- Players -
Anthony Washington - Mime
Veronica Welch - Ballerina
Eric Kohn - Dark Figure
Sara Cochran - Light Figure
Director, Cinematographer, Editor -
N. T. Bullock
Assistant - Eric Kohn
Liam & Ben
Download the desktop of Anthony Washington's artwork for "The Heart"
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This project was a "doosey" - to use the word "doosey." It started out simple enough. I had just finished my music video and started working on a trailer for a friend's movie when Anthony, long time friend, came to me with a simple idea. He's a mime, a ballerina comes along, he falls in love, she rips his heart out. It was funny listening to him pitch because I know his female history and it isn't too far from the truth, I don't guess. He eventually asked me to do it, and we started writing, fleshing it out, and choosing music. It originally, for me, was going to be a case study for my next short, which was also to be a black & white feature. There was also a deadline so we could present it at Anthony's art gallery showing. That meant we didn't have long to do this.
The logistics were going to be simple. The setting was a park. We have a few in town. No problem. We'll find one with a nice background and a bench. Seriously, no problem, right? There's the clever image, I thought, of the mime in a literal "glass cage" at the end. Do you have a glass box? No? Neither did we. So what, we'll make one. No problem. Glass and glue, man... just a little glass and glue...
So, we get to writing. Location scouting finds a perfect location. The only thing is the bench is facing the wrong way and I can't tell if it's able to be moved, but the locale is great. So, I call the city to get permission and see about the bench being moved. After a series of four phone calls I get the answer that they are roped to cement blocks down in the ground. So there goes that. I find another spot at another park that doesn't have a bench - my parents will supply a bench at this point. I call the park for permission and they tell me I need to make a long distance call to their home office for permission, and that that office is closed on the weekend. It happened to be a weekend at the time and we were trying to shoot that weekend - so, I guess it was a "weekend" problem. Either way, that was scrapped and we ended up moving my parents bench to the first locale not far from the original site. Thank goodness the site worked out well after all that mess.
So, then there's the weather. Apparently, the weather is CONSTANTLY changing. I never noticed. I'm oblivious to a lot of things. It rained on days we had scheduled to shoot and on days we actually shot it was sun-out, sun-in, sun-out. I used the sun's inconsistency to my advantage, though. It came out nicely.
The "Glass Cage"... a little advice - just don't write one into your script unless it's someone else's headache. There were numerous talks about this box. Most of them were with my father, who eventually ended up helping with it. The talks went from it being constructed of plexiglass, to glass, and then back to thicker plexiglass. It had to be big enough to fit a person crouching. That was the problem - the size. We ended up shelling $100 for five peices of plexiglass (the sides were 30x36 inches to give you an idea). We superglued the sides together and just layed the top on after Anthony was in. It worked well enough for the project, but it was a nightmare. Just... just try and... I dont' know - just watch out for glass boxes in your scripts, I guess.
The shoot was only going to take one day. We got up around 8:00 on a Saturday and shot ALL day straight - about 10 hours. Not finished. I took off a Friday afternoon from work on my birthday to shoot. Still not done. On the third day of shooting we finally wrapped up. On that day I stayed up until 6:00 the next morning editing. Still not done but close...
I can't believe how ridiculous this project went. But, I do feel, to date, it's one of my stronger involvements and I'd do it all over again because of the results.
N. T. Bullock