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The Unspoken by D.L. Watson
The Unspoken is very different then what I have directed in the past and I believe this is why I was so intrigued by it. In a way, it presented a lot of challenges for me that I have usually pu...
The Unspoken by D.L. Watson
The Unspoken is very different then what I have directed in the past and I believe this is why I was so intrigued by it. In a way, it presented a lot of challenges for me that I have usually put little effort into. When I released 'The Letter", people told me how they loved the cinematography, the direction, and the acting...but one of the things they felt suffered was the voice tracks. When Allie Manasco handed me her script, I knew immediately that this was going to be a perfect project that would really rely on great audio.
I put out a Craigslist ad for actors and received a few responses that definitely fit the bill for the characters. But, as I planned the shots, I kept thinking of actors Nick Pemble (Cinderblock Dreams, Graphic) and Erika Antonsen (Transcend) - both whom I've worked with before. I knew they were completely capable of portraying these characters, and, more to their advantage, were a real couple. I knew they would be able to channel any past arguments they may have had to really intensify their characters.
I was in luck too. Erika, who is a teacher all the way in Philadelphia, was going to be in town for a week. So, I called up Nick Pemble, pitched the idea to him, sent him the script, and they agreed to do it. Because I've recently joined the DSLR club, I really wanted my next film to have that cinema look. I enlisted Michael Sherman to be the director of photography and he and I scoped out how the film was going to be shot. About a week before shooting, I asked if Walter Hawk, who is a classmate in my Audio Production class at Lane Community College, if he'd be interested in being our audio mixer. He agreed enthusiastically.
Saturday, April 16th, 2011 we had rehearsals in the shop. Nick Pemble and Erika Antonsen went through their lines and only verified that my intuition was right. They were perfect for this part. The following day, production began. We all met at Applebee's where we shot the opening of the film and the end of the film. We had to shoot fast because cars were beginning to populate the parking lot and I didnt want to take up any car spaces to hungry, paying customers.
Afterwards, we ate lunch at the best local pizza chain around: Abby's Legendary Pizza.
After some time was spent trying to find a quiet location to shoot the next segment of the film, we headed over to the Eagles Lodge which had a completely empty parking lot. It was just off the Express Way...which was relatively empty except a few cars. What got frustrating were the motorcycles that roared past us. And it got cold. Fast. I think what made it worse was the wind. But Michael and I managed while Walter, Pemble, and Erika were cozy and warm in the car.
To get the shots Michael and I were looking for, we ended up having to place the camera about 8 feet away from the car. This made it extremely difficult for me to analyze the performance or even hear them. This is why I basically shot the film three different times...to just maximize the amount of takes in case something happened I was not aware of.
We finished the film at 5:19pm, and considering that we started an hour later then I had anticipated, we ended up finishing the shoot ahead of schedule.
Editing the film was fairly simple and straight forward. It was just a matter of syncing the audio up with the visuals and choosing which takes I liked the best. The first cut I made was actually my favorite. But when I brought the voice track into Soundbooth to apply a noise reduction, it committed to the raw file. The noise reduction made all their voices sound like robotic whales and was unusable. So, I had to re-cut the film. See, it was good I shot the film 3 times.
I'm very pleased with how the film turned out. I feel that the audio turned out really well. The quality and production value turned out crisp and cinematic. Some might find the story a little short and incomplete, but this is meant to only serve as a small glimpse into these peoples lives. Almost as if you were eavesdropping onto their conversation and hopefully had an emotional reaction to it.
I want to thank Michael Sherman, Walter Hawk, Nick Pemble and Erika Antonsen for being enthusiastic and helping me finish this. And a special thanks to Allie Manasco for trusting me to bring her script to life.