Mark Myers did three things for the first time for a documentary called Delivery, ironically enough.
Not only did he have a film to deliver and a winning stand-up routine – he’d never done it before and was notoriously shy –he was expecting his first child.
The former veejay’s experience in television smoothed the path for him to a degree but unexpected elements emerged to up the ante on these self-imposed challenges.
Myers’ doc follows his sojourn into fatherhood, comedy performance and film-making with all the obstacles you might imagine in bracing, intimate and provocative ways. Delivery is in theaters and will be available on VOD Sept. 30.
You made it clear that you were anxious and had real doubts about achieving all your goals for the film, and we have to take you at face value. So I was surprised when you succeeded. Were you?
I was definitely surprised that I succeeded, because leading up to it I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.
But I took it seriously, and wrote and rewrote my material, bounced it off friends, tried to cut it down and make it lean, and even tried to have connectors between jokes – so I knew that getting a laugh was a possibility.
I must say though, that getting a laugh was shocking, it threw me off. You anticipate the joke working, but when it does and you hear a laugh for the first time, it’s a rush in a punch-to-the-face kinda way.
Having said that, when people ask how I did, I usually say that it went as bad as it could and as good as it could.
Stand-up and childbirth and movie making have nothing in common, but they were clearly united in this one passionate obsession. Why?
I believe that all of the film’s elements and themes of life, death, stand up and movie making were united because the film was so personal.
Those elements were so intertwined in my life at the time, that having me at the center of the doc made it makes sense and fit together.
Plus, comedians often draw from their personal experiences, and examine and expose themselves in a way that we’re not used to doing ourselves, and that’s what I tried to do with my routine, and this film.
This film is still hard for me to define, but I feel like it did come together, and what I took most away from making it is the idea of trying and persistence.
Comedians often said that if you want to do stand up, you have to do it over and over and over again, just to get decent at it. I look at fatherhood in the same way.
Having a kid makes you a dad, but it doesn’t make you a good one – you have to work at it over time. As for making the movie, the same thing applies. It’s relatively easy to start something, but to see it all the way to the end is the hard part.
Delivery’s an intimate slice of life with four friends and a woman. That’s the heart of the film, and it’s the best. Did you see it that way, or were you expecting it to be something else?
I expected it to be a funny and emotional film following four friends trying to do stand up for the first time before the birth of my first kid but beyond that, I didn’t know.
When I decided to make the film I wasn’t sure who those four friends were going to be so when Sean came on board, and we discovered that his father was dying of cancer, which changed the direction and tone of the film.
I was becoming a dad, and he was losing one that he barely knew. So that was highly unexpected.
And I had a feeling that there would be emotional and humorous moments between my wife and me, but to what extent, I had no clue.
Each of you faces moments of truth, major stuff and in a short period of time. Did it feel pretty organic or just plain lucky to you?
It felt very organic as far my story was concerned – having a kid, making a movie, and trying stand up in a constructed kinda way.
However, with respect to Sean’s storyline with his dad, it was tragic luck – the worst kind. If you were writing a fictional film, you would have written that in, but when it happens in real life, and someone is actually losing their father to cancer, it’s “lucky” for your film, but extremely sad for everyone involved.
What was most organic was the idea of allowing the film to tell me what it was or should be.
Sean’s storyline didn’t exist when we started rolling, but I tried to let the story flow naturally rather than down pre-conceived paths I had created.
Delivery has great production values. Coming from TV you had a lot of talent to draw from for inspiration. Would you have tried it without all these wonderful resources?
I wanted to the film to have as much production value as possible, because I knew that based on our low budget and skeleton crew it would inherently have a certain raw look and style.
So I would hate to say I wouldn’t have done it without these resources, because I would, but it was my intention from the beginning to make it look as good as it could, and feel like a doc that you’d watch in a theatre or on iTunes or Netflix.
I’m assuming baby Zach is your new passion, but as far as movie making, what’s in your future?
Zach is my new and ongoing passion, and I love it. He is an amazing kid. And I’m also an expectant dad again, only 3 weeks until my wife’s due date :).
As far as movie making, I have another feature-length documentary idea that I’d love to do, but it’s a daunting one. I also have a couple of feature film ideas.
I feel like making a really good short film might be my next challenge, as that can be a good way to break into the industry and get noticed… unless of course Delivery does that for me :)