The idea for And Everything Was Alright began with a plan to do a simple short over a three day weekend. About a year later, the project had grown to include a picture book, an art exhibition and an extended online component.
Preproduction started in January 2008 when we began developing a shooting script and storyboards for the short film. Costumes were sourced from a variety of suppliers -- from thrift stores to eBay.
Most of the film was shot on location but one scene required a space ship, and that was one of the more challenging aspects of this movie. We tried to build one using metal and wood scraps from a local hardware store, but a few hours into it, we realized that it was an exercise in futility. The space ship looked like crap. So then, we decided to fake the space ship using a combination of custom made digital sets, some cheesy lights and a computer joystick.
Finding a grocery store turned out to be a much bigger task than we imagined. We called almost every store in town and begged them to let us film inside the store. At one point, we considered changing the story to where it no longer required a store. Thankfully, Sunflower Farmers Market was kind enough to let us film and it all sailed pretty smoothly from there. With that and the other locations nailed down, we went in to production.
Filming started in May, using a Canon XL-2 camcorder and a Canon 3X wide angle lens (Some closeup shots were shot using the stock 20X lens). We ambitiously attempted to achieve a 3:1 shooting ratio (3 minutes shot for every one minute of edited film) but failed miserably. Our final shooting ratio came out to be around 24:1, mostly due to repeated improvised takes and continuity errors. For example, while filming a scene in a coffee shop, one of our main characters dropped and broke his coffee mug right when we were almost done filming that scene. We did not have a similar cup available and had to film that entire scene again with a different cup.
We wanted to have the camera move around a lot, so we built a track system using PVC pipes and skateboard wheels. This, in combination with post production smoothing filters created some impressive results. For the special effects shots, we utilized an inexpensive green screen and natural lighting (in a garage with the door up). For a shot of a rocket flying through space, we painted a 2X2 piece of wood post green (had the green screen color matched at the hardware store) and propped a toy spaceship on the post sideways. Then using the track system we moved the camera to give the illusion of the ship flying toward the camera.
Filming continued throughout the excruciating Phoenix summer, and wrapped in August. We spent the next two months editing. Our first edit was about 15 minutes long. Later we cut several scenes due to pacing, and some scenes were reordered. Once the soundscore and special effects were complete, we began work on the sound design, mixing the dialogue, music and sound effects, resulting in our final edit.