Your Private Screening - My newest short film
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
You haven't seen me put out any new films in a while. That's not to say I haven't been making them! Things certainly slowed down over the last year and a half and I have been holding off releasing anything... until now. And you get an early watch before anyone else...
Brown Shoes is a film bout a young woman in mourning who comes home to find an uninvited guest. I had the impetus of the idea when I started taking Meisner acting classes in 2019 at the Houde School of Acting.
Side note - if you are in the NE Ohio area and have any interest in acting or even directing or writing, I cannot recommend Houde School enough:
In the beginner stages of the Meisner method, you practice a technique called "repetition." In this technique, one actor picks out something about the other actor, for instance "you're wearing brown shoes." The other actor responds "I'm wearing brown shoes." These two phrases are then repeated over and over, but the meaning is dropped and each actor responds to the emotion with which it is said.
Here's a video that demonstrates repetition in detail:
As a writer, I was amazed at how many meanings a simple phrase can adopt simply by the emotion with which it is said. Furious - "YOU'RE WEARING BROWN SHOES!?" Terrified/Sad - "I'm wearing brown shoes..."
I started pondering this and figured that the key was to create an interesting context in which the simple words were said. Then seeing how incredibly the advanced students were able to improv a scene - especially intense emotional scenes - I was inspired to make this film's dialog entirely improv except for one line... "You wore brown shoes."
Connecting with the highly talented Taylor Adams and Frank Conti as my two actors (both from Houde), I painted for them a picture of the scene. I talked them through the construct and the motivations and then they crafted their own detailed character backstories. Taylor was exceptionally thorough, detailing out her character's whole life story as well as the stories of her character's loved ones.
With our small but skilled crew, we met at our filming location and got to work. After a few walkthroughs we got to filming.
The most challenging part was following the action. This was my first time doing a narrative film without a highly detailed shotlist. We filmed several takes as a "Oner" (where the camera does not cut but follows the action seamlessly). These takes eventually became our master and helped us map out the story beats and blocking of the scene.
With a couple more Oner takes for safety and variety, we then ran the scene from cross-angles so we were sure to have coverage of each emotional beat.
In a single day we filmed this intense emotional short film that I am very pleased to be able to share with you. Thank you to everyone who was involved.