Yale in Hollywood: New York Summit
March 5, 2011
W on Lexington
541 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY
The Making and Marketing of The Best and the Brightest
Report & Photos by Totally Kate Webmaster
Yale in Hollywood held their NY conference on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, 2011 at the W on Lexington Hotel in New York City. Kate Mulgrew's new movie, The Best & The Brightest, in which she portrays The Player's Wife, was screened on Friday afternoon and a panel discussion was held on Saturday morning. Participants on the Q&A panel were Josh Shelov, Kate Mulgrew and Ted Masur.

Here's the description of the panel from the conference's program:

The Making and Marketing of The Best and the Brightest:

Four Yale 93ers were at the core of a creative team that made The Best and the Brightest, the upcoming outrageous comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris: Director and Co-Writer Josh Shelov, Co-Writer Michael Jaeger, Composer Ted Masur, and the mighty actor John Hodgman. The film is a wildly edgy farce about getting one's child into a private kindergarten on the Upper East Side. It also stars Amy Sedaris, Kate Mulgrew, Bonnie Somerville, Jenna Stern, Bridget Regan, Peter Serafinowicz, and Christopher McDonald. The panel will discuss the making, marketing, and distribution of an independent film in the era of Web 2.0.

I was honored to be invited by Director Josh Shelov to attend the Q&A panel/event which was held for members of the 'Yale in Hollywood' students and alumni. Many fascinating topics were discussed involving the making, marketing and distribution of the film. The film had only a 3.5 million dollar budget and was shot in 26 days. While it is set in NYC, 23 days of the film were actually filmed in Philadelphia as they had very generous monetary incentives for filming there. Three days were filmed in NYC for some of the landmark outdoor shots but all interior shots were done in Philadelphia. Josh mentioned he was very lucky to have so much input into the casting of the film. He said he was thrilled when he got word that Kate Mulgrew had read the script and loved it. Neil Patrick Harris' involvement came about when he found out Amy Sedaris was attached to the film. And Amy's involvement came about because she and Josh were represented by the same agency.

Ted Masur was asked how he scored the film and he described how he created music for different characters and how the music underpinned the emotions of what they wanted the audience to be feeling. There was quite a laugh to Kate's silent facial reaction when Ted mentioned that sometimes music was used when they didn't quite get the full emotional response they wanted from an actor's performance. The laughs ensued as he tried to explain what he meant but only ended up digging himself in deeper.

Kate was asked how she became involved and she mentioned that the script came through her agent and then her manager and when she read it she thought it was very funny and very clever. When she met with Josh she asked to read some scenes for him and as they discussed the film there was just great chemistry. Josh mentioned that he knew Kate's previous work and voice and so even before meeting her he knew she would be wonderful as this character. When he heard through the casting director that Kate had read and liked the script he was very excited to get her for the part.

Plans for distribution of the film were discussed and while specific dates haven't been firmed up the plan is to open the film in New York and Los Angeles for a week, hopefully in early summer, and then go into Video on Demand, iTunes, DVD sales, etc. It was discussed how with most films, even blockbusters, the theatrical release is more about promotion than recouping your budget. Profits come from sales of the movie.

Promotion of the movie was discussed with mention of the importance of using new media such as Facebook & Twitter. Sneak peak preview viewings of the film were also mentioned. More are planned for various cities with plans for members of the cast who may be in those cities to attend. So if you see the movie and like it be sure to Tweet and post about it to Facebook. If you'd like to write a review of the movie or a 'Q&A' session e-mail me about posting it on Totally Kate.

It was obvious from the panel participants that they had a wonderful time making this film and it shows.

The Best & The Brightest Information
The Best and the Brightest Website
The Best and the Brightest on Facebook
The Best and the Brightest on Twitter