“Reversal” presented many challenges as a filmmaker, writer, director and editor. Least of all, the way the story was told, in reverse. In order to pull it off, it took a lot of preplanning and even more experimentation. To begin with I had to make sure that the story could unfold naturally both forwards and backwards. This is where the script became the most important. Knowing how complicated the shoots would be, I had to keep the script as simple as possible while maintaining a continuing story. I worked out a timeline of events so that I could use each scene as a reveal that would expand the story. I wrote the first draft of the script like any other. Paying particular attention to how each scene began and ended. Knowing that we would shoot the film forwards and reverse all of the footage. Therefore all of the dialogue would have to be reversed for shooting. So I kept the dialogue as simple as possible. After I had a completed script, which ran forwards, I rewrote it backwards to be sure the story would flow in reverse. After I was happy with both drafts it was time to step out of the usual world. I set up a camera to record all of the lines and then played them all backwards. After several looks at each line I wrote what I heard and saw on screen as the new line. “Say you love me.” became, “Eeem vol ooooo yays.”
Now that the story and dialogue was written, I had to use the backwards flow as much as possible to create the universe the audience would experience. My roommates and I got out a camera and as many house hold objects (like prop guns) and used them. Then we played it all backwards to find how each object’s use could advance the story. One of my favorite shots that came from this process was when our “hero” drops his guns and slips off his jacket. Normally this would not be that interesting of an event, but using the backwards flow it reveals and sets up the gun fight.
The hardest thing about shooting this film was the fact that we shot it like any other movie, but with the knowledge that it would all be reversed. Detailed storyboards and a crew dedicated to continuity were the only ways to make it work.
To make things easier and to be prepared for a back-and-forth version of the film we shot every scene with reversed and regular dialogue. This made it easier for the actors to understand how to deliver the lines as well as saving us time in ADR.
In the end we created a great story flow, which can play backwards and forwards.
-Cullen Paul Wright
Filmaka hosts Monthly film competition, film festival and documentary competitions. We offer cash prizes to the winning films Judged by Thomas Augberger, Laura Bickford, Tim Delaney, Colin Firth, Werner Herzog, Dr Herbert Kloiber, Neil LaBute, Kenneth Lemberger, John Madden, Deepak Nayar, Zak Penn, Bill Pullman, Paul Schrader and Wim Wenders. This months feature film contest is "Race Against The Clock". Rewarding creativity from the heart of hollywood online through internet. Filmaka's first movie enters production SWINGING WITH THE FINKELS Written and directed by Filmaka Member Jonathan Newman Produced BY Filmaka Founder Deepak Nayar. SUBMIT YOUR FILM