?
JL: We [Luckenbach and co-writer/producer Keaton Monger] had both written a lot of funny sketches and made a lot of short videos before, like Youtube three minute, five minute videos or whatever. And Keaton and I started writing together a lot in the last semester of [La Petite] Teet. All semester we pretty much wrote together and we just kept coming up with jokes we wanted to do a feature length movie for. So its something we had been joking around about doing for a while. Over the summer, I don’t know, it just seemed like the time to go ahead and do it. So we sat down for a few weeks and worked on just writing it and that’s kind of how it happened.
WUVA: You and Keaton met doing sketch comedy at UVA?
JL: Yeah. I co-founded La Petit Teet with a friend of mine, which is a sketch comedy group at UVA and then Keaton was one of the first people to join.
… Actually, one of the sketches we wrote for the last show- two of the characters are kind of the basis for two of the characters in the movie. The security officers that Keaton and I play in the movie are these two police officers that we wrote a sketch about. I think the last sketch in the last La Petit show.
WUVA: I saw that you are shooting at UVa, how did you manage that?
JL: So we used Cabell – New Cabell – as the class because the movie takes place in a high school and New Cabell is a very high school looking building. It was during the summer so it was pretty easy. You know that building is open all the time. We’d used it a lot – that’s where La Petit Teet always practiced and everything – so we pretty much could just go in there at any time and film.
At the end they were doing a lot of construction on that building so the last couple of days were tough.
WUVA: You said “the last couple of days were a problem.” Are you mostly finished with shooting already?
JL: Yeah, we finished most of the shooting in about two weeks. There was just a lot of momentum going on with the shoot and Keaton and I worked like 20 hours a day on the movie for a little over two weeks when we were filming and got it all done.
Some of the actors were coming and going. We were working around people’s schedules and stuff, so it made sense to get it done as quickly as possible.
So we are in the very beginning of the editing stages for the most part. There are a few more things we are going to shoot later. [According to their website, the remaining shoots are in NYC.]
WUVA: Who are the actors? Are they people you knew or just actors from the area?
JL: There are some people that we knew. There are actually several people from La Petite Teet that are in it, and there are lots of community actors. … So there are people from the community theater scene, people from UVa and there are UVa graduates.
We did have auditions for the parts. … We held auditions in the Live Arts building for a few days and that’s where we got everyone.
WUVA: How much money do you need to make this work?
JL: We launched a Kickstarter page. We’re asking for $3,000 dollars on that. The way it works is that we if we don’t get the three thousand dollars, we don’t get any money. So because of that we’re asking for a pretty low estimate, but we’ve already spent, like most of that. I mean we anticipate spending a lot more than that on the movie, but we kind of need to get some funding now because we are already so much in the hole.
WUVA: I noticed some of your incentives involve people coming and meeting you. Let’s say someone donates $750 and you have to go to lunch with them posing as characters from the film. How do you see that afternoon going?
JL: Well, first of all I don’t really see that happening. … I don’t know. I don’t know how it would go. I’m sure it would probably be fun, probably be interesting. But, you know, if they donate however much, whatever package, like a thousand dollars or something, we can do whatever thy want. We’d be happy to go have lunch with anyone that would give us that much money.
WUVA: Why do you think this movie will be good?
JL: I think it’s funny. Also, I think it’s going to look really good. I think all the shots in the trailer look really good. And it’s funny.
We went over the script lots of times, and the way Keaton and I write, we kind of try to cut out anything that isn’t a joke. You know our goal going into it was that we didn’t want to make a movie that gets too tied down in plot, because we want to be able to have all these jokes; kind of like Monty Python and the Holy Grail or something, where they just walk around from sketch to sketch. But, the first thing we came up with was this ridiculously complicated plot including time travel and all this stuff.
It’s probably the kind of movie you’ll have to watch a couple of times. We’ve shown a couple of friends a few scenes that are done and they’ve still been laughing through one joke into the next joke.
WUVA: What are your plans for the movie when it is finished?
JL: We’re going to send it off to as many festivals as we can. Hopefully hold screenings of it wherever we can also. We just want to get everybody to see it. There will be a DVD for sale.
For more information, including trailers, stills, and bios, check out their website.
Photos courtesy of Cute Kitten Video (Please Watch)