Back in May(2010) I heard about this film contest. http://interpretationsfilm.com/
The rules: We had to use the following lines in the exact order, no changing or adding lines or words. It also had to be no longer then 3 minutes.
The lines were….
Line 1: “It’s not something I do.”
Line 2: “Well.”
Line 3: “It’s not what I expected.”
Line 4: “You sure?”
The fun part is that we get to shoot whatever we wanted. A drama, a comedy, action, horror…whatever.
It sounded like a cool project….so why did I decided to wait for the last-minute and make one the week before it was due?
Several reasons, none of them good.
I didn’t have the equipment. I didn’t have a good idea. All my friends are busy to work on it… Etc. Etc.
The inspiration for finally getting off my butt and making one came from a night of getting yogurt.
I was hanging out with my friend Gina Lee. We were both talking about the Interpretation film contest and about not making one for it.
Gina felt that her idea would be hard to pull off , and I just said …well…look at the line three sentences before.
“You really should do one.” She said, pretty simply.
Now, it’s not like those are some amazing sage like advice, but on my way home, her words were still in my head.
Why the hell not? I though to myself. I’m currently free, and hell I can find friends who are free to work on this. I can find someone with a camera. Screw it, I’ll make one!
I got the ok to borrow a camera and boom mic and knew which two guys I wanted to work with.
We decided to meet up at Quincy’s place and discuss ideas for the short.
The one idea I kinda had, was to do something with music. I had a chance to watch a few of the films in the contest already and so far I didn’t see one that focused on music yet. Also, I wanted to use the musical strengths of both Earl and Quincy since they sing, play guitar and write music.
In that one Sunday afternoon, we had the main structure for the short figured out. Two days later we found a place to shoot it. The next day we shot it in one four-hour session. The next few days we did editing, sound editing, and uploaded that sucker the night before it was due.
I decided I would show you the completed short and after I would give you the Behind the Scenes details.
-Earl came up with the main idea (Two guys are figuring out lyrics to a new song, the lyrics being the assigned lines in the contest).
-The short was mostly improved as we added beats and moments as we went along.
-Quincy and Earl came up with most of the music in the same Sunday afternoon(which was…I guess…preproduction?).
-Quincy made homemade Spaghetti Bolognese for our meeting .
-We shot at Earl’s friends ( Allan Laino and Stefanie Montemayor) apartment in Irvine. It was actually kinda perfect because Allan teaches music, so the music sheet, the piano and any other music items in the short were actually his.
-As Earl and Quincy rehearsed, I used my little digital camera to figure out shots. I took stills and video on my camera. I would check back on my camera and use it like a shot list, to see if I got all the shots I wanted.
Here are some examples of the shots I took…
– The dog was Marylin, and she belonged to Allan. When we shot the first scene with the guys on the couch I realized she was sitting right behind Quincy. But, since she was so quiet and so chill, I decided to just keep her there. It also meant I had remember to shoot inserts of her to make sure we acknowledge her.
-I’ve directed Earl in several things before, so I knew he was going to deliver, but this was my first time directing Quincy. Obviously it worked out just fine, as he gave me everything I needed and I though he did great. This will not be the last time I shoot something with him.
-I originally was going to have Allen play the part of the disgusted friend, but he had to go to work. So we asked Stefanie very,very nicely to step in. What a trooper. She went in, no make up, and killed it! I did very little direction with her as she gave me the exact expression we wanted.
-Since the lines were sung, sometimes I felt like I was the directing the guitar music like it was dialogue. I asked for different deliveries on how they play it the way I would ask an actor to say the line a little differently.
– We figured that calling it “Songwriters?” would play up the idea that these guys were not good. And since we added a question mark for the title, I thought it would be cool to do the same for the credits at the end.
-Camera and the boom-mic belong to my brother Joel. It was the first time I used the equipment. We shot on a Canon Vixia HV30, with a shotgun mic attached to it.
-We did ALL the editing(picture and sound) on Earls laptop using Adobe Premier.
-While waiting for the video to finish converting to Quicktime (which can take FOREVER), we watch some stuff on Netflix streaming, including the following…
-What we didn’t know about uploading the video on the Interpreations site was that it was going to take a few days before it was up on the site, since they have to approve of it to see if it fits the criteria of the contest rules. After a grueling two days it was up ready to view.
I think the most important thing about making this was the way we treated this short. We knew we weren’t going to win. I know that might sound like a loser attitude, but it wasn’t. It took the pressure off. We didn’t care if we won the game, we just wanted to play too. With that attitude, we didn’t have to stress out over EVERY LITTLE detail. We could enjoy ourselves, and make a fun short. If it won…well…we won’t complain.
BUT, as predicted, we didn’t win, but that’s ok. We got some good reaction from the short.
The reaction stems from; Funny, cute, adorable, clever, creative, and yes…charming. And that’s not all from friends either. Other filmmakers from the contest watched our short too and gave us some great comments.
Also apparently it was the ONLY musical entry in the whole contest and that’s kinda cool. (Unless someone out there knows of another one, I’d be ok to be corrected)
Overall, I’m proud the of the little short. For a thing that we pulled out of our asses in a few days, it’s not too bad.
And hey, it was not the only INTERPRETATIONS film I worked on….
To be continued…