Brian O'Connor's First Foray in Hollywood with "Bad Boys Crazy Girls"
The Haverford resident partnered with MilkBoy co-owners Tommy Joyner and Jamie Lokoff and Ridley Park Oscar-winner Tammy Tiehel-Stedman to produce a movie already generating positive industry buzz.
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A graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School and Millersville University, with a master’s degree in information studies from Drexel, O’Connor helped develop the Web-based music store, Music Boulevard. Six years later, he was part of the ArkivMusic.com launch. In 2008, Steinway Musical Instruments acquired the company for a tidy sum, and O’Connor stayed on board for three years as COO, before moving on in his search for something new.
Thanks to the sale, he had a “buffer” to entertain some ideas and pursue a few pet projects. One was Haxty, a band he managed that played in the Philadelphia and New York areas. “I always told them that if I had some extra money, I’d get them into a studio and record them,” O’Connor says.
The studio he chose was MilkBoy, where Lokoff and Joyner were working on the movie, Lebanon, Pa. (Lokoff wrote the score) and looking for music to use on the soundtrack. As soon as O’Connor watched the bar scene in the movie with Haxty’s “Adeline” playing in the background, and saw the three songwriters’ names in the credits, he knew he’d found his “something different.”
He wrote a thank-you email to Lokoff and Joyner, mentioning in a postscript that if they had a movie project they needed help with, he was their man. “Five minutes later, they called,” O’Connor says.
At first, O’Connor met with the MilkBoy guys and Tiehel-Stedman about a different movie treatment. But the latter was eager to rejoin the business after taking time off to start a family, and she had another script that she couldn’t get into production. Tiehel-Stedman ran it by her new partners, and they loved it. “We said, ‘We should do this movie,’” recalls O’Connor.
In October 2011, BBCG Films was formed. O’Connor provided the seed money, and the group spent 2012 trying to acquire the funding necessary to begin filming. Successful casting director Allison Jones (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) joined the team, and reaction throughout Hollywood for the project was strong.
“It’s a really good script,” contends Tiehel-Stedman. “It helps open doors that wouldn’t naturally be opened to you.”
As you might imagine, O’Connor is enjoying the movie-production process immensely. His business background aids in the deal-making part, and his innate creativity has been a positive in both negotiations and decisions about the film itself. His vast reserves of patience have also been valuable.
“He approaches the business with an artistic side, and a thoughtfulness and carefulness,” says Joyner.
The goal is to produce an independent movie with a Philadelphia flavor that also has a bit of heft to it. Sure, BBCG isn’t Citizen Kane, but it won’t be That’s My Boy, either. O’Connor and his partners aren’t taking shortcuts as part of this long-haul proposition.
And if all goes according to plan, this won’t be the only film they make.
“We’re already saying, ‘In our next film, we won’t do that,’” O’Connor laughs. “We’re learning different things, and the idea is to make this an ongoing production company.” And keep the dream going, too.