We all enjoy a good romantic comedy from time to time: its laughably pathetic hero or heroine struggling to be noticed, its tendency toward disaster, and its potential for happily ever after. Nolan Dean brought his film, Last Shot Love, to Kickstarter in the hopes of raising $10,500 for production costs. His campaign ended successfully last Thursday. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Nolan about the film and his inspiration for it.
Q: What is your background in film making?
Nolan: I never know how to answer this question. Originally, acting out scenes from Zoolander for a webcam. I studied film production at the University of Texas, where I focused on writing and directing. My senior year, I produced and directed a feature documentary, Malatya, that changed my direction for a while. Malatya succeeded well enough for me to start my production company and attract clients in the non-profit world. So, I have made short documentaries for the last few years, with just a few client-based short films peppered in. Last Shot Love is a narrative-comeback for me, in a way.
Q: What is the synopsis of Last Shot Love?
Nolan: Michael is friends with Annie, who he wishes was more than a friend. Yet, he cannot advance the relationship for fear of failure... until one day, when the pressure becomes so great; so untenable, that he hatches the greatest, most desperate plan to shock his relationship from casual friends to wedding bells.
And it all goes horribly wrong.
Q: What inspired this project?
Nolan: "Annie" did, originally. I had a best friend that I fell for, she didn't feel the same way, and I had this fantasy that if I just had one date, I could turn it all around. That catalyzed the idea for the plot of the film. As I fleshed out the characters, it really became about the hilarious (and unforgettable) ways that my insecurity would manifest itself in various relationships over the years.
Q: What message are you trying to get across with this romantic comedy? What is your target audience?
Nolan: My target audience is young men 15 - 35 who don't know how to assert themselves in a healthy way. In a word, men. My message is simply, "Men, don't be desperate. I’m told that to be wise simply means to correctly prioritize things. When we make something or someone good into our Everything, we do crazy things. We destroy all hope of having or enjoying the object of our desire.”
Q: Which films and directors have you drawn influence from?
Nolan: Honestly, Orson Welles, but that has nothing to do Citizen Kane or any of his other work. His age has influenced me. As the youngest of my brothers and all my friends growing up, I always measured my success at my age to where they were at that age. My youth drove me, because deep down, I needed to be the best. So, Orson Welles making Citizen Kane at 25 became a benchmark for what I had to do to be the best. It was totally delusional and driven by my fear of failure, but it impacted me. Thankfully, I've let go of a lot of that now. I think those fears were a part of the reason why I had to step away from narrative filmmaking for a number of years. My self-worth was too wrapped up in it.
Other than all of that, a number of Rob Reiner's films have influenced me. Jason Reitman is a great young director. Woody Allen has a patriarchal influence over the modern romantic comedy, so he's definitely one of them.
Q: Where is this film set? What makes this location special to the project?
Nolan: The film is set in the Argenta district of North Little Rock. I wanted to bring two of my worlds (Austin and Little Rock) together for this project. So, all of the actors are people I worked with when I was living in Austin, and all of the crew is here in Central Arkansas. The Argenta district is just perfect, because it's very artist-friendly, had all the locations we needed, and the whole area screams "Dateland."