Guest post from our own Bryan Reklis. (Editor Note: If I could sync this piece to the film as a sort of commentary, I would).
Hello person. I’m glad that you are looking at these words right now. I’m going to write more words about the filming process of The Torment (a short horror film that I co-directed, DPed, edited, and scored as a part of Dead Red Eyes). If that is something you are interested in, keep reading these words. If not then I’m honestly surprised you’ve made it this far. Seriously, if you aren’t interested, why aren’t you doing something that you are interested in? This is the internet; no one will see you leave. If you aren’t interested, may I suggest the Kid President pep talk video? I know you’ve probably seen it already, but it’s still super adorable and inspirational. OK, I’ll shut up and talk about the filming process.
The Torment was filmed in one day (one long 14 hour film session) in a shitty apartment building on Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill, NC. I used to live in the apartment building and had been forced out because they were going to tear the building down and make it into not-shitty apartments. Luckily, my landlady let us use the entire building for filming before it was demolished. It was a micro-budget filmmaker’s dream. Speaking of micro-budget, our budget was so small that we couldn’t afford to pay any crew members. So, to make up for that, we just asked the actors to be crew members. There were a total of four people who participated in the production process from a non-acting stand point (and three of them also acted, me being the only exception). I was the only one with production experience, so I ran the camera (a Canon 60D with a Sigma 17-55 2.8 lens) and lighting (A basic Arri lighting kit with additional soft box setups from Cowboy Studio). I trained Justin Mejia (the co-director), Brooke Hamrick (actress and production assistant), and Rob Priester (lead actor) how to run audio when they weren’t in front of the camera. Audio was recorded with a Sennheiser shotgun mic into a Tascam DR-100. It was a true team effort that was fantastic to be a part of.
Filming a 30 minute film in one 14 hour session is absurd. When I think about it, I still can’t believe we pulled it off. Everyone worked so hard and had such great attitudes that it was one of the greatest filming experiences of my life.
After filming, we had an extremely tight turnaround for post production because we were submitting the film to a local horror film festival. The only thing that is more astounding to me than filming a 30 minute film in one day is editing it in 7 days. I edited the film on Final Cut Pro 7, and did color correction with a Magic Bullet Looks filter.
Filming occurred on a Sunday, and the film was finished the following Sunday. At some point on Wednesday, I realized that 30 minute films need a lot of music. I knew exactly where I needed music and exactly what I wanted, but when you have no budget, you can’t afford music. So, I did the only thing that I thought I could do in such short time. I recorded the score myself (Editors note: one song late in the film and at the end is courtesy of one of Niall’s bands). Necessity is one hell of an inspiration. Using the equipment that I had available (from Atlantic Creative, thank you to them), I recorded the score with my Fender P-Bass on a Peavey practice amp by clipping a Shure Lav mic to the front of the amp and praying for good results. Necessity is one hell of a creator. I would have never made it through that crazy editing week (of which I had to still work my full time job) had Justin Mejia (director, producer, actor, Dead Red Eyes co-founder) not been super supportive and encouraging. Also, he brought me dinner basically every night, which was amazing.
So that’s it; that is the rough story of how The Torment was made. We used the same equipment and software for Alphabet Soup give or take a lens or so. If you have more questions about it, I’d be happy to answer them. If you are thoroughly bored by this, go watch that Kid President pep talk video? Seriously, isn’t that video so good? Anyways, thanks for reading all these words. If you just skimmed this and are now reading these words, but you didn’t read all of the words. Thanks anyways, but not as much.
And remember, the Lord can touch you anywhere, Bryan Reklis