Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chased by the Mob in "3 Days Gone"

Director Scott McCullough has completed his first feature film. 3 Days Gone is a thriller about a man who wakes up after being buried alive for three days to find that he is being pursued by the mob and is a suspect in the murder of his best friend.

The film stars Michelle Stafford, a winner of two Emmy Awards for her role on The Young and the Restless, and Chrisopher Backus, who has appeared on such shows as The O.C. and Will & Grace. The producers have already sold rights to the moviefor several markets and are planning to put the film out on the festival circuit as they seek a theatrical distributor.

McCullough became involved in the project through writers/producers Oliver Coltress and Charles Wesley. The director said that he was attracted by the quality of the script. “When this opportunity came up, I was excited,” McCullough said. “The quality of the script also allowed us to get some actors we wouldn’t otherwise have had. We had five or six hundred submissions for each role. My experience in commercials also helped.” Casting was done by Michael Sanford of Sanford Casting.

McCullough shot the film in Los Angeles in just 12 days, covering an average of more than eight pages of script and an average of 40 set-ups per day. The director used the new Red One digital cinema camera in the production, shooting in 4K resolution. It was his first time using the system, and he came away favorably impressed. “The footage looks great,” he said. “I was able to use the lenses that I like from 35mm film and it generated very crisp images.”

“Only a handful of feature films have been shot with the Red One and originate in 4K resolution,” McCullough added. “It’s the cutting edge of filmmaking today.”

Making a feature film on a modest budget is not, however, without challenges. On several occasions shooting locations fell through at the last minute forcing the director to improvise. McCullough said that his experience in directing commercials and music videos helped him overcome such obstacles. “You have to be willing to work with some uncertainty because the actors are depending on you and the producers are depending on you,” he observed. “I’ve been in those situations before and I have the experience to know what I want to shoot, how to set up quickly, be decisive and get what I need without wasting time.”

Despite the lack of an expansive budget, McCullough found the experience of shooting a long narrative story enervating. “Working with the actors was very rewarding,” he said. “I do a lot of car commercials and don’t often get a lot of lines of dialogue. Having the opportunity to shoot eight or even 14 pages of script in a day and having the actors respond to me was great. I loved it.”

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