Winner - Best Comedy - Student Emmy - Television Academy Foundation 2014
Winner - Best Comedy - First Film @ the DGA - 2014
Winner - Best Comedy - International Student Film Festival Hollywood 2013
Groundbreaker - HATCHfest - 2013
Grand Festival Award - Audience Favorite - Berkeley Video Film Festival - 2014
Best International Fiction - El Corto Del Año - 2014
Winner - CBC Short Film Faceoff - 2014
Bronze Frame - The Unprecedented Cinema - Estonia - 2015
Lenzing Award Special Jury Prize - 43rd Festival of Nations - Austria - 2015
Audience Award - Festival Joven de Cortometrajes de Huetor Vega - 2015
Best Short - MizzicaFilm - 2015
First Place - XXS-Kurzfilmfestival Dortmund - 2015
USC Stage - The Shooting Process
The entire film was shot against a green screen, with the environments added later. There is only one single shot in the entire film without some kind of digital effect. The film was produced as my graduate student thesis film for the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. It was shot on stages at USC, with the background plates being shot in my hometown of Vancouver, B.C. We shot it over five days on the stages, with our infinitely patient cast being strung up from the ceiling on wires for most of that time. Dana and David were amazing, forced to act without dialogue, hanging from painful wires, with giant fans blasting in their faces, and still manage to create compelling characters in under five minutes.
Constructing the shot
Most shots are constructed something like this: First, the actor or actors shot against the green screen were isolated and the wires painted out. This usually involved some difficult and tedious work to reconstruct their clothing around the wire attachments. Then, behind them, our digital hero building. That was created from scratch so we could control it fully and design it to become a character of it's own as it's architecture inserts itself into the story. Behind that are plates of Vancouver, my home town. We couldn't afford to create a fully digital city, and I wanted to keep as much reality in there as possible. The only way we could figure to actually accomplish these shots was to go up and down a glass elevator in a lookout tower over and over and shoot every angle. We weren't able to make any special arrangements, we just paid the tourist ticket and never got off the elevator.
Since 100% of the film was entirely shot over green screen, it was important that we gathered the correct back plates for the composites. Multiple exposures were shot to tile every angle of our location, and at every time of day. Each angle was carefully built, so that we could see in all directions for every shot. The course of 4-5 hours happens in 2 minutes of running time. We start the film in golden hour, and finish the film at dusk. It was important that the passage of time was visible over the course of the film, and that we had the necessary backplates. Finally we replaced the sky in the back with clouds taken from our VFX supervisor, because it was a gray overcast day when the original plates were shot.