Have you ever felt like you just want to go home and hug your mom? Jake Fallon takes us into the life of a 29-year-old millennial who decided to move back in with her mom. The problem is, her mom doesn’t know she’s there.
Homebody tells a story of a 29-year-old Jessie who just lost her job, her place, and her friends so she decided to move back with her mom. The thing is, her mom doesn’t know she’s there. Jessie keeps her problems to herself and refuses to talk about it with her mom and her friends, even when Jessie actually knows they’ll be there for her.
Millennials are probably often known as the young kids who seem ambitious, creative and innovative, know things pretty quickly, and like to level up their career in a short time. We have seen the brilliant and successful millennials. There are tons of them and they’re everywhere. But there are also millennials like Jessie whose paths just aren’t as smooth.
Some millennials like Jessie feel like they’re surrounded by these intangible expectations of being successful at a very young age. These expectations and pressure mostly come from the fact that young billionaires are even more common these days. We look up to people like Mark Zuckerberg who became a billionaire before he reached his 30, or Evan Spiegel who’s 26 and a CEO of Snapchat. For many girls, Gigi Hadid is just so over the top for being 21, a world-class model, and has been on the cover of Vogue 20 times. It makes us feel like if we don’t reach a certain level of success at a certain age, we’re just screwed.
So, Jake Fallon as the writer and director tries to capture this situation of a millennial who just wants to go home and hug their mom. People often expect you to “get everything figured out” by the time you’re 30. And when you don’t you just feel like a crap. Yet at the same time, you don’t talk to anyone about it either. You just can’t talk it out, you don’t share your feelings, or to just simply let go things off your chest because you think it will just make you look bad and make you feel even worse. So you decided to keep things to yourself and hope you can sort this out yourself. And this is what happens with Jessie.
Megan Gorman as Jessie is able to show Jessie’s frustration and at the same time her feeling of isolating herself. We can feel how Jessie actually just really wants to hug her mom but she just can’t. It can also be seen that the images of her friends looking happy and seem to be doing pretty well with their life give Jessie more frustration for not being able to have that “happiness.”
I myself am what people refer as a millennial. Before I knew the word, I simply never thought about it. I’ve heard some good and bad stereotypes about this generation. Some say we are opportunistic, like instant things, individualistic, and even disloyal. So when I learned about the term for the first time, more or less my reaction was like, “Why are people so judgmental? It’s not my fault that I was born in a certain period of time,” and I refused to categorize myself or anyone into a certain group of generation.
But then, even though I refused to take the characteristics people talk about seriously, I also became more conscious about what I and my friends do. So when one by one these characteristics actually happened (and I was conscious about that), I began to think, “Ah, yeah we are millennials. They were right about us.” And when I think like that, there are two possibilities: either I am a millennial after all or I begin to believe that I am.
Nevertheless, the frustration Jessie feels is common for many other people, including me. I’ve had a very low point in my life. And like Jessie, I refused to talk to anyone about it. I wanted to and I knew I did, but as much as I wanted to it just didn’t come out of my mouth. I’ve been always a private person and I hate being seen sad in public. And when you see your friends doing so good in life, it just makes it even harder to tell them that you’re not doing as good.
Thankfully though, I made it to push myself back up in the end. I realized there’s no way I can get through this alone if I want to stay sane, so I began to talk to some of my closest friends and let them know I wasn’t okay. This kind of connection is what Fallon wants to tell us through Homebody. As Fallon said,
“This film isn’t about success; it’s about our relationship with failure and the support we need to rebound from it.”
I (E) talked to Jake Fallon (JF) about Homebody and his thoughts about millennials.
E: So first of all, the basic question, tell me about Homebody, where did the story come from?
JF: It was meant to be a beginning of a spec script on a show Broad City where I was just gonna write a half-hour comedy in the show, and it just started to develop into a story cinematically relating to all of these things I was feeling myself. I wrote it when I was working this job that I hated and I was struggling to pay the rent. Struggling in just every aspect of my life, basically. In total, the script just started naturally entering towards this idea.
The story is really just about being this age and having to face all of the things that we’re facing. It’s not that we’re facing things that are harder than any other generation, it’s just a very specific attitude that we have towards people who are trying right now. Like people who are just trying to create a life, you look at them in this really judgmental way.
E: So you have found yourself in Jessie’s position before.
JF: Correct, yeah. Not necessarily the same thing, but the feeling of just wanting to go home.
E: Is this your first movie?
E: What’s the difficulty in making your first movie?
JF: The hardest thing is dedicating and committing. I get through that by setting hard dates. It’s really hard to motivate yourself, get up, and do it. Like the hardest part of going to the gym is getting to the gym. Just do it.
E: What was the moment when you decided that you had to make this into a movie?
JF: Logistically, I was inspired by a friend of mine named Minhal Baig whose feature 1 Night just came out and she’s working on another one called Hala. She’s a friend who read the script and pushed me, saying that it was something that deserved a voice right now. So I went back and looked at it and it did make sense to wanna go for it with this one. Just seeing where my friends were with their success and me needing to make a big move in my own personal life, the way Jessie needs to hers.
E: When I first found your movie on Short of the Week, the first word in their review was “Millennial.” Was this movie really meant to be about millennials?
JF: Yes and no. Yes because Jessie does fit in that category, and things that gather into the situation that she’s in are the problems that are greatly considered to be with the millennials. To me when I wrote it, it was more about mothers and daughters. Just how Jessie’s mom was a reflection of her and Mrs. Petrovski the old woman next door was a reflection of them both at a later point. It’s certainly told through the filter of a millennial’s story.
E: Are you a millennial yourself?
JF: Yes. I guess if I had to be categorized, that’s where I am.
E: So personally for you, what does it mean to be a millennial?
JF: To be a millennial is to immediately adapt to rapidly developing technologies. That’s what I think bonds us all the most, and that’s just something we understand things faster because we have these tools. And because we understand things faster, we want greater and greater things. So it’s not any longer enough it seems for most people in the millennial category. They just have a simple life, they want bigger and bigger and bigger. There are certain vulnerability and fragility that come with that and I think that’s why we get this reputation of being hypersensitive, whiny, and all that stuff.
E: So, do you think we’re currently in a difficult situation, especially for our generation, or it’s just that now the expectations are higher?
JF: I think the expectations are higher. I think that’s because the baseline of achieving those expectations has become more difficult to achieve. So if I have set the expectation of buying a house when I’m 25 years old, the life that I need to have around me will have to be so much bigger than it was 30 years ago of wanting to buy a house at 25 or when my parents bought their house. We’ve just been given these really difficult conditions of just the way the government is set up or how many people there are in the world competing for the same things. So it’s bigger and it’s smaller. It’s kind of this influx where we’re all just growing right now and we’re figuring out how to deal with the world around us. It’s not that not everybody else has done that. But we just have more access to bigger ideas, the privilege to that bigger ideas.
E: Yeah, you talked about these expectations, for example where you should buy a house by the time you’re 25 or when you’re 30 you should get everything’s figured out. Do you think there should be any age or moment when we just should get everything’s figured out?
JF: I don’t. I think that one of the great things that come out of this unprecedented access to information we have is the enlightening of how we can just live a happy life however we define it. So, people have it figured out in a way that they figure out the way to get themselves that untraditional life that is satisfied with them. But then the traditional idea of figuring out itself is to have a spouse, kids, and good job, and I just don’t think that’s having it figured out anymore.
I know people who have nothing figured out well until their 60’s yet are totally satisfied with the life that they’ve created themselves. By no means do I have that like figured-it-out yet where I’m just like basically happy every day. But yeah, it’s no longer about it. There’s still this idea out there that plagues us that we need to achieve this “figured it out”. But eventually, I think we just supersede that we grow beyond it and it’s obsolete now.
E: How much do you think the media plays a role in shaping us and make us the “millennials”? Are we millennials because we’ve been labeled so and now we believe it or because we are?
JF: Millennial is just a name. I think every time we name a generation, even just giving something that distinguishes mean to a generation, I think it’s just kind of silly. Because we’re all just people. So I do think it’s the media. Probably originating from them just needing to know how to sell things for certain age groups, and then those ideas are reinforced in smaller ways. Like in one of the original scripts, Jessie was watching an article on CNN about Mark Zuckerberg and there’s this generation of young billionaires now and people are very visibly achieving so much more now at a young age than they ever have. An actress like Chloë Grace Moretz getting started at 13 and having a long career, or any number of YouTube kids who just grab a camera and then they get 20 million followers or something.
So the media has definitely created this separation and also empowered it by developing people at a very young age. Now it’s like, “Oh if I don’t succeed till I’m 30, it’s like I should be worried,” but really it’s so abnormal for somebody to succeed that young.
E: You know when you write a screen, the process can be a medium for reflection of yourself as well. So now that you’ve made this movie, what’s the reflection you see or the lesson you’ve learned by making this movie?
JF: The main lesson that I’ve learned is that I’ve always been a person who tries to achieve great things by himself. I was always the organizer with all of my friends or I’d go home and write by myself or do something alone. This was my first time taking on one of my own films and directing it myself, especially with the budget that we use and all that. For me, I’ve never done anything like it and it was the support of my friends that really got me through it, through the exhaustion. It’s exhausting to get something done like this creatively. I guess it goes with any job. It’s like when you’re trying really hard to achieve something, it’s always difficult and exhausting. And if you do it alone the way Jessie goes in, which is by being alone and isolating herself from everybody, it’s not until she makes that connection with her mom. And for me, I just have to make connections with my friends.
E: Do you have any message for people who are currently going through the same situation?
JF: I think it’s everybody in doing whatever job that you’re doing right now, you’re probably having some difficulty doing it. Just ask for help more than you want to. It’s uncomfortable, even like doing a Kickstarter was so uncomfortable that I asked that many people for help. But just get comfortable with it.
E: So are you gonna make more movies in the future?
JF: Yes, I’m working on the feature film version of this one as well as a feature film that I wrote before.
E: How is it going so far?
JF: I’m just starting out. So I know exactly where I wanna go and everything I want to do with it. I just gotta get to the gym, you know.
E: When can we expect to see this project?
JF: Hopefully I can do something smaller before the feature film. So I’d like to have another short done by the summer and then the longer version that I’m talking with some people right now, and get some backing for it. So I’ll cross-finger, I’m not expecting anything.
While I was writing this article, I feel like I just made our generation sounds vulnerable. Maybe we are. But other than good at being vulnerable, I also think that this generation is good at motivating themselves. Not all of us are whiny when we don’t get what we want instantly.
Nevertheless, I still think that categorizing the whole generation is unfair. Because it seems that the category didn’t include those who are less privileged. We cannot neglect the truth that it is easier for us to achieve great things when we are privileged. It’s easier for us to focus on how to make the world a better place when we don’t have to think hard how to pay our school tuition fees or simply to keep ourselves fed. Sadly, we still live in a world where your access to technology still depends on whether or not you can afford it. Also, the world where education is still a privilege rather than a right.
That’s why putting Mark Zuckerberg as a standard is just unfair for some people. Because we don’t all have the same starting point after all.
Jake Fallon is an actor, writer, comedian, and director currently based out of New York City and Los Angeles. Homebody has been featured on Short of the Week, Indiewire, and Film Shortage. He is known around the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles for his work with his improv team Daddio. Jake’s screenplays have performed well in competitions including the Austin Film Festival and a top 5 finish in the Final Draft Big Break for Evergreen.
Author/Editor: Elsa Hestriana