In 1977 S.E.T.I (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) detected a strong narrowband signal, possibly from deep space, that looked exactly like what they were looking for, it became known as the WOW! signal. Unfortunately, they have been unable to detect it again in the years since and only have the original printout that reads 6EQUJ5, this is not some code or message but a simple representation of the amplitude of the signal increasing and decreasing as the radio telescope swept past it with the rotation of the Earth.
In the present day, Alex is a young photographer with the talent and ability to have the life he dreams of if he can just find the courage to follow those dreams. His girlfriend Amy is also on the verge of an incredible opportunity of her own when new information on the WOW! signal comes to light, these are exciting times.
However, an unforeseen event will forever change his life and Alex must find a way through his pain and fears and just possibly answer one of the biggest questions in history.
Behind the scenes
6EQUJ5 is my first film as a Writer/Director. I made it during a break from my regular work as a Visual Effects artist and is self funded. As with a lot of short films it was made with the generous help of a lot of friends and colleagues who gave their time, skill and passion to the film for little or no financial reward.
The initial inspiration for the film came from a random thought I had one day, a “what if?” thought about discovering a radio signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence and what that may lead to, at this stage it had nothing to do with the Wow signal. After a couple of initial drafts that were not working, at least not for a short film, I left it alone for the best part of a year, then one day I remembered the Wow signal, not that I remembered what it was called at the time, and as I was researching it online the story that is now 6EQUJ5 started to form in my head. Interestingly that initial inspiration from that day, or at least how the film would end, didn’t make it through to the final draft. As the script came together and some trusted eyes had a read for me I realized the original ending was no longer right for the journey the characters had now made. It was an interesting lesson in the old editing adage of “throwing out my babies” even at the scripting stage.
The film was shot in two blocks, one during winter when the script and everything else was ready and then a second five months later in summer to facilitate better weather and golden hour conditions for sunset scenes. Luckily we could split the two shoots logically so that only the two leads were needed for the second shoot. All the scenes shot in summer were flashbacks to the main narrative, so if our lead actor looked a little different it wouldn’t matter, in fact it worked in our favour.
In the interim I began editing with what we had from the first shoot and started working on the visual effects.
What didn’t initially work in our favour however was our lead actress, who wasn’t required for the first shoot other than her photo on a security card, having to pull out of the project just before the second shoot forcing us to re-cast at short notice. Thankfully we had originally had two very strong contenders for the role and our other choice was ready and able to step in. Now, as often happens in these situations, we couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. Of course there were now a few more visual effects shots needed to replace the security card photo.
Main Genre: Sci-fi films
Budget: £5000 – £10,000 How long did it take to shoot: 1 Day – 1 Week Film location (country): New Zealand Film location (city): Wellington
Charles Edwards http://www.imdb.com//name/nm1396977, Martin Lang http://www.imdb.com//name/nm3291637
Gaffer – Chris Chandler [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm1957676], Lighting – Oren Graham [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm4894425], Lighting – Tristan Maxwell [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm6205691], Lighting – Kupa Warner [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm5616997] (@kupawarner)
Sound Recordist – Paul Chattington [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0154189], Sound Recordist – Joel Anscombe-Smith [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2204558/], Boom Operator – Ferand Peek [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm1319816] (@ferandpeek)
Alex – Aidan Weekes [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm7325732] (@aidanweekes)
Amy – Abby Damen [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm3289412] (@abbydamen)
Sarah – Kate McGill [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm3409447] (@stagesofkate)
Martin – Ben Fransham [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0291740] (@benfransham)
Alex’s father – John Smythe [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0810828/] (@jsmythe45)
Paramedic – Jacob Stephens [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm2803384]
Producer – Jan Haynes [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0371471]
1st Asst. Director – Robin Wilson [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7539896]
Music – David Long [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0518937/]
Sound Design/Tracklay – Emile De La Rey [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3245344/] (@porcelaintoy)
Re-recording Mixer – Michael Hedges [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0373276]
Colourist – Damian McDonnell [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1599252]
“The Big Ear” 3D Model – Jonathan Sothern [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4215253]
Script Continuity – Pam Hislop [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0386814]
Script Continuity – Karen Alexander [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm1332699]
Art Director – Nicole Spackman [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm2510952]
Costume – Chris Pickard [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm0681735]
Makeup – Dara Wakely [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2786121/]
Makeup – Kelly Manu [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm5832891]
Makeup – Karen Winefield [http://www.imdb.com//name/nm1825813]
Prosthetics – Weta Workshop [https://www.wetanz.com/] (@WetaWorkshop)
Catering – Blue Carrot [http://bluecarrotcatering.co.nz/] (@BlueCarrotNZ)
Catering – Deb Logan [http://www.crewwellington.co.nz/crew/deb-logan]
Catering – Dough Momma [https://www.facebook.com/DoughMomma/] (@DoughMomma)