A short story about the
The Long Silence After
The inception of the Long Silence After to the
big screen really began about eight years ago. I was traveling around
Europe and I had a collection of short stories from the great hard boiled
writers of the twentieth century. Among the likes of Jim Thompson, Raymond
Chandler, Dashiel hammet and others, was a story from one of the contemporaries
of hard boiled literature.
As a matter of fact, it was the LAST story in this whole book. It was
by Ed Gorman who I had never heard of, but from the description of his
other work in the prolog, it sounded very intriguing to me. I was especially
very impressed with one quote he made about this short story that was
featured in this book. He wrote, “ We kill off so many characters
in our stories, death begins to lose its meaning and I wanted to create
a story where death has a little dominion”. I thought this was a
great idea and after I read the actual story, I thought, “ God this
would make a great short film.”
Cut to seven years later. I had made a few short films with various degrees
of success. But I hadn’t made one in a while and I thought, “it’s
time to make a new picture.” Unfortunately, I didn’t really
have an idea and I didn’t want to do another comedy since my last
couple of shorts were comedic in nature. So I thought it would be nice
to try a straight drama. I began looking through my files and I came across
a treatment for the Long Silence After, which I must have written sometime
in the period between reading the story and that particular moment. I
read it and thought that I had a complete script ready to shoot.
I write so much, that this happens all the time; I just find things that
I don’t even remember I wrote. But this script had all the elements
that interested me at the time: a simple set up for real good conflict,
a showcase for two great actors and a film noir feel with a more realistic
plotline that you wouldn’t find in conventional film noir. I wanted
the look of the genre, not so much the genre itself (which I think is
done to death).
So here I go, embarking on a new film but guess what? I couldn’t
find an actress that was willing to play this downtrodden-ex-hooker-with
aids, who gets to be terrorized for eight minutes. One would think it
wouldn’t be that difficult. But it was. I had actresses interested
in the role but as soon as they would read the script, THE END! I really
wanted an African American for the role because that’s how it is
in the story. But so many actress just hated this role. It was too much.
After a while, I just gave up all together.
It was at this time that I was asked to direct an episode of a children’s
TV show. A friend had already shot the pilot and I was asked to shoot
the first actual episode. In the original pilot, I saw this actress that
I thought was just fantastic. She played two completely different roles
in it and she transformed herself so convincingly, that I was just floored.
I asked my friend if she would be interested in reading for the Long Silence
After but it turned out that she had moved to LA. So that was that.
So, I finished the episode and after that, I tried
to get The Long Silence going again, because there was an actress that
was interested. So I made calls, got crew that wanted to do it and all
I needed was an actor.
Then, one day I met Duane Sharp. I was on the set of a pharmaceutical
video and Duane was the actor. I thought he was great. We even got to
talk at lunch and he was just a cool man. So at the end of the day I told
him I had this project that he would be perfect for. He seemed to be interested
and I told him I would send him the script.
It was only when I returned home, that I heard
that my actress up and left for New Zealand, just out of the blue. This
of course killed me. Here I was ready to go and suddenly I’m back
to square one. I tried finding other actresses again but again, I had
no luck at all. So that’s when I gave up. I said forget this project
because it will never happen and instead of driving myself Roy-Batty,
I would just throw in that towel and pursue something else.
The very next day, I get a phone call. Guess who
it is? Remember that actress that I saw in the kids show, that moved to
LA? Tiffini Funches. Well, here she was calling me, of all things. And
guess why she was calling? T o discuss The Long Silence After, which she
heard that I was interested in casting her for. This was like some miracle
from God. So I sent her the script and she actually liked it. And she
was willing to do it. She even told me she had a friend that would be
good for the other role.
So I had an audition with her and her friend. I
liked both of them very much and at this point I thought this project
might actually get made.
I thought I would enlist my brother Andre who is a DP. I pitched him the
idea and I can’t say that he was exactly thrilled. As matter of
fact, he didn’t like it at all. His first reservation was that it
was based on copy written material by an author I had no connection with
at all. I explained to him that I was planning on figuring that part of
it out, but I wanted his commitment if I did get permission. He said yes,
but only because he thought I would never be able to get the rights.
So I set out to find Ed Gorman and rather quickly,
I did. I sent him an email explaining the project and after a few correspondences,
he finally agreed. That was it. I was in business. And to Andre’s
dismay, he was now my DP.
I decided rehearsals were in order and I invited Tiffini and her friend
Aron back for a taped rehearsal. It went very well and we had another
one a week later. But this time, Aron was not prepared. I asked them to
have it memorized for the second rehearsal and Tiffini did. But Aron did
not. I was disappointed because I like to see a certain level of commitment
to a project before I embark upon principle photography.
Honestly, I just wasn’t seeing it. And just
as I wanted an African American for the female role, I believed a caucasion
was essential for the male lead. And Aron was also African American which
I thought was an interesting twist to the character that I was willing
to go with. But after Arons disappointing second rehearsal, I knew I needed
to stick with the original vision. So that’s when I called Duane
Sharp. I sent him the script and he was in.
After that, I quickly hustled to get a location,
which ended up being the apartment of a friend of mine. This place was
just nutty. She collected all this junk over the years, so her place was
just filled to the brim with stuff. I thought it was very visually interesting
which was important for the location because so much of the movie is dialog.
So we were set. I didn’t even bother with rehearsals this time,
because I knew Duane would nail it and she had already rehearsed it with
me. So I knew she was set and he was definitely on the level. I also thought
these two actors never meeting before, might create an interesting tension.
We shot the picture in two days. The first day was principle photography
with the both of them and the second day was b-roll of just him. I was
leaving for Europe about a week later and I managed to squeeze out a rough
cut before I left. Once I got back, tragedy struck. I was suddenly hit
by all this personal drama, which I will refrain from going into. However,
this did derail the project in a major way. I was depressed and it was
so difficult to get in the groove of this movie, even though I had a rough
cut. After a few months, things did return to normal and I was able to
finally complete the editing.
Now it was time for music. This was also an extremely difficult process
because I went to several different composers who I knew, and I just could
not get anywhere with any of them. Either I was waiting on a score that
never came, or what I got sounded too amateur. Either way this derailed
me for quite some time. Then one day, I was listening to a CD my girlfriend
was playing, and I heard this one track that I just fell in love with.
I thought this track added a whole new dimension to this movie but again,
copy written material was an issue. So I decided to do what I did with
Ed Gorman. I tried to find the composer of this music online. Lo and behold,
I actually did find him and got in touch with him. After some legal details
were taken care of, he allowed me to use his material. This was the saving
grace of this whole project. I finally had a final cut and this film was