I Don't Want to Kill Myself was written by Colby Day & Nathaniel Katzman during their junior year of college. When they started writing together, they actually started writing across an ocean, since Nathaniel was studying abroad in Italy, and Colby was an intern at The Daily Show. They didn’t let little things like six hour time changes get in the way though, and emailed each other pages until Nathaniel was back in New York.
As two students who weren’t even allowed access to their school’s film equipment, shooting a feature would be an incredibly difficult undertaking. But, determined, they raised approximately $4500 from friends, family, and virtual strangers, before Kickstarter had become the prominent fundraising platform of independent film. Instead, they emailed everyone they knew, desperately asking for help, and donations to be made via Paypal.
The shoot itself took place over the summer, in 100° New York heat, because those grueling conditions were more manageable than filming during their senior year. Colby was enrolled in several courses, and now an intern at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which he asked to leave. His boss was not at all thrilled, but Jimmy did eventually send him a carpet sample as a parting gift.
Under-funded and overworked, 16 hour days were the norm on a set where nobody was paid and everybody was under 22 years old. With no time, no money, and running on energy drinks and sheer willpower, the result is remarkable.
I Don't Want to Kill Myself captures the best elements of do-it-yourself filmmaking by defying conventional genres, showcasing phenomenal performances, and demonstrating an entirely new voice from up and coming filmmakers. Equal parts funny and moving, this high concept, low budget film reminds us of all the things that make a mixed-up life worth living.