Behind the Scenes of My New Short Film!
A couple of weeks ago, we finished shooting the main scenes for my new dramatic short film, Stolen Voices. If you’ve ever seen any of the videos my brother and I make, this will basically be nothing like those.
It’s longer–about ten minutes instead of the usual three to five. It’s hopefully much better in terms of production quality, due to the talented filmmakers I had helping me. Also, it is not funny.
Not at all. It’s sort of on the opposite side of the spectrum, actually. Here’s a quick synopsis:
In the near-future, catatonic victims of life-threatening accidents must undergo a series of tests to determine whether they worth the resources to repair and maintain as continued members of society.
Jenni wakes up in an unfamiliar room, and meets a man named Dustin, who informs her that she is in a coma after a severe accident, and that he has been sent into her subconscious to judge her future worth as a citizen.
When the tests begin to look badly, Jenni tries to plead for her life–but it seems that Dustin may be as trapped as she is.
See? Not funny. If you found yourself laughing while watching that, I have either failed as a storyteller, or you just have some deep-seated issues you need to work through.
Release date for this video is still a little up in the air–we have one more scene to shoot, and then comes editing, the part of the filmmaking process that generally causes me to think dark and despairing thoughts. But I’m hoping that in the next few months, I’ll be putting this thing online.
This project so far has been a big challenge and learning experience for me. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been doing: (Click the pictures if you want to see ’em bigger. Also, keep in mind that all of these are behind-the-scenes photos, not actual shots from the film.)
(You guys knew that. You’re not dumb. Duh.)
Here are the two cinematographers, Daniel and Keifer, going over shot lists at our main location, right before we started shooting. These guys were fantastic, and I was super thankful to have them on board.
We met Kinsey, our lead actress, when she auditioned for the part of Jenni several months ago. Not only did she do some great acting, she helped us acquire two of our most difficult locations, lent her tremendous aesthetic sensibilities to the set-dressing process, and just generally helped lighten the mood.
That’s me, all blurry on the right side of the picture, playing the part of Dustin.
Daniel stands amid the various pieces of equipment, probably saying something profound and enlightening.
Keifer bounces light. Between the light kit and the fact that we had to turn off the air-conditioning to keep it from interfering with sound, the room temperature rose to about 87 degrees Fahrenheit during the course of our seven-hour shoot. We drank a lot of water.
We got up at 5:30 AM to drive to our new location, which happened to be a spray booth for painting vehicles.
This was the location for Dustin’s subconscious, which looks like an infinite blank white room (kind of like those Mac ads). Turns out a paint booth is perfect for that. Who woulda thunk.
My brother Blaine seems to be having a little too much with the pieces of our improvised camera dolly.
…and our grip, Randy, having too much fun with the mic boom. Get your kids some low-budget filmmaking equipment for endless hours of good clean entertainment.
If anyone is curious what camera we used, we shot the paint booth scene with a Canon 7D. The main scene was a two-camera shoot, using a 7D and 5D, with Rokinon lenses.
Juuust in case you were wondering.
We grabbed our shots, packed up, and drove about an hour to our next location, a medical practice room at a college. The head nurse there was amazing and let us shoot there for free, as well as furnishing us with costumes and props.
However, when we walked into the medical room we were greeted with this terrifying sight:
MANIKINS. I have always had a huge dread of manikins, but these specimens were a totally new height of terror.
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOOOPE. So much nopeness.
Why. Why is her mouth like that. Why does she have hair on her face. WHY.
Kinsey is just as appalled as I am, but in her gaze there seems to be something else… pity? I have no pity for these creatures. No pity. I just want them outta here.
We removed these manikins far out of sight, but the emotional scars will ever remain.
We got into costume, messed up our hair, and Randy gave us some hollow eyes to go with our hospital gowns.
Jenni in the hospital. Check out that fake IV tube, guys.
These hospital beds are remarkably comfortable. I think I’ll direct from one in all my future projects.
Keifer works his magic. I pinch my lip and try to look like I know exactly what he’s doing. I end up just looking like a confused fish.
Aaaaand that’s a wrap. We ate leftover pizza while we cleaned up and moved manikins back to their beds. (very very very reluctantly.) It was a grueling weekend, but we made it through with all the important parts of our sanity intact. Daniel had to leave early, so he missed the celebratory end-of-shooting group selfie, but other than that there were no regrets.
That’s all for now, folks. This was a ginormously fun project, and I’m looking forward to sharing the finished product with everyone.