First Festival Selection for Architects of Crime

,Proud to announce that our science fiction film noir short film Architects of Crime is an official selection of the 2016 Action On Film International Film Festival.


The Festival Game

We’ve had films in festivals before (F*ck You, Pay Me! screened at the  Hollywood Black Film Festival, Amsterdam in the Picture, and the Seattle Science Fictions Shorts Film Festival, to name a few). We even took home top prize. Which is an accomplishment, to say the least. It’s a tremendous honor to have your film screen on the festival circuit. It’s were you get a different type of exposure; the audiences are more inclined to appreciate alternative storytelling styles and endings.

One of the things that sort of sucks about making indie films and shorts (and particularly writing screenplays) is the target audience isn’t the actual viewing audience. It’s a small collection of people who then make a decision if a wider audience is going to see your film. And the big reason you seek the “I like this” decision for the Hollywood so-called taste maker ranks is that marketing dollars will be spent on your film if they get excited about your work.

Oone doesn’t need Hollywood’s permission or sanction to get your film seen by audiences, not with YouTube and Vimeo and all the other streaming platforms available. However, where Hollywood has the market cornered is marketing and advertising. It’s as if  Hollywood film distributors are actually niche ad agencies *it’s a wonder that a company like Publicis doesn’t snap up a film studio with its intricate distribution machine).

You have to do a great deal of self-promotion to raise awareness of your film just using social media. Selection and subsequent screening in a film festival adds to the audience awareness critical mass that you’re after.

We’re so excited!

ARCHITECTS OF CRIME – Behind the Scenes

DoP Shane Daly and his team get ready for the next take; Peter Lucas, Rhona Bennett, , , Shane Daly (L to R)
20 stories above the streets of Los Angeles a crime is about to take place… the rooftop video village; Co-writers/co-directors Chris & Will Derrick review the framing, while producers Hilliard Guess and Indra Bartona observe. DoP Shane Daly and his team finalize the camera set-up.
Ana Zimhart kicks the shit out of David DeSantos during a take. DoP Shane Daly captures the action.
Ana Zimhart reveals the blackmail footage as David DeSantos looks on as his fate is sealed.
Ana Zimhart precariously walks the balance beam.
Co-writer/co-director Will Derrick gives a last minute adjustment to Rhona Bennett and Peter Lucas
The Derrick Brothers and DoP Shane Daly work out the scene breakdowns and framing options.
A take in progress; Will & Chris Derrick watch Rhona Bennett and Peter Lucas on the monitor; DoP Shane Daly captures the take.
Co-writer/co-director Chris Derrick reviews the framing of Rhona Bennett’s close up. DoP Shane Daly lines up the shot.
Ana Zimhart prepares to flip off the water tower.
DoP Shane Daly, high up on the building, readies his camera team to capture Ana Zimhart (climbing down the ladder) scale wall — in the one and only take.

These are a few more of the behind the scene photos for ARCHITECTS OF CRIME. MovieMaker magazine was gracious enough to hi-lite our work on its Instagram feed.

Looking at these now, several months later, the project looks ambitious, but every film project one directs can be considered ambitious because of the number of people you have to persuade to be on your same page. This means no one is above the film; that’s why egos must, under no uncertain terms, be checked at the door. The greater (or shall I more fragile) the ego at the department head level or above, the more trying directing a film can be. Everyone’s name goes on the film, and why does that no satisfy one’s ego? Why does that fail to give one satisfaction, because if it did then the yelling, screaming, and sabotaging wouldn’t happen.

We are forever thankful and grateful to our collective team who helped make this happen.






MAD MAX FURY ROAD Audio Supercut

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD… the action film throwback that ratchets the genre forward. So much has been said about the extensive use of center-framing and how that helped keep the action easily understood by the editor and the viewer, so this isn’t about that. It’s about the wonderous sound design of the film… the soundscape that keeps you enveloped in the fever dream George Miller created.

Zackery Ramos-Taylor put together this awesome supercut of the MAD MAX: FURY sound effects.

Continue reading MAD MAX FURY ROAD Audio Supercut

Star Wars: Rogue One Trailer

So LucasFilm drops this today!

The official trailer for ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story. The pluses is that we’re seeing the Star Wars universe with NO hint of the Skywalker Clan as main characters in the story… which after 7 films that story element has worn extremely thin (and we have two more films to go).

The minuses… it’s a story about the Death Star, which makes the fourth film to deal with a similar type of planetary menacing weapon. And since this is obviously about the mission that leads into getting the stolen data tapes into Princess Leia’s hands, so she can upload them into R2-D2 to kick off STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE.

Another plus! Forest Whitaker. Not since LAST KING OF SCOTLAND have I been more excited to see him in a film. He adds a quality to his universe that we haven’t seen… sure, Samuel L. Jackson was in the misbegotten prequels, but he doesn’t fit into this kind of universe. Whitaker elevates every scene he’s in, and when he’s not the star he brings nuance and energy and gravitas like only a rare few can do.

Another minus… the visual “lens”; just once would I like to see a Star Wars film executed with the directorial panache of an “artiste”; yeah, that sounds pretentious as fuck, but you know what I’m getting at here. Guys like the late, great Tony Scott or Danny Boyle or Steven Soderbergh never get a shot at directing a franchise film because they parameters of the franchise are too constricting to their director’s voice, and the producers and studio have the fiduciary obligation to cherish the franchise, to deliver these exact replicas of what made the franchise a franchise in the first place. But if these guys (or girls) were given the reins, it would be like the best fan fiction imaginable…

So Christmas this year… I guess all the other movie studios are going to concede December and April to Disney for the next 5 years (consider the Star Wars Film and the Marvel films). It’s probably a good time to buy Disney stock.

Controlling the Aspect Ratio

The bulk of this article comes from Benjamin B’s article in The ASC magazine, entitled THE ELASTIC FRAME, any remarks or additions have been marked in blue.

In our current age of digital projection, the projection aspect ratio is subject to change at the will of the filmmaker, giving the filmmaker unprecedented control of how he or she wants to present their work on what canvas.

The aspect ratio of a film the “canvas” in which we filmmakers compose our images.

Let’s take a look at the options and their history.

1. Film-Projector Gates
2. Digital Projection
3. Biutiful (2010)
4. Anamorphic is not 2.40
5. Mommy (2014)
6. The Elastic Frame
7. Tradition and Innovation

11 35mm and 70mm Aspect Ratios


1. Film-Projector Gates

In the days of film projection, aspect ratios were defined by pieces of metal. In film cameras the gate is the window that lets light through to the negative. Gates have a slot for sliding hard mattes, thin pieces of metal that narrow the window to a desired aspect ratio. (Hard mattes were more frequent in European cinema than Hollywood, where producers demanded open gates to have the option to do minor reframing). Many (but not all) film prints were also exposed with metal mattes that blocked light, putting black around the intended image frame.

Film projectors were outfitted with metal gates that matched the aspect ratio of the film, though these gates were often slightly bigger than the target aspect ratio; for example, some theaters used 1.66 gates for 1.85 films so as to be sure to not impinge on the image.

In traditional 35mm, aspect ratios could be changed by optical printing, but it was a complicated process. Note also that prints of anamorphic films had squeezed images, and required changing the projector lens as well as the gate so as to unsqueeze the image optically during the screening.

Continue reading Controlling the Aspect Ratio

Alternate History on Amazon

There are very few science fiction classics that broach a subject that could have seriously affected the real world like Philip K Dick‘s MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. Its premise – The Axis Powers won World War II and conquered the planet (we assume they have, since they occupied the US).

Man in the High Castle
Man in the High Castle

Continue reading Alternate History on Amazon

Behind the Scenes – Architects of Crime, Part 2

As we prepare our press kit for the Sundance Film Festival submission, we had a chance to review the behind the scenes stills (you forget these things in the midst of post).

It’s only in the behind the scenes photos do the technicians and crafts people get a chance to be “seen”. Yet every filmmaker knows the Fitzcaraldo-esque journey that you embark on each time you walk on to the set is team effort.

Lining up the shot for Ana to scale the side of a wall!

Lining up the shot for Ana to scale the side of a wall! Copyright © 2015, ShadowBoxer Cinema, LLC.

DP Shane Daly using Artemis Camera App to review which lens we should use for Rhona's OTS
DP Shane Daly using Artemis Camera App to review which lens we should use for Rhona’s OTS. Copyright © 2015, ShadowBoxer Cinema, LLC
Rhona Bennet (as Roxanne) scolds Peter Lucas (Dr. Aktinson).
Rhona Bennet (as Roxanne) scolds Peter Lucas (Dr. Aktinson). Copyright © 2015, ShadowBoxer Cinema, LLC
Ana Zimhart practices flipping of that structure for a shot in our opening title/intro sequence
Ana Zimhart practices flipping of that structure for a shot in our opening title/intro sequence
We're 20 stories above Los Angeles designing the staging for the crime that's about to go down!
We’re 20 stories above Los Angeles designing the staging for the crime that’s about to go down!


Will has new ideas for the blocking.
Will has new ideas for the blocking.
Will gives Peter a math lesson
Chris explains the shot to Shane
Will and Chris watch the actors rehearse the opening scene in the lab.
Will and Chris watch the actors rehearse the opening scene in the lab.
Chris and DP Shane Daly determine which lens to use to get the shot
Chris and DP Shane Daly determine which lens to use to get the shot
Will lines up a shot in Atkinson's lab
Will lines up a shot in Atkinson’s lab
Shane and his team line up the shot
Shane and his team line up the shot

What Inspires You, Part 11

I find Refn’s work hit-or-miss, but it’s consistently intriguing… DRIVE sort of elevated his stature in Hollywood, but ONLY GOD FORGIVES dinged him (but good). However, a film like BRONSON are where he gets to shine and dazzle.

His selection is curious… it seems that most modern day auteurs bow down to Tarkovsky, and a lot of people yearn to see more Alex Cox (REPO MAN is delish).

I was a little surprised that he selected THINGS TO COME; but it’s a gem of a film that was so ahead of its time, and is one of the few films that can’t be duplicated because the world has moved to such a place that it’s bizarre to conceive of something post a global-scale conflict that isn’t dystopian in the vein of the YA novels/movies that have dominated the Hollywood landscape the last half decade.

Kazan’s advice… “Do it your way” is precisely the kind of thing Kazan would say, and it’s what filmmakers must do. Lest their work become forgettable.

What Inspires You, Part 10

You know I was somewhat trepidatious when I saw the first Marvel Studio’s ANT-MAN trailer, but after seeing the latest one it looks like this film might be more interesting that people seem to be giving it credit.

Of course, it’s stuck in the standard world, whereas what makes Ant-Man, The Atom, Yellowjacket and The Wasp interesting is when they shrink to molecular size and shunt into

Anyway, since ANT-MAN is an upcoming film, I thought it might be interesting to see what films Edgar Wright slips into his bag when he gets a chance to raid the Criterion Collection’s storage locker.

EYES WITHOUT FACE is a remarkably chilling film from that extra fertile period of European art house cinema the late 50s/early 60s.

DON’T LOOK NOW isn’t a horror, isn’t a thriller… it’s a shocker, and it’s so well made — photographically, editorially, performances.

THRONE OF BLOOD’s Japanese title is Spiderweb Castle? I never knew that… I wonder what the “real” title of the rest of Kurosawa’s films are… is RASHOMON even the actual title?