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25 March 2010 @ 06:39 pm
"Tell-Tale" short film by Greg Williams with Carla Gugino  
Rotten Tomatoes has posted an article about a short film by Greg Williams, featuring Carla Gugino, Adam Arkin, Jesse Spencer and Clifton Collins Jr. Screenplay - Sebastian Gutierrez.

The movie wasn't planned, what started as a photo session ended up in a short movie that will be available over iTunes, with a special connection to the soon to be released iPad.

2010 Tell Tale 01

RT in the Edit Suite: Tell Tale
We witness short film history with photographer Greg Williams

by Joe Utichi

Greg Williams has given us good reason to buy an iPad. The renowned photographer, who's shot more A-list names than most A-list directors, is telling RT about his latest shoot. The feature will run in LA Times Magazine, with cover star Carla Gugino gazing sultrily past the masthead in a suitably noir-like pose.

And if you're still fond of ink and paper, that's about all she'll do. But this particular issue, launching the day after the iPad hits North American shelves, has a digital cousin. In this edition, downloaded to your iPad, Gugino will come to life, mouthing, "Welcome to LA." On the pages within, her boa will flutter in a gentle breeze.

The technique, which aims to make best use of the iPad's digital display and change the experience of reading a magazine, is one pioneered by Williams, and was most famously put to work on a series of digital campaigns for Quantum of Solace (see an example here). It's called a Moto - a motion photo - and it's been made possible only recently, by the advent of super high-definition digital video cameras from which magazine-quality images can be extracted. It'll look like a photo shoot, but move like a film.

It's all in aid of Tell Tale, a 7-minute short noir thriller starring Gugino and Adam Arkin. Part detective story, part twisted romance, it follows a couple whose attempt at erotic experimentation ends up in a police interrogation room. Accused of the murder of a police informant -- a lover Gugino's femme fatale character picks up, played by Jesse Spencer -- the couple remains cool under pressure. But when they return home, they're troubled by nightmares of what happened, and by an endless heartbeat reaching up from beneath the floorboards...

Discussions with Gugino and screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez about Edgar Allen Poe's The Telltale Heart, on which the film is based, were the catalyst for the project. "Originally Carla and I were just going to do some Motos together," explains Williams. "Then we thought we'd give it a bit of narrative and it just grew and grew. Sebastian went away and wrote the script -- literally that night."

Williams' film is, much like his photographic work, exquisitely shot -- every frame an iconic image. "When we were shooting the interrogation scene, Greg described it as being a photographic essay," explains producer Bob Ford. "He started out as a photojournalist and tried to take a similar approach. We covered it with 11 camera positions and it was interesting to see what made the cut."

The film has been shot on high-definition RED cameras, which have fast earned a reputation as the best way to shoot digital film. It's these that make the Moto images possible, and this is the first project ever to be shot with the company's game-changing new Epic camera. "The new camera we've been using, once it's in its final state, is without a doubt going to revolutionise film," says Williams. "I started taking it on all my editorial shoots, with people like Megan Fox, Jude Law and Robert DeNiro. What I was making weren't films, but they weren't stills either. The stills that you pull from it are fantastic, but it also meant I was pulling performances out of actors while I was shooting them. They weren't posing for the strobe light, they were acting."

Williams hopes the results will be worth investing in. Challenging the notion that short films don't make money, Tell Tale will be distributed on iTunes for a nominal fee. The plan is to discover if audiences are ready to pay for high-quality short-form content. "I didn't think about it as a way to recoup costs," he tells RT, "but people have always said you don't make money out of short films and I wanted to test that theory! I think it's technologically a world-first and I think that will excite a lot of people. Plus, we're promoting it in a way that'll really make use of this new device, the iPad, so I hope it'll reach a lot of people."

When we watch the film -- with Williams providing an audio commentary for the sound effects which have yet to be laid at the time of our visit -- it's pretty clear the project's production values are high, but what's really exciting is the potential on screen. Williams plans to return with more shorts -- another is already in the can - and tells RT that a feature may follow eventually.

And it's not just the manner of distribution that Tell Tale plans to do differently. The iPad plays a big role, not just in the LA Times Magazine spreads, but in the idea that filmed entertainment can be enjoyed outside of the cinema or the home theatre. It's not a new idea, and indeed it has been floated in the past to varying degrees of success. Whether Apple's device will, like much of their technological innovations in the past, fill a void we didn't even realise existed remains to be seen. But what's certain is that Williams will be amongst the first of a new breed of filmmakers willing to put that theory to the test.

'The LA Times Magazine' comes with the 'Los Angeles Times' Sunday edition, April 4th!
Bad Fluffybadfluffy on March 26th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Wow... what a creative guy this Sebastian is! Carla certainly seems game for everything and they are intent on exploring every aspect of the new media these days, uh?
Yet another one that won't be available to us poor foreigners but at least they're having fun! Arkin and Carla together... that's a strange couple but what talent!

Lemon: Cappuccinolemon_tree_x on March 26th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
As for exploring new media - my thoughts exactly ;)! Like I always say, following Carla's career will never be boring.

I've no experience with iTunes, do you? I actually thought it doesn't matter where you come from.

Arkin and Carla together... that's a strange couple but what talent!

Adam Arkin is one of my favourite actors :). Seeing him playing with Carla together again will be great. Do you remember Chicago Hope?

Bad Fluffybadfluffy on March 27th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
Carla will keep bouncing wherever there's acting ;)

Unfortunately iTunes is like any other media. If the movie/show/video is copyrighted for international distribution, you can access it from anywhere, if not it won't even appear in your library of available videos to buy/watch. Believe me it's a real problem. I have friends who live here and are from the US or Australia and they can only access the French content or whatever has been copyrighted in France because their IP addresses are French.
I don't know what the status of that one will be but since it seems to have been made to promote LA Times Mag, I doubt it will be available anywhere but the US. Canadians might not get it either! pff... what's the point of an international network like the web if you're restricted to local content, I ask you?

Arkin is wonderful. He has this weird quiet understated acting but he can even play crazy people and scare you. lol. I never got the chance to see Chicago Hope sadly but I do know they work together on it. They had quite a cast if memory serves. I wouldn't be surprised that's how he got involved in this to begin with. Carla and Sebastian apparently keep good friends in the industry from every job they both get ;)
Lemonlemon_tree_x on March 28th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
Actually I think they would like to reach a large audience, so it wouldn't make much sense to limit the access with making it available for US viewers only.

what's the point of an international network like the web if you're restricted to local content, I ask you?

Short answer? None.

No :) or course there are reasons, but I hope in this case we won't have to deal with it, and "Tell - Tale" won't have restrictions.

Arkin is wonderful. He has this weird quiet understated acting

I couldn't agree more with you, he defines subtle acting new :) I watched Chicago Hope, but not all episodes, and to be honest I can't remember Carla's part in it. It's been too long ago since I've seen it.
miszczu on March 27th, 2010 08:22 am (UTC)
Carla as femme fatale? Awesome. Why doesn't she get roles like that in feature length flicks?
Lemon: Coffee Black Goldlemon_tree_x on March 28th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh hey... that's a question I really can't answer. I would like to know that myself!!