But From Nothing Came Something: Jonathan, Just Because

But From Nothing Came Something: Jonathan, Just Because

When Kirsten Major and three friends decided to make a short film she had written, she asked if they could find some time to shoot in the next few days, even though that would mean taking time off from work. The four of them just looked at each other in the coffee shop and realized that, as a matter of fact, they were all free the very next day, and the next and every day after that for the foreseeable future. The only problem they expected to have was being able to work around the schedule of Joshua Helmin, a 26-year-old assistant managing editor at a magazine, whom Ms. Major hoped would star opposite Mr. Lehman in the 15-minute romantic film, Jonathan, Just Because. The plot for the film, Ms. Major said, is simple: two men who take a chance on each other. The inspiration is pretty straightforward. “Both characters are heartbroken,” she said. “They have no money, they don’t have a lot to give. Everyone’s a little desperate.”

But then Mr. Helmin also lost his job to cutbacks. The four friends took comfort in numbers, all the while watching certain critical markers go down: how many weeks were left of severance pay; how much was in their savings accounts. But they took even greater comfort in getting one another out of their apartments, where each had been napping, despairing or hip-hop dancing in increasingly lengthy expanses of time. They named themselves the W.P.A. Players and worked on the film with a budget of exactly zero dollars and zero cents. But from nothing came something: They lit one scene with a floor lamp from Ikea, persuaded a cafe manager in the East Village to let them shoot there free and took advantage of the city’s familiar glory for sets. Shooting the skyline from the Brooklyn promenade, Mr. Helmin said, “made me realize how lucky we are to be in New York City. I mean, ‘Gossip Girl’ used that shot several weeks in a row, and now it is ours.”

Susan Dominus wrote in The New York Times that:

To be an out-of-work artist in New York is to be part of a grand tradition, and that history no doubt helps fuel aspirants like Ms. Major and her friends, who might otherwise succumb to fear of failure. Some of the artwork that will come out of all this free time for creative types is probably painfully bad, and some may be masterpieces that the world would otherwise never have seen, but all of it will do something for the people who make it. “Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, the major prize of this film is that we did it and now we know we can,” said Mr. Koll. “Unemployment gave that to me.”

You can read more about the creation of this short film here.

But From Nothing Came Something: Jonathan, Just Because

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