ruminations on a series of unrelated events
Back Space is a narrative short I started with a group of people over a year ago. Here’s the back story on Back Space.
As mentioned in the About Author, I teach film production at a university. In the spring of 2013 a student of mine, Josh Lenahan, who I had for a couple of years by then, took a scriptwriting independent study with me. He cranked out about 5 short film scripts that semester. They were all good, but one of them caught my imagination and I asked him if he would be interested in letting me make it. (I was itching to make a narrative film and had been working on a longer script that was far from completion.) He was interested, so I pulled together some former students and we entered an extremely prolonged and exhausting period of frequent production meetings resulting in at least 15 re-writes. I am sure it was more exhausting for Josh because he had many a sleepless night actually doing all those re-writes before we could all agree on the results. At one point the page-count swelled to over 120 before being whittled back down to something more reasonable. Tsimafei Hashko and Andrew Townsend were the two former (and older) students of mine who I brought into the mix, Tsimafei to co-direct with me and Andy to produce. They had both just taken my Intermediate Video course where students shoot a few narrative films on DSLRs. Their film Bongo was exceptionally well-crafted and it starred the beautiful and inimitable Chelsea van der Meer, who I thought would be perfect for the lead in this film. As so happens she was willing to play the part, so it looked like things were falling nicely into place.
We decided to start off with the smaller easier scenes and build our confidence as we pulled off the low hanging fruit. To some extent that is what happened. We started our shooting in January with a book signing scene at a local indy bookstore called Indy Reads. (Nothing like your first shoot being in an open business that wants you out by closing time. So much for low hanging fruit. What were we thinking?) We ultimately figured out a way to work and managed to shoot maybe a scene or so every month. But trying to coordinate everyone’s busy schedule is nearly impossible. And then with my summer departure to bike across the country, the film was essentially put into deep freeze.
Now here it is September 2014. Our first shoot since June was both days last weekend and we got what I think is some pretty interesting material. What awaits us is some of the more difficult stuff to shoot that requires a very different stylistic approach and features an actor we have yet to work with. Currently we are trying to schedule those shoots so we can finally wrap this production. That is the very nutshelled version of the back story. In future posts I will write about the story itself, the challenges of directing and shooting, and the editing this crazy weird little film.