Imaginary Bullets

Two children discover a shocking phenomena when real bullets fire out of their pretend guns which plunges the world into chaos. However, they are about to uncover a grand discovery in the bleak new world.

The film is currently touring the festival circuit and is unavailable for public viewing. Please contact me via email for private viewing online.

Director: Sean Oliver
Producer: Sean Oliver, Cody Hunt, Drew Leatham

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I've known Sean Oliver, Cody Hunt, and Drew Leatham since high school. We were all part of our schools comedy club, Friday Night Live, albiet at mostly different times. We stayed in touch while we seperately grew through college and film school. Sean, Cody, and Drew kept making films together and created an astonishing, and excellent, collection of short films under Sean's production company, Third Productions.

Sean approached me to shoot this project after years of us both eager to work together. The script was simple, beautiful, and poignant. How could I say no?!

Needless to say, I was excited to work with my high school alma mater.

The film focuses on three people, two children and one adult. All three tragically discover that they can shoot real bullets out of fake guns, whether it be a squirt gun, finger gun, or toy ray-gun.

The first scene takes place on a sunny afternoon front lawn. I wanted to create a warm, childlike feel to the look. We schedule the scenes early in the day to have the sun as low as possible so we could create a "golden hour" light effect. Our colorist, Nicole Kizer, amplified the tones in the grade so we could drive home this saturated and loving feel. Of course, all of that gets cut short when the bullets start flying.

Once death occurs, I wanted to rush the audience into the world of adulthood. The next scene literally takes place in an office, so we kept the white balance neutral and the lighting plain. But even the boring, safe world of corporate can't escape tragedy.

As the story plunges into chaos, I began to light scenes based on the emotion the specific characters were going through. For example, when a wife thinks her husband is leaving her (in reality, he's getting ready to leave town because he accidentally murdered someone), I lit the scene in a dark and moody way to imply the husband is rushing out and that the family was entering a dark period in their life again.

A key effect Sean wrote into the script were transitions from scene to scene. We agreed that all scenes should have a smooth transition in the same way Edgar Wright works. A slow pull out of a TV reporter that morphs into the actual TV a character is watching is just one example.

A lot of the special effects were done by Cody, Drew, Sean, and production designer Lauryn Berger. We had to shoot a fair amount of plate shots for when food was fired out of the hands of the children at the end of the film.

I chose to shoot the film on the Varicam LT after testing it in Hollywood. Sean was onboard when I sent him references to prior projects and we both agreed it would be the best fit for the film. We used my Nikkor and Russian lenses.

The native 5000 ISO was extremely helpful for the sequences we shot in downtown Mesa, AZ. We had little money to afford the most basic of lighting packages, let alone enough to light a downtown street. Unfortunatley, we didn't forsee a flicker on screen until we got into the color grade, but alas that's the growing pains of high ISO shooting.

I'm incredibly grateful to the Arizona crew who came on board for this project. It was a labor of love for Sean, Cody, and Drew, but the end product was marvelous. Thank you all!