Hills Grads ‘Train’ For NYC
Short film on millennial generation’s dream named finalist in festival
Two Dix Hills natives have been waiting for a one-way train ticket (preferably off-peak) to New York City for years, a dream they share with many other suburban 20-somethings.
But now Corey Cohen and Brett Kohan have their sights set on the penthouse suite after that dream inspired a short film called “City Bound,” which was selected as a finalist in an independent film competition, the second annual New York Television Festival Comedy Central Pilot Competition, in April.
In his comedy short, creator Cohen epitomized a popular conundrum of the millennial generation, comprising mainly of young adults born between 1980 and 2000. The 24-year-old found himself in the “City Bound” struggle many others in his generation face: trying to find a balance between parental expectations and reality when it comes to career choices and becoming an independent, self-sufficient provider.
“I think for our generation, everyone was sort of brought up to believe they could be anything or do anything, which all sort of leads a lot of people onto these paths [looking for] a dream job,” Cohen said. “I guess with our parental motivation set so high… actually meeting those realities when you’re not in that sort of contained environment [like in high school] is interesting.”
“City Bound” essentially demystifies and pokes fun at the state of limbo that many 20-somethings find themselves in after graduating college with a bachelor’s degree but without the financial means – or sometimes, the employment – to move out of their parent’s basement and become self-sufficient adults.
Rather than “mope” about his predicament, Cohen said, he decided to film a short parody poking fun at the situation.
“I think it sets you up for some failure, but… I see the humor in it, because the expectations versus reality are so separate. Even now living in Brooklyn, I’m living in a shoebox with no window,” Cohen added.
After graduating college in 2010 and moving out to Los Angeles, Calif. to explore creative screenwriting, Cohen, a Half Hollow Hills High School West graduate, returned to his native Long Island to explore the east coast industry’s flavor.
One year ago, Cohen paired up with 23-year-old High School West and Boston University graduate Kohan, who has a wealth of knowledge on the production end of the business.
Kohan, fresh out of college last May, jumped on board with the project right away. Always in tune with the television industry, he said he had limited real-world experience with production, despite several internships in college, but nothing compared to the scale of responsibilities that came along with producing “City Bound.”
After two months of writing, scripting and crunching numbers to determine costs for their low-budget endeavor, Cohen and Kohan held a casting audition. They said more than 200 people tried out.
They then found locations for filming including a bar, a used car lot and a comedy club, secured a cameraman to help film, and tied up all other loose ends “almost without a hitch.”
“City Bound” was chosen as one of the top 25 entries out of hundreds of independent films that were also submitted, Cohen and Kohan said.
Cohen, who moved to Brooklyn last month, joked he is now in “phase two” of the process—his sights are still glued to the Big Apple prize, but he hasn’t quite gotten there, yet.
The pair will debut their short at the New York Television Festival in Manhattan Oct. 21-26, when they hope to attract industry innovators to their next project, a movie. The “City Bound” duo plan to write, direct and produce “Road Rally,” a film based on raunchy high school scavenger hunts that many seniors on Long Island participate in, the two explained.