TELL TALE MAY BE THE FUTURE WAVE OF FILM
(By Luigi Paglia)
It’s been a point of contention for the past several years. Is visual entertainment headed in the same direction as music; that is, to a more personal experience. In the same way that the hi-fi sound system morphed into earbuds and playlists, the film and TV industry has rebelled against storytelling on the small screen. At some point it becomes an exercise in futility. While there are most certainly viewing experiences that benefit from the large scale experience, the trend has assuredly skewed towards the opposite. Some professionals defy this move and others are starting to investigate the potential. One section of the film world which is starting to see a great deal of attention is short films. It would seem obvious when you take time to consider the idea. Attention spans are shorter due to social media and yet the demand for creativity is greater. Add in the familiar faces and names to these productions and you have a recipe for success, as exhibited by the film Tell Tale.
Tell Tale is film noir thriller/modern reimagining of the classic Edgar Allen Poe story “Tell Tale Heart.” The film was released on iTunes and Amazon and is viewable on Vimeo as well. Directed by Greg Williams, Tell Tale features Actress Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Spy Kids, Night at the Museum) as the wife/femme fatale married to Adam Arkin (Sneaky Pete, Sons of Anarchy, Hitch), Jesse Spencer (House, Neighbours) as the lover, and Clifton Collins Jr (Westworld, Capote, Star Trek, Traffic) as the detective. While the cast size is quite small, the talent and familiarity they possess is a major attribute for the film. Tell Tale (as in Poe’s original story) is a warning tale to those who would operate out of the boundaries of society’s accepted morals; for the purposes of this retelling, outside the vows of marriage.
Part of what enables filmmakers to create exceptional short films with a well-known cast and an acclaimed crew is keeping production costs down. For a decade now, the RED camera has been a game changer in maintaining production costs. RED cameras (digital cameras which took the place of most traditional film cameras in shooting motion pictures) are ubiquitous these days but were still relatively new when Tell Tale was produced. Editor Amir Heshmati’s work on Tell Tale was pioneering for those of his vocation working with the RED format. As one of the first editors to work with media from the Red Epic prototype cameras (which was used for the first time on the short film Tell Tale in combination with Red One cameras), Heshmati developed unique workflows which allowed the production team to work with the media within minutes and reconnect to the original media within seconds once an edit was complete. By streamlining the process, production investment was able to be invested elsewhere in the production. Establishing this process was massively important throughout the industry. Tell Tale itself received numerous nominations and appeared at festivals such as the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, New York Shorts Film Festival, and many others before becoming available for download. Of course, none of this matters without the creative spirit and talent. Tell Tale director Greg Williams stipulates, “It’s hard to find editors that are both highly skilled technically and know how to tell a story and prioritize the right elements. Amir is one of those rare breeds who is dedicated to making sure any project is the best it can be from every angle. His work on Tell Tale really captured the emotion of the story and the intricate nuances of film noir whilst maintaining a level of production value that can be compared to Hollywood features.”
As technology changes social interaction, it also changes the way society chooses to experience art. Creative professionals will persevere to discover new methods of using their talents and financing them as this evolution takes place. Tell Tale is an example that the audience can experience a dark classic tale with some of our favorite creative people involved…all from a place of one’s own choosing. How to find the balance between the group shared experience and the individual experience is what is yet to be defined.