In 2010 I (John Ward) was in the midst of pre-production on an independent horror film with the working title “Boxes.” Interestingly – and entirely retrospectively, as at the time this thought had never crossed my mind – the film itself in timbre and content quite directly addresses mental “illness” in concept if not literally.

We got as far as shooting a “teaser” for the film to the tune of $2,000 thanks to a highly skilled Texas DP (Director of Photography) who owned his own gear, including a Red camera. At the time, the first generation Red was a big deal, and had recently been used to shoot the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Our DP cost us $1,000 per day, so this “teaser” was shot for the most part in a single day in a barn outside of Houston. The footage on the television is from a separate shoot utilizing a green screen and some pro bono hours from film aficionados in San Antonio. The actor is a college friend of mine.

The film – which would gain the modified title “Ode” shortly before we lost funding and I personally wigged out – was ostensibly a post apocalyptic thriller. It was really about getting locked into hermetic perspectives or points of view, and featured a protagonist who clearly had a fun quasi-supernatural relationship with suicide.

A fun anecdote from this shoot – the gun is a functional prop gun (it shoots blanks, but has a metal guard in the cylinder prevents one from loading live rounds). This was a problem, as I wanted (and needed) to get live rounds on film, particularly the load close-up. I bought a case of ammo but by mistake got rounds for an automatic instead of a revolver. The aforementioned DP, a Texan by birth, gave me endless good-natured shit about it, and we accounted for the discrepancy by making sure the bullets were obscured in every shot to the point where the mistake wasn’t noticeable.

The video “teaser” is essentially how the film itself would have began – an establishing scene about the “end of the world,” and the opening scene to the narrative in which the protagonist attempts a suicide of sorts via Russian roulette. Throughout the film he would have done this at the beginning of each day, and he would never succeed (hence the high number of tally marks).

The next time I come across 100K or so of someone else’s money, I’ll more than likely return to this concept. Still got the script chillin’ on my hard drive.


One thought on “BOXES – A Film Derailed by Mental “Illness”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s