I love the medium of short films and the kind of unique stories that can be told in them. I’ve seen a lot of great ones under five minutes that give you a simple setup and usually rest on an ending that’s either a punchline, twist, or surprise. I love these because they’re great for the short attention-spanned internet as well as showing to friends quickly. Plus they’re cute, funny or just plain work. Though of course a lot of other ones I enjoy will let a broader story play out in a 10-20 minute range with more characters and more scenes while still crafting an arc in its time frame that still feels real, and works.
I wanted to try my hand at writing a short film that was longer than any one I had yet attempted with more characters, dialogue, and developed scenes. I wrote a rough draft of a script in June of this year that was temporarily the “Untitled Bachelorette Party Short Film”. It took me a day or two and it’s pretty close to the form of the current finished short. I like trying something really different every time I’m directing a project, so of course this was another one of my experiments. It’s about a group of four twenty-something girls celebrating what we are led to believe was a perfect night of shenanigans that “really was perfect”, as Dee, the title character, praises her maid of honor, Jill, in the opening scene. When Jill is led to believe she accidentally killed one of the other bridesmaids, she attempts a cover-up, because you know, she wouldn’t want something like that to bum everyone out at the party after such a well-executed evening.
I had a lot of fun trying to imagine comedic dialogue between these four female characters and I specifically wanted them to feel realistic yet also slightly off, with implications of strange backstories. I originally intended for the film to be shot a mere couple days after writing it, as I have done while participating in a lot of 24-hour and 48-hour film competitions. Though with a script of 13-pages, about 5 scenes, and 5 total characters interacting, I think I was being overly-optimistic that luck would play in my favor of getting this scheduled with a full cast and crew on short notice for a no-budget short film. Fortunately after I returned from a two-week excursion in Europe over the Summer, I got a weekend scheduled in July with a cast and skeletal crew and we worked late into the nights (er, mornings) for those two days.
There were wasp stings, broken glass, sing-alongs to tunes from The Sound of Music and animated Disney films, lights knocked over, as well as a fair share of wine and queso. It was an extraordinary experience, a lot of fun, and I was blessed with some talented and very fine, willing actors and a crew that was patient and hard-working. Producing and putting together a short like that with no money is hard work and sometimes very frustrating, but it’s a wonderful feeling when you finally get your bare-minimum necessary elements to come together and there are creative people willing to give up their time for team and the cause of telling a fun story and working their hardest for it to come out looking great. Overseeing the collaborative process is one of my favorite aspects of directing and I’m glad “Dee’s Final Fling” came together the way it did.
After about four months of editing, feedback, and fine-tuning, I’m glad to have the project come to a close now so I can show it off to friends, social media followers, and the public. I’ve continued writing new scripts and stories throughout the post-production phase of it so I’m excited to start working on new experiments with even more ambition, uniquely different stories, and honing my craft. It might be nice to have some money to put to use on my next project. Oh yeah, and a separate producer than myself. There’s a variety of film festivals and showcases I have in mind for exhibiting “Dee’s Final Fling”, so follow Escape Plan Productions on Twitter at @escapeplanatx for updates!
Special thanks to set photographer Kevin Nguyen for these pictures shot during production! And thanks to my cinematographer Jensen Yancey for his hard work as well as the entire cast and crew for the long hours and patience!