this film spawned from a conversation with filmmaker ryan connolly in february, 2015. it happened during what i thought to be another hopeless night of mentally planning my future film ventures. i was deep in the mix of editing POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN. writing/making films (even short films) is an insanely aggressive task and to keep that aggressive spirit up, it takes a toll and i was getting worn down a bit. after i vented some thoughts to ryan, his advice was to simply make a film. a small one. something to keep my feet wet, almost like an exercise. and after revisiting an old draft and proposing a one day shoot to my friends, it was underway. a month (march) later, we shot this strange little film in a total of 8 hours.
the day of shooting i woke up at about 5:30A from a pretty intense nightmare. my dreams have always been wickedly vivid and this one was no different. but it wasn’t made up of visuals. just darkness and a voice. a voice of torment and fear. growing up with 3 older brothers, all the while being extremely short until i was 17. i didn’t fear much, i couldn’t. i would welcome trash talk from any player of any size on the basketball court, i asked for it, i’d continue it, and most of the time, i started it. i’ve always somehow been in the middle of many confrontational situations in my life — i’ve never been big on fear.
but this morning i wasn’t sure how to confront this scenario at first. the voice attached itself to my spine, pretty much paralyzing me for the moment. it was saying things like, “if this was day 1 of your first feature film, there’s no way you’ll be able to fake the crew into following you. you can’t direct, you can’t write, you’re not good enough. don’t get out of bed, stay right there. go do something else with your life.” it was like laying on a hospital bed in a straight jacket wrapped in darkness. i just kept hearing this voice, “there’s no way a crew will ever follow you.” the whole time, i was wondering where in the world this was coming from. now, of course i get nervous at times and i surely doubt and get down on myself but not like this — this was damming. the voice began to echo and fade for a moment and the scene from LOST where fear washes over jack and he begins to count to 5, giving fear only a few more seconds of its demented pleasure. but only 5. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFPYhQ03M-A) the voice kept slaying discouragement in my face so i counted — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. it was gone. a demon exorcized. i laid there for another hour and then got out of bed and went to set. the next time i laid down to attempt sleep, a new film was shot, in the can. i’ve never heard that voice again.
As you probably know, this one has been a long time coming. I wrote the first draft almost 2 years ago and after about 18 drafts, accompanied by many doubt-filled nights of sheer uncertainty, we shot for 3 days back in late October of 2014. I left the following day to work in Birmingham as a 2nd AC on the feature film WOODLAWN for nearly 2 months, which put a delay on my first cut.
I started making my cuts after Christmas, all the while still having sleepless sleepovers with doubt. One lonely night of editing in February, I was talking to Ryan Connolly about some worries of mine — question after question, frustrations, worries, etc. How do I actually do this? (as in be a filmmaker for a living… hopefully) Talking about being a filmmaker is one thing I hate, being one is what I love, what I aspire to, what I was hustling to do. My tank was empty; the hustle was taking its toll.
There’s no recipe to this filmmaking journey. The only ingredient I know of is to make stuff. I have no idea if something I make will click and that’ll be the ticket to the feature world. I have no idea how long that’ll take; I have no idea if that’ll ever even happen. All I know to do is to keep writing and to keep making.
photo by Shawn Stom
Ryan just told me to make something small, something simple, something to keep my feet wet in between work and bigger shorts like GRAPE SODA and POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN. It was much needed advice. It was therapy. A month later, (March 2014) we shot my next short film RIFFRAFF. I haven’t cut a trailer for it and I never really posted much about it. That being said, it’ll be released on August 23rd. After cutting and mixing RIFFRAFF, it was back to the edit on pops.
poster by Andrew Bradford
After a gnarly amount of feedback/notes from many great ambassadors of film, I locked the edit. Then I left for Indiana to spend most of my summer working as a 2nd AC on the feature film NOUVELLE VIE. But when I returned in late July, I finally got to sit down with my re-recording mixer, Christian Sawyer for the final sendoff. And now, it’s done. For you. POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN was a special experience. A very special cast/crew came together from all over this country to make a quirky short film about life, death, and pizza.
Thanks for the patience on the release, thank you for reading, and thanks for watching.
the future — an abyss of uncertainty, drowning my sleepless mind in a straightjacket of stress.
a career in the film industry (from what i know) isn’t a gleeful skip down the yellow brick road. but it does take a lot of bricks. bricks in the form of scripts, short films, and doubt-filled prayers. bricks that cost money and, at times, pieces of your heart. now, my heart isn’t that big to begin with, so i can already feel the cost.
on late nights like this one, after the darkness has covered the windows, it’s ally — fear hovers above my shadow. i have no idea how to do this. i have no idea how i’ll make my next short. i have no idea how i’ll ever get funding. i have no idea how i’ll convince a crew to join me on another one. i have no idea how i’ll ever write features, let alone make them. i have no training, no education, only aggressive dreams goals riddled with unanswered questions.
the only idea i have, the only thing i know is to keep writing and to keep making. but the making isn’t sustainable by my own wallet. i made 4 short films (ANY GIVEN TUESDAY, GRAPE SODA, POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN, RIFFRAFF) in the last 14 months. i’m spent but i’m all in.
so i write and then i write some more, all the while, hacking away at my uncertainty with each page. in between editing POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN and RIFFRAFF or outlining my next short, i’m searching online for “real” jobs that will provide the money I’ll need to have a family one day. but no sea has been parted, no bushes have been burnt in my stead, no signs reading, “do this, go here.” so, i wait for the next free lance call, which are all usually random. random is usually cool but consistency would be cool, too. money probably is too.
filmmaking — uncertainty. hardship. worries. anxiety. fear. tears of sadness. tears of joy.
lots of joy.
there are no ABC’s to filmmaking, there’s no shake and bake recipe, there’s no GPS. i’ve attempted to make and follow my own map thus far, but if you know the area better, feel free to point me in the right direction.
to my fickle comfort, there are plenty of blank pages, and i have a keyboard, and i have fingers, along with an anxious, sleepless heart. the dimming light from my computer screen can’t fight off the demons of fear alone. the curser is waiting to shift right and it’s not gonna move by itself. time to get a move on…
“WE’RE BACK IN!” said in the best AD voice i can muster.
thanks for listening to my fear-filled venting session.
All of these sentences would be atrociously annoying heard spoken, let alone, internally lived out. Polluting the world with the “good” stench that follows pride at its every move. It’s a smell that nauseously fills the air of filmmaking. It’s a swirling epidemic that has swept humanity since the devil slithered through Eden and right up to Adam and Eve with a menu of godly goodness. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, I’m sure you still know the pride of which I speak — the rampant and treacherous valley many confuse for fickle praise. The valley many set up camp in, only to be swindled into buying a mirror that turns a blind eye to the truth. In fact, pride was the reason why Satan became Satan. From heaven to hell it took him.
“Pride, envy, avarice – these are the sparks that set aflame the hearts of men.” – Dante Alighieri
Pride is a disease we all suffer from; it eats away like a cancer. It usually comes in a deathly trio, accompanied by two other warped siblings — jealousy and insecurity, which usually results in massive amounts of animosity. Pride begets jealousy and jealousy begets insecurity and those three beget nothing good. It’s the serial killer of filmmaking. I’ve seen it destroy and devour character, leaving nothing but burped-up bones and a jaded, spiteful skeleton of a person. It’s a hungry monster with reeking breath and all, feasting on your goodness. Don’t dare feed it.
These are words that I write myself daily, and even at times, preach.
“Ego is a tyrant.” – Alejandro G. Inarritu, director of the 2014 Oscar-winning best picture, BIRDMAN.
In my 24 years of life on this earth, I’ve seen a lot of young, aspiring filmmakers wear the “good” stench like a cologne. Think of an overly potent musk from K-Mart that could wake the dead. Like a sweaty middle schooler, post-gym class, now doused in Axe body spray, thinking it’ll help him in life or more importantly, with the chicks/babes/hotties. And for the record, any Axe body spray is too much; ask any female. I know so many aspiring filmmakers who truly believe they are good, somewhat untouchable filmmakers. Dangerously good, in fact, but great is probably how they’d put it. I’m sure you know the smell.
In the filmmaking arena, the level of ones goodness can so often, and easily override ones reality.
“Young writers should be encouraged to write, and discouraged from thinking they are writers.” – Wallace Stegner
The desire to be a good filmmaker is a great quality and it’s one you should strive for. I strive and aspire as hard as I can. I mean, no one wants to suck. But, if you think that you’re “good” it’s hard to understand or even see the need for improvement. WHICH IS WHAT WE ALL NEED! Now, I’m not saying that any aspiring filmmaker should constantly tell themselves that they suck at life, without hope. What I am saying is that it’s ok to suck and it’s healthy to know that truth at heart. It’s good to get better, though. In fact, that’s the goal, the only one — to get better. If you’ve arrived, there’s no need to keep venturing. Don’t arrive! Just keep swimming… just keep swimming.
Plus, if you rely on your filmmaking goodness, it’ll be a really depressing journey. And this career path already has its share of ruthlessly depressing spells along the way. Some say it’s a long road, which it looks to be that way. And while some people are cruising along that pavement miles ahead, I’m just trying to get the training wheels on my bike from goodwill to work, readying for another go at the bumps in the road, scraped knees and all.
Even brilliant filmmakers have made some pretty bad movies, and that’s good. Look at the numerous films from Hitchcock during the 1920s-1940s. He wasn’t very good… yet! Obviously, he became great. REAR WINDOW and ROPE are some of my favorite movies of all-time. The last ten minutes of Jimmy Stewart going to monologue war is one of my favorite scenes ever.
Even the Coen brother’s have made a few films that made me question if they really did make NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which is in my top 5 of all-time. Every filmmaker has sucked at one point. Everyone’s voice cracked a few times before it settled in. That’s the beauty of it, and that’s the hope we should hold onto. I mean let’s be honest, we all pooped our pants at one point. Pride smells like poop is what I’ve been trying to say, I think. Sorry it took so long.
M. Night Shyamalan has one of his childhood VHS short films as an extra on the DVD of SIGNS or THE VILLAGE — it’s him dressed like Indiana Jones, running from a German Shephard. It’s hilariously bad but also an encouraging little nugget for us hopeful aspirers. Now fast forward from those VHS days to his career now. In my opinion, SIGNS and THE VILLAGE are really underrated masterpieces. Moral of the story — he got better.
BUT, personally I think he’s gotten horribly worse during the past few years. Maybe he only had a few good movies in him? I hope not. Nonetheless, watch this interview with him talking about some “bad reviews” on his movie THE LAST AIRBENDER. Now, I don’t know his heart but after watching for myself and reading some of the youtube comments, it’s pretty apparent that a lot of people think that his begotten “good” smell is beginning to stink.
“Writing is like a sport, it’s like athletics. If you don’t practice, you don’t get any better.” – Rick Riordan
Growing up playing basketball in almost every league possible, I met many “good” ballers who would surely sing a ballad of their skills. Yet, those were usually the cats who couldn’t sing or ball at all. Most of them would constantly turn the blind eye to their need of improvement. Rather than letting their game speak, which they didn’t have, they would instead conjure up their vocal assertion first and foremost, as a shield of insecurity. Pride does that, it’s a liar.
Everyone always thinks they’re better than they actually are.
One thing I’ve learned about basketball, if you’re the biggest fish in the pond, you should find a bigger pond. Or visit the great lakes or the beach or the Amazon river. There’s bigger and better monsters out there. To further iterate, I give you P.S. Hoffman as one of his many honest characters. Seriously, these guys exist, both on the court and in film festivals.
Scott Derrickson, writer/director of SINISTER, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE said, “Cinema is so much bigger than you.” He also said, “The lie of plastic surgery is not that it makes people younger, but that it makes them feel further from death.”
I’d say the same about pride.
The best example of someone radically humble, while at the same time being radically brilliant is none other than my favorite DP, Roger Deakins. If you watch him in any interview, he’s almost child-like in his love and awe for filmmaking. He says he gets nervous each day he goes to work, like when he first started. The way he talks about directors, the way he talks about camera equipment and the film vs. digital war — he speaks from such a humble place. And if you know his work, you know that he’s one of the greatest cinematographers of all-time. He even has a forum where he personally responds to questions from all over. Take a minute and just read his answers, he’s a kind gem. http://rogerdeakins.com/forum2/
“My good friend, Eliot always asks me, “Have you surrendered yourself to the great abyss? Have you kind of come to the end of yourself. It’s not about you, it’s not about all your talents.” All those things form this pseudo-reality where you find all your validation in what you do. If you surrender yourself to it, with those things not being as important then you find creativity again. You find out the reason why you create. Creativity is for others. It’s not for yourself. It’s to serve others. ” – Filmmaker Salomon Ligthelm from the video ‘The Great Abyss’ shot and directed by Christian Schultz. https://vimeo.com/90667610
Being good at anything in life doesn’t require your own verbal will power. And even if you are good, that doesn’t give you a get-out-of-jail-free card to hide your pride behind the 1-2 punch of the humble-pride combo. We’ve all been secretly prideful about how humble we are. This is something we’ll always battle, and we must not forget to do the actual fighting. Wake up, splash your face with a cold cup of humble reality, and don’t fear the mirror.
Or you can go on spraying yourself with an ungodly amount of Axe and keep lying to yourself that it smells like sexual tension. When in reality, it reeks of pride and insecurity with a hint of desperation. The calvary isn’t coming. And by ‘calvary’ I mean the female race. (If the ladies are actually breaking down doors to get to you, they’re probably not women. They’re probably demons in charge of stroking your pride. Don’t let them in. And don’t wear Axe.)
“With pride, there are many curses. With Humility, come many blessings.” – Ezra Taft Benson.
Side note: If you ever get bored, just go look at my old youtube videos from start to finish, 2008 to now — you’ll cringe, laugh a lot, and cringe some more. But through the painful watch, you’ll hopefully also see improvement, little-by-little. With MASSIVE AMOUNTS of room for more improvement, as always. The day I stop learning how to improve is the day I stop breathing. When I meet a new blank page, the only game plan I have is to suck less with each word.
As I’ve gotten older, the more I’ve realized how insignificant I am, how imperfect I am, and how much I have to learn about how much I have to learn. With every script I attempt to write and every short film I fearfully try to concoct, the more I appreciate that very fact — I am not good. That fact sinks in like a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun or like hand sanitizer to a fresh, unknown cut, but either way it’s a fact. I’m not good and that’s not bad. I’d rather know that I wasn’t good than go around thinking I was. The danger of thinking that I’m “good” holds the equally volatile danger of not thinking that I’m not good. It’s a humbling thought to ponder the fact that I’m not “good.” But it’s a fact that frees me to be better at being bad.
I’m not good and that’s not bad. Here’s to better…
By the gracious hands of many kind and entrusting individuals, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a handful of feature films, along with a hodgepodge of short films and commercials. I couldn’t ever pay for film school so my education comes from being on set. It’s quite the classroom. Like any school, it offers some excellent teachers and some… not so excellent.
I’ve learned so many helpful nuggets of knowledge that have shaped how I attempt to make movies. On the same coin, I’ve learned how NOT to do so many things on set — how not to direct an actor, how not to lead a crew, etc. Sometimes learning how NOT to do something is the best way to learn. Rough set experiences are sometimes the most fruitful.
Making movies isn’t just about the final product. Some may argue that, I’m sure. To me, it’s how you get there. It’s about a lot more than just the final film itself. It’s about the experience. It’s about having character no matter how tough the movie is on yours. Ultimately, it’s about other people, just like life. People will remember how they were treated on set more than the two hour viewing experience. In the end, movies will collect dust and so will your pride.
Granted, this all comes from someone (me) who hasn’t made a feature film yet. And I can assure you, I’ll be asking for forgiveness a countless amount of times from many of the crew members after wrap of day 1 (if that day ever comes.) My edges are rougher than most. I’m a work in progress. I’m human. Now, I’d love to make great films one day, but I want to be a better human than I am a filmmaker. No one wants an oscar for being the on-set Hitler.
All of this being said, I’m trying to put together a helpful, honest, and educational blog post for aspiring filmmakers like myself. One that would be filled with content from respectable professionals in the industry. Basically, the post would be a potluck of on-set stories with the tint of “Don’t be THAT guy!” or “Be THAT guy!” And what I mean by that is this — a “Don’t be THAT guy!” story would derive from a moment on set where someone did something horribly wrong or even worse, horribly selfish.
That story will then turn into somewhat of a PSA to say, “Don’t be THAT guy!” And for “Be THAT guy!” stories, it would be just the opposite — a story of a glorious PA who went above and beyond, or the director who did _______ to save the day, etc. All the while, these stories would all come from different points of view. The good, the bad, and most definitely the ugly.
From crew about directors
From crew about actors
From actors about directors
From directors about crew
From you about anyone on set
So, whatever role you fit into, share whatever story or stories that overflow your heart. And for all you women out there, this isn’t a gender specific blog idea. It’s just a phrase. This post will be from all sorts of people in different stages of filmmaking, men and women alike. If you’re a working actor, director, or crew member in the industry, I’d love to hear your stories. I’ll be editing all the stories into something readable and presentable. Email me at: email@example.com
DISCLAIMER — This is NOT a post that will be about bashing people or bashing a film. Some of the posts won’t include names for that reason. This post IS about helping younger, aspiring filmmakers with information to help guide the mistake-driven road into the film industry. So, at the end of the day it can help one of the young buck filmmakers to avoid being THAT guy and in return, be THAT guy.
To give you a taste of what this blog post will be like, here’s the first “Be THAT guy!” post from an actor about a director. From none other than the brilliant actor, David Dasmalchian (THE DARK KNIGHT, PRISONERS, ANIMALS) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2810287/
“There are a lot of people that like the idea of making films. I don’t know how many are up to the painstaking challenge of what it takes to actually execute a film. I had the pleasure of watching first-hand as one of the most disciplined, dedicated and visionary directors I’ve met, COLLIN SCHIFFLI, prepped, planned and finally executed his vision for the film, ANIMALS, which I wrote and acted in. For 2 years he continued to create and refine his storyboards, his tone reels, his directors statements, his notes for department heads, his acting direction…. all so that once we finally were on set and shooting he was prepared for every obstacle, every disaster and every golden moment. Without pay, without recognition, without anyone paying attention – he spent months (and ultimately 2 years) preparing and honing his vision for the film. He didn’t post about the work he was doing on social media, he didn’t need to let everyone know what he was up to – he just kept his head down and prepared… And the work that he delivered speaks for itself. It’s an honor to be an actor, writer (or both simultaneously) and to witness someone working at that level of quiet dedication. His leadership wasn’t done through words but by the example set forth in his preparation and execution. This trickled down to every member of our team and it inspired everyone to rise up to the challenge of making a difficult film with nearly 80 locations in 24 days with barely enough money. But never once did he make excuses. He just made choices and solved problems. It was inspiring.”
The 2007 film NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a buffet of education. A master class piece of cinema. It’s one of my favorite films of all time. If you haven’t seen it, put it at the top of your list and see it, post haste. Seriously, the very top. I go back to it over and over and reap what knowledge my mind can take in from the Coen’s direction, DEAKINS’ CINEMATOGRAPHY, and of course, the acting. It’s a brilliant film all around. Like a beautiful painting — I keep seeing different tones, different colors, different meanings. It’s a feast. Simple, too. The classic cat and mouse story done perfectly… with a group of Mexican cats thrown into the mix.
And yes, for Roger Deakins, I go ALL CAPS, screaming his and Brent Christy’s name from the rooftops. Mountain tops even.
This was the first Coen brothers film I ever saw. (Their best in my opinion.) And it was the first film I saw after my brother Jordan died. About 4 days after, actually. Thanks to Coach Grimes and a few buddies who took me up to a cabin in North Carolina to get away for a few days after the funeral. I just remember how odd it, how different, and how original it was to me. I didn’t know what to do when I saw it. I didn’t really understand it but I probably couldn’t understand much of anything at the time. Almost 7 years later and many viewings later, I love it so. Granted, it’s not a short film but the nature of it’s healthy, buffet style substance is what I’m aiming at.
If you have seen it, just re-watch the last scene.
That being said, short films are one of my love languages. And with that love, I’ve jotted down some of my favorites, or at least the ones I keep coming back to for more. I’ve gathered these links together as a buffet for you — you like-minded aspiring filmmakers. Watch and be inspired, discouraged, encouraged, and then repent of your lazy excuses for not creating. Then go and aspire even harder. With love, I give you these.
1) THE CANDIDATE – Directed by David Kariak. Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton.
The music, the WRITING, and again, the music.
2) THE PHONE CALL – Directed by Mat Kirkby.Written by James Lucas and Mat Kirkby.
THE PHONE CALL is a horrible, god-awful title if you ask me. Outside of the first couple minutes, the last scene, and of course, the title, it’s nearly perfect. The 20 minute film is directed by Mat Kirkby and it stars Sally Hawkins. Who, like the film is also nearly perfect. She’s so viciously real and radically awkward. She’s human. The love I had for her on screen was similar to my love for Frances McDormand in FARGO. That’s what I appreciate so much about her performance. Her simple, but beautiful humanity. This film would most likely not hold up the way it does without her. This film absolutely wrecked me like no other film ever has. A simple concept/story accompanied by a powerful and beautiful performance by Sally Hawkins. Very few moments in my cinema experience do I get misty-eyed… this film brought the rain. It’s even nominated for a live action short film Oscar this year. I truly hope it wins.
3) ELEFANTE – Written and directed by Pablo Larcuen.
This is such an odd, unique, moving little film. The weirdness attached itself to the heart-breaking story making it into something quite special. Huge fan of this one.
4) REMOVED – Directed by Nathanael Matanick. Written by Christian Matanick.
The music, the pacing, and the lead actress.
5) YARDBIRD – Directed by Michael Spiccia. Written by Julius Avery.
This girl is perfect. There’s not many actors in the industry that hold a presence like she does.
6) SHALLOW – Written and directed by William Bridges.
The writing is brilliant. Within a minute, I knew who this guy was. That’s power. The pacing, the acting, the tension — it’s solid across the board.
Honorable mentions in no particular order.
THIS IS NORMAL – Written and directed by Justin Giddings and Ryan Welsh.
The moment with the sister in the hospital — that’s what made the film for me. Broken. Real. Beautiful.
NOTHING ABOUT NOTHING – Directed by Daniel Levi. Written by Daniel Levi and Justin Cohen.
A fascinating and simple scenario executed well.
THE MAN WHO NEVER CRIED – Written and directed by Bradley Jackson.
A beautiful script written by Bradley Jackson with a beautiful performance from Keir O’ Connell. This film, unlike many who attempt the use of voiceover, nailed it.
SPIDER – Directed by Nash Edgerton. Written by Nash Edgerton and David Michod.
Because Nash Edgerton is a beast.
CARGO – Directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke. Written by Yolanda Ramke.
The love of a father… always a winner.
BONE’YEERD – Written and directed by Tom Salvaggio.
Because Mark Ashworth is so freaking good. And the long shots. I love the long shots. And Mark Ashworth.
LEST WE FORGET – Written and directed by Brandon McCormick.
Also, because Mark Ashworth is so freaking good. This is the film I saw quite a few years back and it was this very film that made me want to work with Mark one day. And a few years later… we did on GRAPE SODA.
THE CUB – Written and directed by Riley Stearns.
Just because it’s so hilariously absurd and original. The originality is oddly refreshing. I think Wes Anderson would laugh proudly.
JERRYCAN – Written and directed by Julius Avery (The same guy who wrote YARDBIRD.)
The raw style of the cinematography captures the intimate, soulful, and real feel of this beautiful short film.
That’s all for now. Feel free to go back for seconds.
Please send me any short films that aren’t on my list. I’ll eat ’em up — firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I had the pleasure of seeing all five of this year’s oscar nominated live action short films. Now, I watch many short films on vimeo/youtube. As many as I can, really. Some good, some not so good. As you very well know, it’s rare to find a short film that has the ability to move. That’s a powerful ability. The only thing most films move, especially short films, is the clock — equalling in wasted minutes off a lifespan. But, I saw a film today that moved me. To tears, to my feet, and to more tears. I’m not John Wayne or anything but it does take a good bit of something to make my eyes bleed emotion. I feel so much internally, so on the outside I may look emotionless. But occasionally, my external matches my internal emotions, if you will. Today, a film did just that.
THE PHONE CALL (which is a horrible, god-awful title if you ask me) is that film. Outside of the first couple minutes, the last scene, and of course, the title, it’s nearly perfect. The 20 minute film is directed by Mat Kirkby and it stars Sally Hawkins. Who, like the film is also nearly perfect. She’s so viciously real and radically awkward. She’s human. The love I had for her on screen was similar to my love for Frances McDormand in FARGO. That’s what I appreciate so much about her performance. Her simple, but beautiful humanity. This film would most likely not hold up the way it does without her.
To Mat Kirkby and James Lucas — if you somehow read this… my respect. My mad respect. Props. I hope you win.
Without further ramblings, I give you an amazing film with a horrible title – THE PHONE CALL.
Firstly, I just want to thank everyone who helped me make this little film. I’m a huge fan of all of the people who worked side-by-side on this. I couldn’t have done it without you. Money didn’t make this, ’cause I didn’t have a budget. A group of big, passionate hearts did.
While making many crappy student films in college, I usually had to multitask and be in front and behind the camera — act, direct, etc. Acting was never something I wanted to pursue but it was always something that I kind of had to do, since I didn’t know many good actors for a long time. But gladly, all bad things come to an end — no more me. I finally got to stay behind the camera. I finally got to only write and direct. Thanks to my incredible DP, Brent Christy and my brilliant actors, Mark Ashworth, Rachel Hendrix, Cranston Johnson, Isaiah Stratton, and Jay C Russell. This was the first time I felt like I actually got to do what I wanted to do. And I had a blast.
POPEYE THE PIZZA MAN is a short film written and directed by Justin Robinson. Shooting 2-3 days in Greenville, South Carolina in early-mid October.
It’s a no budget project so no pay but will cover travel/lodging during the shoot.
LOGLINE: A directionally challenged pizza man delivers a helping to the wrong guy at the right time.
POPEYE (LEAD), 20s, husky, caucasian, quirky, upfront, good-hearted, with a good sense of humor, but beneath it all, a broken soul.
LEWIS (SUPPORTING), 20s-30s, thin, dry sense of humor, loyal, ANY ETHNICITY.
LORY (SUPPORTING), 20s-30s, independent, outlandishly honest, ANY ETHNICITY.
Will be accepting taped auditions only. Thank you! For sides and further information about the roles — please send an email with your name, height, weight, age, reels, and or resumes to: email@example.com
This film was shot in one day with a budget of $0.00. All thanks to a group of humble, passionate and talented people who helped me make it.
Behind the scenes still by Michael Gibbons
elliot – joe coffey
thomas – justin robinson
joe – jay c russell
woman – emily fincher
writer/director/editor – justin robinson
director of photography – brent christy
first assistant director – matt barmier
composer – daniel james
colorist – john carrington
dialogue editor – jeremiah clever
sound mixer – david sniadecki
boom operator – taylor wooten
makeup – jordan kelley
first ac – scott jones
second ac – dennis kuhnel
associate producer – gunner willis
key set PA – andrew bradford
shot on the RED EPIC with the Rokinon 35mm, Canon 50mm, Canon L 85mm
edited in adobe premiere CS6
colored in davinci resolve
The idea for the film came from a friend who shared a few recent spiritual happenings at a family members house. So, the real life happenings posed an idea of the everyday 20 something guy trying to rid an object that was owned by a friend and housed by something dark, something demonic.