LZ native enjoying short film's success

  • Lake Zurich native Rebecca Norris, left, and writing partner Kevin Resnick participated in a challenge that got their film short included in a Hollywood festival.

    Lake Zurich native Rebecca Norris, left, and writing partner Kevin Resnick participated in a challenge that got their film short included in a Hollywood festival. Courtesy of Rebecca Norris

  • Cast and crew watch footage from "Toasted," which won a spot in a short film festival.

    Cast and crew watch footage from "Toasted," which won a spot in a short film festival. courtesy of Rebecca Norris

 
By Danealle Khaimskiy
dkhaimskiy@dailyherald.com
Updated 7/13/2011 8:08 AM

With racing hearts, Lake Zurich native Rebecca Norris and her writing partner, Kevin Resnick, rushed to finish their film.

It was all about the timing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

To qualify for June's Dances with Films 2-Minute, 2-Step Short Film Challenge in Hollywood, their screenplay had to be no more than two pages. They made that cut. But once chosen, festival novices Norris and Resnick had to nail down all the details that would allow them to get their idea on film and edit it in a time span of only four hours.

Again, they made it, but not without some challenges.

Their screen play -- "Toasted; A Short Film About Getting Burned" -- was about a toaster who refused to follow directions during a commercial shoot.

Out of 75 submitted screenplays, contest judges picked four newcomers and four veterans to take part in the contest. Sponsors of the challenge provided competitors with a location to film, Canon 5D SLR cameras, lighting, sound equipment and Adobe Premiere editing stations.

When all of the participants came together for orientation, Resnick and Norris -- actors and amateur filmmakers -- were surprised by what they saw.

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"It was crazy, we were in way over our heads," Norris said in a telephone interview. "People came with whole production teams."

The couple sent out emails to friends and posted ads online looking for "reliable" help and enticing people with an opportunity to "network with huge Hollywood producers and directors."

With their team assembled, they practiced filming.

"We had rehearsals, then shot the film and edited it," Norris said. "We knew what shots worked and which didn't."

Since both Norris and Resnick had a background in comedy it only seemed natural they write a comedic script for the contest. Norris originally came up with the idea after her sketch comedy group did a skit about talking Thanksgiving food.

"Our ideas sparked," Resnick said. "What we had was very natural and organic, and out of that came a screenplay."

"Toasted" premiered at the Laemmle 5 Theater in Hollywood. Now they plan to clean up the short film and send it off to more film festivals, while Resnick plans to participate in the Aspen Film Festival.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Norris and Resnick, who live together in Santa Monica, come from pretty different backgrounds.

Norris grew up in Lake Zurich, acting in school plays. Resnick was born in Canada, but later moved to Southern California and joined the Air Force.

But they say they are proof that following your dreams pays off. "Live your dreams," Resnick advised. "No matter what they may be."