Keep scrolling to read our interview with Andrea and Kasey.
How did you first come up with the idea for your film?
Andrea - We’ve been working on something together for a while. I get these travel deals in my email. We were just hanging out at Kasey’s house accepting this flight offer. We are always really imaginative with the things that we think could happen—how it would be funny if certain scenarios played out. So, we started talking about if we had gone to Rome, bought these clothes, and what that would look like. From there we just decided to write about it. Once we decided to write about it, that actual narrative came out, and it became a really funny story.
Kasey - I feel like Andrea and I have this friendship. You know how it is with you and your best friend—you have a lot of inside jokes. An American Express credit card was one of the jokes that we had. Imagine if we had this credit card and wiled out and bought all these things that we always wanted. Oh my god, I would be on a yacht! Just the most dramatic things, because we both grew up in areas where you don’t see that, and a lot of people in our neighborhood had the same type of mentality. So that’s really how the story was born—let’s talk about these girls who are like us that come from South Central.
What would you buy if you did have this unlimited credit card?
Kasey - What would be the first thing we would do? We would travel. We are obsessed with seeing the overseas and going to all of these crazy places. We would go to Rome and Paris. Let’s have these glorified experiences through these girls in the script. So of course, the first thing we would do is charge up the credit card with clothes, and try to be a part of the “cool crew,” the people that we are always looking up to. Then throughout the story, we realize that all of this stuff doesn’t really mean anything if you’re not working on yourself, if you don’t have good people around you. Stuff doesn’t matter if you’re not happy with who you are.
Andrea - I’ve had an American Express card since 2011, and it has been heaven and hell. That was the inspiration behind a lot of these ideas. For shoots, sometimes I would buy things and then return them. Now I have learned through experience after all these years of overspending on my credit card. But, if I didn’t have that information available, we’d buy a bunch of clothes, shoes, buying flights and beauty products that we think would make us happier, better and more fulfilled, but actually don’t.
What would you say is the heart of the film?
Kasey - The heart of the film is finding your truth—inspiring and challenging each other in the friendship that you have. The story is about our friendship. To have a meaningful and real friendship is very important. Seeing who you are, getting to your truth and finding what really matters in life.
Andrea - The heart is finding the truth in what is important: Cultivating the right things and pouring yourself into things that actually are valuable and not just seemingly valuable.
Would you say that your friendship dynamic in the film is similar to your relationship off screen?
Kasey - Oh definitely. I think it’s a dramatized version of us, but there is definitely truth. When writing together and having a conversation, we would really talk to each other and say: What’s something that we’re doing? What’s the issue? What’s the underbelly? Why would Andrea get annoyed with me?
Andrea - It is definitely a dramatized version of our friendship. The chemistry is obviously organic. The personality dynamics of the characters are also dramatized but very in line with who we actually are. We pulled from reality when we were considering the issues and the conversations that we wanted to put in the film. What are some conversations that we’ve actually had, that we’ve heard other people have? We wanted it to feel very authentic. The one scene actually with the little girl in front of the big house in Belair, that was actually a real situation that happened to us.
Kasey - We did this shoot. So, we took Andrea’s credit card and were like, “Let’s buy Chanel sneakers and do a photoshoot together in Belair. This would be bomb, you know?” So, we go with a photographer and are just going on people’s properties. We’re in front of someone’s gate taking photos, and this car pulls up with this nanny and little girl in the backseat who lives there, and she’s like, “What are you doing on our property?” And me and Andrea are looking at each other like, “Wait, are you serious right now?” In real life, we obviously didn’t argue with the little girl. We had an exchange a little bit, but in the film, it’s like—this is what I really wanted to say to her. Like, “This isn’t your house boo!” That’s what Andrea really wanted to say, but in real life, we didn’t want this to be a conflict and just walked away. But you know when you get in the car afterwards? You talk about it, and you’re like, “No, this little girl did not just kick us off of the property!” It was insane. It was pretty embarrassing. She was basically escorting us with her eyes off of the property, saying that she would call the police.
What was it like to create, write and star in your own film?
Kasey - It was all really fun. It was nice to be able to say the lines and know if things weren’t authentic, we could just change them. We could find the best way to have this conversation between the two characters, because we understood them through and through. We designed the outfits that we wore in the film. We had them custom-made. There was a lot we were able to do to see our vision through, because it was something that we created. There wasn’t any question as to what we wanted it to be like.
Andrea - Just being an actress and working on other people’s projects—you want to give them what they want. You’re just a tool that they are using in their vision. But when you have your own vision, it’s creating from what’s in our hearts and our truths. Being able to see it all the way through was a new experience for me. It made me realize that this is what I am meant to do. I am meant to be a creator in film. It was a feeling I had never felt before.
As two powerful creators on the rise, what advice would you give to other young aspiring artists?
Andrea - Something that I’m learning is that you should just start. I’ve heard this for years. They always say “write what you know.” When you’re really young, you question what that means. But now that I’m older, I’m realizing the things I want to create and talk about are the things that I know, because I can do it so effortlessly. It’s really grounded and real, because it’s true. If someone tells you to talk about something you don’t know, it’s fun, because you get to use your imagination. But when you’re speaking about something you do know, there is a lot more passion and energy behind it. It is true. Think about when someone is telling you a story of something they went through. This person has lived this reality. The details that they know about it and the feelings that they were going through at the time—you feel it. You’re in it. That’s what we need more of... I love when I watch a movie, and I feel like I’m in the story. That’s what I’m interested in making. That’s what I want to inspire people to do. Whatever you have in your heart is what the world wants to hear. Write that down. Create whatever that is. That’s what people will be attracted to and will resonate with.
Kasey - When you see the most success in your life and have the most fulfilling relationships, you’re fully leaned into who you are. You’re unapologetic. That, to me, is telling your truth and telling what you know. There are no boundaries. Just start. It might not be perfect. Even in The Dispute, there are a few things we would go back and change. But when I look at it, I am still stunned at the fact that it’s exactly what we wanted. You can always pick apart the little details. I think once you start, you get really good. The more you write, the better your verbiage gets, the more your vocabulary expands. All these things happen when you just start. And the easiest way to start is with your truth.
What inspired the matching jumpsuits that you both wore to the party?
Kasey - B.A.P.S. inspired it for sure. The films like Clueless, B.A.P.S. and Empire Records—the visual style of it is so clear. We wanted to create that visual language in our own film. That’s why custom-making the outfits was very important to us, because it needed to have a specific look that we are creating that’s not in stores. One day when people refer back to it they can be like, “Oh, I can wear that as a Halloween costume.”
There seemed to be a lot of attention to detail throughout the film.
Andrea - Thank you! We tried to definitely pay attention to detail. We didn’t want it to feel like a mockery. A lot of times when I watch films about various subjects, I feel like I’m watching a play. But the best films are the ones where the attention to detail is so great, that you forget that it’s a film. It feels like you’re watching life in motion. We didn’t want it to feel like we were mocking South Central. There are so many things from specific demographics that are unique, and to not honor the detail is insulting.
Kasey - We don’t want to create a stereotype. We want to express the real thing, and the things that we’ve gone through. I look around at my world, and these are the things that I see. What’s real? What’s the result of our environment? Like putting money or paisley designs on our nails—Andrea has paisley on her nails…
Andrea - Yeah, I have paisley on my nails. Actually, when I was in high school, I cut up a dollar bill and put that on my nails. Yeah, I used to have the little dollar sign with the gold charm.
Describe the film in 3 words.
Andrea - I’m thinking of two words right now for some reason: grounded drama. It’s grounded, but it’s dramatic.
Kasey - I think I would say: fierce and friendship. I think Shadow and Act said it best. “‘B.A.P.S. meets ‘Atlanta’ with laid edges.”
Desert Island Movie.
Andrea - Wolf of Wall Street.
Kasey - Catch Me If You Can.
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