About the Film
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Time: 3:30 AM Place: Suburbia, U.S.A.

A study of the post-adolescent male psyche, Four Letter Words gives an often humorous but raw, unadulterated look at the views, attitudes, and language of young men in suburban America. The film is a character-driven, dialogue-based piece executed in a minimalist style with an ensemble cast, focusing on a dwindling summer night's party at which the characters gather for the first time since high school graduation. As the night’s activities take their toll, the immaturity level rises,the profanity flies and of course the drunken brawl breaks out. In the end, Four Letter Words does anything but present a romanticized view of life for the suburban, white male in his early twenties.


PRODUCTION NOTES
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Writer/Director Sean Baker began writing Four Letter Words in the fall of 1995. However, the idea had been conceived roughly two years before writing began. Using a mini-cassette recorder, Baker began recording friends’ random conversations (unbeknownst to them), collecting hours of real, uninhibited dialogue. Also fueling this project was the intention to bring an objective, frank depiction of these conversations to the screen. Intended as a study of the white, heterosexual, post-adolescent male in suburbia, some of the conversations were transcribed word-for-word into the first draft.

Baker and fellow NYU alumni Koorosh Yaraghi (the film’s producer) began the search for actors who had the ability to improvise. Mike Leigh’s style of screenwriting and directing was a major influence. His films Life is Sweet and Naked demonstrate what
can be achieved when actors are given the freedom to create a character through improvisation before the cameras start rolling. For approximately one year, while casting was being finalized and money was being raised, the actors would meet with Baker
and Yaraghi to improvise based on the outline of the script. Sometimes the improvisation would transform the scenes into something completely different, other times it would simply "tighten things up". Every improv session would be recorded on video to providedialogue notes for an entirely new draft. Each new draft retained most of the original ideas, but with the added reality
of genuine conversation with all of its imperfections and missteps.

 
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