A Better You -- The New Comedy Film by Matt Walsh
From one of the founders of The Upright Citizens Brigade (Me, Matt Walsh) and the guy who got decapitated in This Is the End (Brian Huskey) comes the story of Dr. Ron, a revolutionary Hypnotherapist, who could solve everyone's problems but his own.
Why We’re Hypnotizing You...Even if You Didn’t Ask for It.
We recently wrote and shot an improvised comedy entitled A Better You. I directed it and Brian stars in it. The good news is: Most of the film is actually shot and assembled and it's really funny. The not so good news: It's an Indie feature so we are now looking for post production funds so that we can finally finish our film. We need about $53K to make it perfect. Your contributions will enable us to pay for such post-production services as color correction, ADR sessions, sound mix and balancing, music rights, finishing our score, MPAA rating fees, and quite possibly allow us to shoot one last minute scene.
Some of the best doctors in the world make artificial hearts, cure diseases, or even fix teeth. Then there’s Dr. Ron, (Brian Huskey) a medic of the mind, who tries to cure the broken people of Los Angeles through the power of hypnotherapy.
However, the one mind Dr. Ron can’t wrangle is his own. His inflated ego has taken a toll on his
marriage, distanced him from his children and locked him in a state of
delusional guru-ism. Coupled with a
mid-life crisis, Dr. Ron is in deep shit. The only one who might be able to
save him, is his only friend Hugo (Horatio Sanz), a day laborer from the local super hardware store.
Similar to the first improv movie I directed in 2011, High Road, A Better You is populated with the funniest friends I have. People like Brian Huskey (This Is the End, Superbad), Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live), Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Reno 911!, Paul), Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital, Human Giant), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital, The Watch), Adam Pally (The Mindy Project, Happy Endings), Morgan Walsh (Burning Love, Childrens Hospital), Seth Morris (The Dictator, Step Brothers, I Love You Man), Andrew Daly (Easbound & Down, Comedy Central's Review), Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel and Oates) Reid Scott (Veep), Mo Gaffney, (That '70s Show, Absolutely Fabulous) Parvesh Cheenah (Outsourced) among many others. I'm really fortunate that all these people showed up for pocket change to do a small, improv movie. They are truly the best.
Making an Improv Comedy
Besides my family, improv might be what I care about the most. It's the art of making up whole scenes with other people and having no idea where it will take you. I've always loved improv movies like Best in Show and Spinal Tap and made strides to continue that movement on my own, no matter what the budget. What I love about improv movies is you capture real behavior because things are happening in the moment for the first time. What also helps an improv comedy is if you have hilarious people in the cast. Comedians phrase things in unique ways that you as a writer could never imagine. Thus, strong characters are a great byproduct of the improv process. Finally, it's just a blast to have your friends say funny stuff that you thought up or surprise you with lines of their own. That's why Brian and I wrote A Better You.
Besides being friends for a really long time, the above reasons are why Brian and I decided to do another low budget, improv movie. Improv movies are tricky because you have to stack the deck a bit so you don't just goof off in front of the camera and then have no story. So, Brian and I spent about a year and a half crafting a story. I liked the world of therapy because I majored in psychology in college. I also decided to base it in the world of hypnotherapy because so many people in L.A. go to hypnotists to get their lives in order. Hence, it's basically a story that explores the world of hypnosis and the desperation of L.A.
What resulted from our efforts was a detailed outline of about 55 scenes. Each scene has a few paragraphs beneath it explaining what the story points are, what's funny about this moment, and all the specific props, special effects and characters necessary. I imagine it's similar to the script they use on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Similar to the theatrical pieces I used to mount overnight at the UCB New York stage, I love being able to produce something with my friends on the fly, without all the red tape that some Hollywood types bring to the table. We shot A Better You quick and fast within 10-days. Most of our gifted cast members only worked a day – so we knew what we were looking for during production and completed it efficiently.
Hey, We’re Famous...So Why the Hell Do We Have Our Hats Out?
I get it. Why is this Hollywood jerk asking me to give him money? Several reasons. One, I'm not truly famous, I'm more of a "Hey I know that guy" celebrity. Two: I'm not rich and my wife and I have three kids so the money I make -- I can't tell you where it all goes, but it's not for champagne or tropical vacations. And three, I'm hoping that there are cool people out there who love the cast in this movie as much as I do. It's kind of like we get to break our own stars when we make a funny-outsider movie. And three and a half, improv movies are cool and I think the team we assembled on A Better You is as qualified as anyone to make the best improv movies out there…and that’s where you guys come in.
Evidence That This Isn’t A Sham and That You’re Acting From Your Own Clear Will...and We Didn’t Hypnotize You
• Final Edit
• Sound mixing
• Color Correction
• Final Score and Soundtrack
• MPAA fees
• Additional Scene
About the A Better You Team
I first met Brian Huskey, the star and co-writer of A Better You, when he was still a photographer in New York City. He had just started classes at UCB on 22nd St. (a former strip club that Mayor Giuliani shut down). Brian was raw, but so goddamn funny. I may have been his teacher at some point, and maybe he got me high on the roof once, but a strong bond was formed and he has become one of my most treasured pals. Our kids even play together (isn't that nice?). And so starting an underfunded, exhausting process like making an Indie comedy was a no brainer.
When I was meeting investors for my 2011 feature High Road, my agent at the time arranged a meeting with this North Dakota cowboy named Kirk Roos (Producer). He loved comedy and knew the UCB improv scene really well. Kirk pitched me some ideas about a hockey movie for middle-aged men and any movie that could be shot in Canada because it was easy for him to get money up there. I pitched him my idea for an improv movie based on a pot dealer who has to go on the lam. Thus High Road and our close friendship was born.
Matt Walsh is the co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which as the first accredited comedy school, has locations in New York and Los Angeles. Matt stars on HBO's award-winning comedy Veep as Mike McLintock, the deadpan press secretary to the first female vice president. Matt has been a force with improvised comedy features. In 2011, he made his feature directorial debut with High Road about a young potdealer's life on the lam. Walsh assembled an all-star cast including Ed Helms, Lizzy Caplan, Abby Elliott, Matt Jones, Joe Lo Truglio and Horatio Sanz. The film won festival awards and was acquired by Millennium Entertainment for distribution. When Walsh isn't making indie films, you can watch him in such crowd-pleasing comedies as The Hangover, Ted, Due Date, Old School, Step Brothers, Role Models among many others. Recently, Walsh received critical acclaim for his turn as a paranoid New York state municipal worker in David Cross' Sundance premiere Hits. Walsh resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Morgan Walsh (Burning Love, Childrens Hospital), and three kids.