Monday, February 25, 2013

Retraction: A Short Film, and Other News



Retraction tells the story of a grieving father who discovers he's erased his daughter's existence from everyone's memory, including his wife's. He struggles to find what tore his family apart, and whether or not attempting to restore what he lost is worth the consequences.

This is a film project I'm currently involved with. Previously titled "Painted Red", the director and writer have been working on revisions to the script constantly over the past few weeks - polishing it as much as possible - and plan to begin principal photography next month. David, the director, is also currently finalizing the cast of the film as we speak.

In one of my first blog posts, I mentioned that I had written a script - called Know Your Demons - and that it may be picked up for production into a short film. Unfortunately, my script was not chosen. I felt very disappointed for a while - this seemed to be an incredible chance to see something I had actually spent a lot of time and effort writing come to life - and I felt rejected. Alas, I had to face reality, in hopes that - maybe someday - I may be able to make Know Your Demons happen. I was, and still am, very proud of it.

Anyway, instead of working on the production of my own script, I've been made the editor of Retraction, which I'm very much excited for. Since we have such a small crew (this being an indie short film and all), I'll be on set as 1st AC and I'll be doing a lot of data managing as well - making it easier for myself when I go to edit it all later. I'm really looking forward to all of the experience this will give me. We're currently working on raising funds with a Kickstarter (any donations would be very much appreciated! Incentives include signed posters, DVD copies, etc.) to help with production costs.

I've worked on a few of my own short films in the past, mostly made for classes at MICA - as well as other small film and video projects. In 2011, I wrote, directed, filmed, edited, and wrote the music for my first short film "Give & Take". Honestly, it was awful - I had absolutely no experience with writing a script, wrote this script in half a day (and made no revisions to it whatsoever) and used people who have never acted in their lives. It was pretty ridiculous, but I'm fairly proud of some of the performances I got out of my lead actor, some of the cinematography, and the ambitiousness of the project; it was for my first video class and was only supposed to be 3-5 minutes long. Give & Take was 15 minutes long and challenged me to direct 7 people in one night of shooting, as well as editing the entire film by myself for the first time.

My second short film, Never Forget Me, was also done in 2011 and was slightly higher quality. Once again - I wrote, directed, filmed, edited, and did the music for it. I used semi-experienced actors and even gave myself a cameo. The script, unfortunately, was still absolutely terrible - I still hadn't taken a screenwriting course or studied screenwriting at all - and was written in less than a week, with very few revisions. I then shot the whole thing with a much more professional camera, professional lighting, professional sound equipment, a tripod, a dolly, etc. over the course of 4 days (3 in a row then an additional day later on). The look of this film was much better than Give & Take, but still suffered from my lack of experience in all aspects of filmmaking. I did enjoy the hell out of making it though - I even dabbled in some After Effects stuff (I made a building blow up) which was pretty cool (and very frustrating at times). The final product ended up being about 25 minutes long.

Sometime very soon I plan on putting together a demo reel of the things I've worked on and will be posting it under the "Film" section of this website ASAP. I've learned a LOT since those two short films - about script writing, cinematography, editing, etc - and am excited to use what I've learned on this project and future projects. I've been reading books like Making Movies by Sidney Lumet, On Directing Film by David Mamet, and The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje to get some more insight into the process.

Oh yeah, I'll also be posting an excerpt from Know Your Demons under the "Films" section soon. Keep a look out.

Thanks for reading and again, please check out and consider donating to Retraction's Kickstarter!

-Chris

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