Boston, Massachusetts | Film Short


Lauren Leger

1 Campaigns | Massachusetts, United States

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This campaign raised $12,030 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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The media often sounds the alarm on energetic boys being over-diagnosed with ADHD. However, the same stigmas and misconceptions, resulting in an over diagnosis in boys, causes a chronic under-diagnosis in women. This short addresses this by finally representing a woman with ADHD.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
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  • The Team
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Mission Statement

Coming from a family of women with ADHD and being diagnosed herself, Lauren knows first hand the unique challenges women with ADHD face. She is an active member of the Boston acting and film community, and is passionate about uplifting the talented actors across New England.

The Story

HOW TO CLEAN follows an artistically talented college student, Mia, as she navigates the complexity of managing her ADHD. In a desperate attempt to restore her relationship with her bestfriend after they move in together, she seeks help from an unhelpful psychiatry receptionist, a college drug dealer, and a new age wellness influencer.

Lauren Leger is the writer, director and actress playing Mia.

She dicovered she had ADHD at the end of her freshman year of highscool, when she was unable to finish any of her tests on time despite knowing the answers. After being diagnosised she requested accommodations, like extended time, which is mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act. However, her principal refused because she was in higher level classes, and was not acting out in them. He claimed that accommodations are only for those who aren't smart or have behavioral issues. This is despite the fact ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence and acting out in class is much more likely to occur in boys than in girls. Girls often present as intentive rather than hyperactive.

Luckily, Lauren's mom worked in the school system and was familiar with how to navigate these situations. She was able to get in touch with an advocate who helps girls with ADHD recieve their accommodations. Through this journey they both learned a lot about ADHD and all it's misconceptions. This resulted in her mom discovering she also had ADHD. This is a far too common story for girls and women with ADHD. Due to this journey, Lauren became an avid advocate for those with ADHD, especially woman. 

Lauren attended Boston University and has a B.S. in Film and TV, with a focus on editing and acting. She has always had a love for filmmaking, and started acting in student films when she was a freshman in highschool, in order to get closer to the action. She is currently an active member of the Boston acting community, and was most recently featured in HBO's Julia playing Julia Child's intern. 

How to Clean’s composer is Maddie Stephenson. Maddie and Lauren were roommates in college, and have talked about working together since they were freshman.

Maddie Stephenson (b. 1999) is currently pursuing her Master’s in Music Theory and Composition - Screen Scoring at New York University (Steinhardt ’23). Since beginning her career as a composer in 2017, she has written a multitude of solo and chamber works. Most recently, Maddie was commissioned to write a chamber work, “Cycles,” for Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas (May 2022 premiere). In December 2020, she was commissioned by Lake Forest Academy (IL) to write fifteen original songs for a brand new musical, “City of the Seven Gates,” which premiered in the Spring of 2021.

At New York University, Maddie has scored multiple student films, including two half-hour documentaries, a short film, and an animated short, all of which premiered in May 2022. She enjoys writing both screen and concert music, and looks forward to completing her Master’s degree in 2023.

The sound design will take inspiration from the short film Stutter, which follows a man with a stutter who despratly tries to build connections with others. Stutter creativily utilizes voice over of the main character's thoughts to give a better understanding of how his stutter impacts his ability to speak. How to Clean will similarly use overlapping thought voice overs to better dive into the ADHD experience.

John John Little is How to Clean's Cinematographer. He is also a recent graduate of Boston University’s Film & Television Program, having specialized in Cinematography. John John and Lauren worked on multiple projects together at BU. He has since started his journey as a freelancer, working in the camera department for shorts, music videos, commercials, and corporate productions.

With the main character Mia being a strugggling yet succeful artist, it is only fair to visually reference the most famous and debatively the originator of the struggling artist trope Vincent Van Gogh. Mia's art will be inspired by Van Gogh, along with the whole color pallete of the short.

More specifically the main reference will be from the work he produced in the French town of Arles. This was when he lived with his friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh was known for being a terrible roommate, and it was when Gauguin told Van Gogh he was moving out that resulted in Van Gogh famously cutting off his ear.

Another inspiration is Wes Anderson, who is able to create movies tackling depressing themes with an enticingly light whimsy. This seems more fitting for ADHD, opposed to a dark and dreary approach. 

Production design is a main focus of this short as it is in Anderson's films. He uses the spaces the cast enhabits as if they are an additional character, with their unique personalities feeding the story. 

The apartment layout where the short takes place creates a perfect opportunity to take inpiration from Anderson's use of frames within the framing of the shot. Anderson also often showcases art within his movies, like the Boy with Apple in The Grand Budapest Hotel, to Moses Rosenthaler in the French Dispatch. How to Clean will similarly showcase Mia's art and the art she takes inspiration from.

Lauren's original inspiration for the idea of How to Clean was Maya Fuhr's photography in the Vice commissioned series Garbage Girls. She loved the unapologic attitude of these young women showing off their mess. Despite showcasing mess the photos are beautifly composed.

Rachel Bailit is the acting coach and Executive Producer of How to Clean. Rachel has been Lauren's acting coach since she started teaching in Boston five years ago. She currently teaches at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in LA and at Boston Casting, which has led to her creating a community of Method actors here in Boston.

Rachel was trained and mentored by David Lee Strasberg and many prestigious students of Lee Strasberg. She teaches around the world. She was a guest speaker and teacher at The Shanghai Theater Academy International Forum on Actor Training and Education.

Rachel specializes in teaching “Acting for Animators” at Dreamworks Animation, Warner Animation Group, and The Animation Guild. She is The Museum Consultant for Affective and Physical Engagement at The Getty Museum and where she created the tour “Sense Memory in Art” in addition to teaching in the Getty Education Department. Rachel originated classes for Military and Veterans at SAG-AFTRA and serves on The Military Committee in order to serve her fellow union members. Most recently she acted in Dairy of a Spy and was an acting consultant on DC League of Superpets starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.








All of the actors are students of Rachel Bailit. Rachel and Lauren are passionate about showcasing the talented Method actors here in Boston in this short and future projects.

Method acting is the acting technique developed by Lee Strasberg steming from Russian director, Stanislavski's teachings. This is not the same method acting the media likes to present as crazy actors who never breaking character or who abuse themselves to get an emotional performance. Real Method acting focuses on relaxation, sense memory and preparation. Noteworthy Method actors include Robert De Niro, Natalie Portman, Kate Winslet, Al Pacino, James Baldwin, James Dean, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern, just to name a few.

There is a serious lack of representation of woman with ADHD in the media. This is doubly problematic when woman and girls are chronically under-diagnosed. Although progress has been made from when it was believed ADHD only affected little boys, they are still twice as likely to be diagnosed compared to girls. However, research has found the number of girls and boys with ADHD is the same.

Unfortunately, this bias has still not left the medical field, with only 1% of research exlusively focused on girls. ADHD is the most researched mental health condition, but this is still a problem since the research that has been done shows girls with ADHD present differently than boys. This is also the reseach that desides the guidelines for diagnosis in the DSM-5. Much of this research from the past 15 years has still not reached all doctors, teachers, parents and even those with ADHD themselves. The media's lack of representation may not be the only factor contributing to the discrepancy in diagnosis, but it can surely be a tool to break down these misconceptions, and tell the world woman with ADHD exist.

Besides not being able to recieve treatment, when women are undiagnosed they also don't know why simple tasks are so difficult when they seem so easy to everyone else. This paired with higher expectations for girls and woman to be well-behaved and neat can lead to lower self esteem in undiagnosed woman and higher rates of developing anxiety and depression later in life. This may explain why 1 in 4 women with ADHD have attempted self harm or suicide, and the number is likely much higher when accounting for those who have gone undiagnosed.

A messy little boy is to be expected, but there's something wrong with a messy girl.



ADHD in girls: What You Need to Know -

Lost Generation of Women -

ADD Women and Girls: Late ADHD Diagnosis, Little Treatment -

Diagnosing ADHD Girls -

Neuropsychiatric differences between boys and girls with ADHD -

There has never been a better time to tell this story. With the rise in social media use there has been an overall concern of a declining attention spams, but it has also created a platform for ADHD advocates. On TikTok the hashtag #ADHD has over 9.6 billion views. These advocates, like Jessica McCade and René Brooks, are bringing awareness to how ADHD presents differently in adults and girls, and on the unique challenges people of color with ADHD face. This may be why "What is ADHD?" is currently the most asked question searched on google.

Lauren graduated from film school during in the height of covid, and was therefore unable to create a thesis film. With the help of her mentors, she is making her "thesis" now, and plans on submitting this to film festivals to showcase her skills. She has aspirations to make a feature about ADHD in the future, and use it as a platform to further showcase the talented actors and filmmakers in Boston.

With covid still being a factor that could effect production, all of the cast and crew is vaccinated and boosted. The crew on set will be limited to only those who are essentioal. 

Above is a chart of the budget distribution. Since, the short has a big emphasis on mess and the spaces Mia inhabits, half of the budget will be going towards production design and props. Sound can often make or break a short, so the second highest catagogry is sound, with all of that going towards a skilled production sound mixer. 

How to Clean is currently finishing up pre-production. The shooting location is already secured, so once the fundraising goal is reached, production will commense two weeks later with a three day shoot. Post-production will wrap up this winter in time to submit to film festivals in the spring.


You can also follow the progess by following Lauren on social media and by signing up for the news letter.






Here is an examples. Feel free to copy and paste!

Help filmmaker Lauren Leger by supporting her heartfelt short film, How to Clean, about an ADHD college student trying to save her friendship with her roommate.  Join them on @seedandspark -



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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Camera Crew

Costs $2,050

Camera Operator, Gaffer and Production Assistant

Production Design

Costs $6,350

Production Designer, Assistant, Props and Continuity


Costs $2,250

Sound Mixer and Equipment


Costs $2,000

Props and Art. Will double as Colorist and Sound Designer budget when refundable props are returned


Costs $2,000

Camera, Lens, Lights and Gimbal


Costs $350

Catering and Crafty

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