Short Film: Last First Kiss

It May Surprise You

Watch it first, then head on past the break for some fun background info about it!

This was my first short film with real actors shot at UCLA. It was filmed in November, 2013, but I’ve been sitting on it for several months, polishing the edit here and there, cleaning up the sound and so on. It was…a challenging piece to shoot, both because I was terrified of directing my first time out, and because we used three different cameras (which was a complete mistake–don’t ever do it!), which made editing and color correcting a nightmare.

Now, you might think, “Dumbass, it’s black and white, what color correcting is there to do?!” And you know what? I thought the same thing. I was SO wrong. Even after conversion to B&W, there was a huge difference in film grade from one piece to the next, in large part because of the three very different cameras we used: standard definition studio TV cameras (3 of them, technically, but they all produce identical footage, so I think of them as just one for the purposes of this film), a Nikon D3200 with a shitty kit lens (awful camera, returned it immediately after), and a Nokia Lumia 1020, which provided very good low light footage but was sort of a struggle to get good audio with under the circumstances). Suffice to say, I spent a *lot* of time in Adobe Premiere trying to get the footage to look consistent. It’s not perfect, and no doubt never will be. Oh well, that’s life.

The other hard part was in the audio. Since it was captured partially with a boom mic and partially with each of the two cameras, its quality was all over the place. In order to keep things matching I had to leave a lot of it from the handheld cameras, but I was able to clean it up, boost the levels and screw around with it in Audacity to at least get it to a half decent point. Now, finally, I’m calling it done.

The story idea came to me because, frankly, I was trying to do way too much for a first project. I wanted a story with some meat on its bones, but given the constraints of a 5 page script, I always knew that would be hard. So I opted to tell a story in the form of a combined beginning and ending, without the middle, which I feel is largely accomplished by the time travel mechanic. I also wanted to liven it up by giving it a sort of noir feel, and to twist the “femme fatale” role just a little bit while leaving the viewer to question just who was the hero and who was the villain of the piece.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and that you’ll share it if you did. Hopefully it’s a story world I can revisit someday.