Saving Grace (2012)
Billy falls in love at first sight with Grace, the new girl in town. But when he finds out she’s gay, Billy decides it’s God’s will for him to save her.
* Trigger Warning: This short film touches on themes of homophobia, religious fanaticism, sexual assault and sexual abuse. Watch at your own risk. *
Ah, Saving Grace.
I strongly debated whether or not to include this one in the releases or not. There were many reasons for this, one of them being my acting in it, but the biggest one is the subject matter, as it touches strongly and relatively graphically on sexual assault and rape. In the end I decided to release it, because while I obviously don’t condone the deplorable behavior of my character, Billy, these ARE things that happen in real life and it’s important to have the conversation, even if it gets crude or graphic.
Also, Alice’s performance is so good, it legitimately gives me chills every time I watched it.
Now, if you saw yesterday’s post about Fitting In, you know we couldn’t adapt that script to fit Cinemovida’s challenge. Despite having filmed that short, Alice was a bit disappointed we wouldn’t be able to participate in Morbo Fest. While talking that night, I had an idea about a Westboro Baptist type fanatic who kept a vlog and decided it was his mission to “convert” a young lesbian into what he considers “God’s path”.
It was Friday night and the short film was due on Sunday, so we only had Saturday to pull this off. So, in less than 24 hours, I researched, wrote, did pre-production, filmed, edited and submitted the whole thing. It was quite the task.
In order to pull this off, filming had to be as simple as possible. It was WAY too short notice to get a crew, so I decided to do the vlog thing in order to keep a constant single-camera angle. I set up the camera on a tripod with a shotgun mic on top and let it roll. Since I only had one camera and very limited time to do this, I added the “camera glitch” so I could make any edits on lines I fucked up (because trust me, I fucked up plenty).
Being that we had so little time, I also couldn’t get any actors, save for Alice who was on board with the project since it’s inception (you could literally say it exists because of her, actually), so I had to step up and do it myself. I had done a bit of acting and improvising before on friends’ projects and some private activities, but this was a whole different beast. Because of the time limit, the scenes were filmed in reverse… from the last scene to the first scene. That’s exactly the reason my shitty southern accent flip flops so much, since I kept honing it as we went along until I “perfected it” in the last scene we filmed… which was the last scene of the short. So for the viewer, the accent gets increasingly worse as the short progresses.
All in all, the filming process was quite the challenge, but also a fun one. Cool little stories emerged, like Alice swallowing the VERY sweet fake blood I concocted instead of spitting it out, and me accidentally punching her in the gut… But it was worth it. We did it…
…Except we couldn’t compete at Morbo Fest. The rules stated it couldn’t be longer than 10 minutes and it clocked in at 14:39. At that point the deadline was already upon us and I was WAY too exhausted to find where I could cut creatively and not damage the story. Graciously, the awesome people at Cinemovida still allowed us to at least show the short film as a special feature at their event, so while we didn’t get to compete, we did feature in the show… So I guess we can call it a win?