One of my goals for the summer was to put together and complete a 20ish minute short film before I returned to school in September. By the skin of my teeth, I managed it.
Inspired by the beautiful rolling country hills near my house, I came up with the story of two friends lost in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, in 1979. The catch is, they’re lost after a botched evening of their new, unusual hobby. I’ll leave the plot details there for now.
The script was completed (clocking in at 12 pages) in mid-July. By August 1st, my location, the one that inspired the whole story, had fallen through. The clock was ticking, as my other actor (and half of my crew) would be leaving for college themselves in two weeks. Scrambling, I restructured the story to work on my grandfather’s land. His place is equally beautiful, just a little farther away. A happy accident also landed me another location, one more interesting than any of the others, so I re-set the climax to occur there.
I pulled together the last few elements I needed, a bit of equipment, period costumes, money for food, a small crew and was ready to shoot with four days to spare before everyone left. We shot two half-days and one full day, with the weather battling us every step of the way. Against all of this, and having been just this fucking close to resigning, we managed to get everything we needed shot. Quite a glorious feeling. My crew were all working in positions that they were unfamiliar with, and they did a bang-up job. It was tough acting, directing, and figuring out the photography of everything myself, but with such an awesome bunch of people helping me out, we got everything done together.
My next two weeks will be devoted to sound design, and returning to our locations to get establishing and environmental shots that don’t require (my now distant) actors. I thought I would go ahead and share some production stills that were taken. Have a look:
Here I am, setting up the camera for a shot. I’m holding it with a grocery bag so I don’t leave marks on my baby with the scarlet clothes-dye we were using (to great success) for blood staining.
Here I am, at the start of the movie, standing atop a giant pile of wood. This was another beautiful “happy-accident” type location.
Here’s my Cameraman (and eventual Co-Cinematographer) being assisted by our fantastic Production Assistant. Yes, that is the “14 Dollar Steadicam.”
My Co-Star and I discussing the upcoming scene, in a beautiful little forest path.
My Co-Star in the same clearing:
This is about as close as we came to having a grip truck; a 25′ XLR-Cable, the “14 Dollar Steadicam,” a late-80s tripod scrounged from a basement, and a cooler of Powerade.
My lovely girlfriend, who was serving as Producer and Script Supervisor, ended up being the sound technician as well. For not having any kind of a shockmount, boom-pole, or practice she did a fantastic job.
A couple pages of the script:
I got no end of shit whenever one of my close-ups was shot.
Thanks for looking through everyone! I guarantee you’ll be hearing more about this as it nears completion.
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BONUS: Renn’s One-Word Movie Review
Good / Bad / Neutral
August 18th, 2008 : : Inglorious Bastards – Carpenter-esque
Past One-Word Movie Reviews
August 10th, 2008 : : Mondo Cane – Condescending
August 8th, 2008 : : Naked Lunch - Neither
July 29th, 2008 : : The Hitcher  – Rutger!
July 8th, 2008 : : Lou Ferrigno’s Hercules – Spacey
July 1st, 2008 : : WALL-E – Tender
June 27th, 2008 : : Addio Zio Tom (Goodbye Uncle Tom) - Evil
June 22nd, 2008 : : You Don’t Mess With The Zohan – Jocular
June 17th, 2008 : : The Happening – Embarrassing
June 14th, 2008 : : Kung-Fu Panda – Thin
June 12th, 2008 : : Run Lola Run – Reckless
June 9th, 2008 : : Day Watch – Upgrade
June 8th, 2008 : : The Amateurs – Endearing
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