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Interview with Jack Kenny of the short
film "The Birds Sing Too Loud" on 4/23/18
Jack Kenny wrote and directed the
short film "The
Birds Sing Too Loud," starring Braxton Molinaro, Kate
Mulgrew ("Star Trek: Voyager," "Orange Is the New Black," et
al.) and Jane Lynch ("Glee," "Hollywood Game Night,
"Criminal Minds," et al.). The last two are outstanding
actresses. It's an official selection of the Independent
Filmmakers Showcase 2018 and will play Los Angeles, Beverly
Hills, and Santa Monica May 9th through 20th. It sounds
pretty funny! You should go see it if you live in that area.
I interviewed Jack several times
2012-2014 when he was Executive Producer of "Warehouse 13,"
a very good science fiction/fantasy show that ran on Syfy
from 2009-2014. I still miss it! Jack was also involved in
many other good shows over his
extensive TV career as actor, writer, director and
1. How did you come up with the idea
for this film? Is it at all autobiographical?
“mostly” true story… 10 years ago I invited two of my aunts
to stay with us in LA, for what felt like a year one
weekend. They tend to communicate everything in some version
of a complaint. My husband was kind of overwhelmed by it
all, but I mostly laughed about it all weekend, and at the
end of it - as a sort of a cleanse - Michael and I made a
list of every single complaint they made over the four days.
We came up with about 4 single-spaced pages. Later that same
afternoon, I got a call from my old Juilliard classmate,
Jack Stehlin - who runs a theatre here in LA called A New
American Theatre. They were putting together an evening of
comedy one-act plays, and did I have anything? I looked at
the 4-page list, and asked him to give me a few hours. The
next day I sent him my first draft of The Birds Sing Too
Loud, which opened the first night of comedy one-acts to
some pretty big laughs.
2. Why did you decide to
make it a short film?
So… continuing the saga… the
PLAY was 10 years ago. Then, about 6 months ago, my friend,
Braxton Molinaro - a very talented young actor I met at The
Blank Theatre here in LA - asked me if I had any kind of
short film script we could shoot. I gave him Birds, and he
loved it - but who could we get to play the ladies? I sent
it to Jane and Kate - pals of mine from “Titus” and
“Warehouse” respectively - who also both immediately said
YES… I guess lots of people can relate to relatives that
drive you crazy. It’s a universal theme. I’m sure, in my own
way, I drove them crazy, as well… but they’re not writers!
3. Would you like to one day make it a
I don’t usually think in terms
of closed-ended stories - like film. I’d rather see it as a
PILOT for a series… Grace and Frankie meets All in the
4. Did you always envision Lynch and Mulgrew
as the aunts?
They were the first people I went to…
mostly because I know they’re both BRILLIANT and FUNNY, and
perhaps more importantly, they’re each always down to have
some fun. PLUS, they’re both midwesterners - Jane/Chicago
and Kate/Iowa - so I figured they knew who these ladies
were… and they did not disappoint. They needed very little
direction! Also, neither Jane nor Kate ever brings any kind
of attitude to a set except a enormous amount of
professionalism, talent, joy, and a willingness to PLAY!
I’ve done this long enough now that if it ain’t fun, I don’t
wanna do it… and this was FUN!
5. Braxton Molinaro
doesn't have a lot of credits on IMDB. Why did you choose
As I mentioned, I first saw Brax in a play at
the Blank Theatre here in LA - I was briefly on the Board.
And he was FANTASTIC. I could tell immediately that he was a
huge talent! Then I saw him again in another play in their
Young Playwrights’ Festival, and he was AGAIN fabulous! So,
it wasn’t a one-time thing… he had the goods. A short while
later, two of my pilots got picked by a WGA program to
receive staged readings at the Guild, and I asked Brax to
come and read several roles - he EXCELLED in EACH of them!
So, when he came to me to ask if I had any short films, I
kind of immediately thought he could play me in BIRDS.
6. When and where did you film it?
2018. My backyard and kitchen. NO one got paid on the film.
Braxton - a graduate of the North Carolina School of the
Arts - is part of a wide and varied NCSA network of
incredibly gifted and talented professionals. Brax is also a
producer on the film, and he absolutely did that job to it’s
fullest! He got us the entire crew from his alumni - DP,
Editor, Art Director, Costume Designer, Camera, Script
Supervisor, Stand-ins, Producers - Braxton put together the
whole group! And they were ALL SUPERLATIVE! We had a BLAST!
7. How long did it take?
We shot about 4 hours on
Saturday morning - all the outside stuff, coming up the
stairs, etc… about 4 pages… and then we shot the remaining
18 pages on Sunday in about 8 hours (all the daylight we had
in January), all in my kitchen. Of course that was just the
shoot. Zach Kashkett - our genius editor and post supervisor
- then spent weeks with me, editing and honing the film down
to a perfect 14:58. And I spent a lot of time in prep - with
the help of the brilliant director, Chris Fisher, AND my DP
and Art Director, Daniel Satinoff and Sam Ogden - putting
together very specific shot lists, because I knew it’s a
major task to shoot 18 pages of anything in one day… much
less 8 hours. But everyone was SUCH a pro!
8. Will we
be able to see it online someday, or on DVD?
probably post it on our Facebook page,
website, www.thebirdssingtooloud.com but not till AFTER
we’ve played the Festival circuit. Doubtful it’ll end up on
DVD… I have no idea what the life of a short film is… guess
I’ll find out!
9. Any funny or interesting stories
you'd like to share about making the film?
every single moment of it was funny and interesting to me! I
adore working with all three of those brilliant actors, and
we spent a lot of time laughing, and talking everything from
politics to show biz to favorite restaurants… so, nothing
stands out as particularly funny or interesting, because it
10. What's next for you?
I’m fond of saying yes - it’s how I’ve careened from career
to career for so long - so, I guess we’ll just have to see
what crosses my desk next! BIRDS is in the Independent
Filmmakers Showcase (IFS) 2018 LA Film Festival at the Grove
here in LA on Thursday, March 10th, at 4:30… so that’s
probably the most immediate next thing! We’re also in the LA
Comedy Festival on Saturday, March 19th, at 6:30 here in
Hollywood, AND we’re playing NY Shorts Festival at the end
of May, so that’s all pretty cool…
I do very much
always look forward to what’s next!!
About: A short comedy. In an effort
to mend old broken fences, Mitch invites his two bitter
aunts for a visit to his fancy Hollywood home. It doesn't go
THE BIRDS SING TOO LOUD is an
OFFICIAL SELECTION of The Independent Filmmakers Showcase
2018 and will play Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Santa
Monica May 9th through 20th. Starring
Kate Mulgrew, and
Braxton Molinaro. Written & Directed by
IFS Film Fest 2018 presents a
festival line-up of new cinema from well known filmmakers
and actors that include Seth Rogen, Greta Gerwig, Neill
Blomkamp, Jeff Bridges, Margot Robbie, Christian Bale,
Marisa Tomei, Piper Laurie, Brooke Adams, Kate Mulgrew, Jane
Lynch, Minnie Driver, Helen Slater, Rebecca Miller, David
Banner, Steven Culp, Tom Everett Scott, Peter Stormare, Mark
Boone Junior, Robert Picardo, Patrick Fugit, DJ Qualls,
Stephen Tobolowsky, Richard Riehle, Walter Koenig, & Gigi
Edgley, along with the legendary IFS curated cinema
showcases that feature the best in new filmmaking. Its going
to be a great festival once again! More IFS retrospective
events, premiere exclusives, and special events to be
The Birds Sing Too Loud is delighted to play
The Los Angeles Comedy Festival 2018. Stay tuned to
their website for tickets and showtimes May 17th through May
20th in Hollywood.
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