A year after my first major short film Take One , I had the itch to get another short going. Just like Take One however, I was stuck without any idea as to what to do for a story.
Eventually I would be highly inspired by the award winning indie video game, Braid.
For those who haven’t played it, Braid is a platform and puzzle game where the main character is on a quest to rescue a princess who has been kidnapped by, ironically, a knight in shining armor (think Mario). This is where I drew my main inspiration from for this short film. Although it isn’t noted in the credits, I was also inspired by the award winning Japanese movie Parêdo, in which four youths share an apartment together when a fifth member mysteriously joins them one day. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the movie basically goes through each characters everyday lives as they go through their ups and downs of life.
As with any project, we ran into a number of issues when filming. The first issue was time; we were working around everyone’s busy schedules and thus filming was very rushed and completed in just five days. The second issue was how we were going to shoot the short. We realized that because we were filming mostly “everyday routines”, we had to shoot it in such a way that wouldn’t appear boring and still keep the viewers interested. I even originally planned to shoot the entire short in black and white, something that we ended up reserving for just one particular scene.
Another important aspect for this short film is the fact that there is no dialogue at all. There isn’t even any background noise; it is strictly just a soundtrack being played over a story. This also meant that we really had to shoot this just right; it was important that it didn’t look like just a random compilation of two different people’s everyday lives.
One of the main details we decided on was to connect the two characters without having them have any interaction with each other at all. This is just one of the many small details we had to figure out prior to shooting (but a lot of things were still decided while on location – more on that later). Once we were shooting, we had to make sure that it was subtle enough that it would just blend right into ones daily routine, yet make it significant enough that the symbolism wouldn’t simply be overlooked.
This is where the few opening shots come into play. I pictured using different objects to help describe more about each character immediately, even though they haven’t been introduced yet.
Given that these are actual items from both Amy and Eric’s rooms, it couldn’t have been more fitting! Still we had to choose carefully but at the same time we only had what was there to work with as we weren’t planning on “recreating” their rooms to fit their characters.
Now, unlike Take One, there was no script to follow (I decided not to make one since there was no dialogue), which ended up meaning that a lot of things were decided while on location! This also meant that everyone else was much more involved in the creation of the story, not just myself. We had to figure out together how to tell a story without actually, well, telling it.
As far as where we were shooting, we ended up in some interesting areas this time around. This was my first time shooting in a library which proved to be a challenge; not only did I have to shoot and direct, but I also had to make sure that we weren’t bothering anyone who was studying there at the time!
We had scouted out a few locations beforehand which we did use, but a couple locations were literally decided last minute. For example, we got kicked out of an LRT station and had to find a suitable location that would match everything that we had already shot there. This meant for some quick thinking, and I’m sure glad that I wasn’t thinking about it alone!
I was also very excited that we would be shooting at one of my favourite places to go in town, Dream Tea House! We’re usually hanging out with friends here late at night, but shooting here was definitely fun as well!
The use of Eric’s 1987 Nissan Sentra was something that I was very excited about. During the early stages of development, I never would have thought that we would end up using it, but I’m sure glad we did as I’ve been toying with the idea of featuring this very car in a short film sometime.
Not only that, I thought that this would be the perfect car for the mood that I wanted this film to have. Both Eric and Amy really couldn’t have been any more perfect for the roles!
While I love making short films, I don’t get to do them too often. Hopefully I’ll be able to create more in the future as well as improve on them as we create each one. After all, we’ve come a long ways since the first Here We Eat Our Mistakes episode! Thank you all for watching!
Click HERE to view the full photo set on Flickr.