Transformation. He’s a She.

9 Jan

Recently, I had a deadline to write two short films and direct/produce one of them.  So I wanted to pick something, short and transformative.  I started writing a voice over (VO) of my own personal experience from when I was a kid, part of my story.   After recording the VO a few times, playing with some vocal effects and subsequently shooting myself as the main character, I grappled with a few different ideas to give it some life.  I created both a deep man’s voice filter and a high-pitched voice box filter.  One version of the piece was to make it about a  woman who’s in a wheelchair and lost her voice box.  Her small nephew comes to visit her and she gives him some words of wisdom through a story of her childhood fantasy of being Jesus Christ.  Great idea.  So many things I could juxtapose poetically revealing other layers of the character.  But I had less than a week to shoot, no time, no actors (especially no child actors, specifically six-year old girls), no one to shoot it, edit it or score it… except for myself.  Oh yeah, and no wheelchair.  I could fake one of those mechanical larynx things with part of a microphone I own… but argh!

Then there was the idea of making an on-camera transformation.  Where the VO was just this girl getting ready in the morning and putting on makeup.  By the end, she’s transgender.  I knew I wanted to be able to direct that character.  I definitely didn’t want to shoot it and be the lead.  So I went to my office mate and writing buddy, Haley.  And she willingly obliged.  I bought props at Target.  Loaded my extremely heavy equipment and headed to Bay Village.  When I got there, I was a bit unsure of how this would play out.  If you asked Haley, I’m sure she’d attest to me being frazzled.  I didn’t bring enough quarters for the meter.  The meter ran out anyway at 5pm.  Yada yada.  But, with some diet coke and a few smokes later for Haley.  I found my rhythm.  I just cleared my head of doubt and trusted myself.  Some ideas I had, flashback cutaways from childhood and adding one of those glue-on hair mustaches at the end, weren’t coming together.   The mustache wasn’t right.  It wasn’t believable enough. But, as the day flew by those ideas quickly resolved and I was editing already on set.  Haley took awesome direction and really jumped in 100%.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  So I wanted to share some pictures because Haley, who played Josephine (Joe) in Transformation, really looks cool.  Check her out.

Joe gets ready in the morning.

Josephine makes a beard.

So what have I learned?  Sometimes, you’ve gotta just push through.  And that I’m thankful for having adventurous and supportive friends.

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2 Responses to “Transformation. He’s a She.”

  1. chancedagger January 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    No Red Sox attire? Where was that photo taken?

    • haley January 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Salt Lake City of all places.

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