***For additional tidbits on the adventure, er, making-of OBSOLESCENCE, check out the blog entry SHADE OF GREY in LA***

As I mentioned, I shot a new short film while I was visiting LA for Shade of Grey’s West Coast Premiere festival screening. It’s titled Obsolescence, and things are looking good thus far! The setup: Obsessed with and tormented by the notion that things aren’t as they seem, Nick (Scott Ganyo) embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind his wife’s untimely passing. Yeah, I know that’s vague, but it’s all I’m ready to divulge at this point. It’s sort of a dark sci-fi thriller.

It’s based on a feature script I’ve been writing for awhile. This short film is set up as the back story for one of the main characters in the feature, and also a potential web series, so this is sort of a “testing the waters” project. Scott and I wrote and produced this one together, which was a lot of fun, and quite interesting. The entire production was very “guerrilla” style (kind of become a catch phrase on set… I think at one point I made monkey noises, because I’m a dork). I worked out a draft of the script before heading off to Cali, and found myself re-writing a newer draft while waiting at airports (don’t you love it when your connecting flight gets canceled and you’re stuck sitting in an airport terminal ALL day???). Then Scott and I found ourselves re-writing scenes till 4:30am most nights, er mornings.

Scott and I are kind of like brothers at this point… but sometimes we have very contradictory opinions. I tend to be wordy and enjoy thick, conversational dialogue between characters. Scott likes things to be succinct and minimalist. I like to go dark. Scott likes to go happy. So I’d write something and Scott would often be like “But… no.” Sample conversation between us during the late night re-writes:

(Jake finishes the latest draft, hands it to Scott.)
Jake: “Here it is! Take a look, this’ll be great!”
Scott: “But Jake, this script is balls!”
(Scott hands Jake pages back with huge chunks of dialogue crossed out.)

We’d go back and forth like that for awhile. Scott would suggest this, I would suggest that. I’d accuse Scott of hating me. Then I found out that he’d never seen the SNL Digital Short Jizz In My Pants. After watching it a ridiculous number of times on Youtube, we got back to work. That damn thing got quoted a lot. At one point I think we ended most of the script’s scenes with Nick’s character doing just as that title suggests. Anyway, I digress. The things we did have in common: We both prefer the story to be focused on the characters and their relationships. We both like subtleties and metaphors. We both have very off-kilter senses of humor. Somewhere along the line, we discovered a draft we could both live with.

We cast the thing on the fly. We did last minute re-casts on the fly. We found locations on the fly. Actors got their scenes shortly before they were filmed. It all moved at a breakneck speed, sort of like a modified version of shooting a 48 Hour Film project.

With Scott (Mind of Mencia, 1000 Ways To Die, Zorg and Andy, The Dark Knight, and oh you know… Foxxy Madonna vs The Black Death and Shade of Grey)  playing the lead, we had three other roles to fill. The role of Tess went to Rosalind Rubin (The Cleaner, 12 Rounds), who I’d previously worked with on both Mime and Concentric, and I have to say her talent has grown since I last directed her. Jen Lilley (Two and a Half Men, The Changeling) played Annie, Nick’s wife, and displayed an impressive ability to master her scenes at an incredible pace, despite getting the script only hours before shooting – a very talented actress. And the role of Detrick went to Luca Ellis, who’s a helluva Sinatra-esque crooner. Seriously, dude’s got mad skills and a great screen presence.

In the first day of shooting, we covered 4 scenes (11 pages) in just about 8 hours. That encompassed a torture scene in LA, and all of Annie’s scenes – in a car, on a beach, and on a pier at sunset (sadly, not on a boat) in Ventura. After a final bout of re-casting, we shot the remaining scenes two days later, up in Santa Clarita, the bulk of which was Nick’s confrontation with Detrick. By the time principal photography wrapped, we’d shot for an accumulated total of a day and a half (12 hours). Not bad. All things considered, I think this is the fastest I’ve ever moved on a production.

Am currently working on a teaser poster, website, and other goodies (hope to have a teaser trailer soon). Mostly though, I’m just cutting away at the footage. Stay tuned for more…


~ by cinephreakpictures on August 24, 2009.

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