Sunday, May 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes - Border State

This is not a scene from the film. This picture was taken in Colonial Williamsburg. And yes, I know I'm mixing wars.

My brother writes screenplays. Usually full-length, but he's also been stretching his writing repertoire to include short films. His friend Troy shoots the films and together they've created a production company called Bluegill Films.

The attached link will take you to a short Civil War-inspired film they recently shot. Watch it, then I'll give you a little behind-the-scenes insight to it.

First of all, you might be wondering what inspired them to shoot this piece. It was akin to writing prompts that I sometimes try. Troy told Ryan that he had a friend who had some Civil War garb and weapons and Troy had a location for a shoot. Could Ryan come up with something?

Why, yes, he could. Ryan wrote a ten-page script and they recruited their cast members. They'd worked with the lead before on another project, but the boy was new. My mother made his shirt, trying carefully to keep it in line with what she'd researched about Civil War fashion. So Bluegill Films had their script, their cast, their location and their props. Troy wanted to shoot the film in one day. They were all set. Then - the boy showed up and he had braces.

I knew all this before I saw the completed film. So when I saw it, I thought they'd replaced the boy. But they didn't. This is the same kid. You can't tell he has braces, can you?

My brother wasn't there for the filming, so he didn't see all the takes and retakes that went into it. He just saw the finished product, which is not the way he typically works with Troy. Still, he was impressed. There are a few things he wishes they'd shot more than once. He would have liked the camera to linger on the boy's stance at the end, and he would have zoomed in when Nathan took the knife from his pocket. But all in all, Troy and Ryan are happy with the film.

Troy's given Ryan another writing prompt: he wants to come out from behind the camera and play a villain. Ryan's already got ideas for writing that. We'll see where he takes that single directive. It could go anywhere!


  1. Ah, so writing is in the blood, eh? ;)

  2. Boy! Am I ever the proud one over my kids' writing talents!!!!!