||Farce as the Force Aspiring filmmakers catch on quickly that to get a shot in Hollywood, they need more than talent. Film school
alum Joe Nussbaum 96 and music graduate Joseph Levy 95 have plenty of that. But what has boosted their budding careers is that their creative and funny eight-minute short, George Lucas in Love, has become must-see viewing for studio executives.
I knew if I was an executive who got a tape called George Lucas in Love, Id watch it, says Nussbaum, who directed the film while Levy produced.
Since they began sending out copies of the film on videotape last summer, Levy and Nussbaum have been getting more requests for their film than they can handle. Their strategy of gaining notice by making a short film particularly an industry-related satire and sending tapes around town has even mushroomed.
I hear from studio executives whove watched a fourth-generation tape and made seven copies to give to people, says Levy.
The filmmakers, both 26, are paying their dues in the industry, Nussbaum as a producer of movie trailers and TV commercials, Levy as an assistant at the William Morris talent agency. It was after screening hundreds of unsolicited films for his boss that Levy realized parody was what got noticed.
Satire allows you to capture a ready-made audience people are already familiar with the films youre playing off of, he says.
THE HIGHEST-FORM-OF-flattery-on-film conjured by Levy and Nussbaum is a take-off on both Star Wars and the Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love.
Poster boy: writer's-blocked USC student George Lucas is the protagonist agonizing over what would be Star Wars.
In George Lucas in Love, a young Lucas struggles to complete his first screenplay. He finds inspiration in his fellow students and faculty at the USC School of Cinema-TV, including his asthmatic, black-caped rival, and his in-scrutable, shrunken professor. Lucas muse is his supportive girlfriend, who wears her hair in two buns.
The duos much-watched and talked about film seems to have availed them of the force to potentially approach Lucas success. George Lucas in Love is eligible for Academy nomination in the Live Action Short Subject category, has been accepted for screening at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and solicited by a host of other festivals, and Nussbaum and Levy are taking meetings with major studios. Nussbaum recently signed a deal to direct a feature, Almost Romantic, by Dreamworks Pictures.
What does the present-day George Lucas think of the mini-biopic of which he is the subject? Were told its his favorite short film, says Levy.