DOUBLE AGENT short film

Jim Tackman is kidnapped by gangsters who suspect him to be a DOUBLE AGENT. The action comedy short film featured Erich Reinhard, Zach Echols, and Tyler Buckner, and was written, directed, and produced by myself Ted Kendrick. Garin Wilson was Director of Photography, Rome Widenhouse was editor, and original soundtrack was composed by Tony Mozz. The short was made for Aputure Tech’s #LightThisLocation international film challenge. Unfortunately the entry was not selected as a finalist, but I still greatly enjoyed the production process alongside Wilson’s Productions, Absolute Grip Co., and the rest of the cast and crew.

The challenge required that the short film be no more than 5 minutes in length, occur in a single location, and include the secret word “accent”, with bonus points awarded if the film used plenty of brand sponsored gear and equipment, and we certainly did as you will find in the behind-the-scenes video embedded below, edited by Garin Wilson with footage captured by videographer Steve Howard.

The Lighting Floor Plan was another final deliverable required by the competition. Erik Kitchens of Absolute Grip Co. was the Gaffer in charge of light design, and drew a rough lighting floor plan on the back of a script. The floor plan was recreated by Ted Kendrick in Adobe Photoshop with a consistent and intelligible color palette, naturally accomplished in the familiar Artificial Ink font style.

With DOUBLE AGENT now out of competition and already released online, Artificial Ink Creative will submit and send the film through the independent film festival circuit. The official poster is embedded below, designed by Ted Kendrick, and guaranteed to look even better after flaunting a few film festival laurels.

BUSTER BUSINESS short film

Over the first weekend of September, Brittany and I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to work on BUSTER BUSINESS, a comedy short film in the vein of Charlie Chaplin and Pixar, where a quirky man named Buster interviews for a job at Big Business. The film was written and directed by Gunner Willis and Corey Wavle, who also stars as the lead Buster, with Zach Robinson and MJ Slide as Producers.

Day one took place entirely on a sound stage at Anderson College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In the photo below, Gunner Willis directs the corporate extras who work at Big Business as an anonymous mob of black ties and briefcases. MJ Slide looks on as the 1st AD, keeping the production safe and on schedule. The rail across the room was the dolly track, which was used for many moving shots.

Corey Wavle played Buster as a timid but quick witted man with a Kurt Cobain hairstyle and taste for vintage clothes. He enters the lions’ den, totally out of his element, but when faced with unpredictable obstacles and impossible questions, Buster turns his troubles into his advantages. I was not familiar with Wavle’s acting, but knew him previously from his work as a 1st AC on GOOD HAIR THE MOVIE. Gunner Willis, the Director, is a working actor himself, who has appeared in minor roles on Netflix’s OZARK and HBO’s VICE PRINCIPALS television series.

The remainder of the crew on BUSTER BUSINESS was a total pleasure to work with, and involved John Carrington (DP), Kyle Vines (1st AC), Levi Milinar (2nd AC), Thomas Propst (Sound Mixer), Rob Leonard (Boom Op), Shane McMullin (Gaffer), Diana Valerie (Makeup / Hair), Carol Flack (Wardrobe), Clayton Tilley (Production Designer), Rachel Summers (Art Design), Jamie Condon (Key Grip), Micah Taylor (Swing Grip), Tommy Schwendler (Grip), Ben Wallace (Grip), Jon Stegenga (Grip), Nina Publico (PA), Elizabeth Paige (PA), and Brittany Jackson (PA) with BTS photos by Elizabeth Kabakjian and Jordan Hawkins. Supporting actors also included Russ Wood, Joe Wilson, Bruce Green, Debbie Goodwin, Rishik Patel, and Jared Buchholz.

We did it. And I couldn’t be more exhausted or proud. #BusterBusiness ? – @jzhawkins

A post shared by MJ Slide (@mj_slide) on

As the Script Supervisor, I worked closely with the Director, Gunner Willis, to note each take for script consistency as well as any visual incongruities. I kept a running log of notes which should serve as an important resource for the Editor, so they may anticipate any problems with a performance or production error in advance, and know exactly which take was best received. As one of the few people on set who actively watched the monitor for each take, I feel lucky to have such an inside perspective on how hilariously beautiful this film will be once it’s finished.

Be on the lookout for more info on BUSTER BUSINESS over the next few months as they enter post production and beyond. I expect the entire film will be completed by the end of the year with a slew of film festival screenings starting in early 2018.