Synopsis

Entertainment Today writes:
"A semi-musical romantic comedy about a guy who finally hooks up with his dream girl, only to encounter a problem, ahem, soiling himself whenever her body comes into contact with his.  Some very big laughs - especially the (double ahem) climactic song he composes for her - ensue, with a good measure of genuine sweetness."
- Pete Kavadlo
   
 
     
 
Premiere Magazine's Premiere LIVE Radio:
"A great new movie, Sensitive Johnson's a fun film to watch. Folks, when you get a chance, go out and look for it.  It is worth the search."
- Kent Shocknek, Host & Anchor, CBS News LA
   
             
 

The Opus writes
Sensitive Johnson Wins People’s Choice Award!

by Lorinne McKay-Swimmer

   
 

The votes are in and the people of Thunder Bay agree that their favourite film at the Bay Street Film Festival was Sensitive Johnson.

Sensitive Johnson is a romantic comedy about a musician, Scott Johnson, who lands a date with the girl of his dreams, but he gets so excited that the “gig” is over before the performance ever starts. Plagued by premature ejaculation whenever Scott and his new girlfriend get a little too close, the charming and popular singer/songwriter struggles to overcome the disastrous and humiliating sexual dysfunction. Sensitive Johnson is about overcoming inabilities, insecurities, and intimidations when things start to get sticky.

Having seen the film, I also agree that this is an awesome movie well deserving of the award. I would also go so far to say that this is also the most hilariously funny romantic comedy I have ever seen! The audience and I laughed heartily throughout the movie. Even from a technical point of view, this independent film deserves a salute. The acting was top notch and believable, the story was wonderfully and sensitively written, the cinematography, lighting, and editing was as good as anything you’d see from the large Hollywood studios for this film genre… it’s a brilliant piece of work. Cast and crew have done themselves proud.

When the two from Los Angeles were here for Thunder Bay’s Bay Street Film Festival, I had the great fortune to be able to interview Wayne Hackett, the film’s director, and actor Chris Valenti, who wrote the screenplay and the soundtrack, in addition to playing the lead role of Scott Johnson. Below are excerpts from that interview:

OPUS: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Director, Wayne Hackett: I’ve always my whole life enjoyed moving people… making them laugh, making them cry, you know, somehow getting the emotions out… and that’s the whole reason why I got into this business.

Actor/Writer/Musician, Chris Valenti: I have been living in L.A. for the past 10 years working as an actor, writer, and musician, but Sensitive Johnson is the first film that I wrote and produced. Having acted in several independent films and seeing friends making their own independent films gave me the courage to do it myself. I had a lot of fun acting in other films, taking on roles and other people’s creativity and imagination… and I still do, but I really wanted to tell my own story. I wanted to see if I could do it, and most importantly (said with a little chuckle), guarantee myself the lead role as an actor. Lots of other independent filmmakers do it… Woody Allen, Ed Burns, Matt Damon they write their own lead roles.

OPUS: What can entering films in a film festival do to help your career?

Wayne: The more people that see your film… the more people you meet... you never know… with every festival you enter you hope that you will hook up with someone who will help take your film to another level. The more it’s seen, the more word that gets out there (about the film), hopefully it will grow to be more successful… and hopefully the same will happen in your career as your name becomes known.

Chris: Maybe some people will write a poem, or paint a picture, but never want anyone to see it… they’ll keep it to themselves; but in film, if you’re gonna spend five years of your time, effort, focus, and several thousands of dollars to make your art, you’re gonna want to show it. So we wanna show it (the film) as much as possible… anywhere we can get a crowd of people together.

OPUS: If you could give one word of advice to other aspiring filmmakers, what would it be?

Wayne: Go for it. If you’ve got something that you wanna say or a story to tell, somehow find a way to do it, just don’t give up… ‘cause there is gonna be somebody out there that’s gonna want that story to be told as well… someone who has the money to help finance the film.

Chris: If you wanna become a filmmaker, I think it’s really important that you learn as much as possible about all aspects of it. Surround yourself with knowledgeable people, but if you are going to be the driving force, you have to know something about everything so that you can communicate with everyone (involved in the various aspects of the filmmaking process).

OPUS: How would a filmmaker go about getting money to make your film?

Wayne: Really, there is no one way. Mostly there is contacts, there is agents, there is friends…

Chris: …(If you just starting out) it’s not smart to try to get investors for a film that’s going to require a lot of high budget action shots and sequences. I financed my film mostly out of my own pocket, but I knew my story could be shot cheaply ‘cause it’s a simple story really... it’s a love story… a romantic comedy. It’s not high concept. What’s important is the interaction between people. We held fundraising parties to raise some money for the film, and the actors agreed to defer being paid until the film started making profits…

Wayne: …There are many different ways to find the money to make a film.
Chris: For me, I’m more of a creative personality and the business end of finding money for a film is not my strongest point, and it’s probably like that for most filmmakers. So it’s important to partner up with someone who’s strength is the business end of filmmaking and finding money.

OPUS: Sensitive Johnson had two issues addressed in the film… premature ejaculation and as well the film delecately touched on homophobia. While you see homophobia being addressed more and more in film today, it’s extremely rare to see films address premature ejaculation, and certainly no film that I know of, except yours, evolves around that subject. What on earth possessed you to write a film about premature ejaculation?

Chris: Well… yes it hadn’t been done. Uh… one thing that I’ve learned as an actor in Los Angeles is you have to something different to get attention, and um… really that’s the name of the game most of the time. So I thought if I went out and trashed my career before I started it (Wayne laughs in the background) with uh… starting these rumors and acting these roles about things that nobody would ever do to themselves… I thought I might be noticed that way and if I become my own laughing stock and people hear it… er uh… it was funny.

Wayne: (still laughing, knowing Chris is joking around)

Chris: It was a comedy idea. It was a skit. I had done stand up comedy before and I had written a song about premature ejaculation that I used in one of my acts… and people loved the song. So I decided to kinda expand on the song… I really wrote an entire film around a funny song.

OPUS: How do you feel the Bay Street Film Festival measures up to other film festivals that you’ve been to?

Wayne: I think it’s the friendliest we’ve been to.

Chris: This (festival) is great! This is different. It’s a community rallying for a community cause (referring to the charities the festival is supporting).

OPUS: Will you be returning to Thunder Bay for the festival in the future?

Wayne: ABSOLUTELY!

Chris: Yeh, we’d love to!

OPUS: We look forward to seeing you again then, and I can’t wait to see what film you will come up with next. Thank you for taking time for our interview.

Chris & Wayne: Thank you.

   
             
 

Anonymous E-mail:
"I was surfing around and finally came across your site after I picked up your script at a garage sale last weekend. (Chris's first screenplay sale apparently.) How wonderful to see an imperfect protagonist appear so lovable. I guess we've all got our own hamartias that we are wrestling with. What I loved about your script was that your hero is adulated by so many women, yet there is only one that drives him this absolutely wild, so wild that he can't control himself. I love the way the premature ejaculation mirrors the lack of control that he would probably feel with his sensitive heart in someone else's hands. Beautiful!!!! I think the fervor with which he attacks the problem is absolutely endearing."

   
             
 

Random, Post-Screening Comments -

"This movie is very inspiring because it's so original. And despite the subject matter, it has a fresh innocence that is a lot of fun."

"Likable characters. A lot of smiles with some BIG laughs - especially the doctor scenes and the bachelor party scene. The training scene and the pizza guy scene were really funny too."

"I laughed every time he "pre"-ed and loved his facial expressions."

"Great scene at the doctors office. Great song lyrics. The Jamie character was hilarious."

"Very entertaining, sweet, real, & funny. The characters were all strong. I really cared about them. I liked the relationship between the three friends"

"I
loved the basketball scene.. the whole thing was a lot of fun to watch. There were some really touching moments with Scott and Jen's great chemistry and some really hysterical stuff.."

"A lot of moments made me laugh. Especially the scenes that were embarrassing for Sensitive Johnson. I also really liked the way the credits rolled and included the crew in the closing footage. The "First Wife" song closes the movie out very well."

"The Starbucks scene was hilarious. The exercise scene was also very funny."

"The first time he came early was pretty hilarious. The scene in the doctor's office was pretty funny too."

"Great premise. Very appealing characters. Good chemistry. Funny. It's a movie who's time has come. Already."

"Chris made me laugh. I loved the wedding scene with Jamie and the priest in the background."

"Great performances by the Scott and the Mike characters. I loved the chasing of the car from the 'wrong Starbucks'; the use of the word 'dingleberry'; and Mike giving advise while naked."

"The whole situation made me laugh. Other than the 'premie' aspect, I totally understand and relate."

"Realism. A story of college buddies. And a weird story at that. I could see me and my college buddies having something weird like this happen."

"Definitely produce the soundtrack! Loved the songs! Very entertaining. The way the music drives the story is very original, effective, & fun."

"I loved how the music adds to the humor. Also the physical comedy. There's too many to list."

"The lead actresses are hot! You get that perk plus acting that feels real - natural - with all the awkward silences and genuine emotion. Humor."