With G.I. Joes patrolling and a toy ambulance sounding an alarm, at five years old, Lisandro Boccacci knew how to set an imaginative scene for his backyard productions. Now as a film studies senior, Boccacci is not only creating more elaborate film scenes, but also is setting the stage for his own success in the film industry.
Last summer, Boccacci was selected for an elite Taliesin Nexus film program in Los Angeles. The Liberty Lab for Film is an advanced program for filmmakers, screenwriters and producers. From Paul Guay (the co-writer of Liar Liar) to Daniel Knauf (the executive producer of NBC’s The Blacklist), seasoned film professionals share their business acumen and creative guidance at the workshop.
“The whole idea behind it was the question how do you pitch to studios? How do you pitch your story so somebody says ‘Yeah, I like your idea,’” Boccacci said?
Equipped with their own short film ideas, the students learned to devise the perfect pitch. “We all got a turn to pitch in front of industry screen writers,” he said.
“We were all nervous about it because they looked like they were ready to tear us apart.”
Originally, Boccacci applied for a Taliesin Nexus grant to shoot a film, but instead, they suggested he apply for the film program. What he didn’t know was they simply wanted to meet him in person. The Taliesin Nexus team saw Boccacci’s work and said, “We love your work. It’s excellent, and we want to go forward with your ideas and provide a grant to shoot a short film in LA,” Boccacci said.
This summer, Boccacci will bring to life his short story. The program was “designed for liberty thinkers or free-minded thinkers,” he said. “The films need to be themed with that in mind.” Boccacci’s film asks the question – What would happen if the government controlled everything? The story begins in a confined village living in the past, but one of the villagers escapes to discover the real futuristic world. “The government made these townspeople think they were in a different era, and they are being controlled and contained by the outside forces,” he explained. Boccacci will serve as the film’s director, and Taliesin Nexus writers will begin the rewrite process this month.
Poised behind his father’s cumbersome VHS camera, Boccacci fell in love with directing, and because he was on his own, he learned to produce and write too. “I can take a production from concept through development to the final package,” he said. But transforming his childhood hobby into a promising career was daunting. “It just seemed that for a kid in my situation, it was impossible to get there,” he said. “But that thought never stopped me from trying.”