Soulmates (2014)

From Whatsabudget Films and Arbent Creative Media comes a story of a love so deep it can only be described as that shared between soulmates. As Carlyle tells the story of two such star-crossed lovers in this new short film, we follow the tale and see it unfold. This is the story of Julia and Monty.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Mark Cannon, Erica Erickson, Dana Kjeldsen, Mark Lutinski

Director’s Notes

Soulmates was our first crack at a love story, but of course, I had to give the tale my usual dark streak. Playing on a Romeo & Juliet vibe, these star-crossed lovers were destined for heartache, but that still let us explore the depths and strength of their love for each other. This was quite the ambitious project, because at this time, it was the largest cast we had worked with, and the most involved script to sort out with more set changes and locations than previous scripts (with the possible exception of Beware the Masked One), so overall, getting this short shot in a single day, was challenging.

So when I laid out the shoot, I also broke it down by location and actors needed so that we could try and move the shoot along in a timely fashion, and be respectful of everyone’s schedule as possible. This meant starting the day with the two Marks at my apartment which had been transformed into a cafe for the morning.

We shot for a couple of hours before moving on to the park behind Miramont Castle for the scene with Dana and Mark C. We were shooting outside in January in Colorado, but luckily it was a very mild weather day, and the temps didn’t really shake up our plans or performances. After we wrapped that sequence, we moved over to Manitou’s Memorial Park to shoot Erica’s first scenes of the day with Mark C. This was my least favorite sequence to shoot.

Not only did we lose the sun midway through the shoot (I mean, that sucker just ducked out with the quickness), but shooting in the car was easy and totally manageable…on paper. In actuality, cramming myself as much as possible into the passenger seat floorboard to get the right angle and manage to get both the actors in the frame was beyond uncomfortable, with my bad back, it was downright painful. The day was progressing nicely though, and the shooting order of the film had the day building in drama and emotion, culminating with the final shots to get of the day, Dana and Erica at the house where the emotion and story build to their climax. I think this kind of rising emotion to the day really set the tone well for the actors, and helped them connect easily with the emotions and story of those moments.

The story was certainly heavy, and I could not believe the power that Erica and Dana managed to bring to those moments in the film. Such raw power, that even I as the writer and director am made slightly uncomfortable as they explode on film, especially Erica, but I couldn’t in good conscience shy away from that power. And I love the way the film doesn’t allow the viewer any respite at that moment either. There is no cut away, no silent slow motion sequence to slightly draw some of the raw emotion that was bled on screen out of the moment. The camera just holds there on her. In my eyes, it is one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever shot. Such a brilliant start to the new year.

Working with Mark L. and Dana was such a pleasure. I was introduced to both of them via another local indie short I had worked sound on, which both of them were acting in. I brought both of them onto another project I am still currently working on, but wanted to feature their talents in one of our shorts at least (hoping to work with both of them again in the future). I like working with the same actors as much as possible, to not only showcase their talents as much as I can, but I also find it makes the shoots go so smoothly. Already having worked with someone, you both get a feel for how the other works, and what expectations you have for one another. So I like to work with actors over and over again, as Erica and Mark C. show. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them, and plan to continue as much as they’ll let me. And with my goal for 2014, I will be leaning on these lovely folks quite a bit.

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