LIFE ALTERING GENDER REVEAL, 8min,. USA
Directed by Craig Wildenradt
The lives of unsuspecting party guests are forever changed after they learn of their friends' baby's gender.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
The vast majority of the time, when I write comedy I'm usually poking fun at things that actually frustrate me. So with that said, it's probably unsurprising that the bulk of the comedy I write is social critique. It's kind of a healthy catharsis for me to take those things and make them the butt of a joke. So that's always a motivation for comedy writing in general. Speaking more specifically to LIFE ALTERING GENDER REVEAL, beyond the aforementioned I personally thought the concept was hilarious, ripe for getting really absurd (which I love to do), and would be a ton of fun to make. I've gotten to a point in my life where I predominantly create for myself first. As many challenges as there are to indie filmmaking, one of the luxuries is just being able to do what you want. For me, that's plenty of motivation by itself. But the rest came when I started sharing the concept and other folks thought it was hilarious too!
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The rough concept came to me around October of '22. I have a running document where I jot down ideas when they come to me, and when this idea came to mind, I noted it down and then it just kinda sat for a bit. Some months later I was fleshing out a script for a completely different story and ran into some mental blocks that got me totally stuck. Suddenly, LIFE ALTERING GENDER REVEAL popped back into my brain along with a very clear picture of what I wanted to do with it. I opened up a blank script and cranked out the first draft in about 15 or 20 minutes. It was kinda crazy, it all just came into my head at once while working on something else, which is not common for me.
I sent the script to my girlfriend as well as to a production partner of mine and they loved it. So that was enough confirmation to start pre-production. Casting the principals was pretty easy. I knew Sarah (mother-to-be) and Ben (father-to-be) and they jumped at the project. Megan (the bestie) is my girlfriend so that was an easy cast too. The trickier casting was for the party guests. A few were friends of friends and the rest came from a casting call I put up on Backstage. So finalizing the casting and aligning schedules to a day where the weather was going to cooperate took about a month I believe.
Another thing that took a few weeks was creating the set piece with the baby doll. After conceptualizing how it could be pulled off I had to source all the different components, design and build a homemade pneumatic system to blow the doll's head off, and then construct the whole thing, test it, tweak, etc. Decorating it was the last part. But yeah, that all took a few weeks from start to finish.
And I spent about a week planning the production. Since it was a bare bones crew with all of us wearing multiple hats, I wanted to go in super prepared and organized so we didn't get overwhelmed.
Production happened all in one day. I set up the interview lighting in the interior location the night before and did a quick read-through with the principal cast, but we had one day to finish production. And we did it!
Post-production took exactly one month. I did all the editing, audio, music, color, etc. and it's all pretty time consuming. So all told, from the time I wrote the script to having the final cut, it took about 3 months. If you factor in the initial concept idea, it'd be 7 months but I left it sitting for the first 4.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
It would probably be the challenge of completing production in one day given the nature of how we approached it as well as filming most of it outside.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I loved hearing how it hit them, even though everyone seemed to have their own interpretations. I of course know what I meant to do with the film, but it's always super cool to hear what others see and take away from it. To me it's a really fun part of creating. The first reviewer in particular seemed to really "get" my personal angle with it which felt pretty uncanny. But I loved hearing from everyone from their own viewpoints.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
At a very young age. Like, single digit age. Movies and music have always moved me profoundly and have been lifelong passions for me. After high school I wanted to pursue film professionally in any way I could, but I was kinda influenced out of that pursuit. I've been fortunate to take on some music and film projects that I've loved over the years, but it's just in the past couple years that I've been lucky enough to be positioned to be able to do more. So that's what I'm trying to do!
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Hmmmm, that's really tough to say. I am definitely a chronic film re-watcher so I've seen many films a ton of times. If I had to take a guess at what I've seen the most, it's probably a close call between PULP FICTION and ALIENS.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I'm honestly not sure. This festival is definitely unique in the way it serves the filmmakers. Definitely much appreciated!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I like FF. This is the second time I've used it to submit a film to festivals and it's been fine for me. No complaints!
10. What is your favorite meal?
I'm probably a weirdo in this regard, but I can't say I have one. I enjoy good food, don't get me wrong, but I'd consider myself a utilitarian eater. Tank gets empty, shovel whatever food is available to me into my stomach and get on with what I'm doing. This may be a controversial take, but a lot of times I find eating to be an inconvenience.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
As I type this, I'm gearing up to do the 48 Hour Film Project (Nashville). Some folks from LIFE ALTERING GENDER REVEAL will be joining in. The weekend of 8/25 will be balls to the walls for myself and my team!