My friend and fellow filmmaker Quentin Lee and comedian Kit DeZoit released Boy Luck Club, a new zoom-shot series about six gaysian best friends who get together every Friday night for cocktails on zoom to get through quarantine life. Totally unscripted, each episode is an entirely no holds barred improvisation by the six actors.
The first season of Boy Luck Club stars Kit DeZolt, Eric Cheng (Boston production of M. Butterfly), Stanson Chung (Divorced: The Hip Hop Musical), Xavier Durante (The Shutdown), David Vi Hoang (fresh out of high school), and Justin Madriaga (Netflix's Nailed It! Holiday).
So how did the idea for "Boy Luck Club" come about?
It was quite random. Kit DeZolt and I were friends on Facebook and we decided to meet up for lunch in mid-September for lunch. He started telling me about him being an improv actor and I got curious. I pitched him the idea "Boy Luck Club" that I had for awhile, about a group of gaysian friends who would get together every Friday night before going to the clubs but they would never end up going because of some drama or another. And now that we were still in the pandemic, I asked him what if we did it on Zoom as a virtual cocktail hour. Kit liked the idea and I asked him if he could put the cast together and co-create it with me as I'm brand new to the improv world. In a week, he said he had the cast together and we all met, brainstormed, and decided to shoot the first episode in 2 weeks.
Kit, how's it been doing the series for you especially under lockdown when you can't really go out?
Doing the series has been a way for me to stay creative and active during this pandemic. During this pandemic, improv and virtual zoom shows have been one of my go to outlets to keep the creative juices alive, and I'm glad working on Boy Luck Club is a part of that creative fuel.
More Filmmaking with Zoom
Quentin, It looks like you took some of the lessons we learned when we made "Comisery" together and brought them to "Boy Luck Club," though it's a very different genre and animal despite being shot on zoom. Can you talk about your thinking behind that, like how it differs from what we did on "Comisery"?
Absolutely! I learned so much shooting on Zoom and the ins and outs of doing so… and took it to shooting Boy Luck Club which we are still shooting now. One of the great things I've learned from Comisery is the flexibility of including current events because we were shooting and releasing in the same week. Because BLC is a completely improvised show, there is so much freedom and flexibility to be edgy and current that no highly controlled studio shows could do…. and even more so than Comisery because it isn't scripted. Boy Luck Club is truly a freeing experience for an indie filmmaker who really just have to focus on actors and performance… also a great learning experience to shape improv for me as a director.
How did you pick the cast for the show? Were they already friends who hang out and banter together?
I really just told Kit to put together the show's cast with friends he knew… but apparently, he also put out a call and auditioned people via Zoom. The cast ended up to be half of the friends he knew and half he auditioned for and cast. I only knew Kit so he was the man in putting the cast together, splitting the co-creation role. After casting the cast, I did invite the Los Angeles-based cast to have lunch together so they could know each other. David Vi Hoang and Eric Cheng were both in Colorado and Michigan when we started shooting, so we only met via Zoom.
Improvised Comedy and Topics on the Fly
Kit, What's it like drawing on your comedy and improv experience to do the show with the other cast members?
It's a blast, with improv and comedy making its way to the virtual audience, it's been fun learning from previous virtual shows I've been a part of and finding ways to incorporate it into Boy Luck Club. What I love about improv, is the "Yes, and" mentality, and that's what makes Boy Luck Club, and improvised content in general fun. Everyone is up for whatever is thrown their way and for me, it's fun to play with a cast of fellow Gaysian improvisers.
Quentin, do you direct the cast to talk about a certain topic? How do you determine the shape and structure of each episode?
Kit and I brainstormed together for each episode and we would have a beat sheet of five acts before we started shooting. We also have an extra rehearsal and virtual meet with each guest star whom we are having starting Episode 4.
Kit, how did you pick topics or "plots" for each episode?
While we are there for our weekly Friday night cocktail hours, sometimes I like to think of a specific reason or celebration for that episode. Also each episode we like to touch on one social issue, so I think of a social issue that might be interesting for that group. With Quentin and myself brainstorming together what we both think would be a good combination, we generally lay out the event and social issues for the cast, and then it's play time.
The format of the show is infinitely flexible. Do you plan to carry it on beyond one season? Would you alter or change it as you go?
It is definitely "infinitely flexible" and again, like Comisery, I'll have to evaluate and think about it for a bit before going onto the second season. It is quite a bit of work for me because I am doing all of the editing and post work on my own. We'll have to see if three's enough audience applause/support for us to make Season 2. So tune in if you want us to continue!
As with improv it's ever changing, and I don't know what's coming next, however, I envision if another season, we may see them in person if deemed safe or explore other aspects of the characters' lives.
Boy Luck Club is streaming on AsianAmericanMovies.com