The most successful couples always put the relationship first no matter what. That is the mantra that Leslie and Kevin Alejandro go by in their family and that is what they wanted to show in their short film Adult Night. Most relationships start to fall apart when a kid is introduced and the couple focuses all their attention on the child instead of the relationship. Leslie and Kevin explore the challenges couples have by trying to live colorfully while maintaining a family. I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss what it was like to make Adult Night and how they started their own film production company Alejandro Films.
In an attempt to “live colorfully,” the strength of a couple’s relationship is tested by a situation where it might be more important to get out rather than get off.
Nancy Tapia: I’m excited to speak to you. I have to ask, what did you learn from this film about living colorfully?
Kevin Alejandro: Ha, ha, ha
Leslie Alejandro: Ha, ha, ha
Kevin Alejandro: I like to like to think that we kind of go through our life trying to live colorfully in general. We try to take adventures and go on vacations together, or try to find something for ourselves as a family. I’m not sure if you know, but we have a 12 year old son as well. So we’re constantly on the hunt for something for all of us to do that just sort of steps out of our box of normalcy.
Leslie Alejandro: So it was really fun to be able to tell this story about this couple who had been living what sounds more like a mundane life. Our lives are a little bit different, and obviously there have been challenges, but from the beginning when I was pregnant, we promised each other that we would come first and that this child was entering our lives. And we’ve done pretty well with sticking to it, but on the way there’s always reminders because your whole purpose is to keep this child alive and love it and take care of it. But what was fun about this storyline was we kind of wanted to touch base on probably most relationships who forget that there is-
Kevin Alejandro: There is a you.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah, there is a you, and there is a life as partners outside of the children, especially with Leslie and Kevin who had a toddler and then a newborn as well. So this was the best scenario for them to get stuck in that we could think of. And it was super fun bringing these characters to life.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, we related to it because my wife and I, to piggyback off what she was saying about focusing on our relationship, and said, “The love for a child is inevitable. You’re going to instinctually love and care and nurture,” so it’s sometimes you see that’s where couples get lost. That all of their time and all of their energy and all of their love exudes upon this child. Then somewhere along the way, the couple gets lost. We were very adamant about that not happening.
So what we liked about the story is this story of a couple who does have children who still goes on an adventure, a crazy adventure, and works together to get out of it. It’s that communication, no matter how brass or crass it may be, it’s their style of communication that gets them through whatever scenario they go through.
Nancy Tapia: I enjoyed the film, but also as a person that’s single, never been married, don’t have kids, I did grasp that for a parents it can be a reminder like, “Hey, don’t forget about your partner and finding balance.”
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, when I was pregnant, I was given this advice from a friend who had kids, and this is always the advice to all of my future mothers when they are pregnant with their children as well, and she told me, she said, “Always make your marriage come first. Always.” Because like I had mentioned earlier, the love for your child as a parent is inevitable. It is always going to be there. But the relationship will always need work no matter what. So as long as you are really putting the needs of your relationship in the forefront, everything else will fall in place.
We kind of have pride with being able to communicate that. I mean, it’s a running joke with our son. Our son always asks, Kevin, “Who do you love more, me or mom?” And he is always like, “Duh, your mom.” And Kayden knows he’s kidding in his own way, but he also knows that we do always make sure that we are considerate to the other person and the other person is taken care of because then we can take care of him together, you know?
Nancy Tapia: Right. And when you watch the trailer, obviously, I saw the actual material, but from the trailer, what viewers can see now, it says, “Inspired by a real story.” Is this Derek or you guys?
Kevin Alejandro: Ha, ha, ha
Leslie Alejandro: Ha, ha, ha
Kevin Alejandro: It’s an amalgamation of a couple of different stories actually. But yes, predominantly it’s Derek
Leslie Alejandro: Derek Ray was the one who wrote it and created the storyline, yes.
Kevin Alejandro: Yes, he wrote it and created the storyline.
Leslie Alejandro: He is not married with children, but kind of based loosely on an experience that he had with an ex.
Nancy Tapia: Good content.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, write what you know, right? But one of the things, the way these two characters interact is what has sort of inspired us to take their relationship and their communication and take it to the next level and turn it somewhat into a series of this couple getting into sort of sticky situations. But their communication and the way that they speak to each other and the way they talk about things and the love for each other is the core of how they get out of all these interesting, sticky situations.
Nancy Tapia: It can be a remedy to any relationship from watching. Putting your self in a unusual situation and figure it out as a team.
Kevin Alejandro: And see how it goes.
Leslie Alejandro: That’s right. Yeah. I mean, you can’t knock it until you try it though, right?
Nancy Tapia: That’s a good way to put it. So tell me how you guys got involved with Adult Night and also as Alejandro Films co-founders?
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah. Well, this started off as a project a couple of years ago actually when… I act on a show called Lucifer. So that’s where I met Lesley-Ann Brandt. And so my wife, my son and myself were all in Vancouver working out there. I wanted to shoot a short film during some of the time off that we had, and I wanted to do it with Lesley-Ann. So I called up my buddy Derek who was taking writing classes, half-hour writing courses, and expanding that muscle of his own. I was like, “Hey, man, I want to do this story about a couple stuck in one situation in one location. I want it to be myself and Lesley-Ann Brandt. Got any ideas?” And then he sent back this idea.
Then we inevitably got too busy during that time and put it on the shelf and then revisited it last year. Leslie and I, with the permission of Derek, Leslie and I took the script, one of our other producers took the script, Todd Sandler, and Derek gave us the permission to just sort of rewrite it and structure it around our style. We wanted to go from a half-hour comedy, because we’re very half-hour comedy, to more of a Judd Apatow, sort of more grown up humor.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah. We wanted it to feel a little bit more cinematic as opposed to television.
Nancy Tapia: Oh, got you, got you. I don’t know, but I think I could see this going more in depth in a regular film.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah. Well, as Kevin mentioned earlier, we have plans to expand it, hopefully making it into a series. I mean, if not a full feature. But we’re pushing for a series, like a short from series.
Kevin Alejandro: A short form, 10 minute episodic series.
Leslie Alejandro: So we’re working on that right now. That’s in development.
Nancy Tapia: Oh, that’s exciting.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah.
Nancy Tapia: That’s definitely exciting.
Kevin Alejandro: Absolutely, and Alejandro Films came about because my wife has made the transition from… She’s been an artist ever since I’ve known her from music to photography to producing to now a director as well and a writer. So it felt inevitable that we would form a company together.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah, Kevin had been wanting to have a production company of his own for a very long time. He started filmmaking on his own as well, probably over, I would say five, six years ago, just kind of experimenting on his own, trying to prove that he can actually make films with no money, no budget. Started his YouTube page just to kind of put up there and whoever it was inspired by. He literally filmed his first thing by himself with a JVC camera on his own little camcorder and wrote it, directed it, acted in it.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, I wanted to challenge myself to learn every aspect of filmmaking from what it takes to light, to act, to write, to edit, to score it, to everything just for my own personal sort of growth.
Leslie Alejandro: And that kind of led him to his obvious transition into directing. And then he was shadowing over at Lucifer for a little while, and then did the Warner Brothers directors program. And then-
Kevin Alejandro: It was all those little shorts, though, all those little shorts that I did on Alejandro Films, my YouTube channel, that they saw the potential of letting me into the program.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah, then while we were in Vancouver as well, I had an idea to do a photo series or a photo book and project. A girlfriend of mine had convinced me to turn it into a documentary. So I started with that and asked another girlfriend of mine who’s an incredible director and who I share the same aesthetic with, or at least I appreciate her aesthetic. So she was so excited to go on board. After months of going back and forth of trying to produce this together and create our storyline and what it was going to be about, she finally was just like, “You know what? I want to be involved as much as possible, but I really honestly feel that you should be directing this film.”
So I never had thought about directing. Then the moment that I said, “You know what?” She’s like, “Well, you know this. This is your story. You know it the most.” So I said, “You know what? I think I’m going to do it.” So when we moved back to LA, I started taking directing classes over at UCLA Extension thinking I was only going to go into documentary work, and then falling in love with scripted content as well. So then at that point, Kevin was like, “You know what? I think it’s time- “
Kevin Alejandro: Right before the growth of directing started to expand on her, she directed her first short film right after UCLA, and did really well at film festivals, called Smile. One that I got to act in and write and Leslie directed it. And she knew then, it got a lot of attention, and it’s still getting a lot of attention right now. And it was inevitable that that’s what she’s supposed to do because she just killed it.
Leslie Alejandro: Thank you, baby. So that’s when we finally decided, you know what? We have been creating these films on our own. I’ve also been in photography for almost 10 years, and I ran a magazine publication for a while, for about seven-and-a-half years. So with contacts with crew, publicists, and whatnot, I think we can really do this.
So we called my sister who had worked in production years ago, but became a high school teacher for twelve-and-a-half years in Maui, Hawaii. But she was head of development for this one production company right out of UCLA. We called her up, and she was like, “This is what I’ve been totally thinking about doing again. I want to help save the world through our films, and let’s do it.” So she moved back last August and that’s how Alejandro Films was formed.
Kevin Alejandro: So it’s the three of us.
Nancy Tapia: That’s impressive.
Kevin Alejandro: The Alejandro family tree. That’s what our logo is.
Nancy Tapia: I like it. Well, congratulations. I mean, really getting behind the camera, that’s impressive. Not everybody has that talent. And the fact that you guys have it and embrace it, that’s awesome. So do you guys have projects you’re working on besides for Adult Night, producing and so forth?
Kevin Alejandro: Absolutely. Like Leslie was saying earlier, Adult Night is being developed right now, but we have several projects that are in development that we found along the way, and they’re in various levels of development. Leslie has a few documentaries that she’s working on.
Leslie Alejandro: Yeah, the first documentary that I had mentioned earlier was about women living with scars, and the effects that society and also the media have on a woman’s ability to heal and the stages that it takes for her to actually heal. So that one I’m still kind of in the photo portion of it, which started to pick up a lot the end of last year. But then of course kind of came to a screeching halt with quarantining, COVID.
And the same with the other documentary. It is about immigration and the Filipino cultural experience with a focus on Filipino gangs in the ’80s and ’90s. So same thing, that one had actually a lot of legs, and we were getting ready to start for like a sizzle reel, so that we could start looking for funding or for anybody, any other studio to pick it up because it’s a docu-series, and then COVID happened as well. So those are the two as far as documentaries are that we are working on.
Nancy Tapia: Okay, and to start finalizing, I have to ask about Lucifer season five. Is that still going to be out for this summer?
Kevin Alejandro: I sure hope so. Yeah, I think everyone’s still trying to navigate how to get back to work. We still actually have one final episode to shoot for season five. But the way Netflix is releasing it, I think it’s going to be a 5A and a 5B. So we’re going to have eight episodes for 5A, take a little bit of a break, and then this is the original format, take a little bit of a break, and then launch the rest of 5B.
Nancy Tapia: That’s a great idea.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah. Unfortunately, I don’t have any hard dates for anybody, but I do know that they have been talking, everyone’s working together to try to figure out when is the best time to release the new season, obviously because the temperature is different now. But yes, we’re coming out hopefully soon.
Nancy Tapia: Well, I’m sure many fans are waiting in anticipation, especially right now that we’re looking for new content.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, and I’m sure they’re keeping that into consideration as well. One thing I could say, so from a personal bragging position, is that when it comes out, I was given the opportunity to direct the mid-season finale. So the last episode of season 5A. So that’ll be something that as a director, people who follow me as a director, can look forward to.
Leslie Alejandro: It’s great.
Nancy Tapia: That’s awesome. Congratulations.
Leslie Alejandro: It’s so great.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah. Thank you.
Nancy Tapia: Yeah, of course. Definitely, we’re going to be really eyeing it now even more.
Kevin Alejandro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I’m just trying to get that Alejandro name all over the place.
Nancy Tapia: Alejandro, Lady Gaga.
Leslie Alejandro: Exactly.
Kevin Alejandro: There you go.
Nancy Tapia: All right, guys. It was so fun talking to you guys. Can you tell me where viewers are going to be able to watch Adult Night, the full short film?
Kevin Alejandro: Well, at this moment we’re still doing our festival run.
Leslie Alejandro: Our festival runs, yeah.
Kevin Alejandro: And we have other festivals that we’ll be playing in, and they’re trying to navigate how they’re going to actually hold their festivals now because of this. We were just recently at the Vail Film Festival last weekend.
Leslie Alejandro: Last weekend, yeah.
Kevin Alejandro: Last weekend, and it’s screened for one full day, so everyone who bought a pass could watch it all day long for that one day, but now it’s no longer available.
Leslie Alejandro: And festivals right now are still trying to navigate through this climate as well of trying to figure out how to make things work. But I’ve been reading that these are things that were in the works anyways for access reasons because obviously not a lot of people can travel to these festivals to have access to these films. So it’s actually a good thing that’s going on, what they’re trying to figure out.
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, there’s been a lot positivity in this format.
Leslie Alejandro: But if anybody wants to follow our journey and get more information, they can sign up for our newsletter at www.alejandrofilms.com. They can also follow us on Instagram at Alejandrofilms_, or our personal Instagram, Kevin is at kevinmalejandro, and I’m at lesliealejandro.
Kevin Alejandro: And we’re constantly giving updates. And like she said, the best way to follow what’s going on with any project, right now specifically Adult Night, but any projects in the future would be to probably subscribe to our website and to our Instagram because we’re very good about updating the Alejandro news.
Nancy Tapia: Okay. That’s great. Yeah, I actually checked out your website, alejandrofilms.com
Leslie Alejandro: Awesome. Sign up.
Nancy Tapia: We’ll definitely be cheering, and I will be included on your newsletter now and look forward to getting updates.
You can find more information about Kevin and Leslie Alejandro at Alejandrofilms.com
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