Eddie O’KEEFE's DIY Short 'The GHOSTS' Does Retro Right
Eddie O'KEEFE's no-budget short "The GHOSTS" was shot in a small town west of Chicago this year, but manages to effectively evoke a bygone American era. One kid takes a baseball bat to a mailbox in the film, which I'm pointing out only to launch into a personal anecdote: growing up in North Carolina, some neighborhood ruffians were busting up mailboxes with bats, and so our neighbor filled his mailbox with bricks. A kid hit the box, broke his hand, sued the neighbor, and won. True story. I think. Anyway, check out Eddie's skillful, atmospheric, playful short:
Here's Eddie with the behind-the-scenes story of the shoot:
The film was shot in my hometown, Elmhurst Illinois, just a few miles west of Chicago. We shot it for little money and took advantage of our families and friends to use their businesses or old cars or anything really. When you're not shooting in Los Angeles people really want to help you make a movie, it's pretty incredible. Our cast and crew was made up of mostly friends. My parents are in it like six times.
We were going for a lo-fi kind of approach. We wanted a no-nonsense, straight forward, gut punch kind of movie. Something that was loud and fast and youthful. Most of the influences for the movie came from garage music and the cover's of old paperback, not so much other films.
We couldn't afford 16mm film and to be honest even if we could we'd still have to degrade it in post. Unfortunately 16mm doesn't look like it did in the 50's and 60's anymore. We wound up shooting on a buddy's HPX-170 for free and spent a lot of time in pre-production shooting test footage and creating the "look" in post. In the end the "look" is simply some stock FCP filters fussed with till no end. I did it myself and to be honest I have no idea what the hell I'm doing when it comes to color grading so if I can do it, anyone can.