Neil LaBute explains what lead to his involvement in the industry.
I started hearing all these stories about these guys who had done these sorts of outlandish things to get money to make movies. You know, Robert Townsend with his credit cards, and Kevin Smith, who was working in the convenience store at night; and Robert Rodriguez doing some kind of chemical testing on himself, you know, medical experiments, and some other guy taking his money and putting it on red in Atlantic City — crazy ways that they raised 25,000 bucks.
The reason I’m that here today is complete stupidity, which was that I believed wholeheartedly those stories.
Craig Miller CEO and Founder of MZA Events (and founder of the AIDS WALK) came up with the idea of holding a national event addressing the issue of the Social Security System’s discrimination against elder Gay & Lesbian Americans. Most Americans receive the social security benefits of the higher earner when their life partner dies, but Gay & Lesbian Americans are denied these benefits (even though they must pay into the system just like everybody else!).
The Rock For Equality event to be held in the spring of 2010 here in Los Angeles and in Washington DC, will both inform the public of this unfair Social Security policy and raise funds to change the law.
MZA Events hired me to create a suite of videos that would bring life & poignancy to what may be perceived as a rather “dull” issue: social security. Once I came on board, they informed me that the decision to move forward with the event hinged on the success of the videos. (That’s when I started grinding my teeth at night–just kidding!)
Craig and his team wanted a “viral” video, a compelling “elevator pitch” video, and the third video that would give the public a sense of the suffering that elder Gay & Lesbian Americans experience when their life partner dies and they are denied benefits which they paid into. I addition, I suggested they needed a fourth video, an animation that would give potential participants a “visual” of the Rock For Equality event which is very original and new to the public.
For the viral, I came up with the sci-fi idea which at the time felt so “out of the box” that I was nervous to pitch it. Luckily, the MZA Events team really got it. Karen Lavender and Jamie Bullock of LiveTribe Productions came on board to produce the videos. My friend, Taylor Negron co-write the sci-fi script with me. Jimmy Ahlander (also a director at LiveTribe Productions) created the animation, and a team of truly creative crew members including DP: Daron Keet, Art Director: Robert Fox & Make-up Artists: Maya Murakami & Dan Kaplan and editor John Irwin joined forces with me to create what emerged as “From Another Planet” and three other videos.
The “elevator video” and long form inspirational video feature real people who have suffered the inequities of social security discrimination. I wanted to give these videos a “heightened” but uncluttered visual quality so that no elements in the frame could distract from the subjects and their compelling stories and at the same time, I wanted to make them visually compelling to engage the viewer.
I hope you can check out the videos and let me know what you think. AND go to www.rockforequality.org to support equal rights for Gay & Lesbian Americans.
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