I’m excited to finally release my latest short, “no. 14”. This film was made with no budget, it was all out of pocket, shot in a day and a half.
L 16-35mm 2.8, L 85mm 1.2, 50mm 1.4
edited in Adobe Premiere CS6
colored in Davinci Resolve
I was blessed to have many talented hands on this project in every facet. From my friend Jake Sidwell composing the music, to Jordan Kelley doing the makeup, to Brett Driver and Michael Gentilini, Jr working the camera, to Olan Rogers and O’Ryan McEntire making the posters, to Chris Brank lending his gear for Taylor Wooten to rock the audio, to my brother Jeff acting and fighting beside me, to Isaiah Stratton “drowning” in a gross pond, to Brent Christy killing it, to Doug Young lending his studio for the location, to Corrie Danieley talking me through my character, to Nico Sexton lending his faithful assistance and to all the people who advised my script and gave me feedback. I couldn’t have made this without you.
In anything that relates to hit-men, we see the money, the women and the cars, but what we don’t see is the pain that’s left at the end of the day. We see the external outcomes, we don’t get to see the internal issues. James Bond is a great example, along with Jason Statham. At the end of the day, the only company these guys have left are STD’s and blood money. The goal with my character Uriah was to give a glimpse into his internal struggle with his lifestyle.
In short, to become a better filmmaker. I’ve always been interested in stunt work and fight choreography but I’ve never been able to focus on those two things in one sitting.
I’m not in front of the camera if I can help it and that’s for good reason. Writing and directing is what I want to do for the rest of my life, with some stunt work on the side. If you do see me in front of the camera, it’s probably for physical roles or for stunt sake, “no. 14” fell into both categories. Back in August when I pitched this idea to a few close friends, I told them that I didn’t want to look like me and that I may grow my beard out, starting in October and maybe getting some sort of haircut. My goal was to not look like Justin Robinson. A brilliant friend of mine, Ryan Hendrick said, “Start now.” After 5 months, my puberty traveled from Iraq to my face, resulting in the beard.
(This is a still from my first ever short film, “Battle at the Tilman” summer 2006.)
I have no training whatsoever with stunt work or fighting. The only experience I have is spending hours upon hours of fake fighting with my brother Jordan. Most fight scenes in movies are the most unrealistic things you’ll ever see. I am aware of line between realism and exaggerating the fighting to look good on film. For example, foreign martial arts movies shoot with wide angle lenses to show all of the action because the talent can do the action or you have the American movies with tight/shaky camera work to hide the action because the talent can even throw a decent looking jab. Some martial arts movies turn into a huge dance routine or the Jason Bourne camera work just gives people a headache. I wanted to try and find a happy medium. Fight scenes are all about camera work (ANGLES ARE EVERYTHING.) Most real fights aren’t pretty, they obviously aren’t choreographed, and they usually go to the ground, resulting in some ground and pound action. If you’ve ever witnessed a real KO or a UFC knockout, you know that the face can only take a limited amount of straight blows to the jaw, usually resulting in contorted bodies and bloody faces. Realistically, fights don’t last very long, unless someone was on drugs, which is why I wanted this fight to last about 30-40 seconds.
With every film I make, I want to get better. This was my attempt.
Thanks for watching. I really appreciate it.
Poster by Olan Rogers
Brilliant behind the scenes stills by Michael Gibbons