The idea for AGTC came to me a few weeks ago while scouting locations for Intense Math. Though I had visited the Burton Barr Branch of the Phoenix Public Library before, this was the first time the clouded glass and stainless steel decor caught my cinematic eye. The idea for a futuristic corporate espionage thriller was immediately apparant.
This was one of a dozen or so concepts we had brainstormed in the days leading up to the challenge. It was only a matter of what best fit the surprise challenge parameters, and minor details like plot, characters, and screenplay. When the requirements were announced (theme: missed opportunities, prop: bench, dialog: "Excuse me, but did you drop this?"), the most obvious fit was a lilting unrequited love story involved filming on the city buses.
However, that idea was almost too easy, so we began to develop the futuristic thriller concept. By midnight, we took a break, got some fresh air, and reeled at how out of control the idea has gotten--fourteen characters; just as many slick locations; complex techno-speak dialog; wardrobe for everyone; badges; memory cards; computer graphics; ambitious shots as crowded public locales. This was impossible! We were very ready to scrap the idea for yet another story idea that had been brewing for over six months, perhaps more ambitious, yet more streamlined to execute. Quickly, Brock convinced me that this was worth doing. Recommited, we cranked out the screenplay in the next hour.
Saturday I was up early, editing the screenplay, calling friends and family, designing art, buying costumes and audio gear. To the location, getting people dressed, makeup and hair. Picking up shots here and there, working around the crowds, feeling edgy and close to being ejected from the building, more phone calls, people falling through, improvising, protecting for crazy aspect ratios, and shooting until the moment the location closed.
After dinner, it was back home and on to capturing. Frantically sorting the footage into scene buckets, then bed. Up early again Sunday morning, rough edit, fine edit, audio edit, master edit, scoring, more edits, back to tape, and in the car at 5:25 and a long way from the downtown drop-off location. Traffic snarls, too many people in the car, near misses, and downtown with a minute or two to spare.
Does it sound frantic? It was, and is. I'm on an adrenaline rush that will take does to come down from.
Notes: Brock, Angie, Micah, John, Larry, Ken, Allison, superb performances all. The dialog was not easy. Taking chances on cinematic aspect ratios paid off nicely. It's my first 2.35:1 project. We must be getting better with practice, since we got everything in 3:40 shooting time, 1:30 raw footage, 7.5 minutes final cut. Total time on the project during the 48 hour window: 32 hours.