I keep getting emails regarding After Last Season, a strange movie trailer I posted back in March that I assumed was an April Fool’s Joke. It’s scheduled to be released tomorrow in, get this, Lancaster, CA; North Aurora, IL; Rochester, NY; and Austin, TX (tough luck, Moosejaw Sasketchawan). The trailer (which even made it on Apple) is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. It looks like it was shot in a garage with a camcorder – all the actors have huge shadows behind them and the unmixed audio sounds like it was recorded on the camera mic, or a cell phone (I could watch the reaction shot at the 30-second mark over and over for hours).
But according to an interview with “Mark Region”, the fake-sounding writer-director, it cost $5 million and was 10 years in the making (to put the budget in perspective, Adventureland was also made for less than $10 mil). Most recently, I received an email from a guy calling himself Jason Kulas, the lead actor. He assured me it was a real movie, and described the process of making it in great detail:
I’ve done around 20 shorts & features, as lead and supporting roles. But this was my first on film (35mm), which made things interesting. The shooting method was pretty efficient, both on time, and film stock. To use time, and film stock efficiently, a number of times Mark didn’t shoot the scene, but rather just individual lines from various scenes, out-of-sequence, in close-up. He planned to assemble these shots in editing to form the scene. Mark seemed to already have the entire film visually in his head, right down to what shots, angles, masters, and close-ups would be in a scene. Because of this he could shoot only what he knew he needed, and time and budget didn’t get expended on extraneous coverage. [...so where did all the money go?]
This allowed him to do things like have 1 setup, like a close-up on one actor, and he’d have them perform just line 18 from scene 80, then line 12 from scene 20, etc. With a little attention to remaining footage, this approach let him pack dialog lines into every last bit of film before retiring that reel, and without having to move the camera or lights.
This all sounds perfectly reasonable, except that in the trailer it doesn’t look like there were any lighting setups (or closeups, for that matter). And I have a hard time believing that the visual he had in his head had huge out-of-context shadows everywhere. Not to mention the insanely mundane (munsane?) dialog:
- “There are places I’d like to visit. I still haven’t been to the main market.”
- “My uncle stayed in the area last year. He showed me a picture.”
- “My hometown is near Terralind.”
- “I’ve never been to that town, but I’ve driven though it.”
- “They’ve got, uh, printers in the basement you can use.”
And to top it off, the actor guy links his online profile at the bottom of the email… to a freakin’ geocities site. Come on, man, did you email me from 1996? You guys are messing with me, right? Sadly, I can’t be in any of the towns where it’s premiering, but everything it seems a little too cryptic/strange to be true. Yet I can’t find anything for sure that would indicate it’s a stunt or a hoax or viral marketing of some kind. Is After Last Season some Joaquin Phoenix-type performance art, or is this Mark Region guy the modern-day Ed Wood?