- Good concept
- Good cinematography
- Nice execution of cinematic style
- Dragged in places
Awriter, suffering from a case of writer’s block, must face his greatest nemesis – his own typewriter.
The main actor, Gray Creasy, was the inspiration for the short. He was my roommate at the time I wrote the original draft of the script and his bizarre antics are what became the inspiration for the character. Gray is also a fellow writer and watching him wrestle with ideas became the spark that lit the fuse. After I finished my first film, Dada, I was looking for something less challenging to direct as Dada was a period piece filled with extras, costumes and vast production design. I was looking for a project that had none of that and I blew the dust off this old script and started saving up some dough. I also always wanted to make my own episode of the Twilight Zone and Write of Passage took a great deal of inspiration from that television show. Another factor was that I wanted to do what Hitchcock referred to as “Pure Cinema” where the visual language solely tells the story so I approached the film as a silent film almost until the very end of the picture.
Interview with ikbenbrand director of
Life is Beautiful
Tell us a little bit about yourself how you got into filmmaking?
It all started with my Father’s video store. He opened the first video store in my hometown in 1979 so from the age of four and onward I was watching films constantly. It was shortly after viewing John Carpenter’s Halloween and 2001: A Space Odyssey that I knew what I wanted to do in life. I began making short horror films on super 8 and vhs when I was around the age of nine years old. Eventually, I went to film school in Nashville and moved to Los Angeles in 2002.
I’ve been working in the film and television industry ever since and I have worn many hats. I’ve been an production assistant, a 1st A.D., a hired screenwriter, a line producer, a production manager, an editor, an assistant editor, a 1st A.C. and of course a director. I’ve worked on everything from American Idol to web series to music videos to feature films.
How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
I always wanted to make my own episode of the Twilight Zone so that was certainly a huge influence on Write of Passage, especially the short film entitled Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The real heart and soul of the film came from the lead actor, Gray Creasy. He was my roommate at the time I wrote the first draft and I wrote the film specifically for him. To be honest, it is based upon Gray’s unusual mannerisms and his own struggles with the creative process.
Talk us through the process of creating an animation?
Well, like most of my projects I wrote the script years before I ever filmed it. I had originally written it to be filmed at our old house that Gray and I shared but we just never got around to making the film. After I finished Dada, I wanted to make another short but one that wasn’t as involved as Dada (Dada was a costume period piece with lots of slapstick humor and scenes with extras, etc). I dusted off this old script and it seemed like the perfect film to do next since it was basically a guy in a room with a typewriter so I knew it could be shot much more efficiently than my last film Dada and be made on a much lower budget.
My partner in crime Nick Plotquin, built the set from old flats he had laying around at his set shop and I hired the majority of the crew and we honestly produced the film in about 2 weeks time and it was shot in 2 glorious days. I was making good money at the time on an editing gig so I self financed the whole project out of my own pocket. It honestly was the smoothest shoot I have ever been on in my life. We made our days, we got what we wanted and unlike Dada, there were almost no compromises that had to be made.
What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge came in post production, because I had set out to make essentially a silent film (outside of a few swear words at the end) we didn’t hire a sound recordist for the shoot to save some money, we simply threw a boom mic directly on the Red One and recorded the last lines of the film but other than that we didn’t record anything additional sound while filming. We should have because our sound engineer, Brian Hawlk, had to recreate everything from scratch so post production ended up going on much longer than expected and cost more than it should have.
The other curve ball was that I had to color time the film twice. We had gotten a good deal at a small posthouse to color time the project but they couldn’t deliver me clean looking footage and they couldn’t figure out what the problem was (it had some strange artefacts they couldn’t get rid of). I went round and round with them for over two months and decided to bite the bullet and hire another colorist so we could make our film festival deadlines in time.
What are your plans moving forward?
I’m trying to get a feature length horror film off the ground entitled Precious Little Things. It’s the story of a disturbed teenage girl and her younger brother who kill their Mother, hide her body and set a macabre trap for their unsuspecting Father when he gets home from work. Things don’t go as planned and now they must unravel the mystery of where their Father has hidden the missing children somewhere in their family home.
Main Genre: Comedies
Budget: £1000 – £2500
How long did it take to shoot: 1 Day – 1 Week
Film location (country): United States
Film location (city): Los Angeles
Filmed on: Red One MX
Thanks for reading our review of Write of Passage why not submit your short film