Glove Compartment – An Introduction

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Over the past few years I’ve been playing over this bizarre situation in my mind; two assassins who take a little girl for a milkshake.

Fast-forward to 2014 I I’ve just finished principle photography for my 16th Short Film since 2009, ‘Glove Compartment’.

‘Glove Compartment’ is an exciting new thriller which follows two assassins who decide the fate of their targets daughter, over a milkshake.

Long-term hitman Frankie takes untrained killer Jacob under his wing for his latest instruction, but Jacob’s psychotic tendencies lead him to taking the daughter of their targets captive. When Jacob insists on treating the young girl to a milkshake, the whole series of events threaten to unravel Frankie’s humility and psychology barriers, which hold the past at bay and have allowed him to become so successful at his profession.
Just before christmas I started to explore this central situation and question the kinds of characters that would organically evoke such a situation. Having recently read a lot into story structure and character evolution I wanted that to be a key part of my new film; I needed a sense of development for both character and plot.
I thus spent the christmas period writing and re-writing until I got it right.
I was lucky enough that the the script excited Jamie Weston, who Co-Produced my previous short ‘Audition’ and Charlotte Palmer, both whom agreed to come on as Producers for the film.
Actors Jon Campling (Harry Potter, Sleeping Dogs) and Andrew Coppin (Karen’s Room, Four for a Boy) came onboard the project quite early on, both being interested in the project it was great to have two such talented actors involved.
Although not my first time working with children, the incredibly talented Libby was a joy to work with. So natural and precocious, easily slotting into such a dark-themed film.
I’ll be posting lots of behind the scenes pictures on my Facebook page http://facebook.com/danallenfilms over the coming months. The shoot itself was incredibly tense, as we essentially shot a five-day-shoot into three days; difficult but we made it.
Theres one more scene to shoot for the film with an entirely different cast so we will be attacking it like it is its own production and we are also looking into film, namely super 8 as a shooting medium which will make sense as I share more details eventually.
I’ll have more production updates in the future but in an effort to blog and post more I want to keep these concise, and soon I’ll share the exciting stories such as how the vehicle in the film broke down with one more shot still to film of it…
Trailer coming soon. Post is going swell.

Audition – The Taller Picture (16:9)

Audition - still 24

Audition, why 16:9 widescreen and not 2.35:1 anamorphic?

We shot the film with the view that it was likely to be cropped down to 2.35:1. The Nikon d800, like all other DSLR shoots at 16:9, 1080p. A lot of films, shorts included, are cropped to 2.35:1 (anamorphic). This gives it the distinct cinematic feeling, so why, when most of my earlier films are anamorphic, stick to widescreen?

For those that don’t know the difference, an anamorphic aspect ratio or crop is responsible for the black bars at the top and bottom of videos (such as movie trailers) on websites such as YouTube. This is because YouTube by default features a 16:9 video player.

16by9 2point35by1 comparison16.9 and 2.35:1 comparison. AUDITION vs THE OFFER ON THE TABLE

We framed a lot of the shots for anamorphic, but during the edit I fell in love with the taller picture. It gave a sense of an uncompromising view of the horror, like their was nothing being hidden. A lot of the rooms we shot in were square so to show from head to toe we’d have had to have stepped even further from the action.

There’s one particular shot where Beaufort stands with all these dead bodies in front of him, the initial idea was to focus on his blade wielding hand and the bodies, but there was something more disturbing about the full picture. The 16:9, tv aspect ratio called back to memory older Hitchcock movies and TV movies which use more practical special effects than visual effects, which is exactly what we did with the film.

In addition the main audition sequence is constructed through the use of two close-ups, cross cut, which strips away the environment and focuses on the action. These were purposely framed really tightly so you find yourself, as an audience member, being stuck in the middle of this dark engagement, scared for Cherry the auditionee and seduced by Beaufort the villain. Cropping would have taken away some of the upper forehead detail or lower mouth movement and this reduced the view of exactly what we were focusing on.

In the end the framing and presentation worked better in standard widescreen, and knowing that the film would be released online there was no point in using an anamorphic crop as a shortcut to a cinematic look. The lighting, the performances and the drama should create the performance on their own accord and that’s what we hope to have achieved.

I will be returning to the anamorphic aspect ratio for my next film ‘Glove Compartment‘.