Before you read this I’d recommend you watch the film because I’m about to spoil it below:
In 2011 I wondered if my friends and I had it in us to make a film. Now we’ve made 3 while also having a large ensemble cast web series being scheduled to shoot in 2015. Stay tuned for updates on our Facebook page.
Making movies with my friends is the favorite thing I’ve ever done. Last night one of those good friends asked me how I get all of these insanely talented people to help me every time. I told her I have to trick them into it, which is half true. When you are writing and directing, the first step outside of yourself is convincing people that the thing you want to make is going to be good even when you aren’t 100% sure of that fact. But they keep saying yes. So. That’s incredibly nice of them.
Buried was created around a table of friends at my apartment in 2013. The premise was that a guy accidentally kills his best friend’s girlfriend who no one likes and then decides that if he can convince his best friend to murder his girlfriend before he finds out that she was already dead, he’d be off the hook for the accidental death he caused. Or at the very least, he’d have some help with the situation from a sympathetic party.
It’s a super weird premise that just made me keep laughing and laughing. Just a guy grasping at strings in the most intense moment of his entire life trying to convince another dude to kill a girl who’s already dead. That is my sense of humor in a nut shell.
When it comes to the actual film itself, I as the director ask the audience to go along with a premise that is all or nothing. Whether or not the audience ends up jumping on board is still to be seen, BUT even if they don’t there are a few things in this film that I think will be for everybody.
First off there are shots in Buried that are crazily pretty. Dylan (my EP, Editor, and Cinematographer) came in to the shoot day after a few brief conversations about the shot list and with a whole lot of jet lag as he had just gotten back from a month in Asia. I’m telling you that because the sequence where Marc is doing the actual burying has a shot while the sun was going down that is so freakin’ gorgeous I want to cry and Dylan was sprawled out in the mud to capture it while somehow not falling asleep.
Dylan, as my Cinematographer, is there to add his sense of aesthetic to my shot list. So basically, he’s there to make me better than I am. While operating within that framework he consistently goes above and beyond and the camera work in this film proves that. As for our second camera run by Adam Carner, I use him as a wild card. I don’t give him a shot list. I tell him to find a cool shot and go with it. The side shot of Marc kicking the corpse prior to dumping it in the hole is all Adam. Every time he works with me he does something I’d never think of by myself. You need people like that if you want to make something cooler than you could ever make alone.
The second thing I wanted to highlight from this film is the music; particularly the music during the burying sequence. The way we at BFF pick music is a long and tedious exercise that our music supervisor, JR, performs beautifully. Every year South by South West (SXSW) releases about 6 gigs of free music for the purpose of filmmakers using it in their films royalty free. It’s an amazing service that has helped us immensely on all 3 of the films we’ve made. It’s JR’s job to get an insane scene note from me like, “I want the song in this burying sequence to be ominous but in a weird and quirky upbeat manner” and then subsequently make sense of it.
Then after he does that impossible task, he listens to all 6 gigs of the music (51 hours of songs for those of you wondering) and makes a ranked list of his choices that I, with the help of him and the EPs, use to pick the song. The song in the burying sequence, in my mind, is perfection and I hope you guys like it too. And even if you don’t, it makes me all warm and fuzzy every time it comes on and that’s all I could ever ask for.
Before I go I will add that this film is better because my other EP Abigail, who is my script editor as well, killed it on every note she made during this entire process. Add to that the three actors in this film whom all had multiple jobs within the process when acting is hard enough all came to play on the day of the shoot (of which we only had one) and laid down solid takes that made picking only one tough to do the entire time editing this film. I’m almost bored when it comes to talking about how good Marc is because it’s just the truth and, hell, Steph had to hold herself above the ground and then let go so her face slammed into it 3 times in a row for this film and didn’t question it once. (All in the gag reel btw) That’s insane. Friendship is insanity.
This film marks the first time I didn’t act let alone play the lead in something we’ve made which allowed for a few things. One is that I had to put all of my trust into the actors to say my words the way they are on the page while simultaneously infusing them with a very real weight and personality to which I was not disappointed. The second opportunity it allowed for was to be ingrained in every single step that occurred from the concept to the final cut. Ian and the Bishop and Zer0s are movies that I adore because for me they tell so many stories both personally and artistically but this film is the first one that is in my voice entirely.
Artists talk about searching for their voice all the time. Finding a way to make a product that genuinely describes an artistic moment in their life. If nothing else Buried will be a perfect reminder or who I was when I was 27, how reliable and talented my friends were, how supportive my family was, and how I have a deep love for the place where I grew up for both making me this person and being a beautiful setting for all 3 films we’ve made so far.
If you have any questions about Buried or anything else let me know. I could talk forever about these films. I like them a lot. If not just enjoy this gag reel of my friends being silly little geese and I’ll cya in 2015 for our upcoming comedy webseries. K cool.