Thursday, October 30, 2008

Exodus 20:13

I must say that the 48 hr. Halloween film fest was a grand experience. I honestly did not expect to have so much fun with it. A fortnight previous to the fest's start we (my team) were given advice to start writing the concept to our story quickly as possible. Therefore, we got into short meeting and started discussing what we could do and we came up with this concept (the video below has SPOILERS of the film, view at own discretion. Sorry it's extremely low rez):

I was surprised at how well we coordinate to agree on one topic :-D and we did it rather quickly. At first, I was a little shaken about the team because one of the members, Ashten "Whoopi" Winger, wasn't there and I knew he wouldn't be around much until that actual fest started. Plus, one of my good friends who is a really hard worker when it comes to film went to another team which I did not want to be apart of because I did not particular get along with one of the members. So coming into the meeting I will have to admit I was not expecting much. When I spoke I was jsut rambling on. We started by stating our favorite horror films but most of our favorites dealt with zombies and that genre was covered two film fest ago and I did not want to repeat that. Eventually I came up with the small idea of telling the story from the POV of the villians. Another member mentioned implementing a Cloverfiled-esque camera technique to the film and another memeber mentioned the villians be a cult trying to kill sinners. Pretty much, after my small idea we started rambling on about the possibilities. Our thoughts and imaginations soon go away from us, of course, and I decided we should stop, organize our thoughts and get this down on paper and video (thus, the video above).

Over the next week we all made our own scripts and treatments based of the video and combined them. Spencer and my ideas sort of won out and we co-wrote the script. In fact, I made the full treatment and I gave it to Spencer because I liked a lot of the dialogue he wrote in to his version of the script but the team liked my story more. Spencer wrote a draft but it was way over the top. But that was a good thing. It's much easier to scale down something than to add on to it. So I took his script and toned it down, flushing out the plot points and the dialogue and "New Haven Way" was born.

Another week came and it was time for the film fest to come and we get the news that we would be picking genres out of a hat! Some of those genres include comedy and chick flick!? WHAT!? How could we possibly do a comedic horror flick or a horror flick that was a ... chick flick!? I honestly got very scared at this point. If we got either of those genres we were screwed. If we had crime, horror, film noir or action we would have been find but those two would have absolutely killed us. When it was our turn to pick from the hat (which was actually a jack-o-latern) I didn't want to go even though I was the team leader. Instead, I called upon Spencer. Good thing he had enough balls to go up, unlike me and he picked Film Noir. I'll admit, at first I didn't know what the genre was. I read it in my film class text book and in a screenwriting handbook but I always skimmed over it. Christian, the director of photography, immediatley flashed his handy dandy phone that can do everything and shoe me pictures of black-and-white films with high contrasted images and I immediately understood what film noir was. Spencer added onto our knowledge by telling us what a film noir movie covered emotionally. Although our film does not follow the film noir story structure exactly (there are certainly similar elements) the visual aspect, especially the main character, Ishmael, giving his speech in the car excudes film noir cinematography.

So we headed out. I started calling up actors and actresses and we picked up a wild card candidate who end up being the lead in our film, Alex Flores. Things were looking mighty good, except I would have to be playing one of the roles and we couldn't find inexpensive blood! We had to be driving around for two hours thinking of places that would sale blood when one of the members remembered that we were shooting black and white and that chocolate looked like blood in black and white! Boo ya! (Most of the blood you see in the film is chocolate). The first day of shooting went from eleven o'clock on Friday to six o'clock on Saturday and man was it a great shoot! I did not expect to get such a great performacne from the wild card Alex Flores, plus, he had a sweet camera to give us! Can anyone say 1080i HD!

Next day we knocked out and woke back up to find that one of our team members wouldn't be back until later tonight because he was going to a party. That was a future problem that I would no find a solution to until I was right there on the spot. During the day we got a few errands done. Spencer wanted to make this contraption to make blood squirt (we tried to do this the first day of the shoot but it didn't work out too well). So we got a few supplies and picked up our editor, Ashten "Whoopi" Winger. Once we got back on set I had Whoopi immediately on the computer editing and he wouldn't stop until the next day. He definitely put in the work. I knew he would if I got him on location.

Night was approaching and our DP and supporting actor was still no where in site. We were thinking of worst case scenarios if he wouldn't come. Alex suggested rewriting the script, someone else suggested reshooting (out of the question) and I said that we should just dub in his voice later on and I'd be the camera guy (if you noticed in the scene where they chase the girl through the house you never see Jacob). So we went ahead and did just that and it worked out wonderfully. Eventually our DP came and we were set to do the final scenes which went off well, although one girl had to leave early and we could have gotten a better blood squirt from her when she was stabbed in the neck.

The most surprising thing for me though was Courtney Case's performance. First, I had seen Courtney for quite a few months. But I had forgotten how committed and how great of a performer she was. It was nice having a professional actor on set rather tha all of us trying to fake it (although Alex Flores did splendid in the lead role). Courtney's peformance definitely got me pscyhed for what's to come in her's and my future with "The Devil's Company."

We rapped the shoot and I don't think I slept until we got into the cart around five in the morning to head out. Whoopi was still editind and we decided to call the film "Exodus 20:13" in light of the last scene and all the scriptures that make appearances in the film. At first we called it "New Haven Way" then "New Haven Road" and now "Exodus 20:13." I recently googled our film's title and a film last year is under the same name but has an entirely different plot. I was really proud of our title until I saw that film on IMDB and their concept. I felt our title was cheapened by how horrible that film sounded but I'm over it now and I really do love our current title.

We got back to the "starting line" of the film fest and started putting final touches on the which essentially were the sound effects and visual effects which was a combined effort of mine and Whoopi's. We finished early but I messed up and deleted a few files I was working on and had to rework them. The deadline to get the films in was coming soon and I was nearly done when someone shouts "Fred is here!" (Fred is the coordinator). I seriously think I peed my pants because I was trying to get perfection on a particular shot and I didn't have credits done yet and I had to start editing. Good thing another three teams were way more behind and they had one of their memeber's stall Fred for a whole three hours! THREE! So I finished up with a lot of time left and I tested the DVD on a TV before I turned it in. The first scene placed great and one of the other teams told me to leave it in and play the rest. At first, I was was a little hesitant but I figured what harm would be done at this point? They couldn't go out and reshoot, right? So I played the rest and the other teams were blown away. I was happy with out film but I didn't realize it was appeal to them so much. One of the other members said he orgasimed off our film which was very nice to hear coming from him because I respected him quite a bit. To have all those COMPETITORS say our film was good was beyond my expectations.

So basically, without further ado, I hope you too will enjoy my lastest film: EXODUS 20:13. Please leave comments on Vimeo, YouTube, my Facebook and my blog. We are trying to get this into film fests and we want to know what you all think! Also, please spread the word. If you have blogs or facebooks or myspaces or websites and you enjoy this film please give us a shout out!

Exodus 20:13 from Antoine Bandele on Vimeo.


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