Pictured: Bart Got a Room writer-director Brian Hecker with William H. Macy
The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival has already produced its first little gem in Bart Got a Room, a charming teen sex comedy set in the vibrant, pastel-colored retirement communities of South Florida. Cinematical had a chance to conduct an email interview with writer-director Brian Hecker prior to Bart's premiere at the festival, and it went something like this:
Cinematical: A film like Bart Got a Room has "personal story" written all over it. How close is this film to your own life growing up?
Brian Hecker: The film is very close to my life growing up as a real nerd in South Florida. Of course, elements are stretched for comedic purposes, but the essence of it is painfully close to home.
Cinematical: Why do teenagers care so much about what other teenagers are doing?
BH: I don't think it's just teenagers. In our society, most people think about or worry about what other people are doing in relation to themselves. It's the cause of most people's suffering, and it's quite stupid and unnecessary when you start examining why we do this. High school is a place where you're stuck with the same small group of people year after year, so it's most apparent in this environment.
Cinematical: Why is the prom – this stupid dance – such a monumental event for a teenager?
BH: It is a stupid dance, but like anything, it's all about the marketing and the hype. Kids would find a chewing gum competition monumental if there was enough hype around it.
Cinematical: We just wrote a story about how the prom is always depicted in movies as being a horrific event. Does anyone get hacked to pieces at the prom in your movie?
BH: The only thing that got hacked on this project was my paycheck.
Cinematical: They say to "write what you know," so how hard is it to actually "write what you know?" To write about your own experiences growing up?
BH: I first learned to do this in a high school English class when my teacher gave us the assignment to do something to beautify our lives and write about it. I decided to ask out this hot senior girl and then write about the outcome. It was great because I knew that even if I failed, it would make for a great story. The girl flat-out rejected me, but I read the essay aloud in class and people were really laughing. I think this was a turning point for me as a writer.
Cinematical: For your first feature film, how did you land such a great cast?
BH: When you have great producers behind you, they get it to the talent. I went through different producers over several years until I ended up with one producer that was going to get my script to name talent or die trying.
Cinematical: Any advice for young aspiring filmmakers and/or kids looking to score a hot prom date?
BH: Offer money. Lots of it.
Cinematical: Quick – you're 17 and a bit of a dork. How do you convince your date to go back to that seedy hotel room you rented for the night without grossing her out?
BH: Well, of course I would never advise you to use Roofies.
Cinematcial: Three films you've watched over 25 times?
BH: Tootsie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Buttman Goes to Rio.
Cinematical: If you could make a film about anything and money is no object, what's it called and what's it about?
BH: You think I'm going to reveal my dream project HERE???
For more on Bart Got a Room, see our review here, and to learn about purchasing tickets for one of Bart's other Tribeca screenings, check out the schedule here.