Filmmaker David Lehre Interview
Monday, May 1, 2006; 12:00 AM
David Lehre is a 21-year-old short filmmaker who rose to fame after one of his shorts, called "Myspace: The Movie," was broadcast on Youtube.com earlier this year. Lehre, who lives in Washington, Mich., said he has been courted by MTV U and several networks and movie studios to create entertainment ideas that speak to young people. Here is a transcript of his interview with Washington Post staff writer Sara Kehaulani Goo.
Sara: Tell me about how you got started. It sounds like things really took off once you posted your "MySpace: The Movie" online.
David: I've been making movies since I've been in the 10th grade. I've always loved doing it and I have a huge portfolio of, like, over 50 films I've done over the past years with my best friends. I knew it was fun and high-quality, professional stuff. I wanted a bigger audience for it. I've been trying to get more exposure for it. It dawned on me a couple months ago. It was, like, man, "Myspace: The Movie." It's never been done. If I do "MySpace: The Movie," everybody--60 million users--is going to want to watch it and pass it along to all their friends and it's going to get all my other movies seen. So it's kind of like a promotional vehicle to get all my other work seen.
Sara: Oh, very strategic.
David: Right, so it's not like I'm the "MySpace" kid or anything. I was just thinking how to get how to get more exposure, how to catapult myself out of this sea of other filmmakers who are doing it too. And it worked well. Once the "MySpace" movie dropped, it was the No. 1 movie downloaded of all time. It has like 30 million views now. It's been incredible because I was just in LA for a couple weeks and I had like seven meetings a day with like the biggest people in the entire world, like huge executives and stuff.
Sara: Why do you think the movies you've created have been so popular? What is it, from meeting with all these high-paid executives, what do they say they really like about it?
David: Every meeting I went into, they were pretty much scared because people aren't going to the movies, they aren't watching TV anymore. They were kind of looking to me for the answer. I'm just 21 years old but I'm hitting a market they're not hitting anymore. They're not doing too well. They're looking for the next big thing. They're looking to capitalize on all this Internet stuff because they're like 40, 50 years old. They don't know what the Internet is. So when I walk into the room they're like, this kid's got the answers. Everyone is looking to me for the answers for what's cool, what's hot. People connect with my movies because I'm just 21 years old. All my friends are 18, 19, 20 years old. Kids our age want to see stuff that we make because we're just like them. We're not trying to be fake, we're not trying to be something we're not. We're just trying to make movies we enjoy.
Sara: How do you get ideas for the movies you come up with and how do you determine how long they are?
David: I get my ideas from life. I'll be with my friends, who are really fun and they're really great to hang out with. We'd like to have fun and laugh. We'll go somewhere and see something and say, "Oh my God, that's a great idea for a movie! Let's make that!" That's really how ideas come. It's not any harder than that. We have writing sessions and so all my best friends will come over to my bedroom and hang out for like an hour. We throw ideas back and forth and act it out in front of each other. "Oh my God, let's do this or that or Oh my God, that's funny!" The writing session is just like us being really energetic about making a movie and crazy ideas and making it funny.
Sara: Can you give me an example, like the Fernando the salsa guy one you produced?
David: I had a dance class at my college and my teacher was from Spain or Mexico. She was crazy, she was so outlandish and crazy. She would teach us the merengue, the salsa, the cha cha and she had that thick accent. I was so interested and fascinated by accents and different cultures. I would always imitate her and then it became something and I was talking to my friend Jeremy, who plays Fernando, and I'm like, "Dude, we're going to teach you how to salsa and we're going to make a salsa video!"
Sara: How much money does it cost to produce one of these videos?