Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Making of Crestfallen Diary - Entry #1

Jeremiah Kipp was nice enough to forward me these nice littel writings about the making of Crestfallen. I'm going to post one entry per day until they are all gone. I hope you find some interesting information in them as well as inspiration to maybe make your own film.


When I completed my short film CONTACT in the fall of 2009, our plan was to put it online so anyone and everyone could see it. It became an experiment in the horror blog-o-sphere, and one of the critics who reviewed it was Russ Penning, at Dead-End Drive In. Russ was enthusiastic about our work, and before long was sharing his own film scripts with us. Many of them were straight-up genre projects, but one of them clearly stood apart, and that was CRESTFALLEN. It felt sincere, heartfelt, emotional, and somehow deeply honest. It didn’t read like a horror movie at all, but an impassioned look at the spiral into suicidal depression. Was it autobiographical—I hesitate to ask how close to the bone Russ went with this material; but it sure felt personal. His original draft was quite different from the film we wound up making, but that’s not such a bad thing. It was longer, the genders were reversed, and we agreed that this short version of CRESTFALLEN (just under six minutes) would allow room for a longer interpretation down the line, perhaps directed by Russ or another emerging filmmaker. I think it would be wonderful to see that version made, probably running 15-20 minutes with a male lead character that would be a closer stand-in to Russ himself. I felt like I needed a separation from that, a necessary distance, and asked if we could make the lead character a woman and approach the wonderful actress Deneen Melody to play the part? Russ, who shares my enthusiasm for Deneen’s talent, was open to that and agreed. As we went in and revised the script, which was already daring and experimental in its design, we scaled back dialogue and narrative elements, reducing the movie to a stream-of-consciousness flood of images. I’m grateful to Russ for allowing us to go in that direction. What was our total budget? Gosh, I think it was $750 before Russ paid for the flights from New York for me and Dom. But within those shoestring means, I wanted so badly for the movie to feel epic in size, and not like a movie made in the backyard.


DP/Editor Dominick Sivilli and I flew in together on September 10. We shot on September 11, which has powerful connotations that were unintentional on our part. And Dom had to fly back on September 12, early, to honor the anniversary of his father’s death. So that kind of feeling was in the air.

A new entry is coming tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed it.

No comments: