I just got this from my friend Tze Chun. It looks like a good opportunity for the right kid. I remember how hard it was trying to find kids to audition for “The Motel.” If you have any nieces, nephews, etc., encourage them to try out. It’s an educational experience that can’t be found anywhere else. I also remember how much trouble I had convincing Chinese parents that this was actually a good thing for them to do instead of sending their kids to math camp. I think this could be a major feature film in the Indie world. Support Asian American film!
INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILM
Audition Dates: May and June 2008
Shoot: July / August 2008
Location: New York City (and Boston for 3 leads)
Writer-Director: Tze Chun
Producer: Mynette Louie
SYNOPSIS: Two young children are left to fend for themselves when their mother is arrested for unwittingly taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme. Based on Tze Chun’s own award-winning short film, “Windowbreaker,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, “The Kids Are Alright” is a drama about the influence of an adult world on children, the immigrant mentality, and shortcuts to the American dream. For more info, visit http://www.tkaa-movie.com.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Electronic submissions only. Email headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
** CHINESE ROLES: **
[TINA CHENG] Girl, 5-9, Chinese American: Looks up to her brother. Very talkative around people she knows, shy around people she doesn’t. Speaks fluent English.
[ELAINE CHENG] Female, 30-35, Chinese: A determined single mother. Tenacious. Won’t take no for an answer. Immigrated 12 years ago from Hong Kong. Speaks with a slight Chinese accent. Speaks fluent Cantonese with no accent. Is hard on her kids at times, but does everything for them. A survivor.
[MICHAEL LEE] Male, 40s-50s, Chinese: A sweet businessman. He’s active in the community and always trying to find ways to help people. Probably immigrated from Hong Kong, China, or Taiwan in his twenties. He’s the kind of guy who started with nothing and built his business brick-by-brick.
[CHARLES CHENG] Male, 30s, Chinese: Raymond and Tina’s absentee father. He lives in Hong Kong, and communicates with the kids long-distance. He’s got a temper. Speaks fluent Cantonese with no accent.
[DORIS] Female, 50s, Chinese: Elaine’s mother-in-law. Used to a comfortable life. Is protective of her grandchildren, and doesn’t think Elaine’s a good influence. Speaks fluent Cantonese with no accent.
[GREAT GRANDPA] Male, 70s, Chinese: Raymond and Tina’s great-grandpa. He’s thin, kind, and has Alzheimer’s. He speaks very little English. He spends most of his life in his tiny Chinatown apartment, living in the past. Ability to speak Taishan or Fukian dialect a plus.
[LINDA GAU] Female, 50s, Chinese: Linda is down-to-earth and pragmatic. She wants what’s best for her kids, but sometimes has trouble saying no. She’s seen a lot in her life, and she always approaches personal and business interactions with a healthy bit of distrust.
[SUSAN GAU] Female, mid-late 20s, Chinese American: Susan and her mother live in Castle Square, the Chinatown projects. She went to local college, got married, and has a young child. She has bills to pay and wants to make money very very quickly. She’s a bit more naïve about the way the world works.
[NANCY] Female, late 30s-40s, Chinese: One of Elaine’s co-workers in the pyramid scheme. High-strung. Competitive.
[ROSEMARY] Female, 40s, Chinese: One of Elaine’s co-workers in the pyramid scheme. A smart, savvy, businesswoman. Dresses and acts very Chinese, but able to work with Americans.
[MRS. CHOW] Female, 50s, Chinese: New immigrant to the US. Came over to be with her son, who works in finance. Not happy with the weather and lifestyle in the US. Constantly bickering with her husband. Speaks fluent Mandarin or Cantonese with a Mandarin accent.
[MR. CHOW] Male, 50s, Chinese: New immigrant to the US. More reasonable than his wife. Speaks fluent Mandarin or Cantonese with a Mandarin accent.
[FELICIA] Female, 20s-40s, Chinese: Works as a real estate broker. The kind that is constantly showing houses but never selling or renting anything. We get the feeling she’s just trying to get out of the house. (We are looking for a character actor here, someone compelling and quirky, who we can get to know in just one short scene. We are less concerned with a specific physical ‘type.’)
** NON-ASIAN ROLES: **
[DAN KRAUSE] Male, 30s, Caucasian: Good-looking, likeable. Always trying to do the right thing, but has an opportunistic side. He’s overworked at his desk job at the Department of Social Services.
[ROB THE SALESMAN] Male, late 30s-40s, Caucasian: Rob is charismatic, quick-thinking. He can pour his heart into a presentation. He’s good one-on-one or in front of an audience. Slight Boston accent.
[STAN TORRES] Male, 20s-30s, Latino: The police officer who plays bad cop to McCarthy’s good cop routine.
[MRS. CUTTER] Female, early 30s, Caucasian: A sweet suburban wife who has two kids, a loving husband.
[LUCY WHITE] Female, late 20s-early 40s, Caucasian: A housewife who’s just starting to get into pyramid schemes. She’s sixth-generation American. Very nice, but somewhat naïve seeming. (We are looking for a character actor here, someone compelling and quirky, who we can get to know in just one short scene. We are less concerned with a specific physical ‘type.’)
[MCCARTHY] Male, 40s-early 50s, Caucasian: A seasoned police officer used to working in plainclothes. He’s street smart. His rough-and-tumble appearance is tempered by a paternal side. He’s the family man who happens to have a tough job that’s made him tough. Boston accent.
[BRUCE WILSON] Male, 40, Caucasian: A tough survivor. He’s participated, promoted, and been burnt by dozens and dozens of business opportunities, but he’s always up for the next one.
[TONYA FIELDING] Female, 30s-50s, any ethnicity: A very intelligent public defender. Not easily intimidated. Wears power-suits. At home she could be a mom, a single woman, we don’t know. At work, she’s all business.
[CORNIGAN] Male, 30s, African American: A social worker. Nice, with a great smile.
[WOMAN] Female, 30s, Caucasian: A pretty brunette with a short haircut. She usually works behind a desk at the federal trade commission.
[POLICE WOMAN] Female, 30s-40s: A tough-looking police officer. She’s got short hair, a square jaw, and broad shoulders.
[GIRL #1 and #2] Girls, 7-11, Caucasian: These two are best friends or sisters.
[BLOND KID] Boy, 6-10, Caucasian: A cute, confident kid.
[STORE MANAGER] Male, 20s, any ethnicity: A not-too-nice store manager who berates Elaine for leaving her kids at a toy store for a couple hours. Ability to do a Boston accent a plus.
[TELLER] Female, 20s-30s, any ethnicity: A bank teller.
[WAITRESS] Female, 20s-50s, Caucasian: A waitress.
** ADDITIONAL SPEAKING ROLES (unpaid): **
Operator (voice only)
Teen Stockboy (drugstore)
Checkout Lady (drugstore)
Young Woman Jogging
Hot Dog Guy
** EXTRAS (unpaid): **
Tony, 22, Asian
Black, white, hispanic, Asian kids
Kyle, 6, white
Tania, 7, white
Kyle Cardellini, 50, white
Boys, ages 8-10, white
Old Chinese couple
Young Chinese man
Young black man in suit
Young hispanic couple
Phil, 40, white
4 social service employees
Female sheriff, white
2-3 movers, male, Asian
Mother/father + 10-yr-old son, white
2 black kids, 7-11
Pedestrians at Fanueil Hall
Punks, hoodlums, bums in Boston sts
Use bystanders present on shoot day
ABOUT THE FILM:
LOGLINE: Two young children are left to fend for themselves when their mother is arrested for unwittingly taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme.
SYNOPSIS: After being evicted from their home, the Cheng family finds that times are tighter than ever. Hardworking single mom and recent Boston transplant ELAINE (35) tries desperately to find the means to support her young children, RAYMOND (10) and TINA (6). They move illegally into a model apartment in an unfinished building, but try to maintain a normal life. While Elaine juggles a number of jobs, Raymond and Tina become latch-key kids, taking care of themselves and finding amusement in building childish inventions. When Elaine is arrested for unwittingly taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme, things take a turn for the worse. Nobody knows the kids are home alone, and they are left to fend for themselves. Without any communication from their mother, little Raymond hatches a plan — to take the long trek from the suburbs to downtown Boston, withdraw his family’s life savings from the bank, start a business selling his inventions, and take care of his sister.
Based on Tze Chun’s own award-winning short film, Windowbreaker, which screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, The Kids Are Alright is a drama about the influence of an adult world on children, the immigrant mentality, and shortcuts to the American dream.
SHOOT DATES: July /August 2008
RUNTIME: 100 min.