13 May 2009

"Can we talk about something other than Hollywood for a change?"

We've gone and done it again.

Back in March, Chris Kapcia and I created the short film Duly Noted. You may have seen it. If you have not, here it is:

I am proud to announce that our follow up is on its way to your computer screen. It's called The Last Time We Met, and to answer your first question, no, I do not appear nude. I don't do those kinds of scenes to my knowledge. But it is a bleak drama stuffed into a three minute package featuring a great performance by Chris. Fun!

It came about because a local bar in our neighborhood, The Sparrow, is hosting an inaugural film competition it hopes to turn into a regular event. Despite our complete lack of a camera, I went and registered us for it. The rules are simple: each team contributes a film title written on a slip of paper. There's a blind drawing, and whichever title you end up with serves as the one for your film. You then have three weeks to create a three minute masterpiece.

Simple as pie, I thought. I've twice participated in another three week competition, Project Twenty1, except for all of those shooting/acting/editing parts of filmmaking. A three minute film shouldn't pose too much of a problem. And frankly, it didn't (in comparison to, I don't know, Apocalypse Now). The hardest part turned out to be getting our hands on an actual camera.

Other complications occurred later

Once we had the title, we spent a couple of days mulling it over, pitching ideas back and forth. We didn't want to go with our first instincts, so we let it digest for a bit until we hit on something we liked. The script came quickly, and was designed to be shot quickly with an economy of characters and locations - two guys, one apartment. Of course, that was the same economy we shot Duly Noted with, so we wanted a different apartment and at least one different guy to take my place in front of the camera.

We eventually got our hands on a camera owned by an actor friend of Chris', one who we wanted to act in the film as well. Unfortunately, our schedules never intertwined, and we had to get the damn thing shot - deadlines are a great motivation - which resulted in, once again, the Kapcia-Muschong dynamic contained within the same standard issue Outer Borough-class apartment. We apologize for the repetition, but we did try to switch things up visually, so hopefully you won't notice.

Last weekend, at about 1:30 Saturday morning, we started shooting. Our complete lack of technical prowess gives us the ability to shoot fast. We know fuck-all about lighting and sound, so we don't worry about it too much. If it looks nice enough in the camera, it's good to go. We make up for this with the thing that more filmmakers should prize much more highly than fancy equipment and CGI: story and character.

At least, we hope we do.

We got what we needed done that night within a couple of hours, and the next afternoon we went shopping for props, returned to the apartment, cleaned the living hell out of it, and shot the rest. While Chris, who's the one who actually knows how to use editing software, uploaded the footage to his computer, I spent a Lost Weekend wandering around Studio 54 and buying drinks for Reggie Jackson and Sophia Loren. When I returned, I forced Chris off the computer and clubbed him to sleep so that we could look upon our work with fresh eyes for the next day's editing.

Cutting together Duly Noted only took us a few hours because it had been so simply shot, and there was no sound to worry about (the music, on the other hand, took a while, and I am happy to say that I did nothing to contribute to it). The Last Time We Met was similar, so we assumed the visuals would take us a couple hours to snip together. So of course it took us around ten hours. Two of those were spent trying to figure out how to move all of our footage to the beginning of the editing software's timeline to replace what we had cut, and then another forty-five minutes were spent accepting our failure, and putting back in what we had previously taken out.

The next night: sound! This went a bit faster, and after a few hours of work, we were able to make a .WMV file and share it with the venerable AEG for his feedback. He gave it a good response, and had some suggestions, then later suggested not implementing his suggestions, so...we don't know. We're happy with it as it is, but we may end up tinkering with it a little tomorrow night. Either way, if this is the version we submit, we won't worry about it any.

This is me worrying

The official version, however, will have credits. We asked the competition's organizer about those while we were editing - would the three minute run time include credits, or could an exception be made to give a shout out to everyone involved? - and we were first told that a twenty-second surplus past three minutes would be acceptable, but the next day we got a new message explaining that after conferring with the panel, it was decided that any credits had to fit into the three minutes.

I assume we're going to be seeing a lot of creditless films.

For our part, we had enough space (approximately one and a half seconds) to throw in the title and a Hard Boiled Productions copyright. We'll extend them for our final final cut.

The submission deadline is Sunday, so we'll probably drop our DVD copy off on Saturday, depending on any last minute adjustments. All the films will be going online here on Monday, May 18th, so keep your eyes open. Prize and award winners will be announced on May 28th.

We shall see...


  1. Stress! Worry! Excitement! Dread! Makin' movies!

  2. And that's how I roll politician style. Waffle into thinking they've got to change somehing and have nothing to change as a second thought. Its something to believe in, you know?

    BTW all, its a bad ass bit of filmmaking with some startling layers that belie the supposed technical shortcomings. I highly recommend it when they post it online next week.