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The making of Life's Little Gaps

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Notes on the film | Notes on the production

Life's Little Gaps won a Diamond Award at BIAFF 2008

Evan is your ordinary six foot, two-hundred and fifty pound man in cricket pajamas.
Some would call him "special", others, "mentally handicapped."
Left with the mind of a child, Evan now faces his greatest challenge when Bill, his brother and guardian, is called into work in the middle of the night. Bill's apprehension is evident as he leaves Evan in the supervision of Gary … (www.lifeslittlegaps.com)

Still from 'Lifes Little Gaps'.

Meeting Evan

Life's Little Gaps was the product of a question that had haunted me for some time. If I could create the perfect friend, what would he be like? Answer: Evan.

Evan is the child inside me that I try so desperately to cling to, yet it is Gary's cynicism that is all too often the closest reflection of my own outlook. So I took these two characters, so close to me and put them to paper in the best way I could. Now with script in hand I went in search of a crew.

Behind the scenes on 'Lifes Little Gaps'. Behind the scenes on 'Lifes Little Gaps'. Behind the scenes on 'Lifes Little Gaps'.

Enter Oklahoma Movie Makers1. OMM is a group of beginners and professionals alike with one aspiration - to learn the art of film making. I pitched my story to the group at one of their weekly meetings and 6 months later, we began principal photography.

This film marked the debut of many of its cast and crew. For most of the crew, it was their first experience on such a rigorous shoot, yet the results were an amazing hundred and thirty two shots in only four days.

Behind the scenes on 'Lifes Little Gaps'.Behind the scenes on 'Lifes Little Gaps'.Unable to lock down police and paramedic uniforms, the production had to rely on actual police officers and paramedics to pull off the films final scenes. The city of Oologah, Oklahoma, was gracious enough to donate one police car and one ambulance as well as two police officers and two paramedics. Though none had much acting experience, they each brought to life the characters that were placed before them and did so with the professional level of seasoned cast.

Location proved to be a challenge all its own. The house we shot in had no electricity so all power had to be run from a house across the street and from another next door. This restricted our lighting scheme to 1 kilowatt lamps and below, not to mention the shoot took place in Oklahoma's late July conditions and without air-conditioning the cast and crew became all too intimate with each other's choice of deodorants.

A few of the scenes required that our two leads to hide under their beds. Not so simple considering both leads were easily six feet, two-hundred and fifty pounds a piece and our bed's regular clearance was only 7 inches. So prior to photography, we constructed boosters for each leg of both beds. These consisted of large juice cans filled with cement leaving only a couple of inches for the bed's post to sit in. These boosters provided another 10 inches for the actors to perform their scenes all the while remaining hidden from the camera, covered by the dirty clothes scattered about the floor.

Still from 'Lifes Little Gaps'. Still from 'Lifes Little Gaps'.

The opening and closing shots required an extreme close-up of a cricket watching the night's events. Realising in pre-production that trying to get the proper performance from an insect during an already busy shooting schedule was not a route we wanted to take, it was determined that we would chroma-key the cricket in post-production and use a rack-focus2 to blend it to the already existing footage of our three main characters sleeping. As for getting the cricket to blink... well, lets just say, you just have to ask real nicely.

With only a budget of twelve hundred dollars, the cast and crew were able bring to life characters we each fell in love with. And as well we have a story that will have a place forever in our hearts.

As for me, I got to see my best friend come to life.

- Scott Hillhouse (www.myspace.com/house_productions)

Go to Notes on the production ...

1 Oklahoma Movie Makers is a Yahoo Group which "meets" on the internet and in person at the Circle Cinema in Tulsa on Thursday evenings. The aim to help everyone from beginners to professional low/no budget indie movie makers in Oklahoma and the surrounding states. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/oklahomamoviemakers/
2 Rack-focus is the process of changing the focus during a shot so that a different part of the image becomes clear.

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