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Tod Lautenberg

Los Angeles, California, United States (US)

I can help Mentor Screenplay Writing, Directing , Film Editing, and Production.

6 Sessions POC
12 Sessions POC

Art - Fine Arts, Performing Arts & Crafts
Entertainment (also see Media)
Film and Television Production
Media - Online, Television, Radio, Newspapers & Journalism
Motion Pictures and Film
TV and Film Production
Writing & Editing

Education: EDUCATION: COLUMBIA COLLEGE- Chicago, IL-MFA in Film Production. ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY- Tempe, AZ -BA Literature & Writing NEW YORK UNIVERSITY- Tisch School, New York, NY - Film

Languages: English

ecutive Summary: Psychedelic Pictures was created by Writer/Director Tod Lautenberg and Producer Jolana Opava in 2011. The Mission of Psychedelic Pictures is to use Comedy, Romance, and Rock and Roll to fill theaters Worldwide. We have created a new kind of Genre Film called a ‘Psychedelic Comedy” that uses all the tools of cinema to make people laugh. We make films that people enjoy seeing over and over again. We recently completed the 93 min. comedy “Psychedelic Pictures Presents Puff”: *WINNER BEST COMEDY FEATURE - Independent Film Playoff - USA *WINNER BEST DIRECTOR, BEST WRITER &   BEST WRITER: TOD LAUTENBERG - Big House Film Festival   *WINNER BEST ACTOR: TOD LAUTENBERG -Big House Film Festival - *OFFICIAL SELECTION: Jehlum Film Festival, India,   *OFFICIAL SELECTION: Garden City Film Festival, India,  - *OFFICIAL SELECTION: VENICE FILM WEEK  Venice, Italy  *AUDIENCE HONORABLE MENTION AT THE LA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL Psychedelic Pictures is a Global Brand for Comedy and Music. All of our shows start with the trademark "Psychedelic Pictures Presents".  It is a throwback to the Great Rock Promoters "Bill Graham Presents". Our projects are National Lampoon meets The Grateful Dead.

Current Company: Psychedelic Pictures

Current Position: Writer/Editor/Director Film and TV

Contact Preferences:
Contact Telephone
Contact Videoconference
Meet in Person

Other Information:


Tod Lautenberg started out doing comedy in clubs in college. He later worked as part the writing team of “The Simpsons at 20th Century Fox learning about comedy. He also worked as a film editor on network shows such as “Scrubs” and films such as “Independence Day” at Fox and “Sorority Boys” at Disney.  

Tod was trained by Oscar winning editor Richard Halsey (“Rocky”, “Moscow on The Hudson”).  He has edited multiple feature films, documentaries, and TV episodes.  He moved on to work as a Director on music videos, commercials, and his debut comedy feature film: “Psychedelic Pictures Presents: Puff”.

Tod Lautenberg completed a lifetime goal when by writing, editing, and directing and starring in “Psychedelic Pictures Presents: Puff”, which is racking up the international recognition.  “Puff” was the winner of Best Comedy at the I. F.P. film Playoff.  Tod Lautenberg also was awarded Best Director, Best Writer, and Best Actor for “Puff”at the Big House Film Festival in Los Angeles. Tod has taken “Puff”to the Venice Film Week in Italy and both the Jehlum & the Garden City Film Festivals in India.  


WRITING: I started as part if the writing team at 20th Century Fox for the cartoon TV series ”The Simpsons. have written 7 Feature Length Screenplays for Film including my directing debut  “Puff”.  I have written a ten episodes for the first season 1 hour comedy TV series called Psychedelic Pictures Presents: the Lounge. I can teach you how to use professional screenplay programs like Final Draft to streamline your writing process. I can teach you how to outline your script into three acts.   I can teach you how to build scenes and spread the most important information evenly throughout the script.  I also am an expert at Comedy writing. I can help you find the humor of any scene by using the opposite of people’s expectations to surprise them and make them laugh.


I will outline below my basic approach to Directing. I can teach this.  I can also prepare your for auditioning actors, hiring crews, finding locations, writing budgets and shooting schedules.  I can also help you to explain what you need to the crew, so they give you what you want.

My Grandpa used to always say that there is no point of hiring a genius to work for you if all you are going to do is tell them what to do.  A talent like Robert Deniro could make your film infinitely better if you listen and trust them to contribute.  This can be at odds with getting the picture finished because of time constraints, so I make a deal with my actors and crew.  I will always take the time to focus and listen to their ideas as long as they are willing to accept the occasional no for an answer.  Most of the time you can find a way to say yes and work an idea into something anyway. When people feel personally involved, they will work harder.  It creates a healthy work environment.

I am always prepared to roll with the punches and make adjustments.  The fun part is sometimes writing something new on the spot.  This is why I spent so many years working as an editor and a writer to prepare to take the top job.   I own an AVID Symphony with Protools and can edit if needed

A Director is a Warrior.  There is no one else to pass the buck to.  The Director needs to be the last line of defense.  I worked on many shows as an Editor before I started Directing.  The films that end up being successful have a feeling of magic and wonder from on the first day of Principle Photography.  A Director needs to be able to take the hits, so that the film doesn’t.  We are protectors of both crew and the idea, like Batman. :0)

Director Milos Forman once told me that you could look at one frame of a picture and see if the film is good.  He believed the energy of the crew imbeds itself on every frame.  People will fight for you if they are working in an environment of mutual respect and cooperation.  This only comes from the top down.  If that Magic isn’t there, then the show ends up being flawed.  Sometimes simple things like Enthusiasm and Faith can tip the scales in your favor.  This is the easy part. I spent years working temp jobs, waiting tables, and operating cash registers.  This is much more satisfying, believe me.

We are truly blessed to be able to do this work and should behave accordingly!


Here is my theory of comedy.  I teach improv and comic writing.

In Comedy You have to Kill The Horse

 One of my heroes of the comedy world is Director John Landis.

There is a legendary story about his extraordinary comedy  “Animal House”.   The film was edited and pretty much finished and they had a series of test screenings that went through the roof.  The one thing that both the studio and some in the audience complained about was the scene where Jon Belushi pretends to shoot the horse with blanks and the sound gives the horse a heart attack and dies.  Universal was understandably dead set against even the appearance that an animal had been hurt on one of their films.   They threatened to pull the film from the release slate if the scene was not changed.

John Landis and Producer Ivan Reitman were dead set against changing the scene.  The reasoning being that the seventies had become ultra sensitive about big brother after all of the rebellion in the sixties was beaten or arrested out of existence.  There was a profound mistrust at the time of anything that could be perceived as being manipulated by “The Man’.  A comedy could fail just because it was as seen as advertising for the status quo.   Landis was willing to let the whole film be buried rather then change the scene.  At one point even the writer Harold Ramis tried to intervene, but Landis was sure that the film would bomb if he changed the scene.  His contention was that the audience would think Daddy studio boss had come in and sanitized the rebellion out of the film.

Landis knew that the audience would defend and promote something as if it was a political statement if a comedy had the courage to break convention.  The studio relented and allowed National Lampoon’s Animal House to be released in theaters worldwide. The film’s budget was 3 million dollars and it made 142 million dollars in a time when movie tickets were 2 dollars. It has made over a billion dollars in home video and on demand since becoming one of the top 50 films of all time on the many top 50 films lists like AFI, Rolling Stone, etc.

We love animals at Psychedelic Pictures.  However we promise to always be brave in a spiritual sense and “kill the horse” metaphorically speaking.

We aspire to reach this level of commitment with our debut 93 min Comedy “Psychedelic Pictures Presents: Puff”

Enjoy We are on a mission to make you smile baby!

EDITING: The reason I was able to raise money as a Director is because of my years editing.  An editor finishes the thing that is sold and presented to the audience.  In some ways the Director’s job is to get the editor what they need to be able to complete the film.  I can help arranging your shooting schedule, so that you shoot everything an editor might need.  I am a 19 year member of The Motion Picture Editor’s Guild.  I was trained by the Oscar winning editor of “Rocky”, “Edward Scissorhands”, and “Sister Act”.  I can help teach editing on the AVID, Final Cut, or Premiere systems including how to arrange and organize you footage.  I can teach the responsibilities of an Assistant Editor including logging and preparing the Project, so that the editor can jump in and edit with the least amount of thinking of anything other then the story. I can show you the tested and tried Editor’s Guild skills of working in a way that you don’t forget or lose anything while constantly making decisions and building a story.

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