Forsaken Short FIlm: Background Notes

Forsaken is based in the World of Depleted, the result of a collapse of society from a combination of biological terrorist action, financial and economic breakdown and massive population unrest. The premise is open to a whole host of situations, action sequences and really bold story-telling. It was decided to construct our story so we could introduce the audience to the aftermath, and introduced one man to take a journey through a landscape he knew well. All of this would span only one 24 hour period.

A number of key sequences were developed initially that gave the short film a strong start, a middle, and a dramatic and exciting end, with secondary scenes to bind these sequences. We aimed to develop a 10-15 minute short, but were open to allowing it to be a little longer, if needed. There were some interesting problems we would get to, but the initial script developed quickly, with regular meetings throughout April. We also storyboarded the script, which allowed us to plan where the effects shots were going to be and what camera angles would work best. Storyboarding doesn’t have to be very accurate or beautifully drawn, but it made a big difference when we got out to do the filming.

We had written a short car chase into the story, and introduced another character. Technically, a car chase involves a bit of dangerous driving, as you have to break the highway code to make anything remotely exciting. In order to fit these important sequences in, we decided to start our story out of the city and away from the normal populated areas. This fitted in with our idea that the main character had fled the cities after the attacks and violence reached their peak.

In the UK, it is now illegal to use realistic guns and weapons in public. If you paint a toy gun black, it is immediately against the law if you take it out onto the streets. All toy guns are now garish orange or green or transparent. The film and television industry hire Police help to block off roads, hold back on-lookers and to manage the use of replica firearms in the open. This, of course, can cost a small fortune, which is fine if you have a reasonable budget and a full crew. Having contacted the film support unit of the police, they informed us that we would be better to find some private location, not overlooked and out of earshot if any shots were to be fired. The alternative, it would seem, was to have a Police armed unit descend on our crew and maybe even be shot!

With our friends at effectsportal.net, we decided to see how far we could go to create a deserted world of guns and gangs. We were using fairly basic airsoft guns and rifles, but decided early on that no shots were to be fired and that everything from muzzle flash to bullet holes would be either physical or digital and, sometimes, a combination of the two. This ended up as being very creative, and we will be sharing a few of these tricks in later entries.