There’s a worthy Irish startup out there called Indu, and it’s been trying, for the last week or so, to get people to vote for it in a contest, at the end of which they’d get to pitch to Richard Branson. If they get in the top 80.
Well, I told a series of Twitter stories, starting with a real-life, live-tweet of the time Carol, the founder, got locked in a hospital. I followed it up with another live-tweet of the time VOOM’s website wouldn’t let you vote and we assumed that Indu had broken the internet. And then I had the idea that Indu’s marketing was hard at work on a sequel to the popular Liam Neeson vehicle, Taken, in an effort to appeal to more people.
And, like all ideas that suck up all your time, I thought, “Hey, let’s make a real film for Indu…” I’ve been on a real scriptwriting kick for contests like NYC Midnight’s short screenplay contest, I enjoy the work, I have two children I can employ as cheap labor, and my wife loves directing them, so I figured we should give it a shot.
We started with a rough idea of a script, the kids found some Lego characters we could use to represent Carol, Richard, and a whole slew of them for the other people pitching to Richard. We even had a green screen-ish platform if we flipped over the slats on the Lego table the kids have had for 8 years.
With the rough notes, we used an app called iStopMotion, from Boinx software, to shoot our scenes. iStopMotion lets you use an iPhone as a remote camera, so we used the iPad to capture the shots and moved the iPhone around on a little stand we got from Target where you can adjust the legs and angle at which the phone is pointed.
We tried a couple shots on the Friday night, but in the cold light of Saturday morning they were a little blurry… and someone didn’t consider the messy closet behind the shot, so we figured we’d have to re-shoot a good deal of it. As we weren’t using a Lego base we were essentially building a set of Lego dominoes… when we repositioned an arm or leg or head to make the characters look more alive we were under constant threat of the whole line of people falling over. After a day of soccer, volleyball, and baseball, we got back around 4:30 to start our principal shooting, working off that rough script.
With stop motion the part the kids had the most fun with was dropping little Easter eggs in the production (like the moving AT-AT walker in the background that became an integral part of the story or the little kid who gets chased off by an assistant during the glamping person’s pitch). We wrapped up shooting around 6 o’clock and stitched the separate movies for the different scenes together in a rough cut in iMovie on a laptop in a matter of minutes. At this stage, we needed to record some audio, and the kids are far cuter than me, so I wrote up a quick script (you can download an autographed copy! You’re so lucky!) and we recorded their separate parts in Garageband on the laptop. Some people had trouble with their lines.
The audio took a bit longer… titles, transitions, but by 2am, kids long in bed, their contributions done a little earlier, we had our finished film.
We hope you enjoy our little film. And please vote for Indu in the VOOM campaign, this is the last day to do so, and she really deserves a spot in the top 80.