Films, like most epic art projects, can get intense. For local movie writer and director Joe Scott, his latest project, Serendipity Moon, is no exception. From the Indiegogo page Scott launched to help fund the flick, to reaching out to his friends at Dallas Comedy House to take starring roles, the project has been a collaborative effort from the beginning. "You could call it a passion project or a labor of love, but I just want to bring these things to life," he says. "It's better to be making a movie than not making a movie."
"Serendipity Moon is a feature film being shot in Dallas, Texas, about a heartbroken hopeless romantic, his womanizing roommate, and the twists of fate that turn their lives upside down over one weekend," Scott says on the movie's Indiegogo page. The script, which was stuck in rewrites for 15 years, is finally ready for the screen. "When I first wrote it, it was really raunchy," Scott says. "I mean ...really raunchy." Movies used to be about the guy getting the girl, he says. Now it's about the guy finding himself through the girl. "It's about his own journey rather than finding a pretty girl to be with." The final script is more mature, more refined. "It's still very much a comedy, but it's more of a right of passage."
The movie stars Dallas Comedy House members Tim Yager and Kyle Austin, a couple of improv comics Scott became friends with at DCH. Scott took the club's improv classes when they first started. "I was probably one of the first few groups to go through," he says. The film also stars JuliAnna Briscoe, Julie Reinagal, Ashley D. Merritt and Giovannie Cruz. Scott even wrote in a cameo role for elementary-age comedian Saffy Herndon. "She plays the nemesis of the angriest balloon-animal guy ever," he says. "She continually makes his life miserable." Sounds like Scott knows how to write kids.
Scott, 38, has been writing screenplays for a long time. "My background is in screenwriting," he says. "I wrote my first screenplay when I was 15 years old, since I knew what a screenplay was." A graduate of UNT's radio, television and film department, he's been living in Dallas for about 14 years now. In the mid-2000s, he directed, produced and starred in a comedy called Ocean Front Property. Shot in Galveston, he was hoping it would be his big break-out film. "It did all right," he says. "We played a lot of festivals, won over a dozen awards." The movie got Scott a lot of writing work in the coming years, but stardom eluded him. "I used to think I was gonna make some epic movie and people would see what a genius I am," he says. "Now I want to I just want to make some little movie that will impress people and move them in some way."
With filming to (hopefully) begin in the next couple of months, Scott is aiming for Serendipity Moon to be out in time for film festival season. "It's all kind of in flex and very fluid," he says. "I'd rather it not be that way, but that's not how it works on this scale." But he's optimistic about where this movie could take him. "I hope that this movie is really going to be a first step in a building process of getting more films made. I want to use this audience to carry into the next one and build off of that."
As for his chosen genre, the rom-com, he owns it, saying he makes chick flicks for guys. "People need someone to identify with," he says. "They want to be moved emotionally. And I don't apologize for making something like that."
Check out the teaser below, and keep up with the latest news on Serendipity Moon's Facebook page.