This post was written by Stephen Turselli.

Our short film The Interrogation of Timmy H was designed and written as a proof of concept in early 2018. Dan, the director, has been a fan of the game since it first came out in 2007 and, despite prior Hollywood attempts, always held on to the idea that there was a clever and visually intriguing way to capture the world of Rapture on screen.

The goal was always to make this short and hope we could weasel our way into the right conversations to make a series.

Check it out below!

Finding the time

The film took so long to come to fruition because both Dan and I work in film as well. Dan is a production assistant, and I'm an assistant director and commercial producer. It was always a juggling act of capitalizing on as much free time as we had between jobs. Then we'd disappear for a while, as film industry employees do, and pick up where we left off when the job was done.

We finally got to filming in November 2019, in Pittsburgh, with a fabulous crew of industry professionals who came together on a weekend during their time off. A large portion of our crew was working on the Amazon film I'm Your Woman and came from an overnight shoot the day before.

Dan largely took on the creative brunt of writing, directing, editing, and doing all the visual effects. I helped Dan develop and finetune the story, ran production, and consulted throughout post.

The challenges

Our biggest hurdle was easily finding the right location. Since the film was entirely self-funded, we didn't quite have the budget to build the set of our dreams but rather find the closest suitable option. We wound up filming in an 130 year old steel furnace pump house that's been emptied for a few decades. The actual set was technically something like 30-40 feet underground and it's singular point of entry made things real fun when we loaded in and loaded out all our set dec pieces, camera, and lighting gear.

Looking back, of course, we wish we had more time and more money to pull off bigger things. We originally planned for a section of the set to showcase a skyline of Rapture via green screen, but it proved to be too costly to follow through on. The waterfall should've been larger. We wish we could've paid the crew for prep days and bought back 5 hours of lighting on the first shoot day.

Alas, what is independent filmmaking except for disappointment and justification? We did our best to make the smartest decisions we could within the timeframe we had and on the budget we were working with.

Bioshock_short_film_-_the_interrogation_of_timmy_hCredit: Solano Pictures

All in all, our crew was graceful about everything despite our many hurdles. I think everyone really knew we were doing something cool and everyone genuinely wanted to be there. Huge props to Shawn Shelpman, the actor who plays the titular Timmy H, for being wet and cold for as long as he was. I bought him the nicest wrap gift I've ever bought anyone after this shoot was over!

And part of what sells that tone is the haunting new score by Garry Schyman, the original game composer, who graciously agreed to come aboard our project after watching an early cut of the film. 

Since the release of the short, we've been developing a BioShock series that would expand upon the aesthetic and tone that we established in "Timmy H."  While our heads have been spinning since the recent news of the Netflix announcement, we're still hopeful we can find our way into the conversation.

So Netflix, if you happen to be listening... knock knock.

Would you kindly?

Check out more from Solano Pictures.