Thirteen days spread over two months and THE NOTHING is officially in the can. We have a long way to go before we have a finished film ready to unleash on the world, but this is definitely an accomplishment worth taking a moment to relish.
Three years ago, I moved to Nashville, and my friend Justin Baker introduced me to Josh Childs, an actor in town. I was fresh out of bible college, disillusioned with joining the ministry, and beginning to entertain thoughts of becoming a screenwriter. Josh had acted professionally for years, and Justin, already an excellent musician, had branched out into graphic design and video production.
We shared a love of film that quickly turned to talk about the kind of movies we’d like to make, if only we had the opportunity. We talked about our desire to see “faith-based” – or rather, unapologetically Christian – movies that reflected our sensibilities, our aesthetic, and captured some of the struggles we saw in our lives.
I was soon after introduced to Jeff Boyet, another accomplished Nashville actor who shared our dreams, and the seeds were planted for what eventually became Released Pictures.
After working on a few projects together, Josh came up with the idea for The Nothing and it captured our imaginations; a film where the characters were put in a situation that forced them to confront the reality of their own mortality. It captured that feeling I think we all experience on our darkest nights, when the house is still and all you hear is your own breath; that one day we all face the unknown.
On his blog, Josh described film-making as “building a pyramid upside down on a greasy piece of taut dental floss, in a windy area… only, since I’ve never done this before, it’s like doing it in the dark.” And that has been the truth. The four of us, though we have hovered around aspects of film-making in various capacities for years, had never made a feature film before. In fact, if we knew everything that goes into from the start, we may have run screaming into the night. What can I say, sometimes ignorance isn’t only bliss, but fortuitous.
But we’ve been incredibly blessed along the way on this project, especially when it comes to the amazing group of people God surrounded us with to make this film. Over 40 of Nashville’s (and the world’s) most talented actors, crew members, artists, and filmmakers came together and to make this film more than we hoped possible. And they came together largely because they believed in this project- in the script, in the idea- as much as we did.
And in reality, they are the ones that made us into filmmakers. We learned from them what it takes to make a quality motion picture.
We named our company Released Pictures based on the idea that we “released” our film from our control, from our egos, to make it what God wanted it to be. It appears, at least to me, what God did was release the film back into the hands of the community of people that came together to make it. There are dozens of beautiful fingerprints on the flick, from the amazing performances to the incredible set design by Curt Nuenke, to the lighting and camera work, all the way to the people that just showed up to provide meals or help out.
It’s a humbling experience to see something you helped create on the page grow into something that lives and breathes. And it’s all been shot, and now we’ve moved on to piecing it together. We’re also very close on releasing a teaser trailer, so all of you at home can get a little taste of what we’ve been working on for so long.
To our Cast and Crew, you have our humble and eternal thanks. Also, thank you to everyone who has voiced their support for this project over the last two years, and keep it up! The success of this flick depends on the advocacy of our “online army.” So tell your friends! And keep coming back as we’ll update you as we move through post-production.
We’re still making a movie!
After 8 long and sweaty nights, we’ve wrapped at our Leipers Fork location. Our cast and crew beared no small amount of discomfort to deliver some simply amazing performances and footage. We are literally giddy like school girls (trust me, our titters echoed throughout the barn) with what was shot.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the various stresses of indie filmmaking, not only was every single person involved beyond professional, we all had a great time as well. The video on the top of this post shows it.
We shot over 70 pages in merely 8 days (a typical Hollywood movie shoots 3 pages on a good day, to give you some comparison), and more importantly we shot 70 incredible pages. I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished. There was a general feeling on the set that we may have something special on our hands.
Stay tuned over the next month or so, as we’ll have updates from the shoot days on our remaining locations. Thanks to you, the people, for all your support and encouragement via facebook and whathaveyou, it’s meant a lot. And thanks most of all to our cast and crew, for making The Nothing something.
See ya real soon.
As we start week 2, we have our second behind the scenes video for you to check out. This one dissects one of our stunt sequences. This was a particularly difficult sequence, and the end results should look great.
We also have a brand new batch of stills. Enjoy!
At 5:46 PM on a sweltering Tennessee evening, cameras began rolling on THE NOTHING. It took over two years to get to this point. The opening shot was inside of a sweaty storage cubby, that only the actors, Director, DP and AD could even get inside of.
It was a moment that almost felt a bit anticlimactic after so much build up, but then it hit me. We are making a movie. For real this time. Cameras, lights, costumes; and crew people asking me to get out the way. There are all sorts of really expensive technically digital doodads that I both fear and don’t understand. It’s great.
We’re shooting fully digitally on Canon 7Ds. I know a lot of people are purists for shooting on film, but I’m 100% on board with the digital revolution. I’m for anything that makes it easier for indie filmmakers (like us) to make professional quality films. The Nothing is fully and proudly a part of a digital revolution in independent film.
2 years ago, the first time we attempted to make this movie fully independently, the film we are making now would have been impossible, that’s how fast technology is moving.
We’re moving fast too. Our AD, Drew Langer, told me that, on average, a Hollywood film shoots 3 pages a day. We did that in our first four hours.
I had literal chills up my spine upon seeing our first footage. I can’t wait until the world gets to see this film.
But in the meantime, enjoy these production stills, and our first production video diary.
We are nearly there, folks. Principal Photography begins in only a week. That’s but 7 earth days, ya’ll. The production team here at Released Pictures International Global National Headquarters is definitely in crunch mode. There are sets to dress, rehearsals to finalize, crew positions to lock down, meetings a plenty to be had, and about 749 tons of paperwork to be buried beneath. But we’re not complaining (much) because WE ARE MAKING A MOVIE!
And once production begins, stay tuned right here for all the latest updates. Yours Truly will be blogging on location throughout the shoot. And we are preparing to up the video content we put out starting with this very post.
Also, if you want to take a moment to check out all the amazing people that are making this project come alive, keep tabs on our CREW and ABOUT pages, as they have been updated, and will continue to be updated, with crew on the crew page (obviously) and an ongoing and sure to be endless SPECIAL THANKS section on the about page.
Now that I surely have you chomping at the bit with THE NOTHING FEVER, here’s a prescription to cool your brow: Two clips from our cast table read. The first is from an early scene shortly after the characters are first confronted with what’s outside those barn doors. The second features Lane and Bud, and gives you a glimpse into the dynamics of their, shall we say, strained relationship.