5Q's w/Jeffrey Scott Collins "Poor Greg Drowning" Director
SUNDAY BLOCK I | 9:30 am
#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?
“Poor Greg Drowning” is a grounded comedy about heartache, loss, depression, friendship, family, and love addiction. It’s about picking yourself up from rock bottom with the help of those closest to you, and learning to move on from the past. It explores looking in the mirror and acknowledging your own faults and wrongdoings, all the while forgiving those who may have hurt you.
PGD tells the story of a love addict named Greg whose girlfriend cheats on him, and then leaves him, for their couples therapist. Greg is subsequently depressed, heartbroken, angry, and unemployed. He desperately needs to find a new roommate to help pay rent, but Greg scares all potential roommates away with his volatile mental state and overall lack of emotional IQ. Until one fateful day, an amazing girl named Peyton moves in on a whim from Greg’s Craigslist post, and Greg falls madly in love with her the second he opens his front door and sees her. Throughout the rest of the film, Greg tries to get his new roommate to fall in love with him as well, while simultaneously work through his severe depression, heartache, anger, and love addiction.
I think what makes PGD so unique and why people should see it is that it has elements of a real comedy, but also has the heart and character of a true indie film. The struggles that the main character, Greg, goes through with love addiction are surprisingly untapped in comedies like this. And it explores the vulnerable depths within us that we are often afraid to penetrate.
But, most importantly… it’s funny as f*ck! Or at least we hope it is. Are you allowed to swear in these interviews?
#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?
I think it’s difficult to surmise what “Poor Greg Drowning” is about based simply on the title, which I like. The word “Poor” has a double meaning: Greg is literally poor because he is an unemployed aspiring writer who always fails to find the courage to sit down and write. But the word poor also has a sympathetic meaning because, lets face it, Greg’s life is pretty shitty at the moment. The drowning part is a metaphor for Greg’s mental state. He is drowning in depression, anger and heartache. And he is a love addict, so when he is in “love”, it completely consumes him as if he were drowning in love.
Fun fact (I think…): the rhythm to the title of “Poor Greg Drowning” was inspired by the title of my favorite movie, “Good Will Hunting”. And I love how both movies center around complex and troubled characters.
#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.
With extreme fear and trepidation of appearing lazy, I am going to answer this question by copying and pasting a portion of my bio (but subtly finesse it here and there to avoid complete self loathing…)
My love for filmmaking began as a young child when I was constantly making short films and begging my friends and family to be in them (my best friend and I once agreed to my older sister’s sadistic demands of us dressing up in her clothes and singing Madonna’s, “Material Girl”, which she filmed, in exchange for her shooting our short film).
After years of intense trauma therapy following this incident… (just kidding… maybe)…. my friends and I made several short films in our high school cinematography class, which I absolutely loved. But I never really grew up with the belief that filmmaking was a realistic career path, so I went on to college where I majored in accounting (God help me). To keep my creative spirits alive during this time, I created several school-related films for various classes and I wrote my first feature screenplay.
Following college, I worked in accounting and finance for four years, where my creative soul was aggressively dying. So while I was in finance at HBO, I wrote, directed, produced, and edited a thirty minute short film called “Let It Bleed”, which premiered at the Hoboken Film Festival in 2011. HBO saw the film and moved me over to the Creative Services side of the company. I then made another thirty minute short film called, “10 Years Later”, which is a female driven action thriller in the vein of the Jason Bourne movies. The movie premiered at the HBO theater in New York City and is now being developed into a TV show called, “One World.”
Shortly after the premiere, several agents and film executives reached out after seeing “10 Years Later”, so I took this as a sign to quit my job and move out to Los Angeles to finally follow my dreams of being a filmmaker (reading Paulo Coelho’s, “The Alchemist”, was the final straw that convinced me to do so).
Once I arrived in LA, I completed a Summer film program at UCLA, worked various freelance production gigs, wrote and developed two of my own feature projects, and then I began working under the the tutelage of three writer/directors on their features as a Director’s Assistant, including Victor Levin on “5 to 7”, Luke Greenfield on “Let’s Be Cops”, and John Hamburg on “Why Him?”. I ran Luke’s development company, WideAwake, and also did development for John’s Particular Pictures. I worked in feature development at Hasbro/Allspark Studios, and then wrote, directed, and produced my first feature film, “ Poor Greg Drowning”. The film has screened at many festivals around the world, won numerous awards including Best Feature, Best Comedy, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress, and has received several distribution offers. “Poor Greg Drowning” was initially a short film turned web series called “Glimpses of Greg”. The short premiered at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival and the Sun Valley Film Festival. Then, we received financing to finish the project as a full length feature film.
#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
The biggest lesson I learned was to always surround yourself with incredibly smart, creative, passionate, hardworking, and positive people that believe in the project as much as you do. We were extremely fortunate to have those types of people in every position on this film, from cast to crew, and that’s what made the project an overwhelming success and an absolute blast to be a part of. Filmmaking is all about the team, and we had a great one.
#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
“Poor Greg Drowning” will be screening at several more festivals over the next year or so, and we have one more role to cast, which will be the narrator of the film. We are almost officially picture locked (there is a God…) and then we will embark on finishing the film (sound, color mixing, ADR, etc.). We have several distribution offers so far, so we will be choosing one in the near future and then the film will be distributed sometime in 2019.
As far as upcoming projects, I am currently casting my next feature film, "Above the Line,” which is a dark heist comedy in the similar vein as Quentin Tarantino and Coen Brothers films. So far, “Above the Line” stars Cedric the Entertainer, Thomas Middleditch, Taryn Manning, and Nicola Peltz. I co-wrote the feature with Jono Matt, and I will also be directing and producing the film.
In addition to writing, directing and producing, I also run Film & TV for Jake Stein’s new company, Scondo Productions. We are producing one of Luke Greenfield’s next feature projects, and have a Netflix movie that will be going into production in the Spring of 2019. Other upcoming projects include my comedy TV series, "Child Star", which stars Alyson Stoner. I wrote and will be directing the show, and I'll be producing it with Radical Media and Scondo Productions. I just finished a new horror feature screenplay called, “The Cage”, and I am about to begin writing a thriller feature for Scondo Productions called, “The Harder They Fall”. Lastly, I am in various stages of development on several other feature and TV projects including a female driven dramedy called “Duet”, and a father son dramedy called, “Wingmen”.