Agouraphobia has gone viral and no one is more surprised than its 16-year-old director/writer Olivia DeLaurentis.
The 2 minute and 45 second "comedy trailer" about life in Agoura Hills—and its residents' fears of life outside the city limits—has received almost 5,000 views since it was posted on YouTube three weeks ago.
"I've never been interested in making anything that would go viral, so I'm so surprised that it's still being seen," said DeLaurentis, an Agoura High School student who made the short as an assignment for her Film & Video ROP class.
DeLaurentis, an actress whose had voice roles in Happy Feet and Ice Age: The Meltdown as well as numerous roles in commercials and on the TV show Saving Grace, has been making movies since the age of 5, she said. She is also a member of the high school's comedy troupe, ComedySportz.
"I love improv," she said. "I think it's important to be able to improvise as an actor; it's a skill all actors should have, to be able to think on your feet."
One of her comedic short films, Humanized, was featured in this year's Los Angeles Film Festival.
"I always make comedies," she said. "I like to find [themes] that are relatable."
Which is why she decided to make a film that pokes fun at the eccentricities of upscale, small town life.
"There are things I find irritating, and there's often a small-mindedness about suburbia that's easy to make fun of," DeLaurentis said. "It's a very sheltered existence."
However, she does love her hometown.
"I especially love my high school," she said. "There are very open-minded people and it's really cool. Agoura High School is awesome and accepts everyone."
She is often asked if she's related to the famed Italian movie director Dino De Laurentiis and Food Network host Giada DeLaurentis, even though their names are spelled slighly different. "I think we are distantly related, somehow, but I'm not exactly sure how," she said.
Delaurentis aspires to become a filmmaker ala Woodly Allen. "I want to be able to direct and star in my own films," she said.
In the meantime, she continues to get rave reviews for Agouraphobia.
Delaurentis said she is constantly being stopped by teachers as well as fellow students quoting from the film. And Agoura Hills Mom blogger Kim Tracy Prince proclaimed in a recent post: "There may not be words to express how much I love this video."