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Revisiting One Up

The story of two lost souls and a fruit pie.

That was the tagline for the short movie, "One Up", which we shot in November 2004. This was after we had finished our feature film, "Save the Forest", a year earlier. That movie drained all who were involved. Making a movie is tough. It takes a lot of moving parts to get a movie done and sometimes it becomes a slog to the finish line.

Maryne Young as "Abby"

After we made "Save the Forest", I hadn't shot anything for a full year and I was getting antsy. I was writing, of course. I'm always writing. But I wanted to put something on screen. I had worked with David Ian Lee in "Save the Forest" and I wanted to work with him again. (I've since worked with him on a few other projects.) David's a great actor and really great guy and I wrote "One Up" with him in mind. With David's help, we were able to cast the equally talented Marnye Young as our Abby and we were off to the races.

It was a one night, all night shoot. The convenience store we used also doubled as our craft services. I basically told the cast and crew that anything they want to eat or drink, to tell the clerk at the counter and I'd settle the bill at the end of our shoot.

David Ian Lee as "Norman"

The split screen we utilized was tricky. Obviously, we shot each character's walk through the store separately and matched it up. To this day, I still can't tell if the opening of the fridge doors matches up and I really don't want to delve too deeply into that because they probably don't match up and I'll shame myself for the lack of filmmaking concentration on that scene. No one needs that.

It was a cold night in November so David and Marnye shivering in their outdoor scenes was no acting job. They were cold. I was cold. The crew was cold.

After watching this short again a few things you may notice, as I did. First, the quality is super-standard. In this day and age of HD, you will keep looking for that gear button to find the 720p version. It's not there. In fact, I don't know if it ever was there. You may also think the short is about 2 minutes too long. I agree. But Michael the Writer was so in love with his own dialogue that he overruled Michael the Director, which should never happen. You'd think that Michael the Editor would've corrected this, but no. He's dumb.

Overwriting is a bugaboo that many writers battle.

That being said, David and Marnye were great. They had great chemistry and were a joy to work with. When I look back at these earlier works, sure I'm always struck by the low-quality of the videos, but again the story is what comes through. While I admit the short runs a bit long, I still think it works and that's a testament to the story everyone involved set out to tell. As a member of the "One Up" team, that's all you can ask for.

Funny side note: I wrote a sequel to this short. (I told you. I'm always writing) It takes place eight months after the meeting in the convenience store and we learn that not everything in the first movie was exactly the truth. It would've been fun to do and it was a holiday short as well!

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