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raymac Written by raymac
Aug. 18, 2010 | 4:40 AM

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Hollyshorts Interview: TEXT ME

It’s something most of us have experienced, a disastrous first date where nothing seems to go right. That’s the basic plot of TEXT ME, a charming, humorous and insightful coming of age comedy short from the writing & directing team of Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett. By using the device of texting, the filmmakers allow us to get inside the heads of the characters as well as to provide them with a platform for social commentary about a society in which we are more comfortable communicating with people remotely than we are communicating with people face to face. The two leads, Matt Bennett and Jill Shackner, hit the mark in portraying the awkwardness and terror that arises from a first date. Although a coming of age story, the short’s comedy and ideas appeals to all ages. For more about the film, visit the official site.

An Interview with Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett

How did the project come about?

Bayou: I’m also a professor of Cinema and I first got the idea when I noticed that my students were texting and Facebooking more than communicating and we kind of felt that we needed to make a comment on the texting generation.

Daniel: We definitely just wanted to capture young people ... teenagers and basically how this technology and communication and digital world is just a little bit out of control.

And so you wrote the film together?

Daniel: Yes, we wrote the film together and then brought it in Matt Bennett who is a young and very talented actor. He’s starring in Will Ferrell’s THE VIRGINITY HIT. He really helped us capture the teenage generation and made it real and authentic from a teenage point of view as well.

And how was it working together as a couple?

Bayou: It was fun. Something about Daniel, obviously, bringing the male aspect to the film and then me bring the female aspect worked really well together.

Yes, I though the film was really funny but at the same time it seemed really very realistic. I’ve had a lot of first date’s like that ... unfortunately.

Bayou: Exactly ... exactly.

Daniel: I think we all have and I think it’s important to really represent that actually.  We were thinking, “How does a male look at a date and then how does a female look at a date? ”  So if you notice that she’s looking more long term and he’s like, “I wonder what she looks like naked.” So it’s really about how men think and how women think. We really interviewed men and women to get their viewpoints on things ... to make it more real.

Bayou: Exactly ... and the “che che part” ... the taking the picture of the breasts was actually my idea because there have been times when it’s been kind of real on my end because things like that have almost happened. So you would think the guy wrote that but no, it’s the girl’s side of reality.

Actually that would kind of make sense.  A guy might not want to admit that he’s doing that. Keep it on the QT that that happens.  So, what do you hope to accomplish with this film?

Daniel: We really wanted to write something funny and we wanted to do films in a genre that was interesting to us at the time like SUPERBAD. It was sort of what we were going for. We just wanted to represent a coming of age story about teenagers. We wanted to make it real and really comment on something that we haven’t seen in a movie which was really about texting and the digital world of communication.

Bayou: Yes, every movie we do has something about making a change and it’s having teenagers, or people now, taking a step back and say, “Wow! I’m always Facebooking, I’m always texting. It’s time to have actual communication ... human communication.”  I’ve had students texting each other sitting next to each other. It’s kind of becoming a problem.

So what is next for you guys?

Daniel: We’re actually working on two feature films. We have two scripts and we’re casting and starting preproduction on one that will be shot between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.  It’s called “SKATEBOARDING WITH SADDAM.”  It’s another movie with teenagers. It’s a little like STAND BY ME but it takes place during the first Persian Gulf War in Israel with falling scud missiles. It’s a journey about finding courage within yourself and it’s a movie about friendship. A little bit more dramatic but still a coming of age movie.