Wolf Whitman is a finalist in a song-writing contest. He rents a condo to have peace and quite for the weekend to write, before submitting the final entry. The landlord, Jenn, tags along to help with the condo. In reality she’s escaping a relationship. Along the way Wolf gets anything but a quiet weekend. From being seduced by swingers, to being punched by a scorned ex, and having to care for a stoned naked dude, he is ready to quit….because who cares about a hip hop song written by an older white guy, anyway?
Rhymes With Wolf is an indie film written by Martin Burke and Ivo Raza. Combining their love of comedy, witty banter and movies, they decided to co-write and co-make films. Their first project was a short film that did very well on the festival circuit. Rhymes With Wolf is their first feature film.
Q: What brought you two together?
MB: Bad dad jokes.
IR: And Internet.
IR: And Internet.
IR: Martin and I run a weekly writers group via Skype.
MB: We have writers from US, Canada and Australia.
IR: So we spent several years reading each other’s stuff.
MB: And one day we decided to collaborate.
Q: What was your first collaboration?
IR: A short film, 17 Hours In Bed. Martin was in it.
MB: You didn’t give me a speaking role.
IR: I didn’t know you wanted to act. You had to clarify your goal.
MB: We loved the process and the short did very well, so we decided to make a feature.
Q: Tell us about Rhymes With Wolf.
MB: It’s a comedy that breaks all kinds of rules.
IR: It’s fun.
MB: To us it is.
IR: If it’s fun to us, we hope it will be to viewers.
Q: What is the film about?
MB: It’s about a mature Caucasian man, who loves hip hop. He enters a song writing contest and to his surprise gets into the final round.
IR: But he must present it in person, so he’s reluctant about it and basically wants to quit all along.
MB: Plus he lies about his age.
IR: But the curiosity of “what if” drives him.
MB: Even though along the way he gets into a variety of situations that don’t sit well with him, as he is rather reserved.
Q: You have a reluctant hero?
IR: Yes. Most Hollywood films have these big goals and they are very determined because if they don’t get the (girl/villain/money/monster/etc.) the world will end.
MB: We find that a bit silly.
IR: Our hero is reluctant and he could basically quit without much repercussions.
MB: Except that the repercussion is not living his life, fully.
IR: So it is kind of big,
MB: Thoreau said “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
IR: And who wants that?
MB: It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, really.
Q: You quote Brecht, Thoreau, Shakespeare, Zizek…isn’t this too hi-brow for a zany comedy?
IR: Only if you think your audience is dim.
MB: There’s not much hi-brow stuff in this film. We aim to offend everyone.
IR: But in a sweet way. Not rude.
Q: So it’s about stripping the masks we put on?
IR: Just like Bergman’s Persona, only not serious and not as smart, and without penis shots.
MB: We do have a gag about erections, remember?
IR: Yes we do. But no penis shots.
MB: Maybe just one.
Q: You break the fourth wall a lot.
IR: It’s got Brechtian elements with the camera turning on the film production itself.
MB: We love the fact that some of the characters address the audience directly.
IR: It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone.
MB: Just like we’re doing with this project.
Ivo is an award-winning director and screenwriter. His films and music videos have screened at dozens of film festivals around the country and internationally including Dances With Films, Rome, Manhattan, Willifest, HollyShorts, Seattle film festivals and many others. His screenplays have been finalists at Scriptapalooza, Screencraft and Oaxaca. He has directed spots and content for Disney, Colgate, Benefit Cosmetics, and various other brands. Ivo started his career in New York writing copy for brands such as Gevalia Coffee and Sam Adams Beer. His love of film started with still photography, which combined with a passion for storytelling brought him to moving images. When it comes to film, he believes in tools not rules, and shares his POV as a contributor at Script Magazine. Legendary film blog Cinephilia recently named him one of the directors to watch.
Martin is an award-winning screenwriter and actor. He has written seven feature length screenplays, several short stories, many comedy sketches, an original TV pilot and TV spec script. His original screenplay “Even Adam” took second place in the Harold Crain screenwriting competition. His spec for “The Big Bang Theory” made it to the second round of the Austin Film Festival. He is currently featured in American Improv Theatre’s sketch show “Life, Love and Death in the Metasphere”. He has performed improv at BATS Improv, A.I.T., StageWerks and various other venues.
He studied Improv and Acting at Second City, First Take Acting School, Bay Area Acting School, Bay Area Theatre Sports, San Jose State and American Improv Theatre. His writing education includes UCLA, San Jose State, Second City and various writing classes (Robert McKee’s Story, John Truby’s Structure, Steve Kaplan’s Comedy, David Freeman’s Beyond Structure.)
Like many modern partnerships, Ivo and Martin’s started online at a UCLA professional screenwriting program. Off the bat, Ivo and Martin were polar opposites and really didn’t like each other that much. However, their mutual respect grew to a point that they continued tearing each other’s work apart by forming a writers group. Writers have come and gone but somehow Ivo and Martin stayed in the group and realized that their differences complemented each other. In the fall of 2011, they started their first collaboration “17 Hours In Bed”, a short film Ivo directed with Martin in a supporting role. Over the next few years Ivo and Martin brainstormed and co-wrote several scripts, until they decided it was time to get behind and in-front of the camera again. What started in the summer of 2014 as a brainstorming session and following countless Skype calls, emails, Google docs, text messages, and personal visits (mostly Martin), turned into dozens of drafts and polishes. Eventually they locked script on “Rhymes With Wolf”, their first feature length collaboration. We hope you love the story and premise, and help us bring it to the screen.
Like all indie film productions we need funding. So if you feel generous, please contribute. Thanks!