He has had to do interviews, track the star’s appearances in red carpet and other events, shoot supporting scenes in the movie—all the while trying to survive by taking in unrelated video production projects. Fortunately, he has “lifelong friends” who back him up, friends who have been his “life support” throughout his journey. But even friendships can only go so far.
To Smith, the devastating loss was compounded by disillusionment in not knowing why. Resolving that never again will he allow “people to go through what my [Smith’s] father went through” he entered the world of medicine and never looked back.
Leon G. Smith studied at New York University, then Yale then Georgetown University and even interned at Harvard. The brilliant medical student was diligent and his hard work was recognized. At the day of his graduation, he “took more awards than any student.” He describes this day as the “proudest day of my mother’s life.”
Cohen uses Dr. Smith’s patients to tell the story, too. For example, a colleague recalls a 2 am phone call to Smith telling the doctor of his pregnant wife who was gravely ill and whose condition was dire. By 2:30 a.m., he says Smith was there. After examining the colleague’s wife, Smith informed him that the original diagnosis was incorrect and that an abortion wasn’t necessary to save her. Choking up in the film while retelling the story, the colleague expressed his profound gratitude to the doctor for saving both lives. His son is now over 20 years old.
During the screening, Dave Cohen says he watched the audience get moved, laugh and tear up as his film navigated them through a whole range of emotions. To him, this only reinforces his belief that the success of the story frequently relies not only in the subject matter itself. Often, it leans quite heavily on the skill of the storyteller as well.
To further his own mastery of storytelling in feature film and television productions, David Seth Cohen founded Legitimate Rascal Films in 2006. Not coincidentally, it was also during that year when the young actor/filmmaker really seriously reflected on that fateful autumn day in New York, the day he passed up an opportunity to have a drink with one of his heroes.
What if he had that drink with Adam Sandler? What words of wisdom might he have heard from the star? What doors might have opened for him? Might his career path been paved differently? How would it have changed his life, if at all?
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Observes Cohen, “I never realized (before) that movie was a business. It’s not ‘Show Friends,’ it’s ‘Show Business’”! The most tangible factor and perhaps the most important consideration is funding, according to Cohen. Finding Sandler is funded through private donations and monies received from a successful Kickstarter campaign. Still more funding is needed in order to wrap up the production, to edit the 96 tapes totaling 80 hours and to condense it into a 90-minute movie.
He explains that there are other grave challenges also. He has found that the biggest stars “often don’t make decisions for themselves,” he observes. Thus, he has had to deal with agents, public relations people and handlers whose sole job is to protect the celebrity from “unnecessary” distractions. “Why would he do it?” Cohen reasons. “He doesn’t need me.”
Yet there are surprise voices of support that have already added to the interest in the film. Emeril Lagasse is filmed agreeing to make hors d’oeuvres if and when Cohen sets up the drink with Sandler and schedule allows. Billy Joel, meanwhile, says "Sure, why not?" to playing a song. Mike Foley has offered to body slam Cohen, too.
Turn the page
Un autre long métrage sur lequel il avait travaillé était le film d'action The Highlander : Engame avec Christopher Lambert et Adrian Paul.
Le premier rôle d'acteur de David Seth Cohen est venu en 2001. Alors scénariste pour le film Marie, l'animateur occasionnel amusait l'équipe lorsque son talent a attiré l'attention de Fred Carpenter, le réalisateur du film, qui a décidé de lui confier un second rôle.
L'année suivante verra Dave Cohen rejoindre télésoins TV-29 à Long Island. D'abord en tant que producteur associé, puis producteur et plus tard producteur principal/exécutif, il a travaillé sur plusieurs émissions dont Real Food, Good News, Debates et Next Generation. Cinq ans plus tard, il a décidé qu'il était temps de se lancer seul en créant sa propre société de production, Precision Pictures.
Parmi la clientèle qui a embauché Precision Pictured pour des productions vidéo figurent Mercedes Benz, Crunch Fitness International, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sotheby's International Realty, Rachel Ray, Dan Plutôt Reports et The Leon G. Smith Infectious Disease Foundation .
Selon le réalisateur/producteur, la meilleure chose dans le cinéma est de voir le public réagir à quelque chose qu'il a fait. « J'aime émouvoir les gens, les emmener dans des directions différentes et les voir réagir », déclare-t-il. Il cite la présentation du film biographique qu'il a réalisé sur le Dr Leon G. Smith comme exemple d'un tel moment.
Raconté par le célèbre présentateur sportif Don Criqui, le film raconte l'histoire de Smith d'abord en tant qu'homme, puis à travers sa mission et à travers ses patients. Le guérisseur et philanthrope né à Yonkers a émergé d'humbles débuts pour devenir l'un des principaux experts mondiaux dans le traitement des maladies infectieuses. Mais pour Smith, la médecine n'était pas sa vocation originelle. Passionné de baseball, il rêvait de rejoindre la ligue professionnelle. En fait, les Yankees ont même proposé de le faire jouer pour eux. Mais ses parents voulaient qu'il soit plutôt médecin.
Pourtant ,il était resté indécis jusqu'à ce qu'une tragédie personnelle afrappé. Le père de Léon est décédé subitement d'une maladie. Et quand ils ont cherché une explication, aucune ne leur a été donnée.
So Cohen set out to confront these looming questions by finding Sandler and proposing to take him up on that drink. But it hasn’t been easy. In the course of six years, he proceeded to chronicle his pursuit in a documentary in which he starred and which he directed himself.
But Dave explains that Finding Sandler isn’t just a mechanical recording of the search itself. The actor/filmmaker says it also belies the many ups and downs of his own personal journey—the challenges, victories and many revelations he has had in what has proved to be a pivotal turning point in his life.
He has realized since that these experiences while quite personal to him held some very universal truths. Certainly among the most important lessons he has learned is not to be timid when presented with a rare opportunity to make one’s dream a reality.
Furthermore, the making of the movie has also tested his own limits as a person, the limits of his persistence, commitment and tenacity among other qualities. During that period he has seen the beginning and end of relationships, his family moving away, his beloved grandmother being evacuated from her Long Beach home due to Hurricane Sandy. For a while, she took refuge at her grandson’s apartment, something the sweet, aspiring actor didn’t mind at all.
Filming has also taught him some valuable practical lessons about both the process and the industry itself. First is that getting people together, quickly and efficiently, at various times, in various locations is challenging at best. For the movie, he has had to travel back and forth to Adam’s native New Hampshire, New York and to the West Coast.