The Making of a Movie Poster

First things first, THANK YOU to the supremely talented friends who generously donated their input, advice, time and skills in the creation of our movie poster.

Let’s start with this little firecracker, Danielle Levitt.


Though we’d never met, I’d been writing commercial treatments for Danielle for about a year. And I somehow convinced her to take time from her busy schedule of shooting celebrity portraits and editorials and award-winning commercials that make people cry… to photograph me.

She shot my portrait at a studio in LA. Tons of them, actually.

Though we tried a bunch of different looks and feels, I was more or less going for the WTF?! expression found in her portrait of Neil Patrick Harris.

Once my production team and I selected our favorite pic, we turned to Stephen Sinek (aka. “The Painted Warrior“). In addition to being a character in the film, Stephen is a graphic design wizard. He’s very tall and kind and colorful.

A photo posted by Stephen Sinek (@stephensinek) on

And most importantly, he has the patience of a saint.

Even though he probably cringes every time I call, knowing I have “one small tweak” or “a new idea,” he continues picking up the phone and designing just about everything for us: logos, memes, posters, FB cover photos and such. He’s been an irreplaceable part of this adventure, and I always feel very, very blessed he took the ride.

Stephen superimposed me on James Appleton‘s epic image of the 2016 Tough Guy start line.

And plugged Justin Mckie’s photo of me hating life at Tough Guy’s “Underwater Tunnels” into the iPhone.

And after quite a bit of Photoshop magic, we were left with this…

Again, thanks to everyone who came together to make this happen. Especially my childhood buddy Greg Mollica, an art director at Penguin Random House. 

Happy Friday throw back. I’m on a boat. Chill young G in MV.

A photo posted by @gregmollica on

Not only did he encourage me to ask (our mutual friend) Danielle to shoot it, he assured me that my idea for the poster didn’t suck. And considering the fact he’s the guy behind a slew of masterful book jackets – like Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me – and that we both were stuck on the same girl from 3rd grade through high school (hi Dana!), I trust the man’s instincts.

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