Hell Or High Water - A Forthcoming Atomic Production

Andrew
Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
edited January 2012 in Practical Filmmaking
Hey guys! Today I wanted to share with you an announcement of (and act as a production diary for) our latest narrative project Hell Or High Water.
[img]http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/8708/hellwater.png[/img]

The project is a 15-20 minute crime drama, primarily focused on a single scene between two men- one young, one old- about the nature of fate and consequences of testing it. It will star Corey Cleary-Stoner from our previous project Jesse James/Ed Miller Scene.
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The script was written last fall with the intention to be produced as part of a college film school project, but was further developed and expanded once we got an executive producer involved, and is now something we're working on this winter and hope to use as a festival entry throughout the year. We'll be shooting/in-production later this month, and then running through post-production and having Chase score on into March.
To start off the production thread, I thought I'd post the opening paragraph to the screenplay for you all to peruse. Not that it's of any real value, content-wise on guessing the story- but I thought it'd be interesting to see what happens in translating from the prose to the screen, visually.

[indent]"[size="1"]We open on the interior of an abandoned, dilapidated building. Old, crumpled leaves scatter the kicked-in doorways, the floors stained in filth and wreaking with an air of neglect. The windows, boarded, offer no entering light, leaving the only a single flickering fluorescent overhead to supply the room. A man, JOHN- early 50s, suited with a well-weathered face and slicked-back dark hair- waits seated in one of a few chairs in the room. He looks to his watch and then to the lone, obscured window in front of him, resting his arms firmly in the disheveled elegance of a tattered, old armchair.
He looks to his surroundings, a second chair five to ten feet in front of him purposefully placed, as if for a meeting. He gazes at the chair with an intense contemplation, his fingers twitching slightly and bloodshot eyes narrowing-in. JOHN is a calm man with a seated position of confidence and intimidation, but looks to the subtle jerks of his fingers as if they've betrayed his own since of power. He draws a cigarette from his breast pocket and pulls out an old, antique lighter. Before he can smoke, a noise at the door rustles."
[/size][/indent]


[center][img]http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/3075/hellorhighwater.png[/img][/center]
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For our team, this will be a welcome return to dramatic narrative material building on our previous parody and promotional work of the past 6-9 months, since our last primary dramatic narrative effort last April, Bury The Hatchet, which I'm embedded for viewing below.

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Anyway, maybe that's corny- but I just wanted to share with you guys what we're moving ahead working on and give you some insight before we go further in the process!

Comments

  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Awesome. Very excited to see you guys sit down and really focus in on some original material, especially with Corey on board. Although I still mis-read his name as Clearly-Stoned, for some reason.
    The design of the banner poster at the top is intriguing. Do the numbers and the offset framing have relevance, I wonder?
    Anyway, very excited about this.
  • Max
    Max Posts: 53
    Yes please. Really looking forward to this, especially having read the script which I think is perfectly Atomic. I also really like the title banner, really interesting.
    I like the idea of being able to compare the script with the final film, it's always amazing how different the film is from the script.
    Keep this updated as much as possible, looking forward to watching it progress.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    I like the idea of being able to compare the script with the final film, it's always amazing how different the film is from the script.
    I always find that a fascinating part of the process. I find it differs greatly from project to project, too. With Arms Race the final film is tighter than the original script, with a fair bit of dialogue removed, and the finished film has a much more tongue-in-cheek tone than the script. But with Extraction Protocol, the HitFilm promo/tutorial short I've been working on, the finished film matches the storyboards almost exactly.
    Who was it that said that the cut of the film is the final draft of the script?
  • Max
    Max Posts: 53
    Yeah, I find that the differences are massive usually, at least with me. I agree with the statement that you make three versions of a film, when you write the script, when you shoot it, and when you edit it.
    I think it's quite a brave move to put the script up actually, because it potentially shows the viewer where you had to compromise or where you couldn't make something work etc.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    Exciting. The premise sounds very similar to a short I was working on years ago that got filmed, but never got edited or completed. Definitely looking forward to seeing how this turns out!
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited January 2012
    Thanks for the support, guys! We really appreciate your interest! For anyone interested, here's the teaser poster for the project, building on the gray-scale style/visual aesthetic of the promotional materials.
    [img]http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/3075/hellorhighwater.png[/img]
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    I like it. Mysterious and intriguing! Does the style of the posters feed into the style or story of the short?
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    Reminds me a lot of some of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo artwork. Especially the soundtrack art. I like it.
  • davlin
    davlin Posts: 18
    Good to hear from Atomic again .
    I look forward to watching this in the spring.
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    Looking forward to it.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    I realized the style sort of mirrored that of Dragon Tattoo's once I completed it. Totally accidental, but I really really enjoyed the style and overall tone of the media and posters/artwork for that film, so I've no problem replicating it to a minor extent.
    The look is just meant to be something fresh from the design tropes of large red Gotham lettering or close-in Futura fonts with black and blue backing that have both invaded design aesthetics in-general, and our own work lately.
    The grayscale theme and contrasting faces do have some thematic meaning, though, Simon. As the short is primarily focused on an argument between two men over fate and life experience, I wanted to illustrate something that showed division and contrast, without seeming blatant or boring or inconsistent.
    So from a design perspective, I wanted something both streamlined and professional- but also fresh in regards to our other design work and consistent with the themes and (darker) tone of the narrative.
    And thanks guys, can't wait to give more info and updates on this!
  • Max
    Max Posts: 53
    I really like the poster and the style you have going on with this one, different to your previous stuff but it still shares the same DNA and is consistently Atomic.
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    For some reason, my phone didn't display the posters - I like the style.
  • DanielGWood
    DanielGWood Posts: 1,018 Just Starting Out
    This sounds really interesting. I'll quickly echo the others - great to see you guys working on some original material rather than parodies (not that I haven't enjoyed most of those).
    I like the posters and promo material, as usual from you guys it's top notch, and always good to see people making an effort with that in addition to the film.
    Looking forward to seeing this.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    Thanks guys, really appreciate your support.
  • Max
    Max Posts: 53
    Can it come a bit faster please?
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I agree with Max, and whatever happened to "A Long Walk In Mexico"?? Will we ever get to see that? It was caught up in some kind of copyright ordeal, correct?
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    That is correct. 'A Long Walk In Mexico' ran into a copyright ordeal last fall between us and the co-developers/producers of the creative content that led to it getting stuck in the mud pretty indefinitely. Upon a few talks, we had thought we could pull it out, but that wasn't ultimately possible.
    As far as other content, it's coming. For those interested, we're working on production on 'Hell Or High Water' rehearsals this week, and will be shooting soon after that. We are also pretty solidly setup for our next project following that now, which I'll be announcing in the coming weeks.
    Aside from both of those, we've also release our latest demo reel today, which is geared to be in a darker, more dramatic tone than what has been put out the past year from us.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I actually really like this demo reel. Some very sweet shots in there, as well as some very high emotion ones. Definitely looks like top notch work. It seems I didn't recognize everything in there. For instance, the first shot, what was that from?
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited January 2012
    The first shot is from our Drive parody, Drink.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    Ah! I only saw it once, and since I never saw Drive, didn't think too much of it other than it was as solid as usual from you guys. Anyway, really liked it in the reel. Very cinematic. Wish I would have caught it when watching the parody.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited February 2012
    Hey guys!
    Just wanted to give an update and say that, despite location delays, we have kicked into production and are excited to show you all more as it comes along. This past week we officially moved into our new office space (our first real one, truthfully!) and have been getting things in order- and it's all really exciting. Definitely feels like everything, not just Hell Or High Water, is coming together as it should- and we're ecstatic to see where the new office and our other ventures (including one I'll be talking about soon) take us.
    Expect some stills to be seen as early as next week, and wish us luck as we power through the project! Thanks!
  • Ayup Andrew- congratulations on everything you've both achieved this year- each project just gets bigger and better- i'm quite excited about this project, as i was when i saw your jesse james scene, because it breaks away from your drink based parodies. Don't get me wrong they're expertly made but having not seen most of the films you based them on and not really having any assosciation with the frat culture i couldn't connect with them. This however sounds much more like some of your earlier works, which i liked!
    The demo reel as well is a great achievement- i agree with some of other posts that whilst the first few shots aren't that exciting, they are visually great and i understand why you placed them there. One thing i think Atomic have perfected is the lighting/grading of interiors- especially modern ones. There are a few shots from a music video i think and it has a very warm, brown/golden tone to it that looks as good, if not better than most professional films and it's a grade that i think would make a very interesting tutorial.
    I'm really pleased that things are starting to piece together for you two, and your whole team- we all know you've worked bloody hard enough!
    Keep us updated!
    Sam
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    So after some ongoing creative differences, which extended to fundamentals of the characters, we have, sadly, had to recast one of the two roles in the project- and are now in the process of recontextualizing the prooduction to a slightly different demographic for the older character actor.
    It's a rare but notoriously-used term, 'creative differences', but I saw over the past few weeks how very real and unfortunate a term it can be. Sometimes, even with strong scripting, solid setup, and good actors filling the positions- things just don't work or fit together as you might expect them to. It's sad, but I suppose a blessing for Hell Or High Water- that we now move on past an actor I believe would have had a great performance produced out of his acting in the final product, but had serious reservations and questions about the material and his character- and while a very nice man in real life, didn't 'click' as well as we had hoped with the piece.
    So there's the update, for now. We're shooting with a new actor. It sucks, but sometimes it's just what you've got to do. Corey Cleary-Stoner, our younger lead actor, is luckily still with us- and we're very grateful and fortunate to have his presence and performance in our little short- and we hope to show you more of him, in this and in other things, very soon!
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    Glad to hear this set back hasn't halted production at all. I'm sure it is hard to part ways, hope it was as painless as possible.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    AWESOME stuff guys... truly inspiring.
  • love the demo reel, music fits perfectly, kept me watching till the end, good job!