The Screenplay

Imagine a world without cell phones, Internet and the GPS – where getting terribly lost is always a possibility. Now picture Adam Sakovich, 24, an affable, clumsy and insecure New Jersey daydreamer… aspiring to be a nature filmmaker and trying to survive as a wedding videographer in 1986. He’s in-debt, underpaid and still infatuated with Valerie Peterson, 24, the most popular girl from college – who dates pretty much everyone BUT him. To make matters worse… she’s his boss.

When Valerie becomes engaged to the rich, handsome albeit dimwitted – Trevor Babcock (a young corporate video producer), she hires one of his hotshot camera guys to tape their wedding, instead of the offended Adam.

But when the hotshot doesn’t show up… Adam has a chance to save the day and convince Valerie she’s marrying the wrong guy. He becomes a man on a mission. Nothing can stop him… until disaster strikes!

After Valerie and Trevor’s ceremony, Adam discovers that he had PAUSED the videotaping when he thought he was recording – failing to capture any of the day’s most cherished moments. With no footage to show for his extensive and heroic efforts, Adam’s only chance is to get hold of the amateur tape that Valerie’s OCD sister filmed of the wedding – and claim it as his own… resulting in the outrageous 24-hour chase that’s destined to change him forever.

Set in a backdrop that includes events of the day (Hands Across America, the advent of Nintendo, Halley’s Comet, the Unabomber and the murder of Mob Boss Paul Castellano), Adam’s ever-increasing chaos is heightened by the fact that he is being pursued by gangsters – whose conversation about a “hit,” he inadvertently recorded at a previous job.

Fact Sheet

Title: “Life On Pause”

Genre: Dramatic Comedy

Logline: After making an unforgivable mistake, a mishap-prone 1980s wedding videographer goes on a chaotic chase to win his college crush and save his career.

Director: Steven Lifshey

Producer: Aris Katsoulis & Steven Lifshey

Written By: Steven Lifshey

Story By: Steven Lifshey & Aris Katsoulis

Key Attachments: To Be Announced

Budget: USD $500K

Shooting Location: NYC / NJ

Production Timeline:

  • Pre-Production Spring 2019
  • Principal Photography – Summer 2020
  • Delivery (estimated) Spring 2021
  • Est. four week, 25 day shoot w/ 4 days 2nd Unit

Artistic Vision

As a former wedding videographer of the 1980s, Writer/Director Steven Lifshey relives carrying burdensome piles of heavy (and questionably functional) equipment. He celebrates all the trappings of a former wedding videographer of the era. Getting lost with nothing but an old-fashioned paper map was common. The ever-present stress of being broke and having only ONE CHANCE to be at the right place at the right time was also constant.

Life on Pause was inspired by real-life events, whose main coming of age character – Adam Sakovich – finds himself pining for love in a time of financial and technological angst. Always at the right place at the wrong time and at the wrong place at the right time, we follow Adam’s trials and tribulations as a struggling videographer who’s trying to capture the wedding of the love of his life.

The 1980’s will be fully immersed in both style and content. Hairstyles, clothing, slang, soundtrack, pop-culture imagery and video equipment used as props – will all be period specific.

Titles, graphics and transitions will have an eye-catching VHS motif (PLAY, PAUSE and REWIND buttons, old-school pixelated fonts and static fuzz).

The cinematography will mimic the “80s look” (softer lenses, grainy appearance, saturated colors, lens diffusion, blue light in nighttime scenes & fog machines).

The plot is an ever-escalating situation of chaos. This progression will be represented by incrementally increased camera motion, accelerated editing and an intensification of the soundtrack.

Tangled in exaggerated circumstances, Adam has to deal with characters who are egotistical, pretentious, obsessive and downright crazy. Every actor will be directed to perform in a manner that cleverly shines light on the most ignoble aspects of their personalities delivering mouthwatering performances from the entire cast.

Music Notes

Music will be a fun, front-and-center aspect of the film that will place the audience squarely in the 80’s musical era. Actual 1980’s hits (pop, rock, alternative and new wave) will be utilized where appropriate… both lyrically and rhythmically… the opening and closing credits being a great opportunity to feature two of the best tracks.

The accompanying composed score will be made to match this style: synthesizers, big guitars, drum machines, heavy distortion, brass and other decade-appropriate instrumentation.

There will even be a band during a wedding reception scene that will have all the 1980’s traits: big blow-dried hair, sunglasses, shiny guitars and the aforementioned instruments (a great opportunity for the cameo of a notable group).

Steven Lifshey

Writer / Director / Editor

Steve is a veteran of the film and television industries, having spent over 20 years as a producer and editor. His body of work includes extensive promotional spots for AMC, Showtime, Comedy Central and Food Network; editing original programming for truTV, A&E and The History Channel; and dozens of high-profile freelance gigs. His screenwriting credits include the mockumentary The Masterpiece, Life on Pause & Night Sessions. Steve studied filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is continually enhancing his attention-grabbing visual techniques, precise sense of timing and uniquely dry writing style. REEL: https://stevelifsheyeditor.vids.io/videos

Aris Katsoulis

Producer

As a producer, Aris draws on his unconventional and varied background in science, technology, design and multi-media. After seeing three high-tech start-ups through successful sales, he launched a multi-media studio – www.nectarinc.com – where he and his team work across design, web, video and other mediums to deliver high-impact projects for entertainment, medical and industrial clients. Aris produced the indie short, The Secret (2006), and two full-length features, Bartime Story (2014 – from Writer/Director – Francis Tejada) and Sunken City (2014), the latter of which (from Writer/Director Ryan McLaughlin) won Best Cinematography (Andrew Sachs), Best Editing (Ryan McLaughlin/ Jamieson Tabb) and Best Actor (Hamilton von Watts) at the 2013 Oregon Independent Film Festival. He has several new projects in development.

Nora Kurzova

Creative Producer

Nora is a former privacy lawyer and a criminology specialist, who, after more than a decade in the legal world switched careers to focus solely on writing and film making. Nora has directed and successfully sold a documentary to the national TV in the Czech republic, performed stand up on two continents and has been a speaker at many legal conferences both in Europe as well as the US. Nora is a published author and a screenwriter having contributed to late night shows in the Czech republic as a staff writer for Leos Mares throughout 2015 and co-written an upcoming full feature comedy “Christmas is Happening” (Vanoce budou, 2019). Nora has just finished directing her own web series – mystery-com “Whisper, Naked, Shadow”, first season to stream worldwide Spring 2019.

Tom Razzano

Producer

With over 25 years in the movie business as a Producer, Line Producer and UPM, Tom Razzano is a veteran of the New York film scene and member of The Directors Guild of America. Producer of Tango Octogenario, Colin Fitz, Ripe, The Last Home Run, and Captive, Razzano has worked on such films as Kama Sutra, Grace of My Heart, Mississippi Burning, Planes Trains & Automobiles, The Natural, Falling In Love, Baby It’s You, and The King Of Comedy, and the remake of The Out Of Towners, to name just a few.

Razzano is also President of The Budget Company, a company that specializes in budgeting and scheduling services to the movie and television industry. From his base in New York City, he provides consulting services to independent production companies, as well as the major studios for projects in New York City and across the country.

Pencil Sketches Courtesy of Caroline Lifshey 😉