Creating a movie is a fragile process which requires dedication and the endless refinement of your work. Like Michelangelo sculpting the David one must show their work the utmost care, carefully crafting every detail to perfection. This is how a movie becomes art. A lesser known fact about creating films is when the 20 year old Director emails you from the middle of Northern Ontario on mining expedition, asking you to "make [his] script good", a film might get made.
Thinking about it now, it doesn't make much sense to produce an out of pocket post-apocalyptic script when your previous (and first) short was a no-budget film about a ballet dancer. But what we lack in sense we make up for in the ability to bite off more than we can chew. I mean you would have to be crazy to decide to film in late November during the coldest week of the year. It sounds even crazier when you consider the fact all actors wore tattered post-apocalyptic clothing. Not to mention, our Director of Photography is from Florida; I don't think he had ever seen a jacket prior to when we began shooting.
It turns out shooting in the dead of winter can provide an abundance of difficulties. Luckily, we are perfectionists when it comes to rolling with the punches. The cold weather forced us to ritualistically build campfires to keep the cast and crew warm. Although, it is impossible to keep warm when you have dedicated individuals meticulously blocking out each scene, which I consider an acceptable trade. The environment itself did us no favors. Twigs and branches must be chopped out of frame, beds of snow can cause overexposure, and snowfall is inconsistent. Also, sometimes the next week will be sunny and the snow will melt, ruining nature shots or any re-shoots. This can lead to an occupational hazard at the hands an enraged editor. Fortunately, our editor is the calm disappointed type.
At least with the majority of the cast and crew staying on set for a week, they were able to experience the beautiful Hockley Valley where they got to stay in the illustrious "Chateau Vagabond". It wasn't quite The Four Seasons but Chef Ryan's famous "Bacon et Oeufs" paired with my newfound busboy skills made for a (hopefully) enjoyable stay.
If anything, this short is a testament to what happens when ambition outweighs reason. Why else would we decide to do all the wardrobe with no prior experience? Or why did Ryan build an entire campsite by himself, chopping down wood and all? There is only one correct metric to use when judging whether our struggles were senseless or necessary, and it is in the form of a question: Did you enjoy Vagabond?
Despite countless obstacles we had a lot of fun creating this short and we are extremely pleased by the result of our efforts. And this film would not have been possible if not for our wonderful cast and crew, who somehow don't hate us after spending hours in temperatures below -20°. Hell, they may even like us.
In conclusion, I can't wait for our next film!
Written by Alex Bains, Writer and Co-Producer of Vagabond.
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Vagabond - Official Trailer: