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Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Filmmaking | 30 comments

Behind the Scenes of My New Short Film!

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.)


Day 1:




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.


Day 2:


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.





IMG_1523Walking around in a blue gown is an empowering feeling.


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.






  1. I agree about those manikins (although I’m not afraid of manikins, they are rather creepy; especially those in your pictures).

    Oh, and although I didn’t laugh at the synopsis of your movie, I did laugh at the paragraph just after it. Your writing style: I want it 😀

    • Haha, well you can’t have it! I need it. 😉

  2. Wow, that looks really neat! I loved seeing the behind the scenes pictures, and can’t wait to watch the film!

    • Thanks, Bethany!

  3. Oh I can’t wait to see the finished product! Sounds interesting…. and very different form your previous films.

    • Thanks! Yeah, it should be very different. That’s the hope!

  4. Oooohhh… I’m intrigued. I must see this video soon!! XD (I love watching all of your other videos. They are always entertaining, so I am super excited to see how this one turns out.)

    Also… Mannequins are freaky. REALLY FREAKY. And watching Doctor Who did not help my issues with them. I had to work with them during a CPR class, but at least those didn’t have faces. (*shudders*)

    Thanks for the fun post!! 🙂

    • Well, thanks! I’m excited to see how it turns out, too…
      Haha, if that had been the first DW episode I ever saw, I probably would not have ever watched any more of that show. :p

  5. Looks like an awesome video! Can’t wait to see it! 🙂
    My goodness, those mannequins… Freaky. Especially the mouth on that first one. *shudders*


  6. I can’t wait to watch it! Sounds kinda Twilight Zone-ish… Mannequins are… creepy? freaky? disturbing? awfully horribly dark abysses of endless nightmares and absolute terror? I don’t think there are words.

    • Nope. There just aren’t.

  7. That sounds amazing. Can’t wait to see it.

    • Thanks. 🙂 We’ll see how it turns out… I won’t be quite able to get rid of this nervous knot in my stomach until it’s all edited and shiny.

  8. I’m so excited about seeing the film. I know it will be great. 🙂
    And I’ve ALWAYS had a fear of manikins! They really creep me out. And those in the pictures are really bad!

    • Thanks, Hannah! And aren’t they, though? It was a dark and twisted mind that came up with such things.

    • Horror worthy, I should say. What exactly goes on at that college, do you suppose?

      • I betcha that the students go home with nightmares about those things. Seriously if I had to study in the same room with those those mannequins *shudders* I think I would scarred for life.

        • Oh, me too! What a horrible learning environment.

      • Terrible, terrible things.

  9. i wanna seeeeeeeee it.

    • Well, good! 😉

  10. Wow, cool angle! Can’t wait to see the new video. Looks like you all had fun filming. (With the exception of the manikins of course. Me no like manikins either. I guess that means we’re racists or something;)

    Actually, I can see the headlines now, “Supreme Court Decision Declares Manikins be Recognized as US Citizens!” After puppies and dolphins, naturally.

    Seriously, this movie sounds like it would make a great novel. The plagiarist in me is already plotting it out-insert favorite evil laugh-seriously seriously though, this has given me a few ideas, but I promise not to steal yours.

    What is your favorite part about film making?

    • Haha, naturally! And blue-green algae.
      Thank ya. And feel free to use it to spin your own ideas–that’s how I get half of my own. That’s not plagiarism, that’s just inspiration!
      My favorite parts of filmmaking, the parts I enjoy and am somewhat decent at, are the screenwriting and acting. I try to push the more technical bits off on other people when I can, although I can run a camera in a pinch.

  11. This looks really cool! At first I was like, “Huh? Ok…whatever.” And then I was like “MANNEQUINS?!??! WHAT??!?” and now I’m like, “I want to see this thing… O.O When’s it coming out again?!”

    I had thought of saying this more formally, but that sort of fell through last minute….
    Anyway, great post, great inner-photo-color-commentary, and I’m sure the film will be intriguing! 😀

    • Heheh, thanks! I hope it will be.

  12. This sounds amazing. I can’t wait to see it, Braden! I’m sure you guys did a great job. (:

    • Thanks, Emily! That’s the hope. 😉

  13. This sounds like a really interesting story! I’m really looking forward to seeing it. 😀 That’s awesome that you were able to get so many cool locations for the film. I’ve become fascinated by short films in the past year or so, and I’d like to do one myself someday. That is if I every get around to writing the script.

    It’s funny, I saw the picture of your ‘sallow faced’ makeup out of context at first, and thought for a moment you’d been in an accident. Of course it was a relief to see it was a drama short film instead.

    • You should absolutely try it! We need more good storytellers in the filmmaking industry.
      Oh, heheh. Goes to show how careful you should really be about posting stuff online… 😉

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