BTS of New Short "Revelations"

Yesterday, May 12, we completed my (Kelsey's) directorial debut "Revelations."

Logline: On a common girl's night, two adult women with burdening secrets can no longer keep them from each other.

Like most of my more recent projects, this script originated from a creative discussion between Christina Raia, Ryan Kramer, and myself. For a while now I've wanted to direct a short, mostly to improve my writing. I love to try new things, probably because I have a real fear of becoming stagnant in life. And I am obsessed with lesbian content as well as representation of adult women beyond the usual "husband left/cheated on her, then she xyz" narrative.

So, I knew I wanted it to be about two women with secrets. Does that sound vague to you? Because yes, yes it is. Which is probably one of the reasons it took me about five variations to get to the final script. At one point I had a revelation be that one of the women was Catwoman and the scene took place in an apartment in Gotham City. I was so excited about it until Christina pointed out that one needs to buy certain rights to use trademarked names and places... so, I started over. Not completely. But mostly.

Once the script was completed I figured I would take my time (this was mid-March) and SLOWLY build my cast and crew. But Christina (thankfully) had other plans. Her shoot for her upcoming short "The Gaze," got pushed back, which is why the week my script was in a finalized form she let me know "Great! I'm free May 12th, let's lock it down!"

And so we locked it down.

Since I did not study film and this was my first time directing I had a lot of questions. Because I have been on a couple of sets (mostly by CongestedCat) I thought I was prepared to do this. But once the date was set in iCal-stone my deficiencies became palpable. It was invaluable to me that Christina agreed to produce the short.  

It was also Christina's idea to choose a DP who I could grow with. So, I was ecstatic when Kim Whiten, our IndieWorks videographer, agreed to come on board. We have been friends for a while and she assisted on the About a Donkey set, but this was her first time as a DP and it was a fantastic fit.

We alleviated some of the day-of stress by testing the lighting a few days prior to the shoot. I always had a vision of a very blue-pink look. I made a Pinterest page which helped me share the vision with others. I was very inspired by Janelle Monae's "Make Me Feel" video as well as the "San Junipero" episode from Black Mirror.

I had written this short with Katherine Wessling in mind. She was phenomenal on About a Donkey and I was hoping to work with someone that I knew and trusted. I was worried it would be incredibly short notice but thankfully, she was free, allowing me to determine half of the cast about a month out.

Finding Lina, the other half, turned out to be a little more difficult. We'd already seen how difficult it was to find women who are non-union and of a certain age while casting for About a Donkey. As I became pressed for time I had to loosen the age restrictions and luckily cast the talented Dana Scurlock, who also played a role in About a Donkey!

The three of us met up the Sunday before the shoot to go over any questions and do a reading to see if all the dialog felt natural. And once that was done, we were ready to go to production.

Having seen how Christina operates during production I was convinced I wasn't going to get any sleep the night prior to the shoot. Then I was reminded that the thing that gives me the most anxiety in life is the fear of not getting enough sleep. So, I slept.

Then, on May 12th, we did it. After some initial sound issues, we started shooting at 9 am. The full scene takes place on the couch, so blocking was easy. I honestly could not have wished for a smoother shoot.

We wrapped early(!), getting the tentative shots we had added. And we were still able to see daylight as we ripped down the garbage bags from the window.

It was an incredible experience. And it never would've happened without everyone involved.  

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I have to thank everyone mentioned above as well as Matt Gershowitz who agreed to be my Assistant Director. His input and ideas helped me pin down my vision. Also, huge thanks to past collaborators Erin Clayton and Adnan Malik, who helped make the look come to life. Thank you Chelsea Frati, who agreed to do set make-up and nailed it. And thank you Marlene Eric, Christina's mom, for catering.

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I could not have wished for a more talented and kind cast and crew.

 

-Kelsey