The story of "Charlie"
two years of writing, production, and working on technical difficulties
post-editing around my school schedule, this 20 minute short film was finally
I wrote the script in late 2007, went into production early spring 2008, and
went through post in late spring 2008. By the end of that school year I had a
20 minute film under my belt that I was quite proud of.
School ended soon after I "finished" my film. Then I realized that my
audio was out of sync. For fellow film geeks- my footage was shot in 24p and
somewhere in the transition to FCP -> Soundtrack -> FCP the audio got set
to 29.97 fps. That meant that it started out looking like it was in sync (which
is what I tested when I first burned a DVD as I didn't want to sit through the
whole thing to make sure it worked... big mistake.) but as the film went on the
audio got more and more out of sync. It got to the point where a character
would be speaking in a conversation with the other character's voice coming out
of their mouth. Ridiculous. The Lesson: ALWAYS watch your
finished piece when you burn it to a DVD, tape, file, or send it to the moon.
ALL the way through.
That summer I didn't have access to FCP so my plan was to fix it when I got
back to school after the summer. The problem? We started Studio 44 which took
up class time and time outside of school (which was an AWESOME project, but
meant that "Charlie" had to get put on the back burner).
Summer of 2009- I got Jude, my lovely Macbook Pro, and started to fix the
problem. Long story, more technical difficulties... I had an extremely busy
summer so, again, "Charlie" wasn't fixed. When school started up I
tried to work on the film on weekends but eventually Italian class sucked away
my life, my time, and my sanity as I sadly became devoted to flash cards and
crazy verbs instead of my beloved film.
Christmas break 2009- After more fiddling I discovered the root of the problem!
Took a while off of working on it for Christmas and being excessively lazy
(which is a must during break). Then we come to January 11, 2009... IT'S
Completely- on a DVD with synced audio and such. :)
*sigh of relief*
So what is "Charlie" about? It's a story of a struggling independent
filmmaker named Charlie who meets Alan Smithee, a theater owner who tries to
rekindle Charlie's passion for film. The film also touches on the history of
the Hollywood Blacklists.
I haven't lost my passion for film, but since it is one of the most important
things in my life it is one of the things I would be most sad to lose. What
better medium to express my love of my passion? It was the hardest project I've
taken on, and although there's a lot that I've learned in two years that would
make me do things a little differently I am still proud of this film.
"Alan Smithee" is the name filmmakers used to use in
the credits of films they didn't want their actual name to be associated with.
This factoid doesn't relate to why I named the character that, but I suppose
you could write a long scholarly essay analyzing it if you wanted to.
Thank you Patrick my DP, Sally the gaffer, Mom and Dad for catering and helping
with everything, the cast Erin Nelson and Gary Wimmer, the extras, and my
ancestors for the amazing photos they left behind. :)