Lisa Cordileone – Freelancers Anonymous
By: Paige Zinaman
Q) What can you tell us about the premise for Freelancers Anonymous?
A) The premise is about a woman who is in about her early thirties who is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life before she gets married because she feels like if she gets married and she’s working a day job then that’s what her life is going to be and she knows she can do more. So, she’s trying to figure out what that more is so she takes a chance on herself and she also got a group of women coming together to create a small business.
Q) What brought about the idea of Freelancers Anonymous?
A) In part it was Amy Dellagiarino, who is my writing partner, and she had an idea for a story working jobs we don’t care for, but knowing we could do more. So, that was the basis – where it all started. But it grew into the idea that each where each woman has their own particular skill and then it became tech oriented because they are all freelancers and they wanted to do something to help other people looking for work and the idea just kept growing from there. Then, we had this idea to create a multiplatform brand so it became much more than a film for us very quickly. There’s so much to it, most people just make like an LGBTQ film and that is a feat in itself and I want to roll out seven different platforms over five years. So, it’s like a consistent story that lives and breathes across different platforms. It’s kind of ridiculously ambitious maybe but very exciting.
Q) What are some of the prevalent themes that the film will explore?
A) The storyline is these women creating this business. It’s how they come together. It’s more relationship heavy and character driven so you’ll really get to meet all the freelancers because the film is the basis for the story. So, it’s not as tech heavy as I would like. Because of our character Sam (Mouzam Makkar) there is a lot of tech jargon involved with the creating of this demo for the app. The B-storyline is them getting married. We never refer to the term “gay.” We never say that. There’s no love scenes in the movie at all. It’s really not about that. It’s about Billie’s journey and I think the biggest theme is when everyone gets on board with Billie and goes for it. I don’t want to give away too much of the movie there’s a lot to it.
Q) This movie focuses on the LGBTQ community and women in general which is extremely important given our political climate. How can we keep pushing boundaries and making stories of fierce but flawed women as the forefront?
A) How we can keep making stories is by getting decision makers who can finance these things that’s the first thing and getting decision makers who believe in what you’re making if that’s a private investor or a studio or a production company; someone who has the same vision as you who can make it go from an idea to the real thing. That is the number one thing and that is what I spent six months of this year doing because we can bring the people together actors want to work crew members want to work we want to tell these stories. Without the financing behind it or the resources to do it, we can’t make these stories so I that is the number one thing, getting people to believe in you and your stories.
Q) There is an amazing cast attached, what were you looking for during the audition process and how did these ladies embody what you were looking for?
A) [laughs] A lot of the women in the movie I cast. It’s usually the director’s job to cast the movie, but because me and Amy wrote this together I cast a lot of my friends I’ve known for years and it really felt like my friends were going to bat for me because they are all working. I’m a stage actor so this is really my first feature film. How the cast, like Jen Bartels for example. She plays Gillian she’s like my arch nemesis in the movie and I went to college with her. I’ve known her for half my life. She’s one of my best friends in the whole world. She’s one of the most talented people I know and she’s tough as nails she’s like very strong and independent and that’s a part of who Gillian is. I met all these women along the way. Grace Rex, she’s been on “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Good Wife.” She was my scene study partner in Chicago like seven years ago and I haven’t seen her in years. We wrote this for each of these people. Meg Cavanagh from A League of Their Own we wrote June for her like the Earth Mother of the group; Mouzam I actually worked with on “Easy Abby” and she just is an amazing person and I just wanted to see Mouzam not play another sexy character. Every time I see her on TV she’s in bed with somebody so I wanted to see her nerd out and play like a weird comedic role because she’s always playing drama drama drama. Alexandra Billings (Janey) came about through a friend at my agent’s office who introduced me to a casting director who thought Alexandra would be perfect to play my boss. So, we just reached out and she read the script and she said yes. Then, Natasha Negovanlis (Gayle) came about because Sonia (our director) cast her. She went to ClexaCon last year and I hadn’t heard about ClexaCon until this past year. We were looking at different actresses to play my fiancée and so Sonia really liked some of her work and we checked out some of her stuff online. She’s super talented and so it just fit. I was trying to bring people in from all different places to try and market the movie, but also we wrote a lot of roles for these people and they are just right for the part. Haviland Stillwell (Patty) I’ve known since I was twenty-one years old so I just get to work with my friends or actors that I’ve always wanted to work with like Meg and Alexandra and it’s pretty awesome.
Q) Since the film is a comedy, how does it keep a steady balance between heart and humor?
A) Humor comes from the heart. So, if the characters aren’t grounded and things aren’t real then the story doesn’t work and it’s not funny. The audience has to identify with these people. There has to be love at the center of everything that they are doing. That’s why I like doing comedy because good comedy is grounded and there are some serious scenes in the movie, but it’s just not a heavy drama with crying or coming out stories like that it it’s different. Also, Sonia Sebastian our director is amazing I’ve wanted to work with her as soon as I saw her film DECHICA ENCHICA. She’s like one of the few filmmakers I know in our community who is making really good comedy that’s really fast and really funny. Going back to the heart thing, if she doesn’t believe it we go again like she knows how to tell a story, but she also works from her heart. I just trust her completely.
Q) What makes transmedia so important in film and how will it be incorporated throughout and beyond the film?
Transmedia is so important because nobody is taking advantage of it in the LGBTQ community and it is a great thing for independent film makers to take advantage of transmedia because it means your film is not just going to be another film if they are lucky enough to be picked up by Netflix or Amazon that sits in a “Lesbian Film” section and just sit there for a year. What you can do is keep that film alive by creating more story, you want to create visibility but then you want to create consistent visibility and that’s what you do with digital and TV series. So, if we could make a series based off the movie and people come to this series and are like, “There’s a movie, there’s a prequel to this? I’m going to go rent the movie.” Now, the movie is still alive and now the movie spreads to people who are outside the community to effect change so you can use it in a very smart way I think – to put your message out there to a wider audience than just our community who gets behind it. But we want to get it to small business owners. We want to get it to women who work in tech we want to get it to people who watch only YouTube series or watch TV. That’s why Transmedia is so important and it’s a great tool but it’s a lot of work.
Q) You’ve started a funding campaign on Seed&Spark. Can you tell us a little more about that and your sponsorship with Full Spectrum Features?
A) We are working to raise twenty thousand dollars. We actually need to raise sixty percent of it to receive the funds. So, we have to hit like sixteen thousand dollars to raise and we are almost at four and we have three weeks left so we could use a good push on that. We partnered with Full Spectrum Features because their mission is in line with what we are doing in giving visibility to women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. So, they’re right in line with us and I think people who donate to the campaign I think fifty dollars or more it’s a tax-deductible donation, but we see these crowd funding campaigns over and over again and for us it’s like who do we get the word out? We’re just building our brand so we are just now starting. So, using our cast and crew the best we can we are just trying to spread the word. We are at the very beginning stages.
Q) How and what can people be doing to help promote the film?
A) They can follow us on social media. They can sign up on our website. We have like an email sign up that way we can start to build our base of people that we can reach out to with updates. If they go to campaign and they can’t donate that’s totally cool all they have to do is share the link and click follow on the campaign because if we hit a certain amount of followers that helps us out as well. But, yeah, sharing the links and donating even like ten bucks makes a difference. It’s not about getting big donations it’s like getting ten or twenty-five bucks. It’s about reaching more people, which I’d rather do. I want to get as many people involved as possible.
Q) Is there anything else you’d like fans to know, supporters to know about Freelancers Anonymous?
A) I’m excited to bring a comedy to our community because I think most of the work is drama and I really hope it’s embraced by people. I think a lot of times when we go to film festivals and we see these Indie films with a lesbian couple that we don’t get to see ourselves represented on screen. So, we want to love their relationship and we do see that in this film, but it’s not the driving force of the film. I feel like we may be changing the way that our audiences watch the content we are creating. That’s my hope and I hope it’s really well received. It’s just a different way of telling a story because it’s not a coming out story at all and it’s not sad, hopefully. That’s the goal. [laughs]