Updated: Mar 11
Can you figure out what's in the box?
In 2019 I was faced with a troubling question. How do I produce a short film that can get accepted, even place. in some film festivals with no money. In this industry every film is a stepping stone to the next and you've got to start somewhere. In order to overcome this challenge I began by piecing together what I did have.
As the owner of Bizbio Creative I had my own camera and editing equipment.
I knew Edward Jeanveau who was and is a master at audio mixing and sound design. He had also expressed some interest in helping out on a short film project with me.
Two daughters I could enlist as PAs for the price of a Mister Submarine sandwich each.
A roster of talent I had met through my work with Shut The Front Door Improv who had all expressed some interest in building their portfolio.
So, in the interest of cost and simplicity, I made some initial decisions about the story:
It needed to take place in the woods.
It needed to have two actors tops.
It should have minimal dialogue.
These decisions lead to a brainstorming process which took me a couple of weeks. Coming up with a compelling story, with interesting twists, has always been something I was good at. Mainly because I'd been doing it since playing AD&D in my teenage days. When the idea evolved in my notes and then crystalized in what the twist would be at the end it was like getting hit by lightning and the script came together fast. The endorphin rush I get when this happens I'll never get sick of.
When approaching the part of "The Walker" I knew who I wanted. AJ had already been very generous with his time helping out with a comedy short I had produced in 2019 called Home of the Best Hummers. I asked AJ to read the script and, true to form, he was more than willing to help out as an actor and producer.
Next we needed to figure out wardrobe and props. This turned out to be a serendipitous activity as, unbeknownst to me at the time, AJ was well known throughout Shut the Front Door as "the prop guy". Building and sourcing props was his wheelhouse and he agreed to take on the challenge.
For wardrobe I reached out to a local London business called the Fur Boutique. After having a great phone call with the owner, Martin, Martin agreed to help us stitch together the outfit AJ would wear using some old chunks of scrap fur sourced by AJ .
So filming took place in early March of 2020. I know right. Just as the lockdowns associated with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic (here is south-western Ontario anyway) were being implemented.
Over the course of five separate shoot outings, AJ, myself and my daughters managed to collect all the footage we needed. Two days later public parks and trails were shut down. We got er all in just under the wire.
The second actor in the piece was a no show on a key shoot day where my daughters weren't available. So, as sometimes happens in this business, I had no choice but to fill in for him. Originally this role was supposed to be played by a teenage boy.
With filming done and the new lockdowns in place there would be plenty of time to work on the edit. The original edit was around 18 minutes. With the help of Eddie, our sound designer and recording mixer I whittled it down to about half that size over the course of six revisions. This was a powerful learning experience for me that I'll always be grateful to Eddie for holding my hand throughout it. It's so hard to get oneself out of a project, to see it from the viewer's perspective, especially after having been immersed for so long. Eddie helped me do that as well as offering unflinching creative critique that often was hard to hear but in retro-spec indispensable to the process.
Once It was down to the current length Eddie began doing his part. He used my basic sound design as a guide then went about doing all the audio mastering that was required. He and his girlfriend even went so far as too drive up north to gets some custom captures in order to maximizes the realism of the film and really bring it to life.
After some time had passed I was working with a CGI student on another project who asked if they could help with anything else. i asked him if he'd like to insert an easter egg into the piece for me. He inserted a glowing white tree in a key scene - symbolic of the white tree in my sci-fi screenplay WORST FEARS. ~Bryan
I had post-production done in time to enter OUT OF THE BOX in the 2020 film festival season and it subsequently earned a few placements and one winners award:
Best Short Film Winner in the 2020 4th Dimension International Film Festival
An official selection in the 2020 San Francisco Another Hole in the Head Film Festival
An official selection in the 2020 Mr. Holehead’s Warped Dimension Film Festival
Finalist in the 2020 Forest City Film Festival.
An official selection in the 2020 Los Angeles Lift-off Film Festival.
An official selection in the 2020 Paris Lift-off Film Festival Film Festival
An official selection in the 2020 Amsterdam Lift-off Film Festival Film Festival
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