Made in the style of “Spinal Tap” and “Zelig,” the mockumentary “Marv Tollman: Look Back In Failure” follows the story of a little known 1970s self-help guru whose book, “The Failure Fallacy,” was an enormous hit.
A popular PBS special followed along with the undivided attention of Hollywood celebrities who were inexorably drawn to his spot-on failure and success theories. Ironically, he achieved the fame and fortune that eluded him when he came to Tinsel Town a decade earlier as an aspiring actor. However, one year after his meteoric rise, Tollman disappeared. No one knows what happened but there were plenty of rumors surrounding his fairy tale existence.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5676″ img_size=”medium” onclick=”link_image” title=”Marv’s PBS Special 1982″]The most sensational was that he wasn’t a self-help guru at all but rather just playing the role of a lifetime. To uncover the truth, Tollman’s son, Jimmy, who was 10 when his father disappeared, has set out to set the record straight by interviewing everyone and anyone with knowledge of the self-proclaimed “self-help failure guru to the stars.”
Why are we making “Marv Tollman: Look Back in Failure”?
Like all artistic endeavors, it’s a chance to work out issues. And if you’re artistic, you’ve got no shortage of issues. Both Fred and Jeff have had career highs and lows. And both have struggled with the notion of failure and success on and off for years.
Fred, who was always driven to be in show business, had success in Hollywood as a writer (“Fridays” featuring Larry David and Michael Richards and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”) and in San Francisco as a performer (his one-man show “It Could Have Been A Wonderful Life” received excellent reviews). But he’s not famous, like many of the stand-up comedians he started with in the 1970s, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser. Does he think he’s a failure because of that? Most days, no. But some days, well, let’s not go there.
Jeff, who dreamed of being the next Francis Ford Coppola, found great success as a producer and director of corporate videos and live events. While he has had an excellent run for over 25 years, the hired gun scenario is taking a heavy creative toll, leading to thoughts about whether the great success he enjoyed was, in fact, really that great.
When Fred approached Jeff with the idea of a film that would help him come to grips with these failure and success “demons,” Jeff jumped at the chance (besides, it was cheaper than therapy). They both believe that Marv’s message — real success starts with the real you — will resonate with an audience. In turn, that message will take the film beyond silly mockumentary status. It’s funny, it’s thought provoking, and it’s a mystery. Who could ask for more? (Maybe no demons, but let’s not get crazy.)
How do you know we know what we’re doing?
Once you see the five-minute demo we shot (located at the top of the page), you’ll have no doubts that we know what we’re doing. The writing is crisp, the bits are funny, and the story is compelling. Everyone who has seen it has said: “I’m hooked. I want to know what happened to Marv.” What’s more, the quality is top-notch. We put together a world-class crew that has years of experience on all types of theatrical and commercial productions and has garnered innumerable awards.
Money isn’t everything: Other ways you can help
If you like what you see, please donate what you can to our indigogo campaign. You will be rewarded with one of our thoughtful perks. However, if you’re not able to contribute financially, there are other ways you can help. We would very much appreciate you forwarding this link to all those that you think will find it entertaining. Email it, tweet it, Facebook it, and whatever else you social media mavens do.
I’m the main man behind Eaglevision. But my main interest is not garden variety productions—it’s electrifying, unique brand experiences. I’m a big picture guy with the mind of a strategist and the soul of a storyteller. I’ve been spinning singular stories for over 20+ years for Fortune 500 behemoths like Apple and Hilton as well as scrappy start-ups. We’ve done everything from media and conferences to trade shows and mobile apps. And what do we have to show for it? Just 200 satisfied clients, over 1,000 completed projects, $25 million in billings, and a bucket of awards from the New York Film Festival and other equally impressive impresarios. (But who’s counting?) As for craftsmanship, we don’t skimp. You may find that the special effects for your sales video are being handled by the group that won last year’s Academy Award. Or the writer for your product intro script cut his creative teeth on “The Tonight Show.” Or the headliner for your live event is the Doobie Brothers or Vince Gill & Amy Grant. (Spoiler alert: We’ve worked with them and they’re really cool.) Bottom line: I get branding. I get strategy. And when you go with Eaglevision, you get a gung-ho go-to guy who delivers handcrafted digital and live experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain.
I began as a stand-up comedian in New York City, sharing the bill with such comedy luminaries as Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser. Shortly after heading west to Los Angeles, I landed a job as a staff writer for the ABC-TV late-night comedy/variety series “Fridays,” which featured Michael Richards and Larry David. From there, it was on to the prime-time “No Soap, Radio,” an ABC-TV sitcom/sketch show starring Steve Guttenberg. Following a writing stint on a SHOWTIME special in Canada, I found himself working on the granddaddy of them all, “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” One of my final Hollywood projects was a comedy pilot starring Phyllis Diller and Alan Hale, which I co-created and co-wrote. Upon moving to San Francisco 30 years ago, I made the transition to advertising copywriter, corporate video scriptwriter, crafter of web content, and solo performer. My show It Could Have Been A Wonderful Life—a staple at intimate San Francisco theatres at holiday time for many years—was deemed “a wonderful 75 minutes” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.