An actor from Central Florida makes an indie film in New York City with the help of a fellow Floridian
In New York City, Orlando actor Adrienne Lovette and The Garage Productions have just wrapped up the filming of their independent drama, When I’m With You. This powerful story was written and co-produced by Adrienne.
When I’m With You is set in New York City, and it focuses on Lea Costa (portrayed by Adrienne), an insecure, overweight young woman who is given charge of her angry, young, homophobic brother Evan (portrayed by Anthony Pyatt, Jr, who recently relocated to NYC from Orlando) during a spree of brutal hate crimes targeting gay men in the city. Lea attempts to save her family by uniting her brother with her gay best friend Logan (Evan Price).
Adrienne graduated from the magnet program at Dr. Phillips High School in 2001. After high school, she studied at Valencia College, appearing in Oedipus Rex and Noises Off. She was Jan in Grease with Joey Fatone under the direction of Karen Rugerio, and like many Orlando actors, she’s also performed at Walt Disney World.
During her time in Orlando, Adrienne developed an interest in directing. “I think she has a way with actors, strong vision, and a real gift as a director,” says Julia Gagne, former department chair of the Valencia College Theatre Department. “Working with Adrienne is a delight: she is completely dedicated to any project on which she works.”
Adrienne moved to New York to pursue training at Circle in the Square Theatre School, and she graduated under the Musical Theatre track in 2007. Afterwards, Adrienne came back to Central Florida, directing several shows for Tim Hanes and Orlando Youth Theatre. In 2013, Adrienne appeared in Laurie Collier’s film, Sunlight, Jr , which was filmed on location in Clearwater. In the film she worked with Hollywood A-list actors Naomi Watts, Matt Dillon,and Norman Reedus, as well as several Florida actors including Beth Marshall.
While directing OYT’s 2011 production of Spring Awakening, Adrienne met Anthony Pyatt, Jr. At the time, Anthony was in the Greater Orlando Actors Theatre production of the same show. “He came to see our show twice as a fan. I love him for that.”
A few years later, Anthony followed in Adrienne’s footsteps, making the move from Orlando to New York to attend Circle in the Square. “Adrienne is a dream to work with,” Says Anthony. “She is incredibly professional, talented, and above all, a good person. There are very few people I can say made me feel as safe in this kind of process as she has.”
Last year, The Garage Productions raised $2,000 to put toward its film through Indigogo.com, which fell short of their original goal. “We probably launched our Indiegogo campaign at the worst time of year. It was the Christmas season, and it’s one of the hardest times of the year to ask for money,” says Adrienne, who admits that fundraising isn’t her strength. The rest of the film was financed through a combination of contributions from a private investor and from Adrienne’s own pocket.
“I knew I would have to prove to people that I was capable. Hopefully when this film is done, it will be proof enough and we can get some solid investors for the next film,” says Adrienne. “I did what I had to do to make this film. I have a lot of people who believed in me, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. Everyone involved worked for pennies purely because they believed in the project. That means the world to me! I am beyond proud and lucky to have had such an incredible cast and crew.”
Filming for When I’m With You wrapped in late April. After post-production is complete, Adrienne’s focus will shift to launching the film in the festival circuit. “I absolutely love film festivals. They’re a great platform… the director and DP of the film have had their films circulating in the festival world and they were able to obtain distribution because of it. We want to submit to festivals this fall and hopefully get into the 2015 film festival circuit.”
To view the trailer and see all the latest news on the film, please visit www.whenimwithyou.com.
Chatting with Anthony Pyatt, Jr
Adrienne’s co-star Anthony Pyatt, Jr is a familiar face to Central Florida theatergoers; when In The Wings staged its Appalachian-themed Hamlet in 2012, he was the title character. He was also in Carbon Productions’ Mysterious Skin, Aradhana Tiwari’s Way Of The Cards, Penguin Point Productions’ Anne Frank Superstar & The Purpose of the Moon, and many other shows.
Nicole: I see you on Facebook and it looks like you’re having a great time in New York. How does it feel to have your own IMDB page and your first principal role in an indie film?
Anthony: It feels like a step in the right direction. Before setting foot in New York, the idea of being a part of the industry that I could only view through a screen seemed impossible. After getting my feet wet and having tangible possibilities open up in front of me, I feel more confident about making my aspirations a reality.
I absolutely love movies. It makes me geek at the idea of having an IMDB page! And furthermore, it is a fantastic feeling to do, for the first time, what I believe is to be my life-long passion. The experience lives up to my expectations, and I’m ready to do so much more.
N: Adrienne wrote and co-produced When I’m With You. What was it like to perform opposite the author of the film?
A: Adrienne is a dream to work with. She is incredibly professional, talented, and is above all a good person. There are very few people I can say made me feel as safe in this kind of process as she has. I would work with her again and again, given the opportunity. That woman is going places, no doubt about it.
N: I see you’re also involved in a cycle of plays called Death (And Straight Boys). Can you tell us about the project?
A: Death (And Straight Boys) is so cool. It’s a five-play cycle loosely structured around what is known as the Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the first play, Gage-ing Noel, I am Noel (pronounced like Christmas), a comic book illustrator and best friend of the protagonist/anti-hero Ben. In the course of the plot, their world gets turned upside down when Noel discovers he has the power to become a real superhero. But not all is as it seems!
I landed this project through networking, same as with When I’m With You. The author of Death (And Straight Boys), Cameron Cole, is a mutual friend of Adrienne’s, and after seeing our promo trailer for When I’m With You, he called me in to read for the play. Cameron also joined us one day to be an extra for a club scene in the film.
Also, more Florida connections: after reading the script, I recommended Annie McCoy (Doctor Phillips High School Alum and fellow Circle In The Square Theatre School alum) to read for a key character in Gage-ing Noel. She went in and nailed that audition! I’m really excited to be working with Annie for the first time out of Florida. The workshops of the first and second plays have a weeklong run in an Off-Off Broadway venue in lower Manhattan. At this moment, I’m a potential candidate for key roles in the third, fourth, and fifth installments, which shall be determined at a later date.
N: What would you like to say to the folks back home?
A: For what strides I have made so far, I have many people to thank for it. The sense of community from Florida is quite essential for me personally, even though I’m over a thousand miles away.