I made a short film with Mark Freeman as part of a concept in how we create and perceive narratives. Together with Love Song One, each film used the same characters while following a nearly identical script, to bridge the narratives across their differences in style.
Relationships are never easy. Through the voice of Kaylah, “Love Song Two” follows her thoughts about her boyfriend, which manifest into distorted images of reality. She wavers between loving him endearingly one moment, and being frustrated with him the next. Kaylah soon realizes that even with being so close to her boyfriend, her words can’t mask the truth of the relationship. As the emotional connections of her relationship loosen, so too does the imagery of the film lose its grounding in reality. Kaylah finally decides to tell her boyfriend everything she’s been feeling, only to remain hiding in a fantasy that could never be.
Mark came to me with the script for Love Song One, and after a couple of meetings - we decided to make it into two films with alternate viewpoints. One story would be told through Kaylah’s eyes, focusing on her relationship. The other would be told through someone outside of her relationship - an admirer, who becomes an eventual stalker. We wanted to play with the concept of voyeurism in film - made popular through films like Rear Window. That theme acts as a mirror to how we, as spectators, act as ‘voyeurs’ when watching a film.
We also made an intentional decision not to use live dialogue. Instead, we’d just have the narration play through, and have the visuals explain the plot as clearly as we could. It ended up being very similar to the effect of a silent film–the black & white helps you concentrate on the characters' emotions and expressions. And since the scenes are very dream-like, we made a conscious effort to play with the editing and the perception of time. I picked Mono’s track “A Speeding Car” to set the film to, since its epic buildup matched the script well.
Before shooting began, we had a couple location-scouting sessions around Vancouver to get a look and feel going. These were used later to plan the scenes and develop the characters. Between finding locations and seeing how our actors worked with each other, we knew we were on to something special.
Next came the shooting, editing, and putting it altogether. The actual shooting took only a couple days - it was the editing and final touches that took the longest. We had tons of fun shooting everything, even with the unexpected challenges that come from using public locations. A big part of shooting was playing off of things at the locations that we didn’t plan for - things like Kaylah’s motorcycle, or our actor Scott’s guitar skills. Those things added some personality and life to our characters and scenes.
After 5 rounds of editing the film down, it was time to work on the credits. I wanted to do something special here - something that would take the meaning of the film and distill it down to a short sequence. I ended up buying some old letterpress letters, which I ended up placing on reflective paper. I wanted to play with the feeling of Kaylah trying to piece her relationship back together, and the different typefaces in the letters reflected that well. By actually filming her piecing these things together in order, I had the perfect closing to our film.
For our launch and distribution of the film, I also designed a poster for the film using the letterpress letters and a photo shot specifically for it.