Finally, my latest short film is done. After almost three years of work I added the last bit of color correction, did the final sound tweak, and sent Tandem off for consideration at the Austin Film Festival. I squeaked in just under the wire, the deadline was today.
Tandem is not like my other work. It is not a comedy for one. Also I was very loose about how I went about production. Usually I storyboard the hell out of everything. Not this time. Starting with the germ of an idea, I set out a few years ago shooting footage of a couple who would eventually face a tragedy and set out to build a machine to fix it. I used my girlfriend Victoria and myself as the actors. We were always around and, most important, we were free. Using a DSLR and our two iPhones, we captured moments of a young couple during happier times. I did not know at the time what the tragedy would be, what the machine would look like, or even what my character's names were. All I had was the germ of an idea and I grew it and developed it as I went. I found it to be a very interesting way of creating story and character -not something you can do with most films, but luckily it worked for this one. That being said, I did know how the story would end. I believe that is one of the most important things about storytelling. You have to know where you are headed, otherwise you will end up wandering aimlessly. With the destination in mind you can decide which bits along the way are beneficial and which should be tossed aside.
Flash forward to this year. I had a lot of happy time footage and I needed the rest of the film. Bits and pieces of the story had been rolling around in my head for a while so I began writing a script. It was a rather unorthodox script, but it would serve as a blue-print if nothing else. A month ago I approached Jacin Buchanan to assist in shooting the scenes that Victoria and I were in together. Until now it was her shooting me or me shooting her. And, even though I knew most of the dialogue would not play on screen, I brought in Marc Hormuth to record sound during the scenes to get a more natural read out of Victoria and myself. I didn't want the voice over to really sound like voiceover.
The day before the guys were to show up for the shoot, I tore apart my dining room and built a crazy-ass machine in the middle of it. Scouring junk shops, thrift stores, and getting broken computer parts from friends and relatives, I spent all day constructing what I can only call a visual manifestation of insanity. Anyone who came to our home during those few weeks that the machine existed must have thought I had lost my marbles. After picking up a few random extra shots over the next couple of weeks, I tore the thing down and returned the dining room to normal. We can actually entertain guests now without scaring people.
What started out as an experiment to see if I could shoot a film for no money turned out much better than I could have hoped. I am pleased with the final product and now I am interested in exploring a few more ideas in this style. All said and done I did end up spending a little bit of money, a whopping $350 total, but that is a mere fraction of what I have spent on past projects so I am very happy with my self-control.
I will not be releasing Tandem online until after I have tried a run at the film festival circuit but, if anyone is anxious to see it, you can contact me via email and I will send you a link and password to view it online.
I will post the film's progress in the festival world as it develops.