Interview with Jack Kenny of "The Birds Sing Too Loud" - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Jack Kenny 

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 producer.

1. How did you come up with the idea for this film? Is it at all autobiographical?

It’s a “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 feature-length film?

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 Family!

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 him?

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?

January 20/21, 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?

We’ll probably post it on our Facebook page,
and our website, 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?

Honestly, 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 ALL was!

10. What's next for you?

Who knows?! 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 well.

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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 Jane Lynch, Kate Mulgrew, and Braxton Molinaro. Written & Directed by Jack Kenny.

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 announced soon.

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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