BEFORE: A short film

New York City, New York | Film Short

LGBTQ, Romance

Neil Redfield

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,310 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

157 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


This is an intimate slice-of-life short about a loving queer couple building their family. This story includes positive queer representation, the modern surrogacy process, and universal themes about love and change.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We are a young, married queer couple creating a story about a young, married queer couple creating a child. We are interested in stories about change, love, and especially queer stories in which the characters’ queerness is not a central conflict.

The Story

UPDATE: Stretch Goals!

We've had an incredible campaign, and as we're wrapping up, we wanted to share some of our stretch goals, or, how we would make use of additional resources beyond our original goal budget.

  • $16,000: We’ll be able to significantly expand our production design budget, which will allow us to pull out all the stops when creating the world these characters live in. 
  • $17,000: We’ll be able to expand our crew to have a designated grip and additional PA! Filling these roles can help a shoot run significantly smoother. 
  • $18,000: We’ll be able to afford to work with one of the top Film/TV coaches working in NYC. This kind of work provides a great support for the actors and allows them to do what they know best. 
  • $19,000: Expanded Festival submission budget! Our plan is to use the funds from this campaign to cover the entire production process of this film, including post production and film festival submissions. This will allow the film to have significantly greater reach and opportunity. So important for an indie short!

There's still plenty of value that these additional fund will provide to the project, so we hope you'll consider joining us on this journey and making a pledge in the time remaining!


Hi there, I’m Neil!                And I’m Brandon.

We’re the creators behind BEFORE, and we’d love to share with you a bit about what we’re hoping to make and why we’re so excited about it.

First, here's a bit about the story we’re going to tell:

Chris and Eric are a young married gay couple -

(just like us!)

- and they have finally been matched with a gestational carrier to carry their future child.

If you’re not familiar – a gestational carrier is a type of surrogate, one of the few options available to gay couples who want to have children.

On the night before the couple is supposed to meet their matched carrier for the first time, Eric can’t sleep. His mind races with every unpredictable thing in their future.

Chris wakes up and tries to talk Eric through his fears, but instead they fall into a late-night argument in which each of them has to grapple with how the other is responding to the impending change to their lives.

Over the course of an intimate, unexpected confrontation, they have to ask themselves if they really are as ready to have a child together as they thought they were? Or if the challenge of leaving their “before” will prove too much for the couple to cope with?

We want to capture this story in a way that reflects the intimacy, complexity, and challenge that comes along with conversations between two committed partners going through a major change together.

I originally wrote this script out of a desire to create something that artistically captures where Brandon and I are at this point in our lives, but we’ve found that this story speaks to us for many reasons beyond just that.

First and foremost, we are queer artists who are passionate about queer representation. Despite being in an era with unprecedented support and protections for queer people, there is still a shocking dearth of representation of committed queer couples in media. Gay men are often represented as the promiscuous 6-pack party boy, the sexless comic uncle, or as vindictive and catty. We want to add to the landscape of inspiring queer artists who are telling new stories – stories that represent a full range of queer people who live all kinds of lives. Representation that shows you can love who you love and still be anything you want to be. 

On top of this, there is very little art depicting the modern surrogacy process. The modern legal process of surrogacy is less than 50 years old, and is ever changing. In fact – did you know that in New York it was illegal to pay for a gestational carrier until 2021? Having a child through surrogacy is a huge decision for all parties as well as a major financial investment for intended parents (an estimated average cost of $190,000-$230,000). Our film BEFORE will only show a single moment in the surrogacy journey of our characters, but it is an essential one. We hope to paint a nuanced and moving portrait of what this moment looks like for one couple.

But even more than these elements, we want to tell a story about love and choice.

Ultimately, this is a film about change. Fear of change, hope for change, desperation for change. Confronting change is a fundamentally human challenge faced by everyone - queer or not (but maybe especially challenging for us queer folks out there!). To borrow from Eric’s words in the script: “there are only so many ‘befores’ and ‘afters’ in a person’s life.” It is my hope that an audience member would walk away from this film thinking about a moment of change in their own life and feeling some camaraderie in life’s constant transformations. If you have ever reflected on a inflection moment in your life, this film is for you. 

We have an incredible team on board to help tell this story. Our team currently consists of:

Actors: Neil Redfield, Brandon Grimes; Director: Lynnsey Ooten; DP: Mike Magilnick; Producer: Alex Kopnick

Check out our "Team" page for more information about each of our collaborators. 

We will fill out the rest of our crew once we are further into fundraising and can fairly compensate people for the work they will be doing.

In order to bring this story to life in a fully realized way and to support our team in the process, we need funding. Instead of seeking institutional sources, we are pursuing crowdfunding as a way to maintain creative control of the project and, more importantly, to engage directly with our audience – with you!

Our goal is to raise $15,000 to support the completion of this film. This amount is intended to cover basic pre-production, production, and post-production costs for this film, allowing us to share with you a fully realized story that captures something close to our hearts – and hopefully close to yours, as well.

Every relationship is based on mutual support. Every $10, $20, $50 (or larger!) donation goes a long way to helping us make and share this story, and we have a variety of incentives which express our gratitude for your support.

If you can't donate, sharing to social media is a great way to support us! Follow our campaign here on Seed&Spark, follow us on Instagram (@beforethefilm), or follow us on Facebook (

As artists, we sometimes say that creating a project and sharing it is much like birthing a child. Even if it’s just by sharing this campaign with friends or following us on social media, we hope you’ll join us in this journey to bring something to life.

We can’t wait to make this together with you!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.


Costs $1,000

We want to pay our director, Lynnsey Ooten, for her wonderful work!

Production Team

Costs $2,600

For our producer, APs, script supervisor, and others who will keep everything on track.

Camera Crew

Costs $2,300

From DP to grip - an indispensable set of positions on a shoot!

Production Design

Costs $1,000

So much of our story is told through the characters' space. We want to capitalize on that potential.


Costs $800

A great gaffer will be indispensable to set the tone of this story.

Hair and Makeup

Costs $400

Having a designated support for makeup will mean one less thing for our actors to think about.

Sound Crew

Costs $1,000

Filming in an NYC apartment requires an experienced sound team to capture great audio.

Gear Rental

Costs $800

Our DP is generously providing gear, but we anticipate needing more to capture our desired look.


Costs $800

The unpredictable is bound to happen! This fund will help us bounce back when it does.

Post Production

Costs $3,000

Excellent editing, sound, and color grading: all things we need to have a fully realized film.

Festival Costs

Costs $800

Bringing this story to life means sharing it with the world! Festival costs can quickly add up.

Craft Services

Costs $500

We'll have two intense days of shooting, and we want to make sure our crew is well fed.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

We have an incredible team on board to help tell this story.

Here’s a bit more about us and our core collaborators who are just as excited to bring this film to life:


Cast & Writer

This is me! I’m an NYC-based actor and writer originally from San Antonio, TX. I’ve written plays, solo performance, and short films, most of which are about grappling with change in some way (you can see most of my work at I’ve acted at several theaters across the country, as well as in several short films and an indie feature. And I will shortly have my TV debut on the upcoming second season of The Gilded Age! 



I’m an actor, singer, composer/lyricist, and voice teacher originally from Boston. I grew up in a household of musicians and at a young age I fell in love with the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, Lerner and Loewe, Jerry Hermann, and Michael John LaChiusa. Since I’ve entered the professional world I’ve been fortunate enough to do a couple of National tours, perform at theaters all around the country, and appear in movies and series on several major streaming platforms. I’m also super excited to be featured on the upcoming concept album for MacGyver: the musical (alongside two Tony nominees).  I also love to write songs and music, and have worked on several original musicals as a composer/lyricist as well as a setting of the Mass for orchestra and choir. I love board games, Disney movies, and Renaissance faires. Basically I’m a big kid at heart, and a bit of a geek. I gravitate towards telling open hearted stories of hope, wonder, and trying to make the world a better place. Whether in the fantastical realm of fairy tales or grounded firmly in reality, I always try to bring a bit of magic to my work.



Lynnsey Ooten creates whimsical stories that are unflagging in their exploration of truth, with a bend toward laughter and an eye for detail. By leading with curiosity, compassion, and moxie, she creates brave spaces where she can be collaborative and decisive with her team. Lynnsey is thrilled to direct BEFORE and explore the complications that arise in a marriage when a couple chooses to have a child. You can watch her award-winning web series, SCRIBBLES, streaming on the Roku channel!



Alex is a graduate of Indiana University, where he received a B.A. in “Directing and Producing for Theatre and Film” and a certificate in Arts Administration. Alex’ credits include: Director, editor, and producer of the short film Amici Novum (awarded “Best VFX” at the International Symbolic Art Film Festival), director and producer of Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, (awarded the 2020 Executive Dean’s Award for Creative Research and Activity), and founder and producer of A Zoom with a View: A Digital Theatre Festival.  Alex is the most recent Producing Intern at Adventureland LLC, the company behind Hamilton and Jeffrey Seller's other projects and currently works as an Emerging Leaders Group Generalist Fellow at the Off-Broadway Theatre Company Ars Nova. Alex is excited to work with such incredible collaborators to create such a fresh, compelling, and intimate project! 

We will be updating this page throughout the campaign as we continue to build out our team!

Current Team