We are looking for (1) lead and (10) supporting actors, as well as featured and background extras.

Filming will take place in and/or around Kansas City and is scheduled for July 2020–shoot dates TBA.

Lead roles will be needed every day of production. Supporting cast will NOT be needed every day of production. Compensation depends on experience. Meals will be provided.


DELILAH “DEL” STONE—mid-20s, an aspiring actress, sarcastic and witty but possesses a good heart. She’s always used humor as a defense mechanism. While she’s often alone, she never feels lonely because she’s comfortable with herself, even when her Multiple Sclerosis flares up. She’s often tired, even exhausted, but she knows rest is important for energy spent later and doesn’t complain about it. She’s sometimes cocky but she does know when to shut up and focus. LEAD ROLE

LIAM JACOBS—mid-20s, budding writer/playwright, friendly and optimistic but not entirely naive. Because of his primary-progressive MS, he often uses an ambulatory wheelchair as his legs are weak. He doesn’t let it bring him down, however. To simplify this character would be to say, “If Lloyd Dobler from ‘Say Anything’ was in a wheelchair, he’d be Liam Jacobs.” KEY SUPPORTING ROLE

MEADOW KEATON—mid-20s, hospital pharmacist, perky and energetic but also wise and motherly. Meadow has no hair due to alopecia aerata, but not for a moment does that bother her. KEY SUPPORTING ROLE

LILY STEVENS–mid-20s, Delilah’s tall, conservative best friend who still lives with her middle-class suburban parents. Lily has an uneasy outlook on Del’s illness, which only surfaces and gets worse as Del’s symptoms get worse. She doesn’t feel she’s being insensitive; she feels justified for the things she thinks and says. KEY SUPPORTING ROLE

JOEL30s-40s, the MS support group leader. He himself does not have MS, but he feels respectful just for starting the group. He maintains a positive attitude for everybody.

BLAIR40s, part of the MS support group. She has trouble letting her words out even if she feels passion for what she’s saying.

LYNN30s, a 4th-grade teacher who also attends the support group. Sometimes uses walking crutches.

BILL60s, Del’s cranky former boss who doesn’t like Del’s attitude.

ANDREA—early-20s, the kind general manager at Del’s old job who sympathizes with Del but is powerless to stop her termination. 

PAUL—50s, Liam’s WASPy father who overcompensates for his son’s disease.

GUS20s, Lily’s bro-ey, jerk of a date. (“There won’t be a second date.”)

Director’s Checklist

By L. Tanner Smith

When I was in film-school, about to write and direct my undergraduate thesis film, my film professor assigned me a “Director’s Checklist,” which is a series of 10 questions to answer just to make sure I had at least SOME idea of what I was doing (or going to do).

When I did my own thing, making movies with my friends, I sort of put aside a lot of the stuff I learned in film-school and went mostly by instinct.

But for Millennial With a Cane, which does require a lot more than what I’m used to, I thought I should at least gain some insights from my past that I decided to ignore. For starters, I went back and found that checklist and copied the same questions and answered them in reference to this new project.

So, here it is:

  1. What do I care most about in this film? Two very important things to me is 1) that both the characters and their situations feel very honest and real, and 2) that the comedy and the drama both belong in the same film. Everything needs to fit effectively.
  2. What does someone who needs to care about this film as much as I do absolutely need to know? I wrote the screenplay as a way of speaking for both myself as an MS patient (the struggles, the depression, the ways I can be lifted up, etc.) and people around me who either understand, want to understand, or hardly understand. So, the people who see the film need to understand that they are not alone and the sorts of things that happen in the film are happening around us. 
  3. Who represents the audience in the film? Two characters represent different types of people in the audience. For the protagonist Delilah, it’s the confused person with the mental illness trying to make sense of it. For her best friend Lily, it’s the one who’s trying to understand what the illness means when someone she knows has it. 
  4. Is the protagonist a hero? Yes. Delilah can appear to be sarcastic and bitingly witty, but she’s well-meaning, stands up for her friends, and continues to carry on with the disease because she feels there’s no alternative. 
  5. Who is the dreamer? What is the dream? The four key characters (Delilah, Liam, Meadow, and Lily) each have a particular dream. For Delilah, it’s to be an actress and not let the disease bring her down. For Liam, the ambulatory-wheelchair user with progressive MS, it’s to produce his own stage play that helps speak his mind. For Meadow, Liam’s best friend, it’s a romantic interest in Liam, whom she’s known and cared for a long time. And for Lily, it’s to have her best friend (Delilah) back after they’ve had a falling-out. 
  6. What does the dream require? What is the sacrifice, and what is the reward of the dream? Particularly, as the protagonist, Delilah has to gain more self-confidence and not let stress overcome her, which is easier said than done. Also, Lily has an underlying prejudice against “invisible illness,” but she and Delilah can’t communicate anymore unless Lily tries to make an effort to understand what she’s going through. The rewards…..this is a public blog, so I probably shouldn’t reveal THAT much if I’m not selling a potential producer/investor on the ideas of the story/characters.
  7. Where is the drama and conflict in the film? Delilah is suffering constant flareups in her MS symptoms at a time when everything is going wrong in her life—she lost her job, she got rejected from another acting gig, and her relationship with Lily isn’t going so well, so she feels alone, which causes her to go to the MS support group and make new friends in Liam and Meadow, who help raise her spirits. 
  8. Where are the key moments of decision in the film? A turning point is when Delilah decides to get a cane to help with her balance issues. Then soon after that is when she decides to visit the support group. This is the moment she realizes she doesn’t have to be alone in her illness. That leads to the other important characters, which direct us to the key moments of the film. 
  9. What is the climax of each section and of the entire film? Mmm…….again, I probably shouldn’t give away much here (but I can assure you I had a full paragraph prepared).
  10. What can you use as metaphors/imagery for the characters and situations? In particular, I see Delilah as somewhat “artfully disheveled” and making herself cleaner (more “presentable”) by the film’s final act, thus illustrating the new version of her that she’s ready to become. 

That last question is as difficult to answer now, today, as it was before, in film-school. But as a director, it is an essential question to think about.

Pitch Video

by L. Tanner Smith

Yesterday, the crowdfunding campaign began, with a GoFundMe page that included a pitch video and info about what the donations will go into in the making of the film. You can find it at

The video was made with help from my frequent collaborator (and fiancee) Kelly Woodruff. She ran sound for the video, she gave permission for me to use clips of her from one of our films (“Because of Kelly,” available on Amazon Prime), AND she was the model for the poster image (those legs with the cane are hers). Providing the voiceover narration for the video is Jackie Jarvis, a friend who had acted in our previous feature “The Cold” (also on Prime).

So far, so good. We raised $120–not bad for the first day!

Who Are We?

Millennial With a Cane is a comedy-drama about an MS patient who comes to terms with the disease. 

The feature film will be directed by its screenwriter, L. Tanner Smith, who himself has MS. 

Millennial With a Cane is an urban coming-of-age story about young adults who are at that point where they have to (or feel they have to) decide what they want to do with their lives…even when they are stricken with neurological diseases. In a time when “invisible illness” is getting more recognition and confusion, MWAC will speak for those who are going through the motions and need reassurance that they are not alone. It will also be informative for those who don’t (but hopefully want to) understand it. Due to the humor that is scattered to balance the real-as-hell issues at work here, the film will also be entertaining to others who will hopefully learn something in the process, which is what a good “dramedy” (comedy-drama) is supposed to accomplish. 

Right now, we have a script and a vision, and now, we’re getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign online! As new developments occur, we’ll blog and post updates as we embark on the treacherous journey of bringing this film to life!