(Note: the feature MANCHILD was re-titled AMATEUR and is now a Netflix Film)
AMATEUR is a short prequel demonstrating my vision for MANCHILD, the feature film we’re making next. I've never been so excited to release something, so I hope you like it! If you like the short and want to see the feature, please head over to our just-launched website for MANCHILD and share it. I'm releasing this directly online, and that's how this short will spread -- every tweet, facebook like, and share makes a BIG difference. Thank you!
I'll be back later with an in-depth post detailing how we made this (what we shot on, what I edited on, etc.) -- and please feel free to ask any questions you have -- but for now I'd like to focus on the work itself. The writing, directing, performances, and story -- these are the chief concerns of any filmmaker, and I hope they drew you in whether you're a basketball fan or not.
A few things to note:
This was the first time my name has ever been on a slate -- that's how DIY my film career has been. However, despite this being more of a "real" production than I'm used to, there was no shortage of work, and I've basically done nothing but work on this (and run this website) for the last few months. I believe as AMATEUR gets out there that it will all have been worth it, but please -- if you appreciate the hard work and the resulting film, take a minute to tweet and/or facebook manchildfilm.com. I've talked in the past about the strategy of making a short, and now that you've seen it I hope the approach is much clearer as the story ties in directly to the feature. This short focuses on an encounter between a street agent and a high school basketball player -- played by Lionel Pina and Curtiss Cook Jr., respectively -- but as a result of what you see here, the recruiter goes on to pursue younger, more naïve players -- including TJ, the 13 year-old protagonist of MANCHILD.
In addition to writing, directing, producing (with Chip Hourihan) and editing this myself, there was no shortage of jobs that I did but that you won't see my name alongside in the credits. Editing the short myself was a great way to save on the post-production budget, but it's also a great way to forget there is a sun -- and people -- outside.
To get this finished in post last week I flew back from NAB on a redeye flight, during which I finished working with my composer Tim Kvasnovsky thanks to the combination of in-flight Wi-Fi, Google Chat, and noise-canceling headphones. I landed in New York in the morning, took a taxi straight to Goldcrest Post for the sound mix, brought my luggage home after an all-day mixing session, and finally slept after being up for 36 hours straight.... and then came straight back to Goldcrest for the color grading session with DP Greg Wilson. You might recognize Greg's work from the amazing cheetah video and Phantom Flex4K posts here on NFS. I'll be back later with a post thanking everyone who worked on the short, and sharing all the details of the shoot, when I have some time to put it together properly!
The other thing I should note: we did not spend a dime of the Kickstarter funds on this short, but the short is very much inspired by the outpouring of support that happened during the Kickstarter campaign. So many of the Kickstarter backers came from this website that I'd like to thank you again here (in addition to the Kickstarter update) for your support.
I called in a LOT of favors, as did my producer and DP, to get this made on a tight budget. And that was one of the other rewarding aspects of this production: finding and working with talented people who read the feature script and wanted to be involved.
There is not a single visual effect in this short and it's basically an eight-minute conversation between two people, so there won't be a wondrous VFX demo to show... but feel free to ask any questions! If I don't answer them right away here I will do my best in forthcoming posts. We're using this short to launch a website for the feature, so please take a minute to share that around -- especially with anyone you know in the sports/basketball world. Thanks for watching!