The Development of Seth Savoy's 'Echo Boomers'
November 18, 2020
Director Seth Savoy's feature film debut is a crime drama that flashily delves into the divide between Boomers and Millennials. Echo Boomers follows an underground crime ring in Chicago comprised of Millennials who steal from the wealthiest and wreak havoc rooted in frustration with a broken system, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
The premise feels familiar, in a head-nodding way. "The premise found me," says Savoy, who co-wrote the film that stars Patrick Schwarzenegger, Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer and Hayley Law. "I began writing it in 2013. I had just graduated from school in Chicago and was feeling the pressure of creating your first work as an artist... You get to the finish line and realize there's no shortage of filmmakers."
It was during that time that he read about a group of college kids in Chicago robbing the rich; taking what they wanted from a system that favored millionaires, while destroying what they didn't want.
"I wanted to make a heist movie that was extremely fun and flashy, but also political commentary." Savoy says he wanted to make the film feel like social media; a fun overload.
With a character-heavy cast, Savoy says "Originally, only Patrick (Schwarzenegger) and Hayley (Law)'s characters were developed in early drafts of the script. But as we wrote it, we realized we needed to care about the other characters in the film, too. One of the strongest scenes in the film, I think, is the voiceover where we learn the team's backstory. Creating characters definitely takes time."
Savoy and his writing partners Kevin Bernhardt (who Savoy describes as a "Boomer") and Jason Miller interweave the personal motivations (and frustrations) of each of the characters, set against a backdrop of both a storytelling voiceover and interview-style narrative, as Lance (Schwarzenegger) and his team of thieves explain their motivations to their lawyer while in jail. It's then that we are taken back in time for the set-up and continuation of the film, and Lance's "rules" by which they operated their crime ring.
These rules weren't created in the editing room, Savoy says. They were there from the start: "When you look at the original script, it had chapters as well as rules. But, filmmaking is an evolving process, so we got to the edit and there was just too much going on, including both chapters and rules, so we lost the chapters but the rules stuck. I think they're very Millennial."
From a story standpoint, the rules serve to push the story forward, just like the voiceover that narrates much of the film. "The voiceover was also decided beforehand and written in the script. We took a bit of an unnatural approach. We recorded as much voiceover with Patrick as we could. The script itself was much longer than we shot because of all of the voiceover we'd written into the screenplay. But once we had Patrick in the booth, we recorded everything we could, mostly for the luxury of storytelling. Sometimes, voiceovers can be too on the nose or reveal too much and it's tricky, but I think we managed the minefield by playing with it until it just worked with the story."
When asked about the writing process and having three writers contribute to a script, Savoy says that the key was having the ability for he and Miller to collaborate in real time together (via Final Draft). Unfortunately, two Millennials writing a script about Millennials caused a one-sided representation of Baby Boomers.
"We wanted a fair projection, so we brought in Kevin, who went to work sculpting the older narratives," and highlighting the importance of fair and unbiased character development.
Echo Boomers is now available in Theaters, VOD and Digital.
Written by: Vanessa KingVanessa King is an NYC-based producer, screenwriter, and professor who has worked in development with top-level industry talent for nearly two decades. Her work as a writer has received numerous awards, having earned her recognition from industry bodies including AMPAS/Oscar’s Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship (feature) and Sony Worldwide Entertainment’s Emerging Filmmaker Program (TV Series). In 2005, she co-founded the New York Screenwriters Co-Op, New York’s only free-to-the-public screenwriting workshop with over 2000 active members. Vanessa is faculty at Gotham Writer’s Workshop (NYC) and Staffordshire University (UK), where she teaches both television and screenwriting to students, beginner to post-graduate. She recently was Showrunner of the TV pilot “Two Roads”, a concept she co-created and co-wrote for Sony’s VUE Network. Vanessa is passionate about diversity and inclusion within the industry and was a consultant on Final Draft Screenwriting Software’s Diversity and Inclusion product build. She’s a board member of the Diversity List, amplifying top scripts written by female-identifying and BIPOC writers. She is a judge for the Hip Hop Film Festival, The UCLA Graduate Screenwriter’s Showcase and The 24 Hour Film Festival. She was named one of The Huffington Post’s 13 Women To Watch and for three consecutive years, has been named to Vanity Fair’s “Downtown 100”, a list that recognizing New York’s top networkers in the entertainment industry. Originally from Canada, she lives in New York City.