Today, we're excited to be releasing our short mockumentary film Dehydrated Blueberries in which Madison - along with a documentary crew - sets out to discover the edge of the earth which she believes to be flat.
Our talent cast and crew is made up of the following individuals:
Jordan Graves (Talus Films Co-Founder): writer, director, cinematographer
Margaret Velez: as Madison
Manuel Rodriguez: production sound
Julia Gralczyk: editor
Ethan Uphouse: colorist
David Winer: composer
Dehydrated Blueberries had its premiere at as part of the Midwest Film Festival on February 22, 2020 which took place at the Claudia Cassidy Theatre in the Chicago Cultural Center.
Watch Dehydrated Blueberries NOW:
The "Making Of" Process
Making this short film was both fun and unique. So, we'd love to take you behind-the-scenes with a quick walk through of the process from development through post-production.
The idea for this film came from a feature length script Jordan was working on at the time. He sat down to write a short vignette that he hoped would shed some light on the longer story and once the vignette was written, he realized it could stand alone as its own film - and Dehydrated Blueberries was born.
The script was originally shelved for a time because it called for a dramatic, mountainous landscape that the Midwest just doesn't have. However, fates aligned when Jordan planned a road trip out west with a few friends - Manuel Rodriguez and Margaret Velez. All three worked in the film industry and were the perfect fit to cover cinematography/directing, sound, and acting on this project.
Arranging the logistics for this production was at the same time both easy and difficult. The crew was just going to be the three of them and their trip itinerary from LA to Chicago was already planned - that was the easy part. More difficult was location scouting from afar mainly using Google Map satellite images. Jordan spent at least one night (maybe more) on the trip pacing his hotel room worrying about finding the right locations for filming. Ultimately, the plan was to drive until they found a good spot (with a couple possible locations in mind) and pull over and shoot!
Nearing golden hour on the first day of filming, they found a great spot and set up their equipment in order to shoot the interview sequence with Margaret. At this dusk hour and relying on the natural light, they knew they only had a small window of time in which to capture their footage. This section of the film takes place as the main character, Madison wakes up, records her interview, and starts out on her hiking journey. For the scene, this meant the light would start out dark (before sunrise) and the progressively get lighter out as the sun rose. Well, Jordan and team were actually shooting in reverse conditions - starting with it being light out at dusk and getting progressively darker as the sun set in real life. So, they filmed the entire interview scene backwards - starting at the end of the script with the golden hour light and finishing at the beginning of the script in total darkness.
The next morning, they woke up before the sun to capture the rest of the b-roll footage of Madison hiking as the sun came up in real time. By the time they got to the top of the hill where the film ends, she was bathed in warm sunlight from the sunrise. The entire film was captured in about 6 hours - 3 for the interview on day one at dusk and 3 for the b-roll on day two at dawn.
Since the piece was exclusively shot at dawn and dusk, the footage captured was very concise which made it fairly easy to stitch together. And our editor, Julia Gralczyk, did a fantastic job. In addition to editing, our colorist, Ethan Uphouse, also did a lovely job ensuring the coloring of all the footage looked consistent even though it was shot over two days in changing lighting conditions. And to top things off, we worked with the talented composer, David Winer, to craft a lovely score that really helped the piece shine.
Jordan looks back on this film fondly saying, "this film holds a special place in my heart. It shows that to make a decent film all you really need is a good script, team, location, and enough experience, creativity, and ingenuity to get you through the curveballs that inevitably come your way."
At Talus, we encourage all creators to follow their hearts and make their art. Don't let the idea that you need a huge crew or budget to make your films stop you!
If you're ready to create your own art, we're here for you! GET STARTED on your video production today!