Brian Herzlinger, who lives in Hollywood, is a film school grad, working P.A. jobs, and working basic Hollywood production gigs. This company, that company, nothing really notable. Now just imagine, you win 1,100 bucks on a game show, you buy a camera, shoot a documentary in a month, and now you have movie posters with Drew Barrymore and you in the subway tunnels of Manhattan. Sweet.
I met Brian on Wednesday night in New York. He said, “You know, I took a month off from my life, but it’s not like I had anything else going on really. For most people to take a month off means they have to quit their job. I wasn’t working at the time. And I had just won some money on a game show. My friend Brett Winn and I just started shooting our movie about Drew.”
Here are my thoughts on the film. It’s not really a film about Drew Barrymore at all. It’s a film about following your dreams. Brian’s PR guys asked me not to “Spoil” the ending so, Surprise to you when you see it. The idea of the film is that Brian had a childhood crush on Drew Barrymore and now wants to see if he can get a date with her.
When asked if Drew Barrymore had any participation in the marketing of the film or it’s creation, Brian’s response was that Drew Barrymore’s company Flower Films felt it would be a little “heavy handed” and “disingenuous” if they had anything to do with the film. However, Drew Barrymore apparently loves the film, and is helping to spread the word and has donated the use of her images for the project. Brian swears that everything you see in his documentary is true and it all really happened that way. Since that’s the case Brian, my hats off to you, the scenes just flow right into each other and form a perfect story arc.
The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the HBO Comedy Arts Festival. Since that time, Brian was approached by television executives who offered a six-figure deal to chop up the film into 6 episodes as a reality TV show. “They wanted to make me a household name.” But Brian remembered how the audience reacted to it as a film and fought hard to have it released as a film. Just knowing in his heart that it was the right thing to do. After all, his film beat out Napoleon Dynamite at the same HBO comedy festival.
There are a lot of coincidences in his film that are kind of scary. He wins this game show contest and the answer to his winning question was "Drew Barrymore". He uses his $1,100 prize money to by a mini-DV camera. I really don’t want to spoil the movie for you so I won’t give away too much, but I’ll just say this. Every time he wants to give up on finishing his documentary, Drew Barrymore’s name keeps popping up.
“My Date With Drew” was shot with a Circuit City mini-DV camera, believe me, the camera was nothing special. I asked Brian how he handled sound. He said he really did only use the on board camera microphone. And he admitted that post production was very difficult to work around that. They edited the film in Final Cut Pro on a Powerbook.
Initial offers from the major studios came in but they all pulled out at the last minute because no film has ever been created like this. This film is the first in a new class of documentaries and none of the studios knew how to release it. Do you market it as a comedy? Or a Documentary? But Brian kept pushing and it is being released. He said, “Every frame of my film is as I intended with out anyone else telling me how it had to be. I will never in the rest of my career have that much flexibility again.”
“My Date With Drew” is a really original, heartfelt and funny journey of Brian following his dream of getting a date with Drew Barrymore. You should go see “My Date With Drew”. Support Brian and his friends who made it. It is a true independent film in every sense of the word.
Drew Barrymore told Brian that all she wants in return is that he “Pay it forward”. Seems like he’s the kind of guy that would too. Brian will be hosting a TV show about helping people follow their dreams, and will also be guest hosting street interviews about dating on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”.
Again, congratulations Brian and friends on your awesome film.
“My Date With Drew” opens August 5th.