Genevieve Adams may very well be one of the hardest working actresses you have never heard of, but we here at The Daily Quirk, are about to change all that. We had the opportunity to chat with Adams, about her quirky little dramedy, I’m Obsessed with You (But You’ve Got to Leave Me Alone), which is now available on Video on Demand! Adams not only wrote and co-produced this film, but she has a starring role as well. Read on to see what she shared with us about her film inspired by a college improv comedy troupe!
The Daily Quirk: First of all, can you tell me a little bit about your exciting new film?
Genevieve Adams: Yeah of course, it’s a college dramedy about a group of improv comedians and one magnetic movie star. They all try to live their lives based on the rules of improvisation to, often, disastrous results.
TDQ: You originally wrote this story as your thesis at Dartmouth, what gave you the idea for this film? Was it something you had in mind for a while?
GA: Well I was in an improv group while I was at Dartmouth called Casual Thursday and it was a very memorable experience. And I just sort of remember it visually, and when I got close to graduating I had this urge to record it. I wanted to record the people I had met and the people I had performed with to sort of catalog and describe the whole experience and share it with the world. I thought it was a really unique performing subculture that existed at that school and I didn’t think people really knew about it. I wanted to communicate that there was not only more to Dartmouth, but also more to the American college experience than people think. It’s not just about Greek Life and drinking. There are a lot of artistic people that get a lot out of being together on campuses like that. It really fosters intimacy and creativity especially in rural campuses. One of the reasons I was drawn to Dartmouth was because of the setting and backdrop of the place. It’s not like the inner city where everyone just spreads out. Everyone has to get to know each other and the friendships that you form are incredibly close.
TDQ: What was the most challenging part of writing this script?
GA: Um, I guess I would say story for me. A character is where I start and the story is where it gets challenging. I mean, trying to figure out how to create an artificially constructed story to allow these characters to show who they are. You have to have an urgency built in to get to know these characters you are trying to write about. For me, I just always start with characters and then go into story next because that’s the hardest part. In the play version I had it all set the night before their last improv show. It was the hour before they go on stage and then the second act was their reunion dinner at Nell’s wedding, so that was easier. For the screenplay I had to work really hard to make the story a little more visually driven and complex. I had to make it longer and draw it out and really weed through it. Jon Goracy, who directed the film, was really instrumental in that process because he had read a lot of screenplays and worked in movies much longer than I had. He had a lot of good advice and we wrote out scenes on note cards and really tried to map it out to get the optimal arch for the characters to be explored.
TDQ: Could you share with me your favorite line or scene from the film?
GA: Oh my gosh, there are so many! My favorite scene to watch is when Rachel (Brosnahan) and Manish (Dayal), who play Nell and Cyrus, and the two guys are talking about life. Really all of those scenes during the party I like. I just think those feel really real to me and they bring me back. I just think their performances are so nuanced and interesting. They did such a good job internalizing those fears and anxieties of graduating and losing each other. It just had such a bittersweet feeling to it. There is a little bit of an edge to the way it was filmed with the lighting and the music. I just like the contrast of that sort of gentle Cyrus and the backdrop of sort of harsh partying.
TDQ: This film ended up with a really great cast, what was it like working with these up and coming young actors?
GA: It was great. I learned a lot from them, and they were very patient with me. I was wearing a lot of hats on set, so they had to put up with a tough schedule and limited time. I think they were excited at the opportunity to work on this script because they really responded to the characters and they all articulated that it wasn’t often they get offered these types of roles that are so complex and so unique. That was really exciting for me, and I’m grateful to them for collaborating with me on this. You know, they are my friends and I think they are all doing amazing work now! Avy Kaufman is really the reason that we had such an amazing pool of actors to draw on. She really helped us out and supported this movie from day one. She saw the play and has always been supportive of me and my career. We could not have done this without her.
TDQ: Not only did you write and star in this film, but you have appeared in several other major films including four films that are yet to be released. Do you have any advice for struggling writers and actors out there?
GA: Yeah I would just say it’s a really tough business to break into and to make a living doing, so the best advice or the best advice I learned is that it’s all about the people you surround yourself with. It’s all about the people you make relationships with. I mean, that’s part of the reason I chose to go to Dartmouth to being with. I had heard of the people that went there and it has so many smart funny people, and I think that if you have that eye and you know who’s worth getting to know you can do it. It’s a really valuable skill. Also, just keep being creative. Don’t wait around for someone else to give you work because they won’t. You know if you’re not a writer, finding a writer, and if you aren’t an actor, finding actors. If you are both generating material because it’s a competitive business and if you can always stay busy and stay creative, and really be your own boss in a lot of ways that will help with your career. When I graduated, Conan O’Brien was our speaker, and he spoke with a lot of improv groups. He said to surround yourself with the people who are doing what you want to be doing and get close to those them proximity wise. Even if it’s getting coffee or even if you want to be an actor, just be professional and be around them. They will notice you and you’ll make friendships. It’s not really about networking. It’s about identifying those people that you admire and being near them and being yourself, really.
TDQ: You seem to be someone who has to stay busy and working, do you have any ideas for your next film project or projects?
GA: Nothing is set in stone right now. I’m trying to generate new material, but I’ve been a lead producer for this along with Jon, so there is still a lot of work we have to do for the release of the film as far as getting it out to more people. I have been working on some other scripts though, and I hope that I can raise more money to make another feature. We will see how that goes! I have a documentary project I’m helping to produce and I’m interested in getting that off the ground. I’m not sure what will stick, but I’m staying open and looking for acting roles to see what happens with that. I just want to stay open to wherever the wind blows me! You know, if this movie does well it will also help determine what happens next for me in terms of if we make money or get visibility. People may come out of the woodwork and want to work with me! I just don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m really looking forward to the future and working on a new project!
TDQ: After making this film and pursuing your career in this industry, do you think you can live your life by the rules that govern your art?
GA: Haha! I try to! It’s funny because there are a lot of rules in improv particularly, but if you’re good enough you can break all the rules. I hope that I get to that point where I’m, I don’t want to say good enough, but I hope I get to that point where I am productive and creative enough that I can break some rules. Eventually, maybe not even have to live by rules! I think with artists that ultimately there are a lot of rules, but the best artists break them all. You have to know them to break them though!
TDQ: We here at The Daily Quirk are all about being unconventional and your film explores those who lead unconventional lives. Can you tell me something unconventional about your life or something our readers would find interesting about you?
GA: Oh, this is hard! I have freckles on my left eyelid, but I’m not sure that’s quirky enough! I’m also basically blind without my glasses…I guess I don’t have too much about me personally. My life right now is kind of normal and not too interesting I guess. Oh! I have a dog, named Pablo, and he can’t run in a straight line! That’s pretty good! I mean, my character in the film is pretty quirky, so if people want to find out more quirks they can watch the film!
TDQ: Yeah definitely, you’re character was easily my favorite. I’m one of those people that watch a film and picks out the character I would most want to play, and your character was that character for me! I promise I’m not just saying that because I’m interviewing you either!
GA: Aw, thank you! That means a lot! I did write it for myself! As an actress I wasn’t sure what type of roles I would play. I was getting little parts, which I was really lucky to get, but I was trying to figure out how to write a lead character that would fit me really well. I would definitely encourage any actresses, if they have ever had the urge to write, to do it! There is a shortage of young quirky female characters out there that are also leading ladies!
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Genevieve Adams for taking the time to chat. To find out more about Adams, check out her Official Site and for more info on I’m Obsessed with You (But You’ve Got to Leave Me Alone) visit the film’s site.