What was the inspiration behind making this short film?
Quite often, I’d be working alone at home, late at night. I’d get up to use the bathroom and then I’d stop to see the door closed, with a light shining bright under the door. Logic would dictate I’d simply forgotten to turn out the light last time I was in there. But, just for a second, there was a nagging worry that if I knocked I’d hear a noise the other side of that thin wood door. Or, worse still, I’d hear my voice calling back, annoyed. And if I put my hand on the handle and quickly pushed open the door, I’d see myself sitting there inside, or standing at the mirror. That scene found its way pretty much intact into ‘The Glitch’. And it was a pretty rapid domino effect of extrapolating from that idea that led to the writing and production of my 13-minute short film. I won’t give any more away about what happens to poor Harry Owen when he wakes in front of his TV at 3 a.m. But I will say that, after making the film, my own mental glitch still occasionally finds me late at night, afraid and uncertain, staring at that glowing strip of light under my bathroom door.
Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?
‘The Glitch’ came together pretty quickly. Inspiration struck in March 2007. We were shooting by August, concluded pickups in September, and, after six months of postproduction, we made our festival debut one year after cameras rolled. We had our share of heartaches, with little miracles and happy accidents along the way. By far the toughest challenge was our night shoot. We shot mostly ‘run and gun,’ grabbing discreet locations, including Harry’s loft that belonged to a kind-hearted but unsuspecting friend, whose life we turned upside-down for two weekends (sorry, Brent). But the whole third act was a night exterior. For Harry’s action movie finale, running through his darkened neighborhood streets, I was not prepared to gamble everything getting arrested by inquisitive LAPD, so I worked with FilmLA to obtain a permit. As always happens, they posted signs and knocked on doors. The day before our night shoot, one building owner called me, irate – a misunderstanding with another friend who’d allowed me after-hours access to their business premises – and it took some gentle persuasion, flowers, and proof of insurance to sweet-talk my way into their good graces. It was a long, long night. We had a casting call of extras, special effects, a trailer for my leading man Scott Charles, and nifty lighting effects that cinematographer Tom Gleason engineered almost single-handed when most of his crew departed after eating our craft services. It was a pretty remote location, an industrial estate near what must have been a farm, and as we captured our last shot from a rooftop, looking down on Scott as the sun was peeking over the horizon I turned to Tom and said, “Was that a rooster?”. Tom looked at me, glassy-eyed, and said, “Yup.’ Never take for granted the words: ‘Ext. City Street – Night.”
How has the short film been received?
At our first film festival, DragonCon in Atlanta, ‘The Glitch’ was the opening film and was nominated for ‘Best Science Fiction Short.’ We were also finalist at BAFTA/LA Short Film Festival, Short Film of the Day at Film School Rejects, and a Saturday Shorts selection at Ain’t It Cool News. Most of our life has been online, which included one or two short film distributors, three years streaming at Amazon Prime, and about 25,000 views on various other platforms.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
Since ‘The Glitch’, I wrote and co-produced a horror-thriller short film called ‘4EVR’ that played at the Nightmares Film Festival, Panic Fest and earned director Sergio Pinheiro ‘Best Director’ and won ‘Best Short’ and ‘Best of the Fest’ at Hollywood Horrorfest. Now streaming on Amazon Prime. I have other projects in development and my screenplay ‘The Dodo Man’ was a finalist at Imagine Impact.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?
Get your hands dirty. When an idea bites, grab onto it with both hands. Do not let it go. Beg, borrow, ask favors. Take risks. Respect your collaborators, pay what you can, but choose your battles carefully. Make it happen, in any way possible. Coming from an honest place of passion, you will make friends and build resources. Filmmaking is his hard work. Keep the faith.