Ellen Needs Insurance

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Comedy, Satire

Ellen Haun

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $33,515 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

454 supporters | followers

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Ellen is $804 away from qualifying for health insurance next year. So are lots of other actors. This comedic short film - which is itself about an actor trying to qualify for healthcare - will help them get there.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

Getting healthcare in America is hard, but in order to do it, we're doing what we do best: making something funny. Our goal for the short is to pay our actors what they need to qualify for union insurance, to pay our crew well, and have a little left over so we can buy everyone a good lunch.

The Story

First, a quick update:

We will be screening "Ellen Needs Insurance" at LA Shorts Fest on Thursday, July 20th, and releasing the film online shortly thereafter. As proud SAG-AFTRA and WGA members, we stand in solidarity with our unions. We're excited to share the film, which reflects the reality of working class actors, and is now more topical than when we shot it last year.

What's this movie about?

"Ellen Needs Insurance" is a short comedy about an actress named Ellen who realizes she's $804 away from qualifying for SAG health insurance. So she sets out to do anything and everything she can to earn that $804. She calls her agent and begs for an audition. She begrudgingly starts doing extra work. But finally she realizes...she might just have to make a short film. 

That's funny! Why are you making it?

Because it's real life, baby! This is the very situation that I (real life Ellen) found myself in this fall. Knowing I was really close to hitting the insurance minimum, I started auditioning like a madwoman, and yes, doing as much background work as possible. I was working really hard, but I was afraid it wasn't going to be enough. And I really needed the insurance (you'll learn why when you watch the movie). So, Dru Johnston and I decided to make a short film.  

Navigating health insurance in this country is stressful, expensive, and all sorts of other four-letter-words I shouldn't use because my Grammy will read this. But once we dove into writing and pre-production, much of that pressure went away. Not only because we knew I'd qualify, but also because we love making movies, with other talented and funny people.

Who else is on the team?

"Ellen Needs Insurance" is written by me, Ellen Haun, and Dru Johnston. Dru is also directing. Darren Miller is executive producing with his production company Big Mischief. Funny or Die Producer Savvas Yiannoulou is producing. Additional crew includes DP Cooper James, Production Designer Grace Haun, and COVID officer Irina Gorovaia. Our cast of 15 is incredibly talented -- you will definitely recognize them. You can read more about everyone on our team page!

How much are you trying to raise? 

$30,000. It's a lot!

How are you gonna use the money? 

1. Paying our actors what they need to reach their insurance minimum. This is the biggest part of our budget, as we are planning on casting 15 actors. Then, we will contribute 20% of their total salaries to the SAG Pension and Health Fund, so that this project qualifies them for insurance. We're operating under the SAG Short Project Agreement, if you're curious. 2. Paying our crew well. Everybody who has ever worked on a film set knows they're the hardest working people around, and it's important to us to pay our crew and producers more than what they'd make on an average short film. 3. Renting a low-cost studio in Burbank for 3 days, and renting some lighting equipment and some lenses. We also want this movie to look and sound good. 4. Snacks and lunch, because good snacks make everybody happy. 5. COVID supplies. Irina Gorovaia is our COVID safety officer, and we're following all union COVID safetry protocol. We'll be purchasing tests and masks, and wearing masks at all times.

This is a really fun project. How can I support it?

Any amount you can pledge will make a huge difference: not only are you supporting a funny and sweet short film, you're also helping 15 different actors get health insurance. 

Share this campaign on your social meeds! We'll make it easy; just copy and paste: My friend Ellen Needs Insurance so she's making a short film about it -- which will qualify her and a bunch of other actors for insurance. Follow the film and get these people to the doctor here

Follow this page for updates, and follow @ellenhaun on instagram and @drujohnston on twitter for updates there, too! We're making a movie and we're getting people to the doctor, baby!!!we cannot gaurantee George Clooney will be your doctor, as he is not actually a real doctor

Much love,Ellen, Dru, & the Whole Creative Team 


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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Actor Salaries

Costs $14,400

Actors will be paid what they need to qualify for insurance plus 20% to the SAG Health fund.

Crew Salaries

Costs $9,000

Our crew is small but we want to pay them well; more than a typical short film budget allows.

Location Rental

Costs $3,200

We are renting a low cost studio in Burbank and shooting the entire film there.

Gear Rental

Costs $3,000

We are renting camera lenses, and lighting equipment.

About This Team

 Ellen Haun (writer, actor, producer) is the co-author of the humor book "Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling" and played hapless law student Ms. Chapin on "How to Get Away with Murder." 

 Dru Johnston (director, writer and producer) was a writer/producer on "The Chris Gethard Show", an alum of the Almanack Screenwriter's Program, and his feature comedy "The GarbageMan" won the 2021 Screencraft Comedy Competition. He was a veteran sketch and improv teacher at the UCB Theatre in NY.

 Darren Miller (executive producer) has been creating and producing comedy in the digital world for 15 years. He started Big Mischief in 2018 to help develop and produce innovative and exciting projects that fall outside the scope of his primary work leading the Digital team at Funny Or Die.

 Savvas Yiannoulou (producer) couldn't spell his name in kindergarten, and since then he has gone on to create and produce a number of projects including most recently the award-winning, independent feature film, "Evergreen."

 Grace Haun (production designer) worked on the production design for feature film "Hungry Dog Blues" and does commercial styling and production work in the St. Louis area. Her television credits include "Welcome Home Nikki Glaser" and the upcoming "Welcome to Crappie Lake." 

 Irina Gorovaia (certified COVID officer) is a Russian Jewish artist from Brooklyn, NY. 

Cooper James (director of photography) has two cats.


Armi Arabe Abiera is a Filipino-American actress, voice actor, singer, coach, and mom. As a mom to 4 amazing girls and a self employed husband, she absolutely needs insurance! Armi has performed in Theatre, TV/Film, and 20 national commercials. Check out her credits on imdb.me/armiarabeabiera and follow her on instagram @armiof6

Marisa Baram is a UC Irvine Drama alum with a background in improv, musical theater, and tacos. Most recently she played Marissa on all four seasons of NBC/Peacock’s “A.P. Bio” - other tv credits include “Henry Danger”(Nickelodeon), “How to Get Away with Murder”(ABC), “Real Husbands of Hollywood” (BET), & “Awkward”(MTV). 

Kim Cooper is a Korean American actor, writer, and improviser with over 10 years of comedy experience via UCB, where she still performs monthly with her team Voltron. She can be seen on The G Word with Adam Conover, Black Monday, and in national commercials, and she can be heard co-hosting the podcasts Asians in Baseball and Korean Drama Podcast. 

Phoebe Holston is an actor/voiceover artist/commercial model based in Los Angeles.  Her most recent credits are Physical (Apple TV), Dead Power (HULU) and a slew of national commercials.

Carolina Hoyos writes, directs and acts for stage and film as well as releases records as singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist, A Girl I Know. Film/TV credits include Jimmy Kimmel, Magnum P.I., Too Old To Die Young, Austin Film Festival winner Blackwater and a Netflix *NDA* series releasing 2023.

Liz Jenkins was born and raised in Houston, TX, Liz has been focused on a career in acting since she can remember. She received her BFA from the University of Evansville and her MFA from UCSD. You may recognize her from guest roles on American Horror Story, Torchwood, or Seal Team. Most notably Liz played a co-star turned fan favorite recurring role on the critically-acclaimed, multi award-winning ABC hit comedy Black-ish.

Danny Jolles is an actor and stand up who played George on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” His most recent stand-up special is “You Choose: An Interactive Comedy Special.” 

M.J. Kang is a playwright, actor, improviser and director. She has appeared on shows airing on Fox, NBC, CBS and many stations in Canada, where she was raised.

Valerie Rose Lohman (she/they) is an actor and VO Artist based in Los Angeles. Favorite credits include Wylde Flowers (Studio Drydock), What Remains of Edith Finch (BAFTA Nomination - best performance), Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Bethesda), and Tower of God (HBO Max).

Alise Morales is a comedian, actress, and writer based out of Brooklyn, New York. She is best known for her work writing the Betches Sup newsletter and as co-host of the Betches Sup Podcast. This year she was selected by CBS as one of twelve rising talents to be featured in their annual showcase and has appeared and voiced characters on popular shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tooning Out the News, Our Cartoon President, Difficult People, and more. 

Rochelle Maria Muzquiz is a writer and actors whose most recent credits include Somebody I Used to Know.

Doug Olear has been an actor in theater, film and TV for over 25 years.  He is best known for his role as FBI agent,Terry FitzHugh on the HBO series The Wire. He's also appeared in over a dozen national commercials.

Arianna Ratner is a theater trained actor with a BFA from NYU who has been working mainly in video game and promo voiceover for the past 14+ years. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she can be heard in games such as Fallout 76, Saint's Row, The Elder Scrolls Online, Lost Ark, The World of Warcraft Legion and Battle for Azeroth, Hearthstone, EA's Command and Conquer: Rivals, The Sims 4 and more. 

Stephen Sherman is from New York City, now based in LA. Upcoming film: Eddie Albert in 'Reagan' with Dennis Quaid and Mena Suvari. He was recently named Best Actor at the Istanbul Film Festival for the short film, 'Like A Powerpoint.'  

Camden Singer's credits include the feature film “Annabelle,” “Criminal Minds,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “The Mentalist.” 


Current Team