“Searching for Sonny” Producer Greg Beauchamp on How to Make an (Awesome) Indie Film

From left: Brian McElhaney, Jason Dohring, and Nick Kocher in a scene from "Searching for Sonny."

Every guy wants to look his best for his high school reunion. You get a haircut, make that single symbolic gym trip, throw on a shirt with a collar, arrive in style, and then, all of a sudden, your totally mundane reunion transforms into a film noir murder mystery buddy comedy mash up. At least that's how it goes down in "Searching for Sonny," a new indie film by Greg Beauchamp, the illustrious producer behind all of Birchbox's videos. Starring Jason Dohring, Minka Kelly, and Masi Oka, the film makes its New York City debut on Tuesday, August 28th, at Landmark Sunshine Cinema (tickets are available here). Birchbox Man caught up with Beauchamp to learn about what it takes to get a genre-busting film with a small budget off the ground, why the best deals are done over barbecue, and what "Searching for Sonny" star Minka Kelly really knows about high school football.

BB Man: How did “Searching for Sonny” come about?

Beauchamp: Andrew and I were set up on a man-date at a barbecue joint in Texas. His pitch for “Searching for Sonny” was really strong, but what old us was the visual and playful style of the film and how Andrew was merging that with different genre conventions like noir, action, and comedy. It was different than a lot of the indie content we were looking at. We wanted that challenge to make something that didn't look or feel indie at all, but had the independent spirit of making movies with friends outside of a studio. All deals should ultimately be done at a barbecue joint in Texas.

BB Man: What was the hardest part about producing an independent film?

Beauchamp: Getting people to take your phone call. This applies to everything: casting, crew, getting locations, raising money, distribution, etc. If you aren't someone or know everyone, you've got to hustle.

BB Man: Favorite scene in the film?

Beauchamp: Oftentimes your favorite scenes to watch were the least favorite to shoot. The night we shot in the grocery store was a complete disaster behind the scenes—we almost lost the location, we almost lost an actor in a car accident, someone was holding our scooter hostage—but when we watch the scene now, we can't believe we pulled it off against all odds.

BB Man: The film hinges on a play that the main characters performed in high school. Were you a high school drama geek?

Beauchamp: Both Andrew and I were big drama geeks (read: studs) in high school. We love theater as a medium and were excited to shoot a high school play in full film-noir style. "The Heated Moment" is the play within our movie and we gave a lot of attention to what the play should look and feel like. We found an amazing production designer who had a strong theatrical set design background and he created this other world that really shines in our film.

BB Man: Who would you want to have your back in a pinch: Jason Dohring or Masi Oka?

Beauchamp: Jason Dohring, no question. We became really competitive on set—who could swim faster, who could hit a golf ball farther—and he beat me every time. Except for ping pong. I will always have ping pong.

BB Man: Does Minka Kelly know anything about high school football?

Beauchamp: Yes. Everything. Texas Forever.

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