A professor once warned me, "If you start a feature, you'd better believe in it. Because it will take a lot longer than you think. It will become a big part of your life." Well, that statement couldn't have been more true. Because after more than a decade and a half trying to get "AUDITION" made, this film has not only become a big part of my life, it has become my life, and I've never stopped believing in it.
The roots of this project are embedded in influences and feelings I can trace back to childhood, such as the power of my father’s photography and the shooting and screening of his 8mm movies. That magnetic lure of filmmaking soon led me to sneak quietly downstairs, where I’d watch films like “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” “Equus,” and “8 1/2” on Betamax alone in the middle of the night at the age of eight. My first trip to London, where I saw “A Chorus Line” on stage in 1976, then listened to all the numbers on an 8-track, over and over, while driving with my father from Maine to Boston and back to watch the Red Sox. Seeing “All That Jazz” and “Star 80,” and meeting the director. Later, creating my epic college thesis, which turned out looking more like a Lynch or Scorsese film than me. Moving to New York City, and meeting and losing someone deeply meaningful to me—a powerful loss that motivated me to pick up a camera to find my own voice. So I created projects like I never had before, producing a series of films in the late ’90s in lightening speed, all fueled by spontaneity and intuition. Emotional personal sketches and experiments with talented actors and dancers shot in a day or even a just few hours. Intuitive filmmaking became my thing. The power of the unplanned and unexpected.
All of this ultimately lead to the concept of “AUDITION” in 1999. An idea that took a grip and never let go. Organized chaos. A giant petri dish. A reflection of life. At first I searched for a story in the public domain, but ended up making it extremely personal instead. Writing it helped me understand myself better. It gave me hope. Purpose. A reason and newfound determination to keep going forward. So I wrote, and I wrote. Then I pitched, and I pitched. Greenlight. I was slated for production in the summer of 2001, but after unexpected delays—the release of a Japanese horror film with the same title, 9/11 and other life-changing events—the project did not move forward. But, over time, I never gave up trying to reinvent it with different titles, multiple castings and pre-visualizations, for years.
Yes, there were many setbacks, but crowdfunding hit the scene, and with the support of the people closest to me, I gave it one more shot. All my family, colleagues, actors and people I’ve never even met rose up to support it. Followed by investors, and many, many favors.
Yes, it did take a very long time, and I am forever grateful to everyone who helped me complete it. Finally. Which means it is time to find another obsession. What will it be? “AUDITION 2” perhaps? Whatever it is, I will absolutely believe in it.