No matter how long it takes, Never Stop is coming to get you
I never set out to make a film.
Never Stop was an experiment in writing. It was an exercise for a class. This script was something that I didn’t really think had a life beyond academia, because in its original iterations it was sort of a big, amorphous poem crammed into the structure of a short play. So when Kim and Luke contacted me, I was surprised.
Kimberly Alexander and Luke Rampersad played Anna and Jimmy in the staged reading of Never Stop in LA. It was presented by Fresh Produce’d, directed by Mandi Mellen, and featured Dan Salem as Chris. They all did a lovely job with it, though I don’t envy the challenge they had in front of them.
See, it was now a screenplay, which made for a very odd staged reading. I could feel the audience trying to envision the images in their minds, struggling to make sense of the story. The thought kept coming back to me: Oh, I wish they could all see it like I do!
Then, months later, Kim gave me a buzz. She said that she and Luke were still thinking about the script. And they wanted to produce the film with me. So we all met for a drink at The Thirsty Crow.
That was a year and a half ago, in January of 2016. It was less than two weeks after my return from Mexico, and the day before my birthday. We decided to form a three-person production team and make Never Stop a reality.
Since then, we’ve been relentless in wrestling this thing into existence.
We found our director, Nell Teare, who introduced us to our director of photography, Julia Swain. We brought on Matthew Johns as our production designer. We shot a short teaser to help us market the concept.
With that in our pocket, we created and launched our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the film. It involved a lot of spreadsheets and video interviews and concept art and Instagram posts and email-writing, but we did it. We even got picked up as an IndieWire Project of the Day while we were at it.
That didn’t mean the coast was clear after that. You should see the stack of hurdles we’ve jumped over and smashed through, even with our budget in place. We had to reschedule and delay our shoot multiple times. We’ve called in dozens of favors and lost multiple shoot locations. Still, despite all of the challenges, we’ve held on.
In May of this year, fifteen months later, we finally got on location and shot this damn thing. It was one of the most exciting and exhausting weeks of my life.
We’re not done yet, not at all. Nell and I are sifting through the footage and composing the first cut of the film. We have all that post-production work to do, we have gifts to send to our backers, and then we move on to submitting and promoting this gorgeous little monster.
Along the way, so many details in the film have morphed and shifted. I’ve made new discoveries while working with this amazing team that I never would have realized on my own. I’d love to dig into the details of how the characters and the world and the concept have found new life…but let’s wait until after you’ve had a chance to see it.
I’ve also become so close with my collaborators. I’m so happy to call them my friends and think of them as a family. We’ve clawed our way through some dark waters together, and I think it shows in the work.
As we’ve been saying for the past 18 months: Burroughs would be proud