Directed by Amber Schaefer, this week’s Staff Pick Premiere, “It’s Been Too Long,” is an endlessly quotable short filled with hilarious and increasingly absurd confessions between two horny ex-lovers.
The magic for the story began when the actor, writer, and producer David Ebert wrote a sketch for his wife, Krista Jensen. “I was in LA for work and Krista was back in New York,” David explains. “We were frustrated and we missed each other. Krista said she wanted to do a sketch show together when I came back, so I wrote her this sketch to cheer her up.”
From there, the couple developed the idea into a script, looping in friend and collaborator Amber Schaefer to see about making it into a film. The result is a ’90s noir parody featuring two unforgettable characters with a greasy-yet-undeniable chemistry.
We couldn’t stop laughing when we first saw the film, and today, we’re thrilled to be sharing it on Vimeo in its exclusive online premiere. We reached out to the team to learn more about their inspiration and process. Here’s what they had to say.
David: “We’ve always been drawn to scummy weirdo lovers who bounce back and forth with bad one-liners: Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch’s ‘The Lovers’ on SNL; Kate McKinnon’s ten to one sketches as a horny barfly; almost any comedy from Dan Chamberlain. I picked two voices that were fun to write in and jammed on that. I think it was drafted in an hour.”
On the writing process:
David: “The three-beat structure was written in an afternoon. From there it became a game of ‘what’s the most fun,’ where Krista and I would toss tags and find twists to make the jokes weirder and more specific. When we brought it to Amber, it went through the process again. The final layer was improvising on the day we shot the film.”
On bringing the script to life:
Amber: “Krista and David came to me with this script fully baked — the characters fleshed out and lived in. It was my job to think about what we could add tonally and cinematically to enhance and honor the comedy already there. I thought these horny weirdos would feel right at home in a ’90s neo-noir parody inspired by the likes of Basic Instinct (1992) and Poison Ivy (1992). So we figured out some blocking in my living room, rallied a small crew, and carpooled to the Poconos for the weekend.”
On shooting with a micro-budget:
Amber: “We made this short for the love of collaborative, comedic filmmaking — not to get into Cannes and certainly not to make money. We had a micro-budget and an awesome micro-crew consisting only of a DP, gaffer, AC, producer, sound operator, and a PA. We all wore multiple hats, and half the crew slept in the small cabin where we shot. I went to sleep the night after our first shoot day surrounded by what I love most: c-stands, an Alexa package, and moose art. Everyone was there because they wanted to be. The vibe was cooperative, intimate, and relaxed but focused — how I wish every set felt.”
On the challenges of shooting “It’s Been Too Long”:
Krista: “We shot over two very full days, so our then-18-month-old daughter was on location with us. I squeezed in a few significant breaks while shooting to keep her on schedule, but leaving your baby with someone to do something so selfishly fun means reassuring yourself that it’s okay over and over. It’s always a challenge finding the time to be creative when you’re a parent, but it makes the projects I sign onto that much more important to me. Also, finding a location that was spacious and checked all our aesthetic boxes was fun but definitely challenging.”
Amber: “We had no budget and it was hard to ask for favors from our friends. But we were blessed to have an A+ team that believed in the project. And for the record, I loved having Krista and David’s daughter around. It was a challenge for me to not hang out with her all the time — she rules.”
David: “I think a lot of new parents might think creative projects are a luxury they can’t afford, but childcare just has to be included in the production and the budget. It was just another element of the shoot to figure out.”
On their favorite part of making “It’s Been Too Long”:
Krista: “I’m such an admirer of Amber — as a person and as a creator. I have always wanted to wear ’90s clothes and hair and spin on camera. I think David is a masterful comedic actor, so getting to learn, watch, and respond to him was a complete joy. There was also a breakfast place called Piggy’s Restaurant near where we shot the film. I still think about it.”
Amber: “Working with people I like and respect! And Krista and David’s twirls.”
David: “There’s a certain kind of magic in making something where everyone is laughing on set. We depended heavily on the kindness of friends and strangers to make this film, from pre- to post-production. You get warm when people you respect volunteer their time and energy because they believe in your strange idea.”