Below you’ll find a few short films that I wrote. Here’s the story behind them.

A few years ago, I was making a short film in Michigan called Frankincense & Myrrh and brought my close friend Keith Soper on set, nominally as a production assistant, but mostly to hang out with me and drink coffee, shooting the bull with the sound team while lights were being set up. After the nine-day shoot, he let me know that his lasting impression of the experience was that it convinced him that he didn’t want to make films.

It wasn’t long after that shoot that some of his coworkers pressured him into signing up for The Tree City Film Festival’s 50-hour film contest. A local version of the global 48-Hour Film Project, the contest asks teams to submit a short film made in a (roughly) two day period, from start to finish, and incorporating selected details (genre, prop, character name, etc.) handed out just before the clock starts ticking.

Keith was committed to the project, but worried. He had a team of eager but inexperienced hands to act and crew for him, but he didn’t have a script.

That’s when he reached out to me, asking if I could write something for him. I assured him I would.

I was unemployed at the time.
The challenge as a writer was as follows:

1.) Write something that can be shot with limited means in one day, based on available resources —including actors, locations, and props.

2.) Write a script interesting and entertaining enough to allow for the necessary mistakes that inexperienced filmmakers were bound to make (as we all do), especially under the pressure of a ticking clock.

And most importantly,

3.) Write something that would allow my friends to have fun, both making it and watching it.
I like to think I succeeded.

I’ve now helped them with the contest for four straight years, and this weekend I got to attend the screening of our most recent outing, Planet Space. The films are flawed — charmingly so, in my opinion — but I like to think they’re entertaining. I also think they’ve brought out some of my most creative and playful work. Part of this must be due to the freedom that comes from knowing that I’m not trying to get into Sundance here. I’m not banking my career on these scripts.
I’m just having some fun with my friends.

Here are the films. Enjoy.

Planet Space (2016)

Revenge of the Nunja (2015)

The Mission (2014)

Time and Eternity (2013)