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The Wrong Fortune Cookie (2002)

 

When it began! We have no poster here, because this was the first thing I'd ever gotten behind the scenes for and frankly, every poster guy wanted a ton of cash to do it. So I went all "garage band" and publicized the movie in colorful fliers like this one:

But this was a fun little movie. I'd gotten to the point in my career where I'd started doing ok, but was getting parts like "teenager #4" and at one point I'd gotten a call from a prominent casting director asking if I'd play a tomato. They said "we have an outfit that will fit you, you're 5'2, right?" and I said "No, I'm 6'1" and they hung up on me! That's when I thought "Maybe it's time to go and do my own thing" I wrote this little piece, and I gave it to a great human being named Calvin Hill at a premiere for one of his projects. He called me the next day and said "We should do this....but you direct it". It was exciting, and I wasn't sure what to do to prep for this (really the secret is to just jump in and swim). But I hired great actors, a great crew, Calvin produced...and I think it turned out really well, I remember getting this piece of press locally:

Which I thought, GREAT! Press for the film! Until you read the line "If you didn't know better, you'd swear Tim was a motormouth cell phone salesman" ouch. Other than though, it was a good piece, we're directing, we're doing press, we're editing and really.... I could have thrown up at the first screening. It was a film festival, and I wore a suit. I just figured that way if I threw up, at least I'd look nice doing it. This got good reviews and played everywhere, New York, Philly, LA, Las Vegas, Germany, India. Really fun. It was nice to put out something like that that got so much mileage. I'm proud of this, and I'll never forget that rush of doing this one. This one is 100% possible because of the great Calvin Hill, he's the man, and "The Wrong Fortune Cookie" and the next film "Deeper Shade of Soul" could not have been done without him. I'm also proud to admit that although I wanted to, I didn't throw up at any of these screenings.

This is wild, I was trying to find a good link for the film and stumbled upon this film review from someone from AINT IT COOL NEWS. This was nice of them. I should send them a present.

 

A Deeper Shade of Soul (2006)

 

This was a film I was mighty proud of. Great cast, great crew. The hits I took on this were "well why wasn't it cute like 'Wrong Fortune Cookie'?" It's not, this is about a guy who's felt out of place about every single thing in his life. Everyone but him speaks in rhyme. The first day of filming we tried to rush because we could only have the bar for 2 hours...so we tried to get all the lines in, all the coverage and just fell apart. Fortunately, our re shoot went much better. What made this fun, is that it's a weird story, but I had some really great actors who got it and really knocked it out of the park. This was also the first time I was able to bring in Dave Perillo and Joe Fiore, who I'd had the great pleasure of working with and writing with back in our radio days. So to have them on set just doing there thing was a real great moment.

 There's a longer version of this, but here's the "internet release" edit. The great Mike Park, a film curator in NYC discovered "Deeper Shade" and it's been showing in New York City, where it's found a new life. I really like that this film is a late bloomer.

 

The cast at the premiere! I think the first show went on at midnight and we had a packed house. I'm thankful for every single person that stayed up late with us to kick this film off.

 

LEAF (2008)

 

 This was the film where people were either "whoa, is he nuts, why?" or well "whoa, is he nuts, why?" Well this story I'd kept an eye on for years. Ryan Leaf is the same age as I am, so I think "well if I was 21 years old and had the keys to the kingdom like he did, what would I have done?"

Filming was surreal, we had a million great actors, athletes and reporters film with us, it was a lot of fun and I broke a few bones. Completely worth it to be able to work with all these incredible people involved.

 

 

 

 A packed screening in beautiful San Diego

 Little by little this story became a script and a film, and one I'm very proud of. When you do a story like this, you run the risk of folks who judge it before they see it, but the reactions and e-mails I've gotten about this film have been really heart warming. There are a million great quotes I'd love to post, but I'd like you to be the judge of this one. Right now the film is held up by the NFL, as the real Ryan Leaf had been dealing with some problems, but hopefully this film will get it's way out to the masses in some way and at some point really soon.

 Watching The Detectives.  (Currently On The Shelf at Networks)

  

This is a pilot we shot. It was some of the most fun I've ever had on a set and can't believe we got the chance to shoot this. It's about a group of Department store "loss prevention" store detectives that are there to keep Law & Order in a swanky upscale department store. We're talking to the network every couple of days on this and the reaction has been really phenomenal. Hope that all continues, because this is a show I think we'd all have a great time filming and hopefully all the good folks at home will have a great time watching. If this never gets seen I will consider it the biggest misstep of my career, everyone was terrific, it breaks my heart it hasn't been seen as widely as should.

 

 JUST BENNIE. (Now Filming)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

 I'm working on this now, it's a story of Bennie, a guy with a pretty impressive journey, it's my first documentary and right now, I just don't want to put down the cameras. This is a soulful, moving story, and I'm dreading the editing room where I'm going to want to include every bit of what I've filmed and not cut anything out, but that won't be fair to anyone, because it'd end up being like a 12 hour Ken Burns style documentary. But this is some story, and my biggest hope is that everyone who sees it, will be inspired by it.

...FROM THE KILLINGTONS (2016)

Jenny Slate from SNL/Parks and Rec/Chipmunks: Chipwrecked asked us if we could do an entire holiday film in 30 seconds. For some reason we thought of FROM THE KILLINGTONS. Sorry. Let this family into your heart. Literally.

From the Killingtons from Jeff Bader on Vimeo.

 

 

 THE OTHER RIPKEN (2016)

WHAT. IS. THIS. MADNESS. This was something I'd had written around the time of "Leaf" and just always kept with me. "Leaf" was a character story about an athlete, it was one of a few similar topics I'd written about. This one was lighter. It was funny, sometimes "ha ha" funny sometimes "whoa that was weird" funny. But it was a fun piece and I was really very proud of it. It sat in my desk for years, until I finally sprung it from the cob webs, and armed with a gifted cast and crew who I'll forever be thankful for totally getting what we were doing with this script and bringing so much joy and life to their work on the film...it came to life. I got to share this in March in 2016, and the reactions have been just so joyful which has had me smiling like a lunatic to this reaction.