The Choice Short Film

Choice-DVD-Cover

Synopsis: After a tragic car crash, a man finds himself caught between this life and the next. In retracing recent events, he’ll face the ultimate choice.

 


Trailer:

 


Full Film:

Production Year: 2006
Type: Fiction Short
Role(s): Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Cinematography, Special Effects

 

 


Bonus Material

 


 

Deleted Scenes:

 


“How We Did It” –  A ‘Making Of’ Film:

 


“Outtakes” –  More ‘Making Of’ Footage:

 

 


Production Updates


 

February 11, 2006 – The Choice: Pre-Production







May 2005: The first draft of the script was produced on Monday, May 7th. Further revisions were made to that script and then a group of reviewers were enlisted to provide feedback. Further drafts of the script were produced based on that feedback.



Roughly one hundred storyboards were created in order to map out the various shots.



These storyboards were invaluable in planning for shooting durations and determining special effects techniques.



June 2005: With several special effects sequences factoring into the film’s story, it was necessary to construct a simple green screen stage. The stage would be used to extract actor’s performances and then insert those performances into a given scene.





February 11, 2006 – The Choice: Production Diary



 



July 2005: The bulk of the film’s green screen work took place over four hours of filming during the hot month of July. Roughly five thousand watts of lighting was used in order to properly light the green screen and the subjects acting in front of the screen. Needless to say, the heat generated by the lighting only added the difficulties facing the actors, however shooting finished in less time than had been planned.




August 2005: Principle location filming began on location in rural southern Minnesota on August 14th.


Additional outdoor filming took place along the streets of Hopkins, Minnesota on a busy Saturday. Dodging cars and gawkers were amongst the challenges of the morning’s work.

 



September 2005: Final filming took place on Saturday, September 3rd with location work on the streets of south Minneapolis. The sequence involved staging a bicycle/car accident.


Filming was in the Mini-DV format using Canon equipment and lenses.




November 2005: Editing and effects work commenced throughout the month. After working out the timings of each cut, significant color correction work took place. Effects work such as green screen removal also added significant time to the process.Post-Production editing and video effects work was performed using Adobe After Effects.

 


December 2005: During a hectic holiday season, the trailers were created, along with additional DVD content. An initial test screening was held late in the month and the audience feedback was mixed. Further discussion led to the decision to add a new opening sequence. Also, minor changes in the editing arrangement of the story helped tighten the focus of the film.


January 2006: Additional shooting commenced on January 7th to create a new opening sequence. Several narrations were also re-recorded in an effort to further streamline the film’s plot.


The final product debuted on DVD in late January. The DVD includes motion menus, trailers, and special features. In particular, the special features give greater insights into the making of the short film through the “How We Did It” documentary and a separate documentary featuring over 25 minutes of outtakes.





February 11, 2006 – The Choice: Cast & Crew










While he admits to enjoying the performance of action scenes in preference to dramatic work, Corey embraced the opportunity to increase his range with his leading role in “The Choice.”

A man of many talents, Corey spends his days in the fast-paced world of technical auditing. In his freetime, when he’s not acting he can be found wearing many other hats from musician to youth mentor.

A primary passion for him is the development of youth leadership. Over the past several years, he has been instrumental in directing Boy Scout troops in the Twin Cities and helping to train experienced Scouts to reach even greater personal heights.

His prior acting work with Studio Remarkable includes a leading role in “The File.”








Elisabeth is no stranger to the acting world…

While a star of several high school and college stage productions, Elisabeth’s most notable brush with stardom was as a child actress in the hit Portland, Oregon-based television series “Kidstuff.”

When not climbing the ladder of success within the Minneapolis business community, Elisabeth is an avid cyclist and competitive distance runner.

She previously appeared in “The File,” in which she played the role of Corey’s wife.








When he’s not acting, Ross teaches humanities and film at a Twin Cities high school. He can be found on the stage in semi-annual productions of “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” in which Ross stars as the beloved late night host.

Past film work has included appearances in “The Hopkins Dick” – in which he played the titular detective character – and “The File.”

He has also developed his own projects in the form of compilations of classic clips from the Carson era of “The Tonight Show” and elaborate parodies of vintage television such as “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Besides being a collector of vintage “Tonight Show” memorabilia, Ross is also a student of Game Show history. He has met Bob Barker and Ed McMahon.







Travis plays a small, yet very pivotal role in “The Choice.”

As is demonstrated on film, Travis is an avid bicycle rider. The model featured in the film was actually custom built by him and has been further modified over the years.

Like other cast members, Travis has long been involved within his community. His work with Big Brothers has spanned over five years. His past career work involved a multi-year stint with the Minneapolis-based Father Project.








Daniel is writer, editor, and director of “The Choice.” It represents his first foray into keying digital effects.

In his freetime, Dan is on the board of directors for the Calhoun-Isles Community Band and is a producer of short films.

His other film credits include “The File,” “A New Zealand Story,” and “The Hero’s Journey.”

In his freetime, he’s often found with either a still or video camera in hand.





February 11, 2006 – The Choice: Trailer & Marketing Materials




A trailer is now available for viewing. It runs 70-seconds in duration.You may be prompted to install the latest versions of Adobe Flash if your computer doesn’t already contain a recent version.

Note: To view full-screen, click on the button immediately to the left of the volume control.




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Here is the poster:





Here is the cover for the DVD:



May 7, 2005 – The Choice – Script

The following is a new script that I’ve written, with shooting intended for this summer.


 


The Choice

Initial Draft (May 7, 2005)

FADE IN

INT. VOID

An endless vista of white nothing.

A lone individual steps into view, he is of medium build and athletic
with sandy blonde hair.  His name is KYLE and he is very confused.

KYLE
Hey!!  Hello!

His voice echoes and there is no response.  He rubs his eyes and gazes
around himself.

KYLE (CONT’D)
Somebody help me!

Without any sense of direction, Kyle simply runs into the white void.
He eventually holds up to catch his breath.  He looks afraid.

KYLE (CONT’D)
HELP!!!!

The scream sounds as though it came from deep within a desperate soul.
Kyle collapses to the ground.  He sits slumped over, unmoving.

BETA (V.O.)
Tell me the last thing that you remember.

The source of the voice is not visible, yet it sounds like it is coming
from everywhere all at once.  Oddly, the voice sounds vaguely similar
to Kyle.  In a projection against a section of the void, Kyle sees an
image of his wife; of their children.  The picture shows a loving
moment between the members of the family, with Kyle holding his wife’s
hand as their children stand by their feet.

Kyle is tentative in his reaction, looking sad then cautious.

KYLE
What is this?  Who are you?

BETA (V.O.)
I’m a friend.

Kyle stands up and freezes in place, staring at the images in front of
him.

KYLE
Where are you?

BETA (V.O.)
I’ve been waiting for you.

A vortex opens in place of the images and a bright white light
envelopes Kyle.

EXT. HAY FIELD – DUSK

A long, open hay field juts up against one side of a small grove
sprinkled with trees.  The remaining edges of the grove are surrounded
by cornfields and, with it being landlocked, the grove seems like an
island in the prairie.

Kyle walks down an open expanse of hay and is surprised to find what
seems like a mirror image of himself waiting next to a tree in the
grove.  Kyle hesitates to approach.  The duplicate is actually BETA.

BETA
Don’t be afraid.

Kyle walks up to Beta and tries to touch him.  Kyle’s hand passes
directly through Beta’s body.  Kyle moves around Beta and steps back.

KYLE
You’re not real.  You’re me.

Beta laughs at the remark.

BETA
Kyle, I can assure you that I’m as real as you
are.

KYLE
What’s going on?

BETA
I’m sure you have many questions, but now isn’t
the time to answer them.

Kyle looks frustrated.

BETA (CONT’D)
Now, tell me the last thing that you remember.

KYLE
My wife.

A burst of light suddenly flashes around Beta.  He assumes the
appearance and voice of Kyle’s wife.  She is of a slight build with
brown hair and stands only a bit shorter than Kyle.  Her tone is soft
and caring.

BETA
What were we doing?

KYLE
I was driving you and the kids.

Kyle looks down at the ground.

KYLE (CONT’D)
It was my fault.

BETA
It wasn’t your fault Kyle.  The truck pulled
out too quickly.

Kyle’s features tighten as senses that he is being toyed with.  He
tries to hold back his emotions, tries to prevent them from spilling
out.

KYLE
Don’t do this to me.

Beta turns and begins to walk through the tall grass along the grove of
trees.  Kyle trails behind her and then catches up.

BETA
Kyle, are you familiar with the concept of
‘Predestination?’

As Beta switches topics, Kyle’s tension eases.

KYLE
Not really.

Beta stops, picks up a large rock, and holds it in front of Kyle.

BETA
It means that this rock was meant to be here.
It has a purpose, just as you have a purpose
and a reason for being in a certain place at a
certain time.

KYLE
That’s not how I see things.

Beta smiles.  She resumes walking side-by-side with Kyle.

BETA
Given your present circumstances, it might
benefit you to be a bit more open-minded.
(beat)
Why are we at this place?  Anywhere in the
world and we’re here.

KYLE
This is where I asked you…
(beat)
My wife to marry me.

A flash of light envelops both Kyle and Beta.

EXT. STREET – DAY

Kyle and Beta walk next to each other down the middle of a simple
residential street.

BETA
The circumstances that led up to that moment
didn’t magically happen, did they?

KYLE
I thought so.

BETA
Where did you first see her?

The pair stop walking.  Kyle points over to an anonymous-looking street
corner.

KYLE
Over there.  She was walking with her
groceries.  The handles on the bag broke.  I
helped her.

Kyle and his WIFE can be seen as translucent figures re-enacting the
scene of their first meeting.

BETA (V.O.)
Very kind of you, but rather amazing that that
would happen as you were walking past?

KYLE
Why are we talking about this?  I don’t know
what I’ve gotten myself into, but I’d like to
go back now.

BETA
Kyle, you have a choice to make and I’m telling
you what you need to understand before making
that choice.

Unnatural light floods back into the scene and washes away the
neighborhood around Kyle.

INT. VOID

Kyle sits up.  He is still stunned.  Beta is no longer visible, but her
voice again booms around Kyle.

BETA (V.O.)
Unfortunately, this has all been somewhat of a
mistake.

Kyle looks around himself, trying in vain to find Beta before giving up
and looking up into infinity.

KYLE
How could that happen if everything was
planned?

BETA (V.O.)
I didn’t say that everything was already
determined.

KYLE
What are you saying then?

BETA (V.O.)
If you accept that nothing can ever be
completely perfect, then the unexpected can
easily occur.  Circumstances can be suggested,
but you’re not a puppet – it’s like how you met
your wife.
(beat)
Of course, we’d like to think that a certain
bit of efficiency is in place.

KYLE
I wasn’t supposed to hit that truck.

INT. SEDAN ON EXPRESSWAY

A scene plays out involving an angry BUSINESSMAN driving in his car.

BETA (V.O.)
No, you were – it was there right on schedule
and so were you.  It ran that stoplight and
caused the accident.  At the same time, a man
who was racing home after work got caught up in
the ensuing traffic jam.

EXT. RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD – EVENING

The BUSINESSMAN continues his driving through a quiet neighborhood.

BETA (V.O.)
Because of his delay in getting home, that man
narrowly missed hitting a boy who didn’t look
before crossing an intersection on his bicycle.

A boy rides down a long, quiet street on his bike.

BETA (V.O.) (CONT’D)
The boy went home to his family.  When he grows
up, he’ll dedicate his life to helping children
in poverty and save the lives of thousands.

KYLE
But I didn’t go home to my family.

EXT. HAY FIELD – DUSK

Kyle is back in the grove of trees at the edge of the hay field.  Beta
appears behind Kyle in his wife’s form.

BETA
That’s the problem.  You weren’t supposed to
die.

Kyle spins around to see Beta

KYLE
Can’t you just send me back?

Beta smiles.

BETA
Things like this don’t happen very often.  When
they do, they’re hard to correct without
affecting everything else.

KYLE
So I can’t go back.

BETA
It would be difficult and there would be risks.

KYLE
What kinds of risks?

Beta sits down in the grass and Kyle slowly crouches down across from
her.

BETA
If you return, the future could go in a
different direction than was intended.

KYLE
So if I go back, that boy could die and without
him, I’d be responsible for everyone he would
have saved.

BETA
That may happen, but maybe not.  You’d continue
to be with your family until your time was
supposed to come to an end.  That could be
tomorrow or in another forty years.

KYLE
What’s the other option?

BETA
You’d stay with me and help them in ways that
you’d never thought possible.

KYLE
What’s the catch?

Everything in sight turns into a kaleidoscope of colors.  Kyle and Beta
both disappear.

BETA (V.O.)
You won’t be able to interact with them like
you could when you were alive.
(beat)
There are many roads that your wife and your
children could go down.  This would be a way to
walk with them down each of those roads.

KYLE (V.O.)
You said that they’re not puppets.

BETA (V.O.)
No, but you can be a guide.  That’s how it
sometimes works.

The speed of the kaleidoscope of colors decreases before it vanishes to
white.

INT. VOID

A plain wooden door appears facing out in the void.  The door is shut
and Beta – still as Kyle’s wife – appears to one side of it.  Kyle
appears on the adjacent side of the door.

BETA
When you’ve made a decision, come through the
door.

Beta opens the door and walks through it.  The door is left hanging
open behind him; only pitch black can be seen through the doorway.

Kyle stands and walks over to the door.  He grips the doorknob and
pauses.  Taking a deep breath, he walks through the doorway and the
door closes behind him.

FADE OUT