Saturday, January 26, 2013

My New Short Film with Sam Jaeger: Plain Clothes

Writer/Director Sam Jaeger

Writer/Director Sam Jaeger (also known as Joel on the TV show Parenthood) and I are teaming up again to make a movie! I am so excited. This short film will be the first film I am producing under my new banner Meritage Pictures.

Our new short film is called "Plain Clothes." It's the story of a 35-year-old cop trying to make sense of the brutality he sees at work and the struggle not to bring it home. Inspired by accounts from real police officers, "Plain Clothes" is an unflinching look at the emotional toll paid by the men and women in blue.  

Ever since Sam and I made Take Me Home together, I have been looking forward to our next project together. Sam is such a talented and kind person and his positive attitude permeates the set. It's such a joy to work with him. And now I can do it again!

Of course it's never easy to afford to make new films so we have started an IndieGoGo campaign to help afford to make it. We hope any of you who enjoy my blog would be willing to contribute toward the making of this new film. It would mean a great deal to me, Sam and the film. Thank you for any support you can provide.

You can click on the below IndieGoGo widget to contribute. Keep on reading as Sam has answered a few questions I posed to him about the project below. Cheers!

Our IndieGoGo Campaign:

Questions for Sam Jaeger:

What inspired you to write Plain Clothes?

Initially, various conversations I've had with officers.  I know being a father also played a role.  There's something strange that went off in my brain when my son was born.  I felt like I had to "man up", so to speak.  Which I took to mean stuffing my emotions down in an effort to be the great protector.  And even though that's kind of horse shit, I see it happen to new dads.  We end up pushing things way down.  And so I thought, "If I'm holding back like this, what must it be like for someone in a really harrowing line of work?"  And so in these discussions, I saw that, sure enough, there's a lot of emotions that these men and women struggle to make peace with.  PTSD doesn't just affect soldiers.  And it surely does affect spouses.

So the idea of an officer at some sort of impasse in his life, where he can't keep all he's dealing with bottled up, finds himself in a life threatening situation.  And how does it change him, and how does it change his wife?  That was fascinating to me.

Why have you decided to make a short film instead of a full feature?  

I've tried to sit down to write with fewer expectations on myself lately, and so I wrote the first draft of this in an afternoon.  And then I let it sit for a while because I had this sense after Take Me Home that I wasn't going back to shorts.  That they were in my past or some nonsense.  But I think that was actually a way of keeping myself safe.  Because getting back on the horse after making a feature can be a pretty daunting task.  But if it's a story that moves me, that I think will move others, then the only thing standing in my way is fear.  And the most worthwhile things in my life have often been the most terrifying.

You wrote and directed the feature film Take Me Home ( What did you learn from making that film that you want to apply to this new project?

I learned how many remarkable people there are in this business.  It's kind of an industry of gypsies, in a good way.  We're all trying to find our way, from paycheck to paycheck.  But the good ones, and there are a ton of them, the good ones make time because they love being a part of something greater.  And I really love to see how those collaborations, like Take Me Home for example, affected us all in such a positive way.

What is your hope for the future of this film and your future as a filmmaker?

Well, I hope to keep making films like this throughout the rest of my career.  I think there's something to be said for making a kind of film that isn't Transformers.  I think if you make movies that don't cost a third world country, and if you fill them with vivid characters in dire situations, you can build a long career.  Of course, that means never getting to work with Optimus Prime, but I hear that guy's an asshole anyway.

How can people contribute to Plain Clothes?

I feel like this film is an expansion of what Take Me Home is.  It's a growing community of people who want to help tell a good story.  And just committing whatever they can, twenty bucks or whatever, that goes a long way.  Maybe passing along our story to others.  It's been fun to share Take Me Home with the people who made it happen, and now I just want to expand that family of storytellers.

Our IndieGoGo Campaign Video (what do you think?):

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