Juice Production Newsletter #1

The opening lines of the Juice screenplay.


I am Zoë Kissel, the director/editor of the upcoming short film, Juice.
I am an East Lansing-based filmmaker, artist, and musician. I have always been a creator and film continues to be a platform of which I can share new worlds and stories. Originally from a small town south of Detroit, I now live in East Lansing, Michigan where I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media & Information with a concentration in TV, Cinema, & Radio and a minor in Documentary Production at Michigan State University. I completed my first documentary film, Composing Our Stories, in July 2017. Through the evolution of Composing Our Stories, I have discovered my love for directing and editing. The honor of giving a voice to those who deserve to be heard and the opportunity to tell a story that post-production presents is my passion in filmmaking. As an artist, I embrace the spirit of never slowing down.

Which brings me to Juice
I want to begin by saying thank you for subscribing to our weekly Juice Production Newsletter! Support for our films on any scale is much appreciated. You being interested in what goes on behind-the-scenes helps us to spread the word about our film and reach all audiences possible.

So, what is Juice?
Juice is a sci-fi, film noir, futuristic, short film taking place in the world of CityComInfo (CCI). City is the people, Com is the closely watched communication between the people, and Info is the information that “they” choose the public to receive. In response to the government-halted heroin epidemic of the future, a new drug is being manufactured to satisfy the junkies’ enduring want to feel that same high. Juice is a drug that hooks people with a single injection. The high itself is much more potent than the heroin of the past. The film Juice follows a young addict in a growing withdrawal and the fatal decisions that she makes to get high once more.

We have scheduled Juice to be filmed entirely in two nights. Our longest shoot will take place the night of Saturday, August 12th on our full alley set. We plan to begin staging at approximately 6PM and work until we have all the shots… or until the sun comes up.

Lighting the scene.
Juice has become a dream opportunity for experimentation with many aspects of filming for us, in particular the lighting and prop design.
The first shoot for the “ComBox Call” was filmed last Sunday. In the film, our main character Violet calls her Aunt Marcy begging for more money. This requires an interaction between Violet and the ComBox, or the video telephone of the future. We needed to film Violet’s aunt talking on the video call ahead of time so that our actress can practice against the video for when the second night of filming comes. The ComBox Call is a tightly framed closeup of Aunt Marcy’s face. Aunt Marcy answers the call, scolds Violet, and then hangs up on Violet with a threat to call her brother. The mise-en-scène includes floating cigarette smoke, simulated by burning incense, and venetian blinds casting shadows across her face, giving the impression of a city outside of Aunt Marcy’s apartment.


A frame from the raw and untouched footage of Aunt Marcy’s ComBox Call for Juice.

After seeing what the raw footage looks like, I am thrilled with the effect. Juice was originally planned to be released in black and white but after seeing the possibility for rich and beautiful color, I am beginning to lean more towards releasing the film in color. We’ll have to see how the footage from the next shoot turns out. Who knows, we might even do a special release of a color version and a black and white version.


A behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Aunt Marcy’s ComBox Call for Juice.

Let’s talk about props.
The photo below is a sketch of the Search Light Prop for Juice. On screen, the prop will produce the effect of a scanning search light, moving from the ground to the sky and back again. The prop will be built with a 12V power source, powering an 80W PWM speed controller. The speed controller will be controlling the 12V 7 RPM motor. On the shaft of the motor, there will be a 3D printed clamp for holding a super bright LED flashlight. As the motor turns the shaft, the flashlight will rotate in a circle. The angle of the flashlight’s beam can be manipulated by adjusted the motor mount bracket, as seen in the sketch.


A sketch of the Search Light Prop for Juice.

Pretty cool, right? Our property masters, Dylan and Russ, are crucial parts to the creation of the world of CCI and its elements. They are responsible for turning something like this…


A sketch of the ComBox Prop for Juice.

Into this…


The finished ComBox Prop for Juice.

As you can tell, we are extremely excited about the film and cannot wait to see how it turns out. If you have any questions about Juice and the production, feel free to send them to thefilmjuice@gmail.com with the subject “QUESTION SUBMISSION” and I will answer them publicly in the next newsletter!

Until next time,