The making of Isaac Pumkin
Making Isaac Pumkin quite possibly saved Ben and me from sinking into the depths of creative meltdown. Allow me to provide some back-story. The winter of 2001 drew to a close and a friend asked me to flesh out a one-act treatment I'd written, into a thirty minute screenplay that he would direct.
The screenplay is about an underground collective of revolutionary bi-pedal sheep plotting to overthrow humanity and liberate the natural world and is titled, Ovis Maximus.
Director Ben, (who will be referred to as G.I. Ben from this point
forward) wanted Ben to be the DP and me to be the art director on Ovis;
our first movie making experience. The three of us GROSSLY underestimated
the shoot schedule. Shooting began late July 2001, and by October the
leaves were changing color, G.I. Ben was obligated to start on another
project, and we hadn't even finished shooting the exteriors. G.I. Ben
was taking a leave and not releasing creative control of the project.
We were hamstrung and the production stopped dead. We were extremely
frustrated with the situation, but neither wanted to jinx ourselves
nor admit the obvious. Out of this crucible of stifled creativity came
the birth of Isaac Pumkin; Dull Grey Studio's first completed movie.
We talked about the mutual idea and decided to make a 5min. short that
incorporated Pumpkin Fest. Our main objective was not to make something
particularly good, just something fast and finishable. We only had three
days between original concept and Pumpkin Fest, so beloved pressure
The story of Issaac Pumkin developed the next day and that night we started on the storyboards. We kept drawing the next morning, until the bar to open at 3:30pm.
Ben gets cranky if he doesn't get a couple beers in him by four. He
says it helps him "relax." We packed the camera, a tripod,
two mics, went to Killkennys and were given permission to shoot. Ben
was well lit by the time we got the lines right. That night we shot
Isaac's introductory apartment scene and made plans to catch the 11:30
bus at the local bus station. We planned on finishing up with the Pumpkin
Festival the following day. We shot four locations in three days including
pick-ups; we finally had momentum.
running time: 4 minutes