“GET A JOB” – a Very FUNNY, full length HAWAII Motion Picture
Article written by C.T. Rider
“GET A JOB” is an amazing movie. It was almost a year ago in late January 2011 when I first saw this highly enjoyable, comedy film. It was shot on Maui, Hawaii by a MAUI film production company on a miracle, low budget of only $200,000 plus a lot of freebie services donated by Maui people and companies. I was staggered! Five to ten million dollars are normally spent to produce a “low budget,” quality, independent film like this. And to make it really amazing it was the FIRST film from a first time Director, the wonderful Brian Kohne who also wrote the script, and it was produced by the very special and talented Stefan Schaefer.
After 22 years of living in Hawaii and being a long time, established media professional, This was the first time I had ever seen an accurate portrayal in a movie of THE REAL HAWAII – and THE REAL MAUI. The film is really, really FUNNY and true. The cinematography is astounding, the story and dialogue are special, and the soundtrack music is great. I was blown away!
I came with two friends and didn’t know what to expect when we walked into Maui’s Iao Theater to see the movie. Man, was I surprised. The three of us and the entire audience couldn’t stop laughing from the beginning to the end of the movie. It was sensational. Over 2600 people attended 13 screenings of the film over the weekend at the Iao Theater.
Hats off to Brian the Director and Stefan the Producer! Brian put his soul in the movie. He sacrificed and put everything on the line to make this film and propel it to such success. Brian wrote me, “This special window has opened for our movie and how vital it is to climb through with humor, grace, and determination.”
Many people in Hawaii, the U.S., and around the world are unemployed and looking for work. So here’s what the movie is about: A job counselor at an employment agency on Maui tries to help GET A JOB for a sweet but incorrigibly funny wild man, who means well but “may not be totally all there,” who has never had a job in his life. But in the end he turns out to be highly successful in something great and totally unexpected. Some outrageously funny things happen along the way. “No Experience? No Education? No Problem! Get A Job.”
Starting in May 2011, Brian went on the road with the movie to many film festivals in the U.S. and internationally, often taking Get A Job’s comedy actor Eric Gilliom with him. In 2011, GET A JOB won the equivalent of “Best Film” and won “Best Comedy Film” at several film festivals and was nominated for “Best Film” at a European film festival.
In May 2011, GET A JOB won “Best Hawaiian Feature,” and the top prize as “Audience Choice Feature” at the 2011 Big Island Film Festival. “Get A Job” was re-screened as the “Best Of Fest” film following a concert at the film festival by Hawaii’s beloved Henry Kapono.
It won “Best Comedy” in June at the 2011 Detroit Windsor International Film Festival in Detroit, Michigan.
In July GET A JOB won the prestigious “Jury Award” at the 2011 Las Vegas Film Festival. The “Jury Award” is akin to runner-up for best of show (Grand Jury Award), an impressive feat considering it was one of over 1000 films submitted for consideration.
It won “Best Comedy” in July at the 2011 Ventura Film Festival, in California.
GET A JOB made its European Premiere in October at the 2011 Marbella Film Festival in Marbella, Spain where it was nominated for “Best Film.”
The Oahu Premiere of “Get A Job” ran for two nights in August in the “Pride Of The Pacific” the Historic Hawaii Theatre, in Honolulu.
The acting in GET A JOB is a wonderful surprise:
Willie K. does phenomenal acting in a lead, very straight, serious role with a big heart. He plays as a job counselor in a very funny situation. Willie’s role is the backbone and foundation of the film and holds it together. Fascinating that as a Hawaiian great rock singer (and an opera singer, too) and a brilliant guitarist, that this local icon rock musician Willie K. could play such a highly believable, straight role that anchors this special movie.
Eric Gilliom is a talented, well-known statewide musician, who often plays music with Willie K. in the duo the “Barefoot Natives.” In GET A JOB, Eric acts in the other lead role: the lovable local man-child Merton. Eric plays a great, unusual comedy role – almost like a modern Hawaiian version of the unique, great, super crazy, wacky, comedian Jerry Lewis of long ago who was the crazy sidekick of his famous straight man (and beloved singer) Dean Martin. (“Martin and Lewis” was a great, historic team in comedy films in the 1950s). Eric Gilliom has a funny yet challenging, tough, risky, edgy, role to play because if he acted a little more over the edge and crazier for a second or two more in many scenes it would make the film not funny, unbelievable, and ruin it. But Eric plays it “just right” with wonderful style. Throw in hilarious turns from Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, Carolyn Omine, Kathy Collins, and Henry Kapono - and this movie is the first-ever laugh out loud comedy hit from Hawaii. And Brian the Director made sure the film was edited tight. So this film works – and really well. It’s funny. This movie made film history for Maui and all of Hawaii.
After the end of the movie when the Director Brian Kohne was on stage taking questions, I enthusiastically told him from the back of the theater “what a masterpiece” the film is and asked how did he ever produce it on little Maui and on what kind of budget? He was so cool. Brian was very transparent and said it took him two years to write the script and he totally, radically changed it in several incarnations. (Often a writer is fortunate to write and complete a finished screenplay in two years). Brian said the film cost around $200,000 to make. Several months later he told me the contributed services were very generous from the Maui community and businesses and added approximately $600,000 in value to the production of the film, making the movie closer to $800,000 in real and donated production costs. $800K is peanuts for making this motion picture – an absolute miracle that this movie was ever made and for next to nothing.
But over the next few months after getting to better know Brian the director and Stefan the producer, it became apparent WHY the film had come out so well. Brian with his love and passion and good will and feelings kept the people excited who were working on the film. Brian created a great actors ensemble and a film production team that were passionate and loved doing the movie and believed and had fun. And Stefan brought to Maui a great camera crew from New York that shot the film for a song on exquisite, high definition video with love and great skill. The movie is gorgeous and fun to watch.
Now our wonderful island Maui, Hawaii – a beautiful gem of the Pacific and the planet – has actually started Maui’s and the state of Hawaii’s truly local motion picture industry. There are many fascinating stories to tell and produce on film about Hawaii and the island of Maui. This is Exciting and Fun and brings a great new industry with a real future to Maui.