Here is an interview I did with All In Time Co-Producers, Co-Directors, Co-Writers Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue:
Nigrin: All In Time is a dramatic comedy about life, love, and passion. It tells the story of young man named Charlie who decides to move back home to Pennsylvania in order to manage his favorite hometown rock band. His supportive girlfriend shares his love for the band, until struggles within the ensemble force the couple to make choices that will impact their lives forever. Where did the idea for All In Time come from?
Fetchko: This film would not have been written if in 1996, I never heard a song on the radio called “Fear of Falling” by the rock group The Badlees. I was a senior at Syracuse University and at that moment, the band became “my favorite band.” The band hailed from Northeastern Pennsylvania where I am from. After college, I moved to NYC where I worked as an accountant before I left the corporate world to write and produce the feature film Everything’s Jake. Although I lived in NYC, I spent most of my weekends traveling back to Pennsylvania to catch Badlees shows. Every trip back to NYC was filled with frustration as I always felt the band deserved a bigger audience. In 2002, I decided to leave NYC and move back to PA to manage The Badlees. Although I lived in NYC, Los Angeles, and wrote and produced a feature film, my true dream was to move back into my old bedroom in my parent’s attic and manage The Badlees. As it turns out, sometimes following your dream isn’t what’s cracked up to be. So in 2004 with the band falling apart and the stress of the situation getting the best of me, I actually told my girlfriend at the time that I was “in love with the band more than her.” Not a good decision especially considering I was actually in love with the girl. I immediately quit the band and unsuccessfully tried to repair the relationship. Apparently, Hallmark doesn’t make a greeting card that caters to that one time when you “just told your girlfriend you are in love with a band more than her.” So I had no choice but to dive back into my career and I signed another artist to manage named Jared Campbell. Things with Jared went extremely well and at one of his biggest sold out shows, I was on top of the world but yet at the same time, I was miserable because I was “alone.” I spent the whole concert with my back to the stage waiting for my ex-girlfriend to show up. Yes, I spent a year trying to get her back and figured front row seats to a sold out rock concert would do the trick. She never showed. That night was when the journey of “All In Time” started. “How can I feel so high and low at that the same time? I need to make a movie about how am I feeling right now?” I told my assistant. However, “what is so special about a breakup movie?” so the idea was shelved until one day in 2008, I read a newspaper article on Time Travel and realized that was the missing element needed to elevate this story to a place worth telling. Five months later, I finished the first draft of the script.
Nigrin: The film starts out pretty predictably following a disgruntled banker as he decides to change his life but the film turns on a dime quite a few times with developments that weren’t predictable. Without giving too much away tell us about the narrative development of All In Time.
Donohue: Our movie starts off in New York in 1996, and drops in on the life of Charlie, a 30-year-old banker who is bored to death with his job and decides to scrap it all to follow his dream of managing his favorite hometown rock band. So he moves back to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, a small blue collar town where his beautiful girlfriend also lives, and he starts managing a band called The Damnsels. The Damnsels had some success about 10 years prior, but are now kind of floundering. Charlie believes he can revive their career and dedicates his life and his life savings to promoting them. Everything goes smoothly for a while until the lead singer and song writer in the band decides to quit, pulling the rug out from under Charlie and leaving him penniless and hopeless. Unfortunately, Charlie takes a lot of his frustration out on his girlfriend who ends up breaking up with him, so now Charlie is penniless, hopeless, and heart broken. Enter his elderly next door neighbor, Mrs Joshman, beautifully played by Lynn Cohen, who intervenes and motivates Charlie to get back on his path. Charlie sets off to win back his girlfriend and to revive his career, but is it too late? And if he can only have one or the other, what will he choose, love or career? The movie is essentially about the price of following a dream, and finding out what is most important to us, and how sometimes we realize what is most important to us when it’s too late.
We do lighten the story up with a lot of comedy, and about three-quarters of the way through, the film takes a hilarious and surprising turn, and leads the audience on a wild ride. It’s really fun to sit in the back of the theater and watch everyone watch this movie. It’s very unpredictable so there are a lot of gasps, laughter, wonder and a few tears. Then everyone leaves the theater downloading the music because it’s that good!
Nigrin: I found your film to be quite touching and inspirational. It really stresses the need to follow your dreams and not let obstacles get in the way. Tell us more about this.
Donohue: Well, the movie is partly based on a true story that Chris actually lived. He really did quit his job in New York to follow his dream of managing a rock band. We both believe very much in following your dreams and we both live our lives that way. Making this movie is a perfect example of that. We would rather fail at the unknown than succeed at the known. The important thing is to pursue your dreams, and not stay in a place where you are miserable. And no matter what the outcome, you’ll always end up better for having taken the road. As a wise character says in our film, “Life is about the detours.”
Nigrin: The music in the film is terrific. I loved all of it especially Glen singing Saving Grace and all of Laura’s stuff. Tell us more about the music.
Donohue: From Day One, this film was intended to be a "Music Film.” Chris had managed both of the acts featured in the movie and he knew their music was good enough to drive a feature film. The Damsels are based on a band called The Badlees, and Laura Shay plays Laura Kelly. The story was written around all of their existing material. The only song that was written specifically for the film was “Amazing Grace,” which was written by an artist named Ellis Paul. Ellis read the script and wrote a song that captured the essence of Glen’s storyline.
We also placed a great emphasis on the music sounding as authentic as possible. We cast several of the real musicians from the bands in the film, and we took great care to record and mix their music so it would sound live in a movie theater.
Nigrin: How did the two of you come to work together? Tell us about your collaboration.
Donoahue: A friend of mine showed me Chris’s script and introduced me to him 6 years ago and we immediately hit it off. He was taken aback by my excitement and ideas for the story and eventually brought me on as a collaborator. We went through at least 30 drafts together. Chris lives in Pennsylvania and I in NJ, so we did a lot of phone calls and every now and then Chris would go camp at my house for a few weeks at a time while we pounded through a new draft. Our writing style was all over the place. Sometimes Chris would write and I would edit. Other times I would write and Chris would edit. Sometimes we wrote together. We also enlisted the help of a few brilliant friends to advise us on the character development and the story. A few great lines in the movie were actually written by them! Basically we asked everyone we knew to read the various drafts of the script and give us their comments, which were incredibly helpful. Just like every other part of filmmaking, the writing was a true collaboration.
Fetchko: Marina joined the project as a producer but quickly became a creative collaborator with me on the screenplay. She brought a much needed perspective to the table since the story was so personal. This movie is not a bio pic on Chris Fetchko. Who the hell is Chris Fetchko? So Marina joining the project as a co-writer / co-director really elevated the project to a story worth telling. On set, I took the lead in the directing with Marina taking the lead in the editing room. It took us a while to figure it out but in the end we had a great collaboration complementing each other. The collaboration can only be judged on what was left on screen at the end of the day and it is something they are both proud of.
Nigrin: The acting ensemble in your film is amazing. You really feel for Charlie, Rachel, Glen and the other guys in the band The Damsels. Tell us more about them and how they came to be in your film.
Donoahue: Although we fantasized about beautiful and expensive movie stars filling the roles, we never wrote for anyone in particular. We didn’t have the money, but more importantly, when it came to casting it was very important to us to cast “regular” people. We wanted this film to be as authentic as possible so the audience would believe that these people came from Pennsylvania and were real. Same with the music and how we recorded it -- all live and all authentic, not Disneyfied.
Fetchko: From day one, the film was written with the The Badlees and Laura Shay in mind to play the musicians in the film. These are artists who I worked with as their manager. One of things that was most important to me was to get the music right. One of my biggest pet peeves is watching music films where the music is not “real.” Most films use studio tracks when they are portraying live performances, etc. We wanted our film audience to be right there in the club watching these musicians when you experience the film. If I could have figured out a wait to feel the sticky floors from the beer spills, I would have done that.
With this project, we recorded all of the live musical performances using real musicians in the actual locations where the film was to be shot. Then we ran playback using those recordings during the actual filming where the actors lip synced the performance. In order to pull this off and have it be “real,” we needed to be as authentic as possible so we cast as many of the actual musicians in the film as possible. Laura Shay provided the music of Laura and Laura Shay plays Laura in the film. The Badlees provided the music of The Damnsels and the lead singer and drummer of The Badlees play the same roles in the movie as members of The Damnsels. The only other cast member that the film was “written for” was Lynn Cohen. The role of Mrs Joshman was created for her. I produced a film called “Eavesdrop” which starred Lynn and quickly fell in love with her. It’s fair to say that part of the motivation for even making another film was my desire to work with Lynn again. Not only is she talented but she is one of the sweetest people on the planet. At the time that I wrote the first draft, I was living next to an old man that never let me get into my apartment without prying into my life. It got so bad that I started sneaking into my apartment like a burglar to escape the situation. This experience combined with my desire to work with Lynn again sparked the creation of the Mrs. Joshman role. I also think it is important to talk about Wilkes-Barre, PA where we shot the film. From day one, the film was written for this location. We feel that the town is a character in and of itself. It’s a timeless place filled with historic architecture and a great history, nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. As Marina mentioned, the film is set in the 1990’s and the town really played into that, both creatively and logistically. We can only hope that one day, our film is considered “timeless.” There was no other place to shoot this movie. Period.
Donoahue: We got lucky in that at the time we cast them, six years ago, they were all pretty much unknown! After we shot, Lynn Cohen got The Hunger Games; Jean-Luc got Baby Daddy; Josh became Captain Morgan, and Vanessa got lots of parts in movie and TV, and a big role on Blue Bloods. We knew when we were auditioning them and of course on set that we had an incredible group of actors. Their performances blew our minds and everyone on set. We were capturing magic. Plus our DP lit them beautifully and set up gorgeous, memorable shots. We hope that our movie will showcase their talents and launch their careers even further. Each and every actor in our movie is incredibly talented. We also owe a lot to our casting director who knew the NY acting scene very well and brought in only the best.
Fetchko: Since this was a low budget film involving first time directors, all we had to attract talent was the script. I think it is fair to say that everyone on the project is here because of their love for the script. It certainly wasn’t the paycheck. And we have our casting director, Judy Keller, to thank for passionately getting the right people to read the script.
Here is the trailer for All In Time: https://vimeo.com/123513333
All In Time will be screened with the touching short film Foster Dog on Sunday, September 20. Here is more info on this program:
Foster Dog - Lisa Alonso Vear (Brooklyn, New York) A wonderful short film about a young, disabled dog who gets a new leash on life, with the help of an older, wiser friend. 2015; 14 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Lisa Alonso Vear!
All in Time - Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue (Summit, New Jersey) A dramatic comedy about life, love, and passion. All in Time tells the story of young man named Charlie who decides to move back home to Pennsylvania in order to manage his favorite hometown rock band. His supportive girlfriend shares his love for the band, until struggles within the ensemble force the couple to make choices that will impact their lives forever. 2015; 98 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Directors Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue!
Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey
$10=General; $9=Students+Seniors; $8=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends
Information: (848) 932-8482; www.njfilmfest.com
Free Food courtesy of Jimmy Johns of New Brunswick will be given out prior to this screening of the New Jersey Film Festival!