“The Three Bobs” is a new short film that will air on the ShortsTV channel this Sunday, September 12. The film serves as a way to introduce audiences to a web series titled “Single… Still?” that features the same characters. “Single… Still?” screened at the prestigious Dances with Film festival last weekend at the TCL Chinese Theatres. Written and directed by Roxanne Marciniak, a movie industry professional who is a believer in happy endings and powerful women.
Roxanne enjoys writing films that star female characters in realistic situations. Prior to forging a career in Los Angeles, Roxanne was the Public Relations Manager at the Ritz- Carlton, Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii, where she planned and promoted hotel events. She also served as the Executive Assistant to the EP for the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where she learned how media can promote empathy. In 2019, Marciniak founded and produced the first annual Rock the Shorts Film Festival to acknowledge and celebrate independent filmmakers and their passion for short films. She is also a proud member of the Alliance of Women Directors.
Roxanne recently discussed her latest film and career via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in movies and why did you gravitate towards women-centric and realistic stories?
Roxanne Marciniak (RM): It might be because my parents divorced when I was young, five-years-old. My mother was a very independent, strong and sharp lady. I lived with her growing up. It rubbed off.
MM: How did you break into the film industry?
RM: My first real experience in the entertainment industry was working as Jane Seymour’s assistant on the set of “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.” I met Ms. Seymour when I was the PR manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. I helped to organize her sightseeing trips and made her reservations while also ensuring her privacy. At the time I was trying to transfer to a property in California when I was offered the job, I thought it was fate. I was her assistant during the birth of her twins as well as her Golden Globe win for her role as Dr. Quinn.
MM: How did you come to work on “Oprah” and what did the experience teach you?
RM: I was in Los Angeles in a position that I liked but my mother had declining health issues and she was living near Chicago. I thought I should be closer to her. So again, things just lined up for me and I was hired as the assistant to the executive producer of the show. Working on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was a life changing experience. I always thought of myself as a kind person with empathy for others; but after my time on the show I wanted to save the world. Oprah Winfrey is a very special person, I have great admiration for her. She wants the best for everyone, it’s contagious. I was there, in the control room, for a history-making moment. I remember when Senator Barack Obama was a guest to discuss his book. Oprah was so impressed with him. She said right there that if he wanted to run for president that she would support him. It was at that moment I said to myself, I’m witnessing something big. I’m witnessing history in the making.
MM: How did you come up with the idea for “The Three Bobs”?
RM: So, I wrote the original draft of “The Three Bobs” in the late 90s. I was young and dating in LA and it was one train wreck after the other. Three of the latest three wrecks were named Robert, Bob and Bob. I remember talking to my mom about it. She always thought my horrible dates were hysterical. When she picked up on the guys names she said you have to call it “The Three Bobs” and so I did.
MM: How long did it take you to film this movie?
RM: We were shooting it on and off for probably five months. I couldn’t pay our actors much so I didn’t want to interfere with their day jobs so we worked around their schedules mainly shooting on weekends. The closest we had to rehearsals was a 3-way conference call to read the lines.
MM: Have you any fun behind-the-scenes stories about it?
RM: We had a good time filming. We once had a last-minute change in the schedule but I didn’t want to lose the time we carved out for the main actress so it was the best time to shoot the elevator scene. I hadn’t picked an elevator yet but I was taking care of a friend’s cat in a building with an elevator that weekend. It was perfect! I don’t think any residents used it in the two hours we were shooting, which was great since we were kind of stealing the shots. Our co-producer, Josef Csongei, stepped in at the last minute to play the “elevator guy” with our lead actress, Melinda Ratner. Another fun time was shooting the dinner date scene with Bob 1 (played by Bill Prather) at the Tam O’Shanter restaurant. Bill does a lot of standup comedy so in-between takes, and during filming, he was hamming it up when he could.
MM: What’s your favorite part of this film and why?
RM: My favorite part of this film is probably when our lead character, Amanda, gets frustrated looking at her date’s photo album (played by Mark Sadr). It was a reenactment of a date I was on when my date pulled out an enormous photo album. It wasn’t like he recently developed a roll of film and wanted to share it. This was hardcore, his entire life from birth to present. It was our second date! It was too much! And yes, I am old. I also own several photo albums.
MM: How have you gotten the movie noticed?
RM: “The Three Bobs” as a short film played at a few film festivals in Los Angeles and is now currently airing on ShortsTV in the US and Europe. It airs again this Sunday, September 12 on the channel.
MM: What have audience’s reactions been like to the film thus far?
RM: Audience reaction has been great. One highlight was our screening at the Golden State Film Festival. Loni Anderson (WKRB in Cincinnati) was in the audience with her group and they got all of the LA references. We made Loni Anderson laugh! That was a thrill for me because I watched WKRB in Cincinnati, on TV, when the episodes were new. LOL. She still looks fabulous by the way. I think one of the biggest laughs was when Amanda’s date brags about being a “working actor.”
AMANDA–What have you done?
BOB #1–You know the SAW films?
BOB #1–I did stand-in work in the last three sequels.
MM: You want this to be a web series, so how do you envision that playing out?
RM: Yes. “The Three Bobs” spinoff is a web series called SINGLE… STILL? and it’s gaining some traction. We follow our main character, Amanda, as she navigates the ups and downs of dating in LA as well as her own unresolved issues as she gets closer to 50—the first really scary age. LOL. We were thrilled to be an official selection at the Dances with Films festival, one of the top 10 reviewed festivals in the country and in its 24th year. We had our world premiere of the series last Saturday at the TCL Chinese theatres. It was a sold out crowd and we were in great company. There is a lot of undiscovered talent.
MM: What other themes and topics might you approach in future movies?
RM: I’m a sucker for rom-coms and thrillers. These are the two genres I’m drawn to in terms of writing and directing. I would love to make my short film “Non-Emergency” into a feature film. It’s a thriller/horror with limited locations (budget friendly) and it would be nice to see the heroine kick some more butt.
MM: You’re the founder of a festival called Rock the Shorts so how do you envision that evolving and what kinds of films do you seek?
RM: We are huge fans of short films. The biggest goal is to become an academy award qualifying film festival. We need a few more years but that’s the goal. We enjoy all genres of film but the main Rock the Shorts genre categories so far are comedy, drama, documentary, animation and thriller.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
RM: I want to keep telling stories. Whether it be writing scripts or directing and producing them. I also see Rock the Shorts going on for a long time to come. I enjoy working with new filmmakers and being a small part of getting their work out there to be seen and appreciated. It’s a great feeling.
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To learn more, visit the official Rock the Shorts Festival website.