Seemingly the only survivor of a deadly epidemic, a man takes a chance on helping a stranger.
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SO...HERE'S THE THING...
The year was 2005. I, along with my BFF Marco Mazzoni, dove headfirst into the most painful creative project. I wrote the script at work for over a week, and we decided to start production in July. Oh, by the way, we lived in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time. Oh, and by the way, July in Phoenix is like living on the surface of the sun while the universe throws tiny sharp pieces of hate at you. I took a week off of work, and we started the shoot.
THE SONOLTA (SONY + MINOLTA)
2005 was pre DSLR revolution. Shooting on film was too expensive, Video was barely figuring out 24p, and HD was pretty much off the table. Also, we were poor – but where we lacked funds, we made up for ingenuity – at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I had bought an old Sony DCR-VX1000 Digital Handy-cam – but I wanted an anamorphic, and the only version that gave the option was from Japan. And all the menus were in Japanese. So that was fun. I’ll be honest: Sony was never really great with their menu design (even today), so being in a foreign language didn’t make much of a difference. Also, if I remember correctly, all the camera did was provide a “letterbox” and not an anamorphic. Eh, it was still rad.
MOVING ON! I wanted to use natural lenses. Like an SLR lens. Remember, this was before DSLRs – so we had to get creative. I bought a non-functional Minolta SLR off eBay and a clear focus screen. I ripped the top of the SLR off and attached some focus rings onto the SLR focus screen, and BAM, we can now use any lens we want. We found out quickly that we lost close to 2 stops of light with this method, and the on-set monitor we used wasn’t calibrated correctly. It was a cheap DVD monitor we found on eBay. We white-balanced the camera on different paper colors to get the hue/temperature we want. Red would give us a cool color: Green, Warm, and whatnot. This was the SONOLTA!
It was a nightmare. Computer crashes – losing files and edits and having to get new hardware that never worked properly—finding out a bunch of footage turned out WAAAAAY too dark. All while going through some gnarly personal stuff. Anyway, it was a good experience, and I learned a lot. Mainly, make sure you have an extra spot on the payroll for good ole Murphy. He’ll show up.
PLAGUED WITH CORRUPTION
Flash forward a few years. I moved back to California (again), and I had a kid. During some free time, which was super limited, I decided to rummage through old footage and re-edit the film. I started to get into After Effects a lot more and wanted to see if I could improve the movie. At that time, I thought it was better, but as I look back – eh? Anyway, I got pretty far into the edit when my handsome little son accidentally knocked my portable hard drive off the desk, and it smashed into the ground. All the progress was lost. However, I had an early version of the intro rendered out, but that was it. I took it as a sign. Let it go.
Just for fun
Here’s a noir version of the film – nothing different, except it’s in black and white. Helps with the film grain.