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Android Night Punch With Commentary!!! by Writer/Director Chris Shalom, Producer J.S. Johnson, and actors Simone Swan and Kieran McGreal.
For those of you interested in hearing how the sausage is made.
Chris Shalom (Heretic) and Jordan Mounteer (Paradoxical Shaman) have been long time members and contributors of SimplyScripts. I wanted to share some cool stuff they have been doing.
This from Chris Shalom (Heretic) of California Balloon Films - "This one was kinda like a SS [One Week] challenge, actually... I was challenged to write and shoot a feature film in three days. So it was a feature written in one day and shot in two. From concept to wrap in only three days! This movie making challenge left us with a bizarre B movie about sex laws, androids, heart ripping, crazy punk hooligans, and more…
After she rips out her creator’s heart, Sam the Android takes to the streets to find him a new one, thinking that human organs can be replaced like defective circuits. But the mean city is no place for an android built into a mad scientist’s idea of sexy...
This is an amaze-balls indie film. And, I've watched a lot of indie film done in ten times the amount of time that were absolute crap from writing to acting to production (that includes music). This is not one of them. I liked the story – it’s a familiar one of ‘a-fish-out-of-water’ and ‘pinnochio’. It’s been done a million times, but it is how Chris pulls of the journey that kept me engaged. The acting was uneven. The actors had two days to get into character. With that being said, some may be put off by Nikki Wallin's interpretation of Jazzlyn 2000, however for a girl in Jazzlyn’s profession, over-the-top sometimes is what helps you stand apart. I found her performance endearing and it gave the character a certain vulnerability. David Lloydy was an amazing ‘Artful Dodger’ like character. Simone Swan and Emmy O’Leary’s performances were very well executed. I enjoyed the music and was astounded by the production values particularly the cinematography and the sound quality – the later being the usual downfall of any indie film.
I think that Chris should stop the YouTube release and see if he can get this out on Pay-Per-View. This needs to have wider release. And, I think they should de-emphasize the “this was made in three days”. The look of the film and story are enough to entice the viewer to watch the film. Leave it for after the film to let them know the constraints the film was made under. Had this not been Chris’ film, I might not have watched it knowing it was created in three days.
*full disclosure. I’ve known Shalom virtually for ten years. I bought him his first copy of screenwriting software. If I thought the film was crap, the best he would have gotten out of me is a, “Looks like a great effort!”.
Thank you very much as always, Don. And thanks all!
Jazzlyn 2000 was definitely the trickiest role. One of the main problems is that the majority of her story didn't end up getting filmed (including my favourite scene in the entire script, where she tries to teach Sam how to rap battle), making her arc somewhat nonsensical. But that was the sort of experience we set out to have, so there you go.
Regarding YouTube...this is something we'd like to give a real go for a while. We think it's amazing that we can let people watch our films for free while also making money off advertising, and while YouTube isn't currently set up for this to be a particularly viable business model -- obviously it's designed to create profit through a lot of small videos, rather than a few big ones -- we're hoping that the shifting industry will eventually let us make this useful. The internet is/was meant to be massively democratizing, so at least we can attempt to do our own small part in democratizing film.
And also, of course, we hope that as we release more films, all of them will get more viewers. We're just starting to build our subscriber base.
Thank you too!
Yes, so the challenge was from my producer, J.S., following Von Trier's "Five Obstructions" sort of idea. We've been at work on a behind-the-scenes documentary that was meant to cover this feature as well as a number of other short filmmaking challenges; for example, I challenged another filmmaker to shoot a short film from a script I selected, and he wasn't allowed to show the main character's face. Unfortunately, in the scramble to finish our third feature (April) the other stuff has been delayed for now.
It was exhausting but, to be honest, it wasn't really much more so than our other shoots. We shot our first film (Truth) over 22 days, ANP over 2, and April over 10, and I was basically just as dead over all of them, haha. Because our crews are so small, J.S. and I tend to be up the entire night after shooting prepping the next day, so after the first day, everything's a blur anyway.
The one thing that was a neat challenge about this one was that I was up rewriting the script, which I haven't had to do before. The script I wrote for ANP, which was written over the Friday, was 45 pages, and we ended up filming 30 pages total, so there was a lot of rewriting to cover plot holes and general impossibilities. The original finale, for example, had the wife Willow mutating into a plant woman and trying to destroy the main characters with magic, but right before we started filming that we got kicked out of the location, so we had to shoot the finale of the film while packing up.
I'm glad you made that comment. I was laughing when I went to see Under the Skin in theatres because there are certain things that are very, very similar. Unfortunately, ANP is not quite the modern masterpiece that Under the Skin is, haha.
Well, i just checked this out. I can't remember the last time I watched an indie film. This one was way out there, I won't say over-the-top, but it was entertaining. So hats off and congrats. The film work looked great.
Just watched this, a great job considering the circumstances.
Lots of interesting, creative flourishes in here that could be worth exploring further down the line when hopefully you have more time and resources at your disposal. There were some echoes of “Under The Skin” alright with the android being cut loose to roam in the real world. Although, in this case, it was forced upon her due to an unfortunate coronary related verbal misinterpretation. Damn figuratively speaking humans!
However, at times, you managed to convey the similar sense of isolation and loneliness experienced in Under the Skin. The sheer other-worldliness of our supposed normalcy when viewed through the prism of someone “not from around these here parts”. The occasional first person shots were a nice touch too, heightening this detachment in a paradoxical way, if that makes sense.
I did like the quick edit of the heart removals and its repetition later on. Clever problem solving of an otherwise impossible shot, it worked. It was only when she meets the nice guy again at the end, the only one with a pure goodness of heart, that I could see where it was going. A cruel twist of irony, killing the one person who’d probably look after her. It was well played though, and only dawned on me when I presume you wanted it to.
I would've liked to have seen more development with the couple and the android in the initial stages, charting the progression of the man becoming more attached to his creation but I get there were some serious constraints acting against you here. Plus, I loved the inter-cuts of the slippery tongued politician talking about the new bill and would've welcomed more of him too. Again, there is lots of potential with the story.
A special mention to the music too, suitably off kilter and unsettling with an undercurrent of whimsy at times which made it all the more freaky. Also, the actress playing the android should be noted, a well pitched performance.
All in all, kudos to you and your crew. Looking forward to seeing more.
****SPOILERS**** I think I'm with Don on this one. I also think you did a good job on this and shouldn't promote it as being done in 3 days. Good production value, decent acting, and a feature at that. That is one outstanding feat in itself, but your film can stand on it's own. Obviously the post production didn't get done within the 3 days did it? If so, then WOW! Otherwise, still a good effort on a getting a feature done and out there with such good quality. Wish you well with it. I also think we should try to keep it up on the Portal so many of us on SS get the chance to see it.
It's hard to critique a story that was whipped out so fast, so I'm not. It kept me entertained enough to finish. I did like most of your shots. Again, hard to argue in the time frame you did it in. It would be interesting to see if you could do any better with more time, but would it really be that much better? It didn't feel rushed or hurried so, even though I know how fast this was done,
I did like the intro song and hoped she would have come out about a minute sooner and then the music silenced when she wacker her in the head. Just a little long for me. The heart at the end looked cool too. Did you just have that laying around, or are you building one yourself???
I'm hoping to film some of my shorts (no not those!!!) so I'm wondering what camera(s) you shot this with? Rent them or own them? Seemed to be several cameras to get so many looks.
Overall, great job! Thanks for letting us watch your work!
My Scripts: SHORTS Bed Bugs I Got The Shaft No Clowning Around Fool's Gold Five Days for Redemption
Nice job on this one, dude. Didn't enjoy as much as Truth, but certainly some interesting composition throughout and some nice touches where theme is concerned, especially given such a short development. Keep doing what you're doing.
Well I'm honoured you chose ours! Thanks very much.
Thanks so much for the in-depth thoughts. You've correctly identified one of the major differences between the script and the finished product -- we lost four or five pages of scenes building up the "family" relationship due to scheduling constraints. I (naively) wrote the script for a 90 minute film, and it became apparent pretty quickly that was not going to happen. Anyway, we're glad you enjoyed watching and thank you for the review!
Per your and Don's suggestion, I've buried the "three days" info further down in the description of the video. Thank you for that comment (and the accompanying compliment, haha). The post was definitely not done in three days -- the sound and colour were a pretty significant job, as those aspects were obviously not handled perfectly with our shooting schedule.
The heart was a pig's heart (well, two, one for Tobias' and one for the heart at the end). The second heart was created by our two lead actresses (Simone and Nikki, who play Sam and Jazzlyn, respectively) out of the pig's heart, some VCR parts, and an old iPod.
We shot on a Canon 5D Mark II, which is owned by our cinematographer Mike Russell. Everything was shot on that camera except for the stairwell scene with Jazzlyn bloodied up, which was shot on a phone. Long story short, there was supposed to be a sequence of three scenes all shot on phones, because we intended to shoot on the Vancouver Skytrain and then in a club, neither of which we'd have permission for...but, in the end, we didn't have the time. Any of the other various looks were done in post.
Thanks for watching and reviewing, and we'll hope to see some of your short films soon!
Haha, of course you'd catch that line. Thanks a bunch for watching! Our next one will be up soon enough, though sadly it has no spurting blood whatsoever...(The project we're planning for the coming year should make up for that, though).