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I’m Zoë Kissel, the director, editor, and writer of the upcoming short film, Juice.
Juice is a short neo-noir, science fiction film following a young addict’s growing withdrawal and the fatal decision she makes to get high once more. The film takes place in the futuristic world of CityComInfo (CCI). In response to the government-halted heroin epidemic, the black market manufactures a new drug to satisfy the junkies’ enduring hunger to feel that same high. Juice is a drug that hooks people with a single injection. The high itself is much more deadly than the heroin of the past.
For returning readers, thanks for sticking around! Enjoy Juice Production Newsletter #5.
We’re alive, we promise!
Although the Juice Production Newsletter has been quiet for a few months, we are very happy to announce that Juice is in the homestretch of post-production! The film is scheduled to be released March 2018 and we are counting down the days. As a thank you for being a newsletter subscriber, you will get access to the film a week earlier than the general public.
Film patron rewards will be shipped early March. Also, if you are a qualifying patron, remember to check your email inbox for your own digital copy of Juice. As soon as the film is finished, we will send it your way!
One of the patron rewards is a 27” x 40” Juice poster. With this week’s newsletter, we are excited to reveal the film’s official poster design, featuring our main character Violet. The photograph used for the poster is actually a frame from the film. I added orange and teal color grading, as well as a slight vignette, in order to emulate the grungy and dark vibe of the film. Underneath Juice’s title, you can see the billing block for the film. A billing block is a list of names, generally in a heavily condensed font, that is featured on the bottom portion of an official poster, also known as a “one sheet”. In traditional Hollywood, the order and size of billing block credits are negotiated with contracts between the producers/distributors and creative talent. In our case, the names are organized in a somewhat traditional order, with the studio first and director last. Associate producers, look closely. Your names also appear within the billing block.
(Juice’s associate producers are Durk Dunham, Arnie Feldsher, John & Jennifer Garcia, and Russ & Marcia Kissel.)
Sound and Music
While we initially planned for our day-of recorded audio to be used in the film, we decided to recreate the soundscape and dialogue through foley, ADR, and synthesized sound effects for complete control and manipulation.
As introduced in Juice Production Newsletter #4, foley is the reproduction of sounds that would be found in a film’s environment and the synchronizing of them with the film’s visuals. At the simplest level, the hoof steps of a horse can be reproduced through the sound of coconut shells striking each other or another surface. For Juice, our foley consisted footsteps, the dropping of metal, breaking of glass, crinkling of wrappers, and more. In the second shot of the film, Violet walks along the cement, stumbling and shuffling in her boots. To re-create Violet’s footsteps, we brought two blocks of cement into our studio, each with different textures. Since I still had the actual high heel boots that Violet wore in the film, I tested the sound of those on the cement. They were missing a heel and sounded a bit too plastic-y. Instead, we used a heavier pair of tennis shoes. I put the shoes on my hands and “walked”, matching Violet’s footsteps while watching a playback monitor. If needed, Dylan adjusted and realigned any missteps after the fact.
Our ADR, or Automated Dialogue Replacement, was carried out in pretty much the same way as our foley work. We brought each actor into the studio, including Violet, Violet’s Brother, Aunt Marcy, and Holder 2371, and had them re-record their lines against the visuals of their character. Acting while speaking helped to keep the vocal emotion strong and prevent rubbery lips. Rubbery lips occur when the dubbed dialogue does not match the pre-recorded visuals closely enough.
We have secured a composer for the film’s music! We will be working with Christian Kolo, an orchestral composer also at Michigan State University. Much of the film will be brought to life with the soundtrack he creates for Juice.
Visit his website and listen to Christian’s other film soundtracks, as well as his orchestral/band works: www.christiankolo.com
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In order for Dylan to begin any work on the sound, I first had to complete the picture lock. The picture lock is essentially an edit of the film with all of the shots and cuts in place. Once you have picture lock, you cannot move shots around. If the shots end up being moved, this can cause a great headache when the sound designer is editing to one version of the film, while the composer is writing to another, and visual effects are being created to yet another.
Most recently, I have been working on the post-production visual effects for Juice. In order to complete the film, I will first have to create/place the effects, color correct the effects to match the existing scene, and then color grade the overall film. Yesterday, I completed approximately fifty seconds of post work. I adjusted the fade in/fade out lengths for the opening credits. I recently saw a short film that inspired me and instead of using a typical “fade in from black”, Juice is going to have a “glitch in”. To create the glitch effect I used Red Giant’s Universe 2.2 plug-in within Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018.
I also added fire plumes to Juice’s establishing shot. The first twenty-five seconds of the film will show a futuristic, industrial cityscape while featuring the music of the film. In this shot, I used Adobe After Effects CC 2018 to implement fire plumes. I adjusted their size, duration, direction of wind, and more to fit the scene. For example, clouds of smoke/steam often pass in front of the furthest fire plume. It would be nearly impossible to separate the smoke from the footage and place it in front of the artificial fire, so instead I simply adjusted the opacity of the fire plume layer. As the clouds pass in front, the fire plume has less opacity. When there are less clouds, the fire is seen clearer and stronger through an increase in opacity. These manual adjustments of opacity are controlled through keyframes. While I still have to match their color with the preexisting footage, I am happy with the results so far.
Film Patrons Shout Out!
I want to give a huge thank you to this week’s featured film patrons! Thank you so much for your contribution to Juice. With film patrons like you we are able to bring the world of Juice to life. Thank you for continuing to be supportive of and interested in our creative work.
Russ & Leila Kissel
John & Jennifer Garcia
Russ & Marcia Kissel
Dan & Denise Murphy
If you are interested in becoming a Juice Film Patron, visit www.thefilmjuice.com/donate for more information.
If you have any questions about Juice or the film’s production, please feel free to send them in an email to email@example.com with the subject “QUESTION SUBMISSION”. Unless requested otherwise, I will answer them publicly within the next newsletter.
Until next time,