Joel Moss Levinson is terrified to make a movie.
The married father of two sons, ages 5 and 3, is more frightened of what will happen if he does not make that film.
“I want them to grow up with a dad that took a shot at (his) dream,” the Yellow Springs resident said. “I don’t want them to grow up with a dad who never tried.”
Levinson said making movies with his older brother, Stephen, a writer for the Tonight Show, is what he is meant to do.
The Dayton natives recently launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for their first full-length movie project, "Boy Band: The (Heart)throb Story.”
THE BAND AND THE BROS
The Levinson Brothers
The musical comedy to be filmed and edited in Dayton will tell the story of (Heart)throb, a boy band whose members aren’t exactly boys anymore.
“They are older, balder and fatter, but they are still living and working like teenage boys,” Joel said.
A heart symbol is used in the fictional band’s name in place of the word "heart."
The Levinson Brothers, sons of Dayton Daily News reporter Meredith Moss and retired attorney James Levinson, have been making art for decades.
The have made several online commercials and videos together and independently. The brothers and partner Rob Kutner released the comedy album “2776” in 2014.
That album includes a cast of well-known artists, including Ashanti, Neko Case, Bobcat Goldthwait, Ira Glass and Dick Cavett.
JUMPING OFF POINT
Joel Levinson has been writing comedy and making videos professionally for about eight years.
He said it is his time to leap.
“The only way I am going to make a movie is to make a movie,” the 35-year-old said. “Either it will be good and it will launch our careers in a new direction, or it won’t be and I will be at the drawing board.”
THE INVESTMENT IN DREAM
Co-written by the brothers, the film will cost about $125,000 to make and will be filmed in downtown Dayton, Kettering and Yellow Springs during a two-week period starting Oct. 15.
Stephen will come to Dayton during his break from the Tonight Show.
Joel said it will take about six months to edit, and will be complete by next summer so it can be submitted for inclusion in film festivals.
It will employ about 25 people as actors and crew members.
WHY FILM IN DAYTON?
The Levinson Brothers
Joel said Dayton is the ideal place for his quirky movie for several reasons:
- He wants to be here.
- There is a creative energy in Dayton.
- There is a difference between a movie made in Dayton by a Daytonian and one that simply uses Dayton as a backdrop.
“It is easier to push boundaries in Dayton than in New York or LA, where they already know what they want,” he said. “Every extra dollar we have will make this movie better and (the money) is going to be in Dayton.”
Levinson said he is happy to be making a movie with his brother, particularly if the movie is a successful.
“It just the greatest possible things that a little brother can ask for,” Levinson said. “It means that we can hang out and try to make each other laugh and do it day after day after day.”