The Gorilla Flicks internship includes one final project, in which the interns need to pitch, write, produce, shoot and edit a final video project. Because past groups had mostly done branded content (sort of like commercials), we knew that we wanted to do something different. All three of us liked writing comedy, and Gorilla Flicks is known for its raunchy humor, so we decided to play to our strengths and write a crude short film.
We started with a list of about twenty wildly different ideas, with everything from a character-driven comedy with a cast made entirely of retirees, to a chase sequence filmed by strapping GoPros to dogs. After pitching to our boss, refining our ideas, and focusing on producibility, we landed on our final idea. We were to produce a neo-noir detective thriller comedy, told entirely through phallus humor.
Each intern wrote their own script, and then we compared and took the best parts of each and combined them into one. After getting notes from our boss, we cut the script in about half and made a binder of preproduction materials that included character profiles, wardrobe ideas, storyboards, location scouting, and more. My job was to shoot and edit the film, so I storyboarded out the movie and picked out the gear we were to use.
We were able to cast three actors via some Facebook groups full of actors looking for entry level work. For our lead, we scored a veteran actor who has been an extra on more big shows and movies than I can name, and who is one of IMDB’s most avid contributors. He makes a point of helping out with student films, and brought a lot of knowledge to the production.
We also found a professional skateboarder who was looking to change careers for another role, and the final role was filled by a young actor who had just moved to Hollywood. Because we were shooting on no budget in a space donated by our employers, and one of our actors lived ninety minutes away, we had almost no time to rehearse. Our boss challenged us to do the entire shoot in one day, so we had to do a lot of learning as we went.
On our shoot day, we only had one or two problems with technology and only one or two schedule delays, which is a great record for a student film. We finished just thirty or so minutes behind schedule.
Afterwards, I edited the project in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and taught myself color correction. We got notes from the executives of the company on a rough cut, and then went back to work on a final. Sadly, I had to fly back to Michigan before we could present to our boss, but it was cool to see how a no-budget, student film could be done outside of a classroom and on a tighter schedule than we normally have on campus.