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The Making Of “Found”

December 14th, 2006 by Andrew Cochrane

I am trying to be much better about including more ‘behind the scenes’ type stuff here on the blog, so before I get on a plane and leave the country for two weeks, here is a quick look at what went into making this film. I will split this post so it doesn’t clutter the front page up for those who only care to see blinking lights and pretty gadgets, so if you want to know what went into making “Found“, join me after the jump.

But first a few quick fun “Found” facts for everyone:

  • Doug Sarine, who plays Locke in this short, is the ninja from askaninja.com.
  • The plot of this short takes place during season one of “Lost”, so anything from season 2 and 3, or the last few episodes of season 1, are not referenced.
  • A lot of the actors in the film are improvisers from IO West.
  • There is a boat clearly visible in one shot, and a mic boom in another, see if you can spot them.
  • The entirety of this short was shot within 1/4mile of the Beach Haus (where I live).
  • “Found” was shot on a DVX100a, and posted in Final Cut Pro 5, with ProTools, Ableton Live, and Soundtrack for audio, and the worst shotgun microphone ever.

“Found” started as an aim conversation, and it started as just a title. The idea of a “Lost” parody called “Found” was just a funny one liner, a throw away idea. But as the day progressed, a story began to develop, and we actually got excited about it. A week of writing and a week of pre-production later, we were filming. The night that we filmed “To Catch A Congressman” was actually the Thursday night that we were prepping for this short, and we shot another short on Sunday, the day after the main shoot for “Found”. So needless to say, this one was stressful.

The cast was exceptionally easy to work with; this short was by far our easiest to date, despite having a cast of 11 with totally crazy schedules to accommodate. We shot the majority of the footage in 8 hours on Saturday, with a few hours of pickups on Sunday. The shoot was rushed, but with almost 9 pages to cover in 8 hours with pretty much no crew, I am really amazed we got it done honestly. Andy Waruszewkski, the D.P. of “Found” was just great to work with; we didn’t have much time so we did what we could, and I am really pleased with the end product. Also, if the cast had not been so on the ball, and such troopers, this never would have been possible. However there was one very major problem on set throughout the shoot- our mic did not have adequate wind protection, so almost all of the dialogue was unusable. We knew this was happening as we were filming, but were unable to do anything about it, so we recorded wild lines from everyone after the shoot.

Editing went decently quickly- it took me just over a week to get to a final locked cut, but I knew that the sound was beyond my abilities, and I was scared. My roommate does sound professionally, and offered to help, but he left for a month to go to Argentina, so that didn’t work out. Then I remembered Joe Tsai, a friend from college who worked on a godawful film with me. I dropped him a line and he agreed to take a look at it, but no promises. A month later, Joe’s miracle is on the web. He replaced the original dialogue in the entire fight scene, most of the knife scene, and all of the sunset scene. It is rough at times, it could be better with more time and some money, but considering where it was, the finished mix is a miracle indeed. Once you know that all the dialogue is replaced you can tell, some parts more than others, but for the first time viewer I think it works well.

There is 1 CG shot in the short- the knife that Locke throws was made by Dave Bryant, who played Jack in Lightwave. I worked with Dave for three years, but this is the first time we have worked together on a personal project, and it was as smooth as everything else in this production. Andy even came in to my house while I was at work and color corrected the entire short one day, saving me even more time. As you can tell, I am really happy with how much everyone threw in to make this project as good as we could possibly make it.

The final thing worth noting is the music. The AV Club does not have any members who make music, a fact that continually bites us in the ass. For this short I had to do the music myself. I used Ableton Live to make most of the sounds needed, and Soundtrack for anything I could not make with the synths in Live. I won’t say that the music is great, but I will say that I am happy with it, and that I think it is a decent sound alike for the music in “Lost”. We even got the official soundtrack as a guide, so making sound-alikes was not as hard as it could have been. But it was hard. Thankfully it is mixed low in the final mix, so it isn’t too obtrusive or awful :) .

So there it is. Over a month in post, but well worth it I think. This is by far the best way to round off 2006, and I am proud to have made this film. I thank everyone involved deeply, and can’t wait for the next big shoot.


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