I'm an artist who grew up in Maryland and chased his dream. I ended up spending the last 10 years in Los Angeles writing, directing, producing, and acting. I've survived through all the cliche experiences that most people who move to LA LA Land go through, then end up usually quitting and returning home within 2 years. I stayed, never gave up and somehow found the right connections to put together my first indie comedic feature film. I went to the American Film Market in Nov 2019 to sell it. It was incredibly intimating. I felt very small and had many moments of doubt. There were over 100 vendors from all around the world. After all the blood, sweat and tears I was able to get only 5 meetings out of a 100 companies. Three of them laughed in my face. One of them was polite but said, "It's not for us." But one company took a closer look at me and said, "We don't usually sell your 'kind of movie' but we're curious and we like you so, we'll watch it and call you if we want it." 

Two weeks later I got a phone call and they said, "Yes." After the call, I collapsed into a pile of tears because the truth is, I filmed the movie back in 2016 - using a lot of my own money - but the next three years, during post production, I went through incredible personal struggles - money, family, career and sadly my marriage of 7 years came to a collapse. After the dust settled, I took a breath - Thanked God that I finally got picked up for distribution, at the very tail end of 2019, and my movie officially just came out this week in 68 territories World Wide!  


Hello, Reddit. My name is Rich Rotella. When I was a kid, I saw HOME ALONE and knew I wanted to be an actor. Now at 35, my first comedic feature film MARLO LASKER just came out on Amazon Prime & Prime Video. It took just over $25k, 6 insane days of filming, 2.5 years in post production, while simultaneously acting in other films and I gained 15 lbs to play the lead character "Marlo" while directing & producing as well. I almost DIED from pure exhaustion - mentally, physically, emotionally and definitely financially - to get this crazy movie made but I knew in my heart if I just didn't give up and kept the faith... that I eventually would get my comedy out and into the world. When I was starting this movie, my goal was simple... "Life is very hard. Let's make the world laugh again!" Now, I'm here and ready to answer any questions you might have about writing, making, and selling a film in the digital streaming era.

If you're interested in the movie, MARLO LASKER is a lovable nerd, who goes on a series of adventures to defeat Caleb, the school jock, and win the heart of Susie, the girl of his dreams.

For whatever reason... high school, college students and "stoners" seem to REALLY love the movie... and that's awesome. We're honored to make a goofy movie for that crowd and beyond.

Here's the trailer on youtube and here's the IMDb page. If you like it, you can see the full movie for free on Amazon Prime / Prime Video. Check it out, you might be pleasantly surprised. 😊

Marlo Lasker Facebook PageInstagram Page of the crazy creator (myself). Even more proof

And remember, no matter what... never, ever give up. EVER. God Bless.

- Rich -

IG : richrotellaofficial

  • please note that I will only respond to positive statements, questions or even constructive criticism is acceptable. I will not respond to anything flat out rude, inappropriate or intentionally hurtful; those comments / questions will be ignored. That being said, please know I'm truly happy to engage people who genuinely want to learn more about MARLO LASKER, entertainment or myself as an actor & filmmaker. Cheers!

Comments: 238 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

28648487527954248 karma


richrotella-82 karma

2.5 years of post actually while many other projects were going on my friend. The film is also goofy, cartoonish and etc - very much on purpose. It's designed for people to enjoy, laugh and cheer on the hero and not take to seriously. Thanks :)

riptaway24 karma

Just because it's meant to be goofy and silly doesn't mean there are no standards.

richrotella4 karma

Hi riptaway, The only standards are the ones you set for yourself. There are no set rules as a filmmaker - go film the sky for 2 hours if you like the cut that with mountains and shots of the beach - lay some music behind it and you've made art. You can make a movie too. I encourage you to go for it. Cheers :)

Capt_Turkey141 karma


richrotella2 karma

I'm not sure what this means. I'm sincerely new to reddit but honored to be speaking with you, Capt_Turkey. The only thing I've shared on here is my movie. If the site is promoting something else it has nothing to do with me. Cheers!

Capt_Turkey1 karma

Sorry, I was in a bad mood when I saw your post so I just lashed out a little. That was pretty rude by me.

To get this back to the spirit of AMA I'll just ask something. Did you ever need to fire someone during your movie's production? If so, why?

richrotella2 karma

Hey Capt_Turkey, Thank you for your apology. For whatever it's worth I sincerely appreciate it. I'm no better than you or anyone reading this post. I am just a man who worked hard and made a movie with the pure heart intention of making the world laugh. That's it. Did I ever have to fire someone? No, I didn't. We did have one crew person that quit half way through production to take another gig - filming in Las Vegas - it was urgent and they offered him 4x what I was paying him. I was very upset about this at the time but I have forgiven him since. I replaced his position on the crew within 3 days so, it all worked out. Thanks :)

Shill_for_Science97 karma


Heimerdahl32 karma

I wonder if he wrote his own IMDb biography:

Rich Rotella's uncanny ability to portray comedic and dramatic characters has made him priceless to productions and a rising star.


His unique screen power, unpredictability and magnetism is extraordinary. You cannot truly appreciate Rich's talent until you see him in action.

Dandywhatsoever2 karma

Who do you think writes them? The IMDB staff?

richrotella0 karma

Hi Dandywhatsoever, Writers in Los Angeles, sometimes publicists, Lit Reps and beyond write bios. There's a lot that goes into writing a bio. Greg (writer) took a look at my dramatic and comedic acting - plenty available online by searching my name - and then he drafted it and done. Thanks!

richrotella-85 karma

Hi Shill_for_Science, Not really sure what you mean. I'm simply sharing my story. There's no arrogance about it. I have gone through hell and back to build a career in this business and am still fully engaged daily. After taking a break from writing the original post - I went and put myself on tape for a different feature film, now I'm uploading the scene for casting while typing back to you. Make no mistake my friend. Entertainment is a marathon, not a sprint. I have much to learn. Cheers!

peachstained64 karma

This might be a stupid question but... how do you make money off of a movie that's streamed on amazon prime? Is it based on how many people watch it?

richrotella69 karma

Hi peachstained, Not a stupid question at all. At the same time, legally I can't go into to many details regarding this. I would say the payment structure can be based on views, hours of content watched, etc. Think of Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ ... they track who's watching, then have algorithms and systems to determine how much should go to filmmaker xyz. Hope that helps my friend.

mostbestest24 karma

Hey I'm gonna pirate this, do you mind?

richrotella5 karma

I hope you choose not to do that - many people worked very hard on it. It's also streaming for free in HD. Cheers :)

Hesprit17 karma

Okay dude, I'm donating bandwidth by streaming it for your stats, but man, I can't watch it. "Life is easy, comedy is hard", why did you choose the hardest thing?

richrotella0 karma

Comedy choose me actually, Hesprit. And let's keep in mind there are many different forms and styles of comedy. I have been performing for a long time; drama as well. Plenty available via Youtube - just search my name. Cheers my friend.

Hesprit7 karma

let's keep in mind there are many different forms and styles of comedy.

Agreed, and dude, I didn't say you weren't funny, I never say that to anyone, as humour is as individual as fingerprints, retinal patterns and DNA. That being said, it seems to me that you wrote Marlo to be funny and put him in funny situations. It might be more subtle to write a character who isn't meant to be funny and putting him in weird situations, or a funny character who reacts weirdly to common situations...fewer balls in the air as you hone your craft.

Just a thought from an old librarian who realized long ago that I don't have a sense of humour. I have a sense of proportion that I use in its place.

richrotella1 karma

Well said. Thank you for the feedback my friend :)

bikelove_7715 karma

Why are there so many downvotes on this AMA? Both for the host and the people asking him questions. I don’t get it? He worked really hard at something and accomplished it. I think most people have absolutely no idea how hard it is for a. someone to sell a screenplay, b. the screenplay to actually be used, or c. for a movie to actually be made and promoted. Did a huge studio pick it up? No. Is it on Amazon Prime? Yes! This is actually a huuuuuge accomplishment.

Inmate558031 karma

From a very quick glance upon stumbling across this thread I think it’s a combination of it all seeming kinda fake? Like the movie is apparently Asylum levels of bad, his imbd is oddly self inflating for someone unknown in the industry (at least as far as the public is concerned). And to me at least, the positive comments here seem really fake. Like it’s been 10hours as of me writing this and there’s only 80 comments, and other than the two that are critical the others seem like plants

bikelove_7713 karma

I saw the trailer. The movie looks pretty bad, like super corny and derivative, but also like a bad spoof. So I agree there.

Why would someone make a fake post like this? If it is fake, what’s the point?

richrotella2 karma

It's a real post, bikelove_77. Movie is corny and fun on purpose. It's made for 12-25 year olds. Hope all is well my friend. Cheers!

Inmate55802 karma

Well it’s a common practice to hire people and bots alike to artificially make something shit or unpopular seem like it isn’t, or just as a extra way to market something. Like the Bloomberg campaign legit does it for example. In this case, best case scenario is the person actually is a professional and this movie was a project early in his career he decided to shit out, middle case is it’s a troll who wants make a quick buck and wants to use reddit for easy promotion, the absolute worst case is that it’s genuine and this person is so deluded by their own hype and sacrificed so much for only to produce a shit product and in their delusion thinking that making fake post would help and it being “a one time thing before people really see the actual movie and all the good Will starts coming in” but it never does. Of course I’m implying a lot with the latter option of course, simple answer is marketing

richrotella1 karma

Hi Inmate5580, I have actually just never used reddit before to share one of my projects and a friend recommended I give it a try. That's all there is to it. Post is real and so am I. Do as much research as you wish. Cheers!

richrotella0 karma

Hi Inmate5580, Not sure what you mean by fake. I'm a real actor here in Hollywood typing to you right now my friend. The movie is only bad to people who don't like it - many people do however. I'm pretty the same can be said for just about any movie ever made. It's about taste - some people like comedy / slapstick / romance / adventure stories and some people don't. That's okay. Unknown? Perhaps today but not tomorrow. Keep watching, respectfully. Cheers!

Sahngar7 karma

Yeah, this is a weird thread. Nothing jumps out as being unreasonable or objectionable, but there are tonnes of down votes and several hostile comments.

Even if the movie is terrible, surely the way the guy is handling himself isn't too terrible?

bikelove_773 karma

Exactly. People are making really rude comments and I didn’t see him respond in kind at all. He either doesn’t reply or he’s nice/diplomatic.

richrotella2 karma

What's the point in being negative? There is none. It helps and serves no one. I love and wish everyone well. They should go watch the movie again - perhaps they'll get the message the second time around ;)

TizardPaperclip1 karma

They should go watch the movie again ...

I think this comment illustrates the problem: You have a tendency to advise people to help raise your search ranking profile, either by searching for your name on YouTube, or by streaming your movie on Amazon Prime. You talk like an SEO marketer.

richrotella1 karma

Nope. Just sharing information in case people want to know more. Search as little or as much as you wish. Thanks :)

Kooky_Contribution2 karma

Because on Reddit everyone is an expert in whatever the topic is atm and they know everything better than whoever they’re arguing with.

richrotella1 karma

Hi Kooky_Contribution, That certainly seems to be the case here doesn't it? LoL I'm wondering how many of these folks have made a movie before? Love them either way but sure, it's makes me scratch my head too a little. No worries.

richrotella1 karma

Hi bikelove_77, Good question. I don't get it either. Why do people choose to be negative? Especially if it's about an industry they've never worked in, a movie they've never seen and IF they watched my entire film - I'm willing to bet there's a 99% chance they loved certain characters, scenes or moments in the film. A lot of times, people sadly choose to be negative as an outward reflection of how they feel about themselves. It's hard for people to look in the mirror and "man" or "women" up and take responsibilities for themselves and set goals and work HARD toward achieving them. Much easier to point a finger and blame, shout or spit on a hero than to become one yourself. Yes, the movie is on Amazon Prime "Marlo Lasker" I hope you enjoy it and remember - it's goofy on purpose and has plenty of heart. Cheers!

williamtheodore9 karma

Would you trade it all for a “normal” life? And sorry bout your wife. Didn’t know she was married.

richrotella-37 karma

Thank you. Yes, my ex-wife is a lovely person. I still care about her very much. To answer your first question - No, I wouldn't trade this for "normal life." I have tremendous respect for ALL PEOPLE who get up and pound the pavement everyday; 5 days a week etc. In fact, I tried that. I've had over 24 jobs - I am not kidding... and after about 3-6 months; I always got that itch... that voice in my head, that said, "You're not suppose to be here. You're suppose to go make movies and star in them and you know it." This journey has been very painful, rewarding and definitely a very VERY narrow road. But... you only live once and when I close my eyes at the end of the insane ride we call life... I cannot go, 'I wonder what if...' I am all in 100% and it has cost me far more than I ever expected. Hollywood is NOT a fair playing ground. You can be rewarded for hitting above or below the belt. My biggest challenge in Hollywood has not been talent (and I say that with tremendous humility and respect; as an artist - there is always room to improve and grow)... my biggest challenge has been exposure. No one with real power currently knows who I am and those who do... don't want you until everyone wants you - it is a catch 22 game. Therefore, talent is irrelevant in this crazy business until you are discovered. Which God willing, perhaps my movie "Marlo Lasker" will help me achieve.

Rockonfoo2 karma

I hope you find your spot man

richrotella1 karma

Thank you, Rockonfoo. Please feel free to check out the movie and if you like comedy or drama - just youtube search my name, have a beer and enjoy seeing some crazy content. Cheers Brother

jrodrigk6 karma

Were there any aspects of directing that you didn't anticipate? Maybe a difficulty on-set that hadn't even occurred to you until it was happening?

richrotella9 karma

HEAT. There was a day in Riverside, CA ... that I will never forget. We were filming a lot of scenes that day - mostly exteriors, on the side walk and road. The weather man said, "86 degrees and sunny." I thought... 'Okay, we'll get a tent and we can stay cool in the shade'. Well... the weatherman was WAY OFF... as the temperature raised to literally 103* without a single cloud in the sky. This affected everything from crew and actor moral... to the make up melting on our faces. Although, I think it helped Jeff Jeffers (who played "Carl the Bum") --- he was suppose to be grumpy and angry... the heat definitely helped him get and stay into "character" LOL. We also had to deal with the COPS... 3 different times. Why? Because - yes, three separate cop cars rolled up - one after the other - and NO --- we did not have any permits. But I talked my way IN and OUT of the situation with the police and finished our shots.

outofstepwtw3 karma

how the hell do you spend 2.5 years in post with only 6 days of dailies?

richrotella2 karma

Hi outofstepwtw, Because I filmed 12-14 hours days in 4k. Then did EVERYTHING in post 95% of the work and certainly had some colorist and editing consulting help from to wonderful friends, Thomas & Alex. I was also busy paying bills, living my life, acting in other projects. Please know that when a movie comes out - it was probably filmed 2-3 years ago. Much happens in the interim. Cheers!

outofstepwtw2 karma

Ok, so it wasn't "2.5 years of full-time post production," it was "2.5 years chipping away at post when you could." That's much more reasonable. Glad you stayed persistent throughout that stretch. I asked that question as a tv editor, knowing that a 14hr filming day does note yield 14hrs of dailies. I sure hope you weren't trying to edit natively in 4k

richrotella1 karma

1080p for the edits after a massive conversation 14 Terra-bites. Again... LIFE continues and can be very complicated. The real edit only took me 6 months. Then LIFE happened / personal challenges but... if we don't give up... we can still win ;)

mandown23082 karma

Just outta curiosity, how on earth does people like Christopher Nolan or Damien Chazelle or Ari Aster made it to where they are? I mean there must have been other people of same potential as theirs. But their career seemed to be quite going up in short time?

Also what are doing next and how do you see yourself in future?

richrotella2 karma

Hi mandown2308, Good questions. Everyone starts at ZERO and I do mean everyone; including the people you mentioned. They have made movies 10, 20+ years ago that 95% of people have never even seen. Getting name talent & distribution are key factors to getting a theatrical or global digital release - that and a really good story. I am going to produce a feature - suspense / thriller - nothing like Marlo Lasker (which was my "Austin Powers" or "Ernest" if you will. My new drama / thriller has gone through three rewrites and with excellent notes now added. A budget has already been assembled. I see myself as evolving as an artist into more leading man type roles. Cheers!

legthief2 karma

Who wrote your IMDb bio?

richrotella2 karma

Hi legthief, A writer named Greg in Los Angeles. Very nice man. Excellent writer as I have actually read three of his TV pilots. Before him was a different writer/editor named Kim. Cheers!

throwawayG73222 karma

Where in MD are you from? Shoutout moco and the 301

richrotella2 karma

Moco & Frederick ;) .... also lived in Baltimore for 8 years.

fotli31461 karma

With all due respect, why on Earth did you choose to make such a trailer for your movie? Why not make a normal trailer, with some dialogs or some story or something? You know... some funny bits, this and that... I'm sure it was a meditated decision.


Man, please, redo the trailer. I know how much effort goes into making an independent movie. You can't leave it like that, it's the first thing people are gonna see when they search, are you happy with it? Proud of it? I mean, this is just my opinion.

richrotella1 karma

Hi fotli3146, Thanks for your feedback. It was a creative decision. We believe keeping it enigmatic is powerful. Thanks :)

MagikSkyDaddy1 karma

How’d you arrive at the name Marlo Lasker?

richrotella1 karma

Hi MagikSkyDaddy, That is an excellent question and very few people have asked me that. I wanted Marlo to be good at chess. So, I researched the 2nd best chess player in the World and his last name was LASKER; at least that's what I read online at the time. Then, I wanted the character to have an innocence about him. I made a list for a week of well rounded first names that felt playful and soft. I got it down to three names and MARLO LASKER sounded the best. BOOM.

ChipSteezy1 karma

Congratulations on the movie. I can't imagine the grind that went into making a full feature film. I want to check it out. I enjoy watching films that are passion projects.

Do you have any advice for a fellow east coaster who is trying to break in as an editor? I imagine you've been through it all your ten years here.

Also. Any Hollywood horror stories would be GREATLY enjoyed.

richrotella4 karma

Thank you for your comments, ChipSteezy. "Grind" might not be a strong enough word for getting a feature film made - "organized insanity against the clock" might be a more appropriate term. LoL Yes, please do check out "Marlo Lasker" streaming free on Amazon Prime. ADVICE for you breaking in as an editor, honestly? You are the hero who brings it all to life. The Director & Editor - after a movie has wrapped production - are essentially god (with respect to the real one, in my humble opinion - no offense intended). You are literally deciding what the world will see or not see. There is tremendous power and respect there. I actually bought a Sony Hi-8 Video Camera - back in the day - and started making my home movies as a kid, directly on the camera. The Camera, VCR and TV - we're my best friends and my brothers and sisters were my talent pool. HaHa - oh the madness. I highly recommend you learn Avid, Adobe Prem & Final Cut... relax, you don't need to know all three BUT... you'd better know TWO of them beyond a novice level. You are going to be experiencing a sea of editors out here to compete with for jobs and freelance work. That being said, take whatever footage you have an make an editors reel - show your best stuff up FRONT - start strong and FINISH STRONG. Keep it under 10 minutes - no one will watch more than that. They'll have really decided within the first 3 minutes - then they're just wondering if they like you as a person. HOLLYWOOD HORROR STORIES? I woke up one day, walked outside and someone had stolen my Acura (car). I was attacked by a homeless man in Venice beach - minutes before a meeting with a new potential agent; she signed me but I had to pull myself together in the bathroom before the interview. One more... let me see. Ah yes, the price you pay to live in Cali - RENT and TAXES are the real HORROR STORY; besides parking - GOD in HEAVEN - UNREAL. Perhaps that's why so many folks are working and filming outside of LA now. However the BIG 7 Studios are still here and therefore so, is the real game.

Tinymegalo1 karma

Congrats! What kept you motivated to keep going?

richrotella-4 karma

Finishing is everything ;)

Alan_Smithee_1 karma

Congratulations. You beat many of the odds, particularly how many distributors will not touch a finished film - most seem to want more input at the production stage.

During my time in the business, I was at times in a position where I saw a number of films go through post, some of them without a presale. I don’t recall any of those getting a deal.

So my question is: what, if anything, would you do differently, if you had that time over again?

richrotella2 karma

I would have raised 10k more to make it a full 90 minutes :)

richrotella0 karma

Hi AlanSmithee, I would have raised another 10k and increased my running time by 15 minutes - I also might have tightened up the "front" of the movie - the 2nd half moves quicker and it far more intense than the set up of the story HOWEVER... I was introducing a BRAND NEW ORIGINAL CHARACTER & STORY to the world so... I had to lay some ground work and scenes to establish WHO "Marlo" is... In terms of distribution - I have become much more knowledgeable in this area due to a hard lesson with a terrible company called Distribber in 2019... when my film was suppose to originally be released. My advice is protect your baby, get everything in writing, check references - take meetings with other producers who YES worked with those distributors in the past and present if possible.

Alan_Smithee_1 karma

That’s great. I would recommend looking for an agent now. Should be easy - you have a deal in place.

richrotella2 karma

Just signed with a new one - thanks Brother!

Alan_Smithee_1 karma

That’s great! Good luck with it all.

richrotella1 karma

Thank you :)

MrPierogi0071 karma

A plan i always had was to write a great script and sell it to a studio for 50 000 $.

How does one go about achieving that in the movie business ?

Is there a map you could maybe describe ?

Thank You and Congrats sir

richrotella4 karma

Hi MyPierogi007, Thank you for your nice words. I don't recommend you write a great script. I recommend you write THREE great scripts. Why? Because when you actually get a meeting at a high level and go, "Okay, here's my modern romantic comedy." And they go, "Yeah, we use to make those but recently we're kinda looking for a dark comedy vibe. Or a thriller do you have that? No? Okay, come back when ya do but thanks for stopping by." You have to flexible. And no matter what - you're going to get notes. It has to do with what 'they're currently looking for, what other shows they have going on and EGO.' The "map" I recommend is you write a 2 page treatment first (of your movie). Then outline the story, plot points act breaks and all. Read this man's books : Syd Field - Screenwriting. I have personally read at least 3 of his books and met him - nice guy btw. You can get his books on Amazon (ironically yes, the same place where my movie MARLO LASKER is streaming). Last thing is this... no one is going to be as passionate about your script as you. No One. So get thick skin and don't take the rejection personally. Putting together a movie has a lot more elements than just a great script but yes, if you write a REALLY great one, you can rise to the top. Last thing, once you write it - 1st draft. Register it with the WGA West $20. Then Library of Congress $45. Worth it and very smart to protect your project. Good Luck.

Hiur1 karma

Hey, congratulations, Rich!
You said that it's available on Prime Video, but unfortunately I couldn't find it in Germany. Any idea if it will become available here?

All the best!

richrotella1 karma

Thank you, Hiur, Prime Video should have it. It's also available on GooglePlay & Youtube Movies :)

sullythrows1 karma

What up Maryland. Where you from?

richrotella1 karma

Moco & Frederick :)

sullythrows1 karma

Dope. Anne Arundel here. Keep getting it man. Take care.

richrotella1 karma

Thanks, you too!

KeyboardTapper1651 karma

Is the film industry really as snobby and toxic as it seems to usually be? How do people that enter it get connected in this industry?

richrotella1 karma

Hi KeyboardTapper165, It is a highly competitive business. I am saying this with GREAT HUMILITY. I strongly encourage you to save up $8-10k before moving out here. No matter how talented you are - or - driven. It will take you 1-2 full years to get comfortable with the business, Los Angeles and develop relationships. Just remember - you become who you associate with so, choose your inner circle wisely. Be respectful, be loyal and work hard to show you're sincere about helping others as much as yourself. God Bless :)

EwanMcNugget1 karma

Hi, congrats on the release!

Can you go into a little bit of detail about where the money was spent making the movie? How does one make a feature film that cheaply?

richrotella1 karma

Hi EwanMcNugget, Thank you. Budgeting a movie is a much longer conversation then we can have here BUT... I will say this... be certain you leave a 10% contingency amount (money on the side for extra costs / unexpected) and 20% of you budget better be for post and 10% for marketing. Cheers!

okayohyeah1 karma

Fellow Marylander here and now San Diegan. What part of MD are you from?

richrotella1 karma

Hi okayohyeah, San Diego is beautiful. Love it there. I grew up in Montgomery & Frederick County and went to college in Baltimore :)

okayohyeah1 karma

Wow thanks for replying. I grew up in Howard County! And I’m gonna check out your movie. Congratulations 🍾!

richrotella2 karma

You know it my friend. Yes, enjoy the movie :)

apollowonderchild1 karma

I too dream of being a film director... Are there any important things to prioritise from your experience to make it? What would you do differently with hindsight?

richrotella1 karma

Hi apollowonderchild, You can certainly do that. I would encourage you to save up $3-5k. Get a computer, digital 4k camera and start marking short films. 12-14min in length. Once you've made 3-5... STOP. And go make a tv pilot 22min comedy or 44 min drama. 95% of shorts go no where in terms of career growth. That's the harsh truth. I would have made 2 features over 15 shorts if I could go back in time. Throw pebbles in a pond, anyone hear it? Roll a massive boulder down a hill into the pond and SPLASH... ;)

Kamehamehachoo1 karma

Didn't watch your movie, and honestly I'm not invested in it from what I heard in this thread. But I do want to commend you for being in the 1% that hustles to do what you want and make your dreams come true.

I also want to say that your answers in this thread that didn't mention anything about the film's details were more positively received because redditors don't like the feeling that an AmA is used solely to promote something. Those answers that you gave felt more sincere and more made your story more inspiring. I've noticed that in your more recent replies, so keep it up.

With that said, my question is this: would you recommend everyone who wants to achieve their dreams (doesn't have to be filmmaking, could be anything art-related, from writing to painting) to go through everything you went through? If not, what advice would you give them to not follow which parts that you went through?

richrotella2 karma

Hi Kamehamehachoo, Certainly give the movie a look if you wish. You might be glad you did. It terms of achieving your dream... obstacles are unavoidable. You have to go above, around, under and over challenges to get things done. No one is going to care more than you - believe me. What not to do? I think that's what you're asking... the best advice I can offer there is FAIL FORWARD, FAIL OFTEN and... learn from it. Keep sharpening your ax, swinging away and the "tree" shall fall in time. And have really good food / catering for your team. Hungry people = mad people. Well fed people = happy people. God Bless :)

TheMinusFactor1 karma

We finished our first screenplay, but we don't know what to do with it next. Any advice? Here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NDMPp8j9zaSsiasqVjproxYPWPxHX2R4/view?usp=drivesdk

richrotella1 karma

Hi TheMinusFactor, Thank you for your question. First, be sure to get it registered with the WGA West $20... then the Library of Congress $45 - to protect it Federally. I would heavily caution to you posting your movie on an open form. I am new to this but I'd imagine just about anyone can see what you just shared with me? Sadly, not everyone is an honest person therefore, someone could try to steal your script. That being said, I'd encourage you to give you script to 5 industry people to read and 5 non-industry people to read. Ask everyone for notes and to vote 1-10 stars. If you're overall - star ranking average is 7 or higher out of 10... you're doing great. If it's less - you have a lot more work to do to make your story better. Also, with notes... One person says it = opinion. Two people say it = rumor. Three people say the same thing? It's REAL and you need to keep or fix "it" based on their similar notes. Good Luck :)

Talpa_purpurea1 karma

The movie looks awful, this is your life's work? It looks like a series of poorly made instagram sketches, wth?

richrotella1 karma

Hi Talpa_purpurea, Sorry you currently feel that way. Did you actually see the entire film? ... just checking. Nope. Not my life's work. Just one of many projects. This movie is designed to be very goofy and over-the-top. It's not for everyone but definitely for folks who like - comedy, romance & adventure - especially people who like Steve Urkel, Ernest and similar classic characters. Sounds like you haven't seen the full film. I'd encourage you to do so. Cheers :)

peachstained1 karma

Currently watching the film. Did you write the subtitles or are they automated? I've noticed some movies don't come with an option for captions (which is utterly annoying) on amazon so I presume they're not automated.

Also, what was the fake puke made of?

richrotella1 karma

Hi peachstained, Glad you're watching the film - continue to enjoy and finish it as the 2nd half is certainly wilder than the beginning set up. There are closed captions and subtitles - I hired a company called Rev.com to do them. The fake puke was a combination of water, oatmeal and something else I can't recall. I was busy acting and directing the set so, that was something the props / special FX folks handled. Cheers :)

7yeet71 karma

Do you plan on doing another movie soon?

richrotella2 karma

Hi 7yeet7, Yes, I have two other features on my slate --- a Buddy Comedy (kinda of like 'SuperBad') and a Drama : Thriller / Suspense between to estranged Brothers. Cheers :)

Norgeroff1 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

richrotella2 karma

White and Blue :)

ConstableGrey0 karma

What was your method for gaining 15 pounds?

richrotella-1 karma

Hi ConstableGrey, That was very HARD for me mentally... but not physically. I am a very in-shape / athletic person. So, when I told everyone I was going to lose 10 lbs to be skinnier and play "Marlo" they ALL yelled at me - I was really taken back. They all said, "No! You need to gain weight. Fatter will be funnier" So, I thought about it for a few days and said, "Okay. Why not. I've never had to gain weight for a role. I'll give it a try." I stopped working out 100% - nothing. And ate everything in site. Plus, the stress of making the movie made gaining weight easier. I gained the 15 lbs pretty fast... oh, being Italian. We're very thick people.

emmydolll0 karma

What‘s the process of finding actors for the movie? What was it like being on the other side of the desk during auditions?

richrotella9 karma

Hey emmydolll, The best situation is when you KNOW who you already want to cast. That takes time to see others people's work in Hollywood and etc but you will build a group of about 30-50 actors you know can actually deliver a solid performance but no one is right for everything so yes, auditions have to happen. You create a list of characters and mini-bios (3-5 sentences) of each character - maybe a 2-5 sentence write up of the story. Then you post that on certain acting sites - actors come flooding in and you SELECT them from your computer and schedule auditions. If you're smart... you'll watch their reels so, instead of bringing in 40 people to read for a specific character you bring in 10-15 TOPS... and believe me, each actor takes 5-10 minutes in a room so, you're in for a marathon of interesting characters - no pun intended. The one thing I can say is that when I hold my casting sessions - I understand what the actor is feeling - the pressure, the awkwardness of reading lines off a paper with a reader in front of producers so... if it's a comedy project - I get them to laugh and relax by talking to them for a little BUT... if it's Drama. I ask them if they'd like to do the scene asap (get right into it - because they might be in the proper head space 'ramped up & ready') and do the "interview" AFTER they perform. I have seen for YEARS... Casting Directors want to talk about the actors day, their cat, life etc... and then want the actor to just FLICK on like a light and jump right into a dramatic scene where they have to yell or cry etc - making this mental switch within 15 seconds or less... It is ridiculous and in no way honors the craft of the actor who odds are, prepared a character to display and may need a moment to gather themselves 30 sec - 1 minute is far. In fact, you usually get a bad performance when you bully or rush an actor. So much wasted time and effort... I could go on about this but the bottom line is this... Give the actor a moment to take in the room and relax and at least 2 takes because they might have two different ways of performing the scene or character. In fact, give them three (if they're good; which you'll know after the first two). I also try to toss them a polite curve ball and have them do some improv in the room. How so? I put their character in a situation that's not in the "sides/script" and say GO. They will either fly or fail... but I'll see what they're made of - it a good way. I am very delicate and respectful with actors and take my time in an audition room. I'd rather see 6 actors (10 min each) in an hour... then 20 in an hour. Slow Down to Speed Up... that's how you find a Diamond.

emmydolll1 karma

This was really cool to read. Such a fascinating process!

richrotella2 karma

Thanks, emmydolll!

k4rlm0 karma

I Did Not Hit Her. I Did Not. Oh Hi Mark.? xD

richrotella2 karma

Correct HaHa ... One way or the other - it's a win for the world. Not every movie is designed to win an oscar. Thanks, k4rlm!

Big-Bad-Bug-1 karma

First of all, congratulations! As an aspiring indie video game designer, I feel like I can relate to your goals on some level. One of my biggest hobbies is watching YouTube reviews of movies, especially Chris Stuckmann's and Redlettermedia's channels, because on a fundamental level I like hearing about how other people interpret stories.

So, I have two questions: what sort of film content do you like to watch on YouTube? Also, what films would you recommend to someone who doesn’t appreciate movies very much?

richrotella2 karma

Hey Big-Bad-Bug, Thank you for your kind words. Video games are awesome. I remember playing Goldeneye back in the day. Undefeated for 7 years straight - no joke. Oh, the good old days. Thank you for what you do and for whatever it's worth - in my humble opinion - Virtual Reality via Cinema is literally the NEXT STEP in FILM-MAKING - just keep watching. I usually don't watch a lot of films on youtube - mostly because I am not a fan of having a cinematic experience interrupted by commercials, proof? I don't even have cable. I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO and another method of streaming movies. Youtube is a great platform but I feel artists can get massively LOST in that mountain of content. 'The Great Thing about Youtube is that Anyone Can Post. The Bad Thing about Youtube is that Anyone Can Post.' No hate intended but I'm 5'7" so playing in the NBA is something I probably shouldn't do, that being said - not everyone is suppose to be a filmmaker and that's okay. I'd prefer my surgeon be REALLY GOOD at surgery and not with making movies. That being said, if there is a comedy or thriller that is only available on Youtube sure, I'll watch it but SKIP those commercials or mute them? Oh, you bet. If someone doesn't appreciate movies or a genre of movies, I would respectfully argue that they just haven't seen the RIGHT ONES. For example, I usually don't watch GORE or HORROR because my imagination is EXTREMELY powerful to the point where - especially as a Method Actor - I have to be careful what content and visuals I allow into my mind. Fun, cute example, when I was a kid - I saw "Candy Man" at a party with friends. I had to brush my teeth in the hallway for two weeks I was so terrified of mirrors. HaHa. True Story... and if you don't get that reference then go see Candy Man ... but fair warning, bring a new pair of pants with you. Overall, I would say WATCH MOVIES you have heard other people talk a lot about - simple rule I like to live by 99% of the time. If the movie is recommended to me by a close friend, has been nominated for an Oscar or has a 6 / 10 or higher ranking on IMDb - I will give it a chance and you should too.

TheShizznit21-1 karma

Congrats!!! Can't want to watch it. I've been in post for many years. I moved to L.A after college in 2014 and started working on any type of smaller scale projects to get the experience. I quit my non-union assistant editing job to get into TV/Film as an union Assistant Editor. Any tips to network with people working in the post world? If you were to hire somebody for your projects, what would you look for in a AE or editor?

richrotella5 karma

Hi TheShizznit21, Yes, do enjoy Marlo Lasker on Prime - it's a fun wild ride. Congrats on moving to LA - that's the first bold step into the madness. Union should pay more so, congrats on the switch. To network with people in the post world - join online forms and use LINKEDIN... it is a gold mine. Connect with 3-5 people a week; in the post world. You'd be amazed how many people DO connect with you, even if you haven't met. Then invite them to coffee and go meet them and develop and new colleague and friend. This will lead to many new gigs, new friends, etc. When I hire someone to edit my projects I want to first see a reel... and it better be GOOD if I am going to pay them. Why? Because I have been editing for 20 years... started in middle school so, I know who has "it" and who does. You want to see OUTSTANDING editing? Go watch MADMAX with Tom Hardy - that is a master piece. I also look for 2 references for an editor. Beyond that, just be reasonable with your quotes and prices... there's a lot of editors in LA.

outlawsix-1 karma

Congratulations! I'll give this a watch tonight, nothing better to do.

What has the return on your investment been like? How does the payment scheme look like for someone who basically produced the movie already at the time of pitching?

TizardPaperclip8 karma

"I'll give this a watch tonight, nothing better to do."


richrotella5 karma

It's not a bad idea. Outlawsix will be glad they did ;)

Fuct14922 karma

Put it on my watchlist for the weekend. Congratulations on getting it picked up!

richrotella4 karma

Thank you, Fuct1492. Good call :)

richrotella3 karma

Hi outlawsix, Thank you for your question. Yes, certainly give "Marlo Lasker" a watch tonight - it's streaming free on Amazon Prime. To be honest, I can't go into exact numbers / money for legal reasons BUT... I essentially gathered a team of 6 Exec Producers (people who put money into the film - in exchange for "points / equity" on the back end) - once that team was assembled, I personally matched the money. Payments are going to come quarterly from our distribution company. Then, I will personally be cutting checks to pay the Exec Producers back - based on their amounts of points / equity. We won't even get our first check for many months from now because the movie has only been out for - well as of this moment - less than a week technically - 6 days! All I could do to raise the money was literally show the Exec Producers - three things... my script, my past work (which there is a mountain of on Youtube, just go search - Rich Rotella - no self plug intended but how else I am suppose to explain? Anyways... and the third item was my passion behind "Marlo Lasker". I'll never forget the moment in a hallway - after an acting class actually - when one the soon to be Exec Producers approached me before I left and said, "I read your comedy script. It's completely crazy but funny and... really good." I said, "Cool... thanks." Then he smiled at me and said, "I don't know if you're movie is going to be a hit or not but I think you're going to be a star." I just stood there silent, humbled and unsure what to say next so I just, waited... longest 30 seconds ever as he stared at me. Then he said, "I'm going to invest in you, Rich. Here..." He handed me a check for $$$$ and then walked away. It was the biggest check anyone had given me to that point. Once I thanked him - I went home, sat down and smiled thinking... 'This movie is actually going to happen.'

danimation88-3 karma

Hello, first off CONGRATS! This is a huge accomplishment. My question is, what is the most important/valuable aspect you learned from being a filmmaker in your opinion? And any tips you would like to share for upcoming filmmakers?

richrotella10 karma

Thank you, danimation88. The most important aspect I have learned by being a filmmaker thus far is to TELL YOUR STORY... don't worry... there's over 8 billion people in the world. There will be plenty of people who relate to you and your story; no matter how bizarre. The truth is your audience will find YOU... but only if you put your art into the world. For example, many people told me I was crazy to make "Marlo Lasker" because it's very 'Napoleon Dynamite' meets 'Ernest Goes to Camp' etc ... but I didn't care - I have always loved slapstick - goofy, feel good comedies. There is so much evil and horror in the world, I decided I wanted to help humanity by giving them one of life's greatest gifts - that I personally believe (no offense intended) God has ever given us - and that's simply the ability to LAUGH. So my tip for any new filmmaker is to stay true to your vision and make the project come to life - stop waiting - who says you're going to live to be 80, 60 or even 50? You are not promised tomorrow - none of us are. So get up and DO IT. Don't worry if you think your movie sucks. That's the beauty of film - it's not theater (though theater is where I started and it rocks) ... FILM, you can do 10-15 takes and then clean it up in editing. Finish your first cut and show it to a private group of 15-20 people for feedback. Here's another friendly tip. If one person says it, it's an opinion. If two people say it, it's a rumor. If three people say it... you'd better listen because if they're saying that scene, character or etc is GOOD then great KEEP IT... but if they're saying - individually to you - that it's BAD. That's a red flag that you should respect especially if it's coming from someone who has also made high quality content; that you have personally seen. I only take director advice from other directors at my level (yes I have much to learn) and above but I listen to everyone. That's not arrogance by the way; it's respect, wisdom and common sense. The strange thing about being a filmmaker is that - people who have literally never made a movie - will tell you HOW to make one. It's insane but it's reality. Crazy business, right?

GamerGirlsPee-5 karma

I can’t of any questions to ask about your movie so.... what’s you favorite food?

richrotella4 karma

I love JUMBO Maryland Blue Crab with Old Bay... Ginger Ale or Corona & Lime. So how many hours till I go to the electric chair? * last meal ;)

MysticYogurt-9 karma

First, CONGRATULATIONS on accomplishing such a great feat! I just love hearing from people that pursue their dreams and don't give up, really pushes me forward in the same direction.

What would your ultimate goal be? Win an Oscar? Act or be the director of a blockbuster movie? Or something else? You prefer underwear or going full commando?

richrotella-2 karma

Hi MysticYogurt, Thank you for your compliment and I sincerely hope you enjoy the movie. My ultimate Goal? "Life is about People" ... I want to encourage people to be brave, be bold and choose love. Truly I tell you, it is not the fancy cars, big homes or other riches you'll desire upon your death bed. In the end, you'll want your family and memories. I want people to WAKE UP and stop being cold toward one another. People are obsessed with how many social media followers someone has - connected to everyone - yet close to no one? What a sad world. I'd like to help reverse that. People need to learn to be kind to one another again. You can get ahead without crushing others in your path - it is possible. Film is my 'peaceful weapon of choice' to do so. Yes, I would love to play the lead in a blockbuster feature provided the story has a dynamic lead character, with real depth and an overall arc... naturally, a creative director who gets his shots but allows me a couple takes of artistic freedom - would be nice as well. Win an Oscar... that is out of my hands. That is up to God. However, I already know what I would say to the world... it is powerful, private and meaningful. I prefer boxers Mon - Weds... Thurs - Sun (date nights)... I'll do commando but only if she does too #consensual :P

ActNormal-11 karma

Has anybody recognized you from the movie in real life? Waffles or pancakes?

richrotella-7 karma

It's funny, ActNormal1... I've been mostly in front of a computer promoting the movie the past 5 days but... I had to eventually get out of the house and go to Costco... I was like 'omg, what if I get spotted... those check out lines are a sniper's dream shot'. HaHa ... but no one noticed me yet - Marlo Lasker has only been out 6 days - I think getting noticed takes longer than that - but yes, I have been recognized for other films and projects I've done over the past 10 years - just check IMDb ton listed on there via my profile. And I prefer pancakes over waffles - unless you have cinnamon in which case... there's going to be a war. And whatever happened to French Toast? ... omg the enemy of my abs :P

teksav-24 karma

I saw your movie last weekend on amazonprime and thought it was funny as shit!!! It's crazy to come on reddit and see the director/main actor doing an ama. Where did you get the idea for this movie? Did you write it all 100% by yourself?

richrotella2 karma

Hi teksav - Good question. I actually wrote this movie originally as a tv pilot - 25 pages : comedy, back in 2013. However, I was booking so many projects as an actor, dealing with life and commitments etc for years... I had to put it on the shelf. Finally in Feb 2016 - I sat down in the courtyard of my apartment building; with 4 scripts in front of me (all ones I had written) and said to myself, "That's it. I am going to make one of these, star in it and prove I can not only produce & direct a big project but star as the lead actor as well." After reading all four scripts - it was fairly clear that the script that kept making me laugh on the inside and out - the most - was "Marlo Lasker". He was a character I actually created on youtube way back in 2010. I created 10 total - whacky SNL / MAD TV type characters - and for some reason everyone loved my "nerd" character the most; especially women. I was always a big fan of Jaleel White "Steve Urkel" growing up and even had the pleasure of meeting him in Baltimore, MD at Towson University - where I went to college. Anyways, "Marlo Lasker" was the shortest of the scripts and I knew I could get it made but... it got bigger... way bigger. I did another rewrite and added new characters - suddenly it took on a life of its own and I started the pursuit of raising the money and building a team to get the movie made.