Once upon a time, I was going to be a movie director. I went to film school, I wrote a few scripts, and most of my days were spent dreaming of that certain future.
I love movies. I always have and always will, even if the ones that are produced these days keep degrading in quality as the years go on. I always had a desire to tell stories, and when I found out I could marry the written word to a moving image, I knew that I wanted to make my own films.
Then I spent two months on a real movie set, and realized it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted to pursue. There are many, many reasons for that decision, which I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, I veered off and wrote some books instead. But I did manage to film some of my stories before I changed careers.
Three years ago, I set about writing and directing a no-budget indie sci-fi movie called Down The Chain. Many revisions and re-shoots later, I am as close to finished as I think I’m going to get. I wasn’t working on it straight through, as I sort of got distracted and wrote six novels between then and now, but I’ve finally whipped it into decent shape.
I would like to take a moment to apologize to everyone who helped at certain points on the film, as I should have done this long ago.
Be advised that the sci-fi element in this film, while crucial to the plot, is not the main focus. The movie was made for pocket change, so the script had to reflect that limitation. Speaking of which, headphones are recommended. Sound is the weakest part of the final product, mostly because it was a one-man crew (when the lead actor, Jered Allen, couldn’t help), and running audio while operating the camera and everything else was a bit more than I could handle. There are several scenes that may be a bit tough to get through because of the audio, but for the most part, I think it turned out pretty well, considering.
It lost roughly half-an-hour from its original run-time, bringing the total down to a lean 50 minutes. Most of what was cut will not be missed. I learned a great deal about the story-telling process during and after making this film, and the entire experience was a lot of fun, even if the lead actor and I were working eighteen-hour days for 15 days straight during principal photography.
And now, on to the goods. I have a separate page on this site dedicated to the film, but I’ll re-post the crucial information here.
Down The Chain
A man gets a chance to fix his past mistakes when he is blackmailed into stealing designs for a mysterious machine.
Duration: 50 minutes
Camera: Canon 7D
This film was shot in 14 days around San Diego, for the most part with a 2-person crew (lead actor + director). The budget was $0, unless you count pizza and an airplane ticket. It was originally 30 minutes longer, but recent edits trimmed down the nonessential bits, leaving the core story intact. The biggest on-set issue was audio, as is evident in several scenes. It’s difficult to operate a camera and hold a boom mic at the same time, especially when dealing with multiple actors. We hope you’ll enjoy the movie despite a few hiccups, and thanks for watching.
Jered Allen — Jacob
Gregg-Alan Bartell — Dosyev
Jesse Carlson — Breaker
Kate Danley — Janice Hill
Jessica Dodson — Amy
Jessica Gordon — Robin
Joe Hurley — Tommy
Mark Alan Johnston — Zeke
Jim Klock — Mr. Wallace
Danny Morris — Old Man
Miguel Saucedo — Hector
Randall Speakman — Eliot the Bartender
Sam Best — Writer/Producer/Editor/Cinematography/Director
Jered Allen — Producer
Toccara Best — Executive Producer
James Edwin Myers, Jr. — Executive Producer
Mark Alan Johnston — Associate Producer
Peter J. Collins — Original Score
Brent Reynolds — Additional Cinematography
Gerry Ganby — Additional Sound Recording