TERMINATED – Short Film by Tobias Deml

I’m excited to show you my first serious short film ,”Terminated”. Please make use of the HD feature, use good speakers or headphones, and enjoy the show.

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The film’s website with credits & links to crew, Behind the Scenes photos by Mizuki Yoshimitsu and further links in different languages: TERMINATED – Official Website

TERMINATED Film Poster

TERMINATED Film Poster

Preparation

We shot the film on two days in December 2010. There was one preproduction day before the shoot, where I asked everyone (most of the crew, all the actors and some extras came) to meet at the Santa Monica College hangout room. We introduced everyone, went through questions, and did a rehearsal (i.e. 4 chairs instead of a bus) – in order to be able to shoot rogue and with no permits on the street; some shots had to work because we could only do one take, so bringing the DP and the actors on the same page – physically – as I was in my head and what I had gathered from the location scoutings, was very important. There is a few of these rehearsal videos actually online, one of it below – the rehearsal of the first scene:

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Shooting

We used the Canon EOS 7D and self-built rigs for the continuous shots; there was about 25-30 people on set for the two shooting days, most playing double duty in the process – as extras and crew. Even the actors helped build parts of the set, and if I can remember one thing the best, then it was the vibe on set; it was like a big group of friends that knew each other for a long time; so much collaboration, self-motivatedness, efficiency and friendlyness, all under a lot of time pressure, with risk and guerilla-style filmmaking involved – probably the coolest set I’ve ever been on.

Within ten days of the shooting date, I had the VFX and cut finished (ready enough to show it to my classmates at SMC; I made the film within the scope of a Film32 class), and submitted it a few weeks later to Cannes. I waited, got a response along the lines “Bon Jour mon bon ami, thank you for submitting – you have been rejected! Bonne soiree.” and was bummed but optimistic; sent it to the next and the next and the  next, and got rejected in all of them. I need to mention that I was a bit overly confident and only submitted it to world-class festivals (Berlinale, Venice Film Festival, Sundance etc.), but in the end I waited about a year and a half for all these festivals to tell me no, and paid so many application fees – as much as the entire film cost, pretty much – that I just decided to put it online.

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Fried Hard Drives and Recuts

Back in 2011, I uploaded a file of the film in SD resolution so the crew and actors could use it for their reels. Now that I wanted to publish it, I obiously needed to render out a Full-HD master. So, I am walking over to the work desk at the production company (www.prodigium-pictures.com) I co-founded in the meantime, take my hard drive that contains the final cut of the film, grab and plug in a power cord that I see on the desk, and “Rrrrzzzz” – the drive literally fries. I accidentally used my laptop power cord, and now my hard drive with the Final Cut Pro project file on there is mush. I try everything to retrieve the data, take the drive out of its shell, dig through autosaves on multiple computers etc. – nothing, the cut is lost. I still had some backups of the AfterEffects files, some sound mixes and the source footage, so I could frankenstein something together again; spent a week perfecting little imperfections, and recutting the cut based on the SD version (what a waste, nearly as long as I took to cut the entire thing in the first place) and what came out of that recreated, re-cut version is what you could see above. I hope you liked it.

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Making Of & Behind the Scenes

The Making Of of TERMINATED is closely documented through blog articles on my blog  U, S, and Toby; most of the articles are written in German and English translations can only be read through google-translate at this time. These translations are quite funny. Find the articles below:

So sieht die Polizei uns auf der Strasse filmen - natürlich ohne Genehmigung und doppelten Boden, aber dafür hat man ja einen dreisten Produzenten.

That's how the police saw us filming, of course without a permit or any sort of protection - but that's why you need to have a ballsy producer (Yonatan Mallinger, I can recommend him) that knows how to deal with the law. 😉

About the Author

Tobias Deml is an Austrian Filmmaker and Visual Artist. 2012 Cinematography Reel: http://vimeo.com/53973421 Tobias Deml ist ein österreichischer Filmstudent und Möchtegernregisseur in Los Angeles. Er arbeitet derzeit als Kameramann in Los Angeles und popelt in seiner Nase.