Film Noir

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The cast of our film noir shoot from left to right; Lanay Martin, Adam Riley, Amy Chadwick, Jammie Lee, Heather Oates, Joshua Sik

The danger of giving geeks like myself access to streaming media like Netflix is we spend way too much time watching science fiction, horror, and cartoons. However the result is we feed our already over active imagination and the start wanting to create art based off what we have seen. Which is exactly what got me wanting to do a film noir shoot. I had been binge watching Star Trek The Next Generation. There were several episodes in the first two seasons where Captain Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, would be on the holodeck acting out a pulp fiction character called Dixon Hill. As I was watching I got to noticing the lighting that they used. The film noir look is strong shadows with sharp edges. The more I watched the more I wanted to shoot a film noir set. I also wanted to do more than just take a few random portraits, I wanted to create a story around the pictures.

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Detective Kent Cranston and Jumelia, the Jazz singer at the local club. Take a brief moment together inside the club. Sadly this may very well be the last moment they have together as they all become pawns of a nefarious plot.

Camille Penelope interviews Dr. Myra Farrow  for the newspaper. Dr. Farrow's new rocket formula is drawing the attention of other great minds as well as the attention of darker forces.

Camille Penelope interviews Dr. Myra Farrow for the newspaper. Dr. Farrow’s new rocket formula is drawing the attention of other great minds as well as the attention of darker forces.

To get started I turned to the best casting source for fun projects, Facebook. I started with friends and models that I have worked with in the past then filled out the cast with a post on Facebook. The best way to coordinate this is to create a group message or a private group to discuss plans and schedules. Since this is a fun project we wanted to keep cost low so for costuming everyone headed out to thrift shops to purchase props and wardrobe. All total the average spent was $20 or less. I had a little higher cost since I had to rent the venue, but still my total cost was less than $100.

Dr. Myra Farrow and her husband, Isaac, share a happy moment over her success with the formula. However happiness is fleeting, most especially when dark and menacing forces are coming.

Dr. Myra Farrow and her husband, Isaac, share a happy moment over her success with the formula. However happiness is fleeting, most especially when dark and menacing forces are coming.

Madame Sunsin attempts to coerce the completed formula from Dr. Myra Farrow. However Dr. Farrow refuses to give up the formula, but Madame Sunsin has plans, she will not fail in her mission to steal the doctor's research.

Madame Sunsin attempts to coerce the completed formula from Dr. Myra Farrow. However Dr. Farrow refuses to give up the formula, but Madame Sunsin has plans, she will not fail in her mission to steal the doctor’s research.

In our area we have an old elementary school that has been turned into a cultural art center. It is an old building with lots of character so I knew it would be a great place to set up the shoot. I rented what was an old classroom which would be where most of the shots were created. Since we shot after hours I also had access to a dance hall and foyer for some of the images. Prior to arrival I had a rough layout of what I wanted to shoot but I was open and looking for things I might not have thought of prior to starting. Such as the dance scene and the scene in the backroom were all conceived after walking around the location.

Detective Kent Cranston interrogates Madame Sunsin to what her plans were. Madame Sunsin is not intimidated or deterred. Already she has a plan to steal the formula.

Detective Kent Cranston interrogates Madame Sunsin to what her plans were. Madame Sunsin is not intimidated or deterred. Already she has a plan to steal the formula.

In a dark back room of her nightclub Madame Sunsin forces her Jazz singer Jumelia into her plot to destroy the Farrow's and steal the formula

In a dark back room of her nightclub Madame Sunsin forces her Jazz singer Jumelia into her plot to destroy the Farrow’s and steal the formula

The price to steal Dr. Farrow's formula will be high. Jumilea will break more than one heart as she obeys Madame Sunsin's plan to destroy the Farrows and distract Detective Cranston.

The price to steal Dr. Farrow’s formula will be high. Jumilea will break more than one heart as she obeys Madame Sunsin’s plan to destroy the Farrows and distract Detective Cranston.

Each person played a character which had a brief bio. The character’s names came from characters and actor’s names that had been in or worked on the old Shadow series. I created an outline of a story which involved the evil Madame Sunsun manipulating people and events in order to steal a new rocket formula from Dr. Maria Farrow. Of course being film noir somebody had to die so we choose Farrow’s husband Isaac. All of this had to be modified as we went because things didn’t go as planned.

Dr. Maria Farrow points the gun at her husband Isaac as feelings of anger and hurt over his betrayal run through her heart and mind. Will she kill her husband? Will Madame Sunsin's nefarious plans come together?

Dr. Maria Farrow points the gun at her husband Isaac as feelings of anger and hurt over his betrayal run through her heart and mind. Will she kill her husband? Will Madame Sunsin’s nefarious plans come together?

Detective Cranston arrest Dr. Maria Farrow for murder of her husband Isaac as reporter Camille Penelope looks on. The realization of how she allowed herself to be used to destroy lives has finally hit jazz singer Jumilea. All the while the cunning Madame Sunsing looks on with a wicked smile now the full formula is finally revealed.

Detective Cranston arrest Dr. Maria Farrow for murder of her husband Isaac as reporter Camille Penelope looks on. The realization of how she allowed herself to be used to destroy lives has finally hit jazz singer Jumilea. All the while the cunning Madame Sunsing looks on with a wicked smile now the full formula is finally revealed.

For example the model who had been set to play Dr. Farrow had to cancel at the last minute so I spent the morning of the shoot looking for a replacement. I had originally planned for Detective Cranston to be murdered and his partner make the arrest but a another cancellation altered that plan. It doesn’t matter if it is a shoot for fun or a paying job, you got to be flexible and not let frustration get the better of you. You have to keep your end goal in mind and just solve the problems as they arrive.

In the end we all had a great time and produced some fun images.

This was a lighting test that I thought I would go ahead and create a portrait from.

This was a lighting test that I thought I would go ahead and create a portrait from.

I released the pictures on my Facebook page over the course of a week. This image as a filler to remind everyone to follow the post.

An outtake from the series. In the end I thought the way she held the gun and the camera angle was too modern for the style we were shooting.

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