THE BEST MAN’S PRIVILEGE: The Ultimate Solution For A Would-Be Groom’s Pre-Wedding Jitters
If you’ve ever gotten cold feet before making the momentous decision to marry the woman (or man) you love, then it’s guaranteed that you’ve thought of every way to free yourself from the inevitable regret of committing to a lifelong partnership without careful forethought. In real life, a jittery bride or groom would simply announce their decision to not tie the knot.
In writer/director Andy Maycock’s feature length comedy The Best Man’s Privilege, an apprehensive soon-to-be newlywed (Jake, played by David Cerutti) prepares to get hitched to his beautiful fiancee Candace (Dana Goodknight). While Jake is convinced that Candace is really the woman of his dreams, he’s not convinced that he’s the man she wants to spend her life with.
Little does Jake know, however, that his brother/best man Don (Jason Biszick) has concocted a spectacular scheme to “free” his sibling from marrying Candace — that is, if he decides to call off the wedding. The scheme (also known as the title of this film) will involve Jake being whisked away by a secret team of spies whom Don has hired without his knowledge.
Yet when Jake inadvertently plays into this elaborate disappearing act, Don and his partners-in-crime abruptly take the situation into their own hands, and Jake will have to do more than simply explain his actions to the woman he left at the altar.
While production of The Best Man’s Privilege has not officially started, Maycock (named one of the International Screenwriters’ Association’s “25 Screenwriters To Watch in 2020”) has already shot a pitch video for the film in conjunction with its newly launched crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark. (A link to the campaign’s page is at the end of this article.)
If the campaign succeeds, Maycock will begin principal photography in August for The Best Man’s Privilege’s trailer (lensed by Anthony Salamone), though its production could be delayed further due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Yet, Maycock is committed to presenting Privilege as a hilarious and thought-provoking adult comedy that asks, according to its creator: “do weddings matter, or are they all the same, and how can we make them meaningful?”
In consultation with screenwriter Josh Stolberg (Good Luck Chuck), Maycock worked to elevate the film’s mix of hilarity and high-concept thrills. Maycock’s screenplay advanced to the semifinals of the Austin Film Festival, but after lack of interest from Hollywood agents in the script stalled its progress, the writer decided to become the producer, the director, and the promoter.
Taken from a live read of the script held this past January, Maycock created an audio “trailer” for Privilege. Here’s how this unique first step in the film’s promotional push was conceived, as recalled by Maycock himself.
Andy Maycock (writer/director, The Best Man’s Privilege): When I decided to tackle this project myself instead of waiting around for someone else to notice it (which was not going to happen since the script wasn’t “out there” anymore), I remember hearing an ad on my car radio for a new movie on Apple TV+. I don’t remember the name of the movie, but the ad was lousy. It was audio from the movie, cut together to get your attention, but didn’t have any context or anything, so it didn’t make any sense. (It was) just lines of dialogue occurring in a vacuum.
I realized you couldn’t start with picture and expect sound alone to do it justice, but you could come at it from the other direction. If you started with a trailer that worked for radio, you could easily add picture to it. That’s how I got the idea to start with a table read, cut it down to an audio trailer, and use that to build a visual one.
(I should also mention that we’re not just shooting images to lay over the existing audio, which is what some people hear me saying when I describe the process. The audio trailer exists as its own thing; we’ll shoot new footage — with new audio — based on the first audio-only trailer.)
The process of using audio to inspire visuals reminded me of the old days, when I would map out fight scenes to the music of Star Wars and Superman: The Movie (on vinyl — I’m old). I used to shoot a lot of Super-8 film when I was a kid, and could never afford a camera or projector with sound, so I relied on visuals to tell the stories. I think that was a huge asset when it came to this project, because I can listen to the audio trailer and see the visuals unfold.
I’m an English teacher who also directs the school plays and musicals, so for the table read I cast some outgoing teacher friends and some talented former students; and my son, whom I enlisted to do the editing of the audio, brought some of his filmmaking and acting friends from his college circle.
Originally, I envisioned taping the audio in my basement, but changed my mind to do it in public for two reasons. First, from a performance standpoint, an audience would give the actors some give-and-take and some energy, since a comedy relies on pacing and reactions. Second, from a marketing perspective, if I was going to launch a crowdfunding campaign eventually, it would help to have had a public event already; a little track record couldn’t hurt.
So in late December, my son and I visited a venue called The Mop & Bucket Theatre Company in a cool part of Schenectady, N.Y., and they were as excited to host our reading as we were to hold it there. Once we’d booked the theatre, we had two split-squad rehearsals in my basement (it was January in upstate N.Y., so the weather was always iffy and the entire cast was never available on the same day for a rehearsal) and the key was a guy named Mike Pipa, a former English teacher and the most talented, animated storyteller I’ve ever met. He did the “stage directions.” The actors had a great time with the script because of Mike’s energy.
On the night of the show, I rented ten individual microphones so we’d have clean audio to cover our 11 or 12 actors. The weather continued to mess with us: snow and ice kept some of the audience away, and even kept our leading lady snowed-in about an hour west of us. But luckily, our leading man had brought his girlfriend, so she spent the day reading the script and prepping the role, and she filled in for us, doing a great job. My son had a rough cut of the audio trailer less than 48 hours later.
Contribute to the production of The Best Man’s Privilege on Seed&Spark:
More information about The Best Man’s Privilege can be found on the web site for Maycock’s production company, East To Weston Productions: