A young African-American man and an older Caucasian mad exchange glances over two stuffed clothing racks in a clothing store.

Slamdance Review: All I’ve Got & Then Some


Slamdance Film Review: All I’ve Got & Then Some
Directors: Rasheed Stephens and Tehben Dean

Premiere: 01.20.24

Rasheed Stephens moved to L.A. from Atlanta as an aspiring comedian. After years spent performing for free at open mic events, living in his car and earning what money he could as a ride-share driver, he just needs to make it through a day of unlikely and challenging events to finally realize his dream: his first paying stand-up gig.

Showing at the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival, All I’ve Got & Then Some tells about Stephens’ own experience working to make a living as a stand-up comedian and actor. Playing up the true elements of the story, All I’ve Got & Then Some resembles a documentary in its style, with handheld camera work largely taking place on the streets of L.A. Characters are portrayed naturally enough and with little flair, making it hard to tell if they are actors or real people from Stephens’ neighborhood. At times, the film breaks from the straightforward narrative for Stephens to directly address the camera as if he’s being interviewed, mixed with brief audio clips from his actual comedy routine, adding to the overall documentary aesthetic.  

In addition to sharing a writing and directing credit, Tehben Dean’s cinematography really stands out as every character is shown beautifully, with soft and complimentary lighting and vivid colors that seem to compliment Stephens’ optimism and drive in the face of challenging circumstances. Stephens’ standard response to anyone who asks how he’s doing—“Today is the best day of my life” — is exemplified in his continual warm glow. For a movie with overt drug use, prostitution and violent, predatory men, the optimistic feel and light tone is consistent as a theme throughout, with most characters eventually seeing the bright side of life in the midst of their less-than-ideal circumstances.

While Stephens is a comedian and the movie revolves around the journey to his first paid gig, the focus isn’t necessarily on being a comedian. It instead shows the audience his experiences and the people he interacts with—his ride-share clients, his best friend Rose, played by Avise Parsons, and how they empower him and inspire his material. True to real-life, Stephens’ random experiences throughout the day seem sprawling and make the film feel disjointed at times, as his motivations aren’t always clear. Is he pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian, reading for acting parts for a television show, pursuing his love life or something else? It’s okay for a character to have many different motivations, but some of these come out of the blue without much explanation and seem to spread the story out a little more than is needed. All I’ve Got & Then Some is a beautifully filmed and inspirational story that just needs to tighten its screws and narrow its path a little. –Ben Trentelman

Read more of SLUG‘s comprehensive coverage for the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.