After about 10 months of hard work and dedication, Reality Check is here! It has been a long journey, with a few bumps along the way, but we made it and we’re proud!
Reality Check started as a high school senior project, but slowly grew into more than that. We got the idea for Reality Check thanks to my friend, Andrew James Brown, the third. He had written a short script on the idea of someone who was day dreaming they were at a fancy, five-start restaurant, but in reality they were at a cheap, beat-down pizza shack. I really liked the idea, so I got permission to adapt a screenplay off of that.
Producer Jacquelyn Diaz and I started pre-production in November – planning out shots, finding actors, creating contracts, all that fun stuff. At the same time we also created an Indiegogo campaign to raise money. Several people, including famous actress Dana Delany, were gracious enough to donate money to our short film. We were able to raise $635, which was enough to purchase equipment, props, and hire a music composer.
Director, Connor Crosby, explaining a shot to actors Christopher Dobens and Kayena Patel.
Also with the money we were able to film at a local, fine-dining restaurant called La Boniche. Even though this is where the second-to-last scene takes place, we filmed here first. I considered this the most difficult scene to shoot due to the amount of people it took and the complexity of the shots.
Since this was an actual restaurant, the only time we could film was in the morning. That meant for a crew call of 8am (which isn’t too bad). After having some donuts and coffee, we began setting up the camera, lights, and props. My faculty advisor, Jennifer Bauer, surprised me by bringing along one of her former students - Georgia Pantazopoulos. Georgia is a professional gaffer and has worked on several major films, including The Fighter. Having her there was truly incredible!
We didn’t begin filming until about 10am, which wasn’t very good for our schedule. In fact, we ended up staying longer than we had planned. But, the manager was nice enough to let us continue filming until we were finished.
Due to school-related stuff, availability, and the weather, our next shooting date wasn’t until March. This is when we shot the outdoor scenes for Reality Check. Originally, there was going to be two outdoor scenes – Jake talking on the phone and Jake buying flowers for his girlfriend. But, after looking over the footage of Jake getting flowers, we decided to leave it on the cutting room floor.
Towards the end of March we realized we needed to do more fundraising in order to afford extra props, equipment, and deliverables. So, decided to use Kickstarter to see if we can get more money. In the end, we ended up raising $875!
There were only two scenes left to film – the first and the last. The last scene takes place at a pizza shack. After about a month of looking, I ended up finding a pizza restaurant that looked perfect. Unfortunately, getting ahold of the owner was extremely difficult. And after a month or two of calling and visiting, I gave up and searched for another one. Finally, at the end of June, we were able to find a pizza restaurant that would let us film.
Actors Christopher Dobens and Kayena Patel rehearsing their lines for the next shot.
The last day of shooting Reality Check was on July 15th. Just like the first day, we had an early crew call. But, even though it was early, it was extremely hot! Not fun conditions to be in with lights and the air condition turned off.
After the morning shoot, we all enjoyed a break before heading off to film scene one. This was shot at my uncle’s office, who actually plays the boss. While there were a few hurtles we had to deal with (including an annoying fly who wouldn’t leave us alone) we got the scene shot in a good amount of time.
And that was a wrap! We were finished filming Reality Check! But, we still had a lot of work to do. Once the cuts were locked into place, I sent it off to Todd Gill of Digital Post Ink for color grading. Todd did an excellent job! I love the look and feel he gave the film.
When it came to music, I wanted it to sound amazing. So, I contacted someone who I had worked with in the past – Koen van Barneveld. I love his musical work, so I knew he would deliver. He certainly did!
Overall, Reality Check was a great experience. I learned a TON about filmmaking along the way. At the beginning of creating Reality Check, I told myself I wanted something I would be proud of in 5 or 10 years. I think I definitely will!
Now I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the creation of Reality Check: all those who helped make this a reality by donating; the cast and crew who helped make this short film possible; Todd Gill from Digital Post Ink for taking the time out of his schedule to color grade Reality Check for free; Koen van Barneveld for scoring beautiful music for the film; my teacher, Jennifer Bauer, and the Lowell Educational Television staff who has been extremely supportive with my filmmaking career; my beautiful girlfriend, Jacquelyn Diaz, who helped produce Reality Check; and of course my parents, Michael and Cheryl Crosby, who donated money and have been very loving and supportive with all of my interests. Thank you.