In a bid for the presidency, a campaign invests in a special machine - one that can erase mistakes... permanently. #TiplerHartnell2024
SYNOPSIS: Washington, D.C., 2024. Jack Simm has been playing a losing game as the campaign manager for a Senator’s bid for the White House. Fed up with his gaffe-prone candidate, he has managed to get ahold of the latest prototype for a cutting-edge technology – a working time machine. During a key presidential debate, the manager, armed with the ability to jump back several seconds at a time, corrals his frustrated campaign staff to erase and revise potential gaffes before they become talking points. But as in-fighting mounts and personal interests get in the way, their attempts to control the dialogue begins to collapse in this satirical political science fiction story.
To be made in partial requirement of a Degree in Master of Arts Film and Video for the American University School of Communication.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Election Cycle is a short film halfway between a screwball comedy and a dark Capitol Hill thriller - equal parts Shane Carruth and Armando Ianucci
This idea combines two of my great loves – political satire and classic sci-fi. I had the idea for a sci fi film first. Taking inspiration from the one act play “Sure Thing,” my initial concept was simply two people on a dinner date, both armed with small time machines that let them jump back a few seconds at a time, taking back every stupid, thoughtless thing said to each other.
I loved the idea, having said too many things that I wish I could take back myself. I also thought it worked as a sci-fi story. The best science fiction, to me, explores how our technology reveals character. After all, there’s an element of time travel in how we communicate now. If you’ve ever IM’d with someone, you’ve probably had a moment where you started writing a sentence, stopped, then rewrote it. I felt it worked as an expression of regret.
But then I realized that if I wanted to expand the concept I could take it into a realm where minor slips of the tongue had real and lasting consequences. So, I revised the concept to a political setting.
It should be no surprise that this was conceived during an election year, but it should stay relevant past this political season. Politics doesn’t stop, after all. We will always have ambitious leaders with tied tongues. Just as we’ve all had times when we want to communicate better. Times when we wish we could take back a poorly worded sentence and redo it like multiple takes of a scene. We’ve all had moments when we thought of the perfect thing to say a little too late. We’ve all had moments where we wished brilliant statements could come out perfectly formed, but no one has that kind of control. No one needs that kind of control. And it would be pretty ridiculous if we did have it. Dangerous, as well.
CURRENT LIST OF CAST AND CREW:
Writer/Director: Kyle Kallgren
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Maggie Stogner
Director of Photography: Scott Bastedo
Script Supervisor: Jessica Kitrick
Key Grip: James Jackson
Concept Artist: Ven Hosky
Props: Devin Harrigan
I've been working with video for two years now, but this will easily be the biggest project I've undertaken. I'll need actors, crew, equipment, all that, but thankfully I've accumulated an array of old contacts in my university and in the DC theater scene to tackle this project with me. We have the setup, now all we need to do is execute.
We aim to make this a SAG production - this is an actor based piece and we aim to get the best cast possible!
Principal photography will be done from March 10th through March 17th. A rough cut should be done by mid April and a workable final cut done by May.
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Casting will certainly be a key part of this film. It's a tight, single setting character piece and if those characters fall flat, so falls the film. I'll need a SAG contract to entice talented actors to bring the script to life, and that needs all the extra investment that comes with being a SAG production. Locations will also come into play. Shooting in DC we can find plenty of setting-appropriate locales but that may cost as well. Effects work will also be quite important. Like all sci-fi films, proper, professional post-production will make or break the short. Some of my colleagues have extensive effects experience, and so I have several options for proper post work.
We're aiming for about 20-30 minutes for the completed short.
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