The best part about making a film in your hometown is your mom taking charge of Craft Service. Oh wait, I skipped a few introductory steps.
Hey there, (we shake hands…you’re very impressed by the strength/confidence of my shake) my name is Brooke Lenzi and I’m a Los Angeles based filmmaker/actor and I’m finally fulfilling a longtime goal of mine to make a movie in my hometown of Sacramento.
I grew up in the Sacramento community theater scene (Summer School of the Arts, River City Theater Company, Garbeau’s Dinner Theater & Sacramento City College Theater). From age five to twenty one, I performed on stage as my guitarist father, Robert Lenzi, would jam out less than twenty feet away in the orchestra pit. It was awesome. So much of my childhood took place either on stage, in rehearsals, or at a nearby Denny’s after shows with the rest of the cast. When I wasn’t on stage, I would write plays; coerce my best friend, Emily, to play the other roles, and to rehearse endlessly after school.
I left Sacramento to study Dramatic Arts at UC Santa Barbara in ‘02, and subsequently moved to Los Angeles in ‘04 to pursue a career as an actress. When I got there I realized just how many “paths” there are for actors. You can do improv, sketch comedy, stand-up, dramatic acting, comedic acting, casting workshops, acting classes and the list goes on forever until you’re exhausted and broke.
I did all of those things for several years until I found what makes me creatively fulfilled and has proved to be helpful for my career: making my own films.
My first film was a dramatic short titled Join Us, about a young woman who is given a mission by her cult leader to recruit someone from her past. I raised the budget on Kickstarter and was able to make my twenty-minute short film with the help of producers, a DP, and director in their second and final year at the number one film school in the world, the American Film Institute. I was spoiled rotten with all of their talents, free of charge in exchange for the credit and experience. A year after wrapping, Join Us screened at the Academy Award qualifying film festival LA Shorts Fest, Hollyshorts Monthly Screening Series, and most recently the Sacramento Film and Music Festival.
About six months ago I knew I needed to start writing another film, but I couldn’t do it alone. I needed a partner. It’s tough finding partners that “fit” with your creative sensibilities and energy, but I knew I found a solid collaborator when I met Catherine Black. Cat and I share a lot in common, namely that we’re both LA based actresses and filmmakers. We decided to co-write, co-direct, and co-star in our next short film. Are we nuts? You betcha.
When we first sat down, white wine in tow, we landed on a story about two best friends who destroy each other, or attempt to at least. We talked at length about female relationships we’ve shared with siblings, old friends and new, and how hostile and intense they can get. Female relationships have the potential to run deep and become these complicated, fire fueled battlegrounds, and we really wanted to explore that in a horror/comedy genre.
Once the script was written, we launched our fundraising campaign on SeedandSpark.com. We had 30 days to raise the money, and we did it! I probably lost a year of my life from stress but somehow, with the help of our friends, family, and complete strangers, our short film Girl Trip is getting made in less than one month on October 17, 18, and 19 to be exact.
I am beyond thrilled to embark on this filmmaking adventure, and even more excited to shoot in my hometown of Sacramento. One of our locations is the picture perfect, almost un-touched old town of Locke and the utterly unique bar/restaurant Al’s Place (AKA Al the Wops).
Which brings me back to my initial point about Craft Service: who better to make homemade snacks for your crew than your mom? If you can think of someone better, I’d love to know.
Follow me here on Sacramento Press over the next several weeks as I take you through the ins, outs, ups and downs of making an independent film in my home town.
Photo: Brooke Lenzi (R) and Catherine Black (L) in front of Al’s Place (AKA Al the Wops) in Locke, CA.