By Chelsea Fung
In our latest Filmmaker Spotlight we got to know Canadian born and raised filmmaker and writer Adriano Valentini who finds inspiration to his films from his family, friends and hilarious daily moments. Adriano’s style and humor has caught the eye of Project Greenlight, a competition Adriano almost didn’t enter, luckily he did and today his work has also grabbed the attention of NBC Playground.
Where did your hunger for filmmaking begin?
I’ve always been interested in writing and directing and anything that has to do with film and TV. I started making movies as a kid around my neighbourhood, and then continued in high school where I would make short comedic films featuring both teachers and students and then screen them at assemblies (I was the President of my school’s Student Council so I guess it was a bit of an abuse of power). After high school, I studied business a bit in college, then transferred to NYU where I studied Film and Television.
Tell me about your short that brought you to HollyShorts
I submitted to HollyShorts back in 2011 CLUBSCENE: The Bartender and we won the Best Webisode, which was awesome. I had a lot of fun attending the festival and was impressed by the panels, screenings and the eagerness of everyone involved to really support young filmmakers. As soon as I had another film to submit The Age of Insecurity: A Clinical Romance, I did, and luckily we won the Best Webisode again!
Tell me about Beanie Bros your Greenlight Project:
Beanie Bros. is an episode of the web series I’ve been writing and directing called The Age of Insecurity. It’s actually the third episode in the series. When I first moved to Los Angeles, months went by and I wasn’t creating anything new. My friends and I decided we should shoot something once a month no matter what. I wrote and directed. My friends, who are actors, helped me produce. The Age of Insecurity was born! The idea Beanie Bros. came one night when we were all about to leave for a bar, we realized we were all wearing beanies and began to argue. It’s as simple as that… I wrote it that night.
I almost didn’t submit to Project Greenlight. In order to submit you, you need a 3-minute movie and I didn’t have anything that short. So I decided to edit Beanie Bros. down to 3 minutes and submitted that. Luckily we got in!
How do you go about casting your web series?
I’m lucky because I have a lot of funny and talented friends, and they have a lot of funny and talented friends, so I haven’t had to look far for amazing actors. That’s one of the great things about being in LA, you’re surrounded by young, hungry, amazing talent. So far I’ve yet to put out any casting calls. We always hold auditions, but so far we’ve only brought in friends, friends of friends and people we’ve seen in stuff we love and want to work with.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I personally get inspired when I see people creating great content, or making hilarious comedy, or just doing what they love. If I see someone that’s around my age doing those things, I’m like why the hell aren’t I doing that? And it kind of lights a fire under my ass. That’s another great thing about being in Los Angeles - everyone around you is making things happen so it’s inspiring. Story-wise, I get ideas from anywhere - little interactions, funny things that happen or pieces of dialogue that hear people or myself say that stick in my head.
Are you thinking about working on any features?
Yes, I have a couple features written. One was a finalist in the Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund at NYU. I just finished a draft of another one and will be setting up a table read with actors in the next month or so. And I have a few that I’m currently working on with some writing partners as well!
What has it been like to take part in the Project Greenlight Competition?
The Top 10 finalists were each given a 3 page script written by the Farrelly Brothers. Everyone was asked to make the same film. I was then interviewed by the Greenlight judges - including Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, the Farrelly Brothers, Len Amato - the President of HBO Films. It was an amazing experience.
What films and fellow filmmakers “light a fire under your ass”?
I really like being in LA because everyone’s busy doing something - so anytime I see my friends, acquaintances or just about anyone who’s doing something great - it’s just an extra push to do the same.
When did you decide to pursue film? What was the deciding factor in your life?
I’ve always been interested in working in some sort of the creative field. I was attracted to film because it gave me the ability to create a world, characters, relationships - and to watch people react - laugh, cry, feel something, whatever - when they watch something I’ve made. It’s about communicating ideas and hoping people see something new about you and themselves. I don’t think there was one deciding factor in my life. My parents, family and friends were, and continue to be, extremely supportive and have always given me that push to pursue it as a career so in the end if I didn’t do it, I would only have myself to blame.
Photo by James Oligney
How did you go about submitting to it?
I think it was last June that NBC announced the Playground competition and asked people to submit pitches. So basically, we sent them some examples of our work and filmed ourselves pitching a brand new idea.
Who are you collaborating with?
For the NBC Playground, I pitched an idea with Aaron Colom, someone who I frequently collaborate with. Aaron produces and acts in “The Age of Insecurity”.
What is in store for viewers?
I’m sorry, it’s top secret right now. I’ll tell you soon.