Remember September and October, when I was digesting Salinger's "To Esme--with Love and Squalor" and planning to make a short film? In November and December I made it; it's called EVA AND LIAM.
The idea was to take proper advantage of the instruction and equipment available to me through Video Kitchen. While working on BOAT and SPRINGTIME together over the summer, Jenna and I acted ourselves, and used a DSLR, no microphones, and exclusively natural light; for this project I planned to use a better video camera, wireless mics on the actors, and whatever extra lighting I needed.
I wrote a skeleton script and wanted to encourage as much improvisation as possible from my dad, my little sister Eva, and my friend Liam, who all agreed to act for me. Toward the end of October, I had everyone over for breakfast so that they could get to know each other. Eva and Liam really hit it off. After I explained the rough arc of the story, we scheduled two Monday mornings when Liam would be off work and Eva could skip a half day of school and I emailed Duchess Bake Shop to ask if I could shoot for free in their cafe.
So far so good, but then Eva got sick and we canceled the first shoot. It was the end of November, final papers were already being procrastinated on, and we were about to start moving. The night before the second shoot, my dad told me that something had come up at work and he'd only be able to come down to the cafe for an hour.
I had four hours total to set up and shoot everything. Several friends showed up to play extras. Laura swept the floor and made coffee. Dylan hauled gear, lit the cafe, set up the camera, and distracted everyone who might otherwise have been dismayed at my flustered attempts to "direct". We put microphones on Liam and Eva, I turned on the camera, and basically didn't stop filming all morning. By the time my dad arrived, we were finished with all of the other scenes, but it turned out we only had twenty minutes to do my dad's parts because there was a barista meeting about to start in the cafe.
I didn't look at the footage until Christmas break. It was better than I thought it would be. I spent two 9-hour days editing it all together, and then continued messing around with the sound design and fine cuts for two weeks. Something was missing from the ending, which left me feeling flat, disappointed. I needed to evoke some sense of catharsis. Enter musical genius Marlaena Moore, who was kind enough to let me use part of a song off her new live album.
EVA AND LIAM will screen at The Metro Cinema with the other final Video Kitchen projects on February 21 at 4 pm.