‘Playing Through’ Gets Honorable Mention At NSI Short Film Festival

April 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

'Playing Through' Gets Honorable Mention At NSI Short Film Festival | Short Film | NSI Canada

Recently, Playing Through was accepted into the NSI Online Short Film Festival and we just got word that our film was given an honorable mention for the A&E Short Filmmakers Award!

Check out the news story here.

I’d like to congratulate ‘Remote‘ directed by Marc Roussel for winning the award and I’d also like to congratulate Hugh John Murray for getting an honorable mention as well for his film ‘Desiderata‘.  It was the first time there were two honorable mentions.

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is a fantastic collection of Canadian films and we were thrilled to be a part of it.  Here are some of the nice things the jury said about Playing Through.

“Solid storytelling by the filmmaker and great chemistry between the actors combined to make a touching and heartfelt film.” Juan Riedinger

“This simple golf afternoon is intelligently layered with complex emotion.  I respected its patience and its humble approach in unraveling private anxieties within one simple setting.  All elements were nicely in sync in this story – photography, editing, performance, direction, and script.  It is a lovely character piece about friendship that is respectful of its medium.” Anneli Ekborn

This unabashedly sweet and unique portrayal of male relationships captures a moment of reflection on what matters most.” Danis Goulet

You can head over to NSI and watch Playing Through in it’s entirety right now.

Special Thanks to NSI Canada for their support.

Playing Through independent short film 17 west productions

Click here to visit 17 West Productions.

Playing Through Official Selection 2010 NSI Online Short Film Festival

December 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Playing Through Accepted Into NSI Online Short Film Festival

Playing Through has been accepted into the 2010 NSI Online Short Film Festival!

We’re extremely honoured to be a part of a festival featuring 100% Canadian content.  The site adds new films each week and it’s completely free to watch.

I will post again when Playing Through goes live but head over there regardless and check out some amazing Canadian Filmmakers at work.

Playing Through Official Selection NSI Online Short Film Festival

Playing Through is the story of Brandon & Nathan.  Two friends playing a round of golf – Terribly.

While Brandon does his best to distract his friend, every thought Nathan has rests on a looming phone call. A call that will reveal whether or not he has been diagnosed with cancer.

The film was written and directed by Jason McKinnon (Me) and Produced by Eric Gamache.  It stars John Steptoe, Michael Clarke and Alyssa LaPlume and was filmed at Clear Springs Golf Course just outside of North Bay Ontario.

I’d like to thank the festival organizers for including Playing Through in their program.

Check out the trailer below and stop by 17west.ca for more.

Directing Short Films: Playing Through vs The Climb

September 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Directing Short Films

I’ve been making movies since high school.  Back then we were winging it.  We shot our films with a camcorder and filmed every scene in order.

We didn’t have screenplays and barely worked out the stories.  We simply made it up as we went along.

You learn by trying.

I consider Playing Through my first official short film.

It was based on a screenplay I wrote and absolutely adored.  I couldn’t wait to see the finished film.  Screenwriting has always been my passion.  I’ve never considered myself a director and truthfully, I don’t know if my ultimate goal would be to direct for a living.  I want to write.  I love writing.

However, I also enjoy challenging myself in new creative environments. 

Why not give directing a serious shot?  I had nothing to lose.

Playing Through Short Film 17 West Productions

When we shot that movie, I didn’t know how to carry myself on a professional film set.  That was the biggest hurdle I had to leap in order to communicate with my crew effectively.  I had spent countless hours shot listing and story boarding in the week’s leading up to the shoot.  I did this for two reasons:

  • I wanted to make sure I had a clear idea of what I wanted the movie to be.
  • I wanted the crew to take me seriously.

Our first day of shooting was hard on me.  We had fallen behind and I had to adapt my vision accordingly.  When you are dealing with a golf course that remained open as well as the constant threat of rain, you really have no choice but to push forward as efficiently as possible.

We had to make sure that by the end of the shoot, we had enough footage to make a movie.

I learned early on that certain complicated shots had to be sacrificed in order to make sure the story was told.

In the end, I got everything I needed to tell my story and I’m extremely proud of the final film.

So far, Playing Through has won 3 awards and been an official selection in two film festivals.

I suppose the one thing I learned was that you can’t rely on story boards and shot lists when you are in the moment.  You have to let your instincts take over at some point.  I don’t think I did that enough.

It may have been nerves but I definitely wish I let loose a little more with my imagination while I was on the set.

The Climb Short Film Toronto

We made The Climb nearly 4 years after I wrote the original draft of the screenplay.  That script went on to place 4th out of over 1200 scripts in the American Gem Screenplay Competition.

Since that time, I’ve rewritten and simplified the script several times.  When it came time to decide what I wanted to do next, it was an easy decision.

I went into the shoot with the same amount of preparation as Playing Through.  I had my shot lists and drawings finished and I was confident we would get it all done.

With the exception of the weather, this shoot was actually pretty smooth.

The major difference?

I left my notes at home.

All I had on me was a miniature copy of the script which I rarely opened while we were shooting.  I had general approaches to each scene but because of the weather, I was forced to come up with new and interesting ways to get the work done.

From a visual standpoint, The Climb has many more varied locations and settings.  I did my best to keep things as new and interesting as possible as the entire script is essentially one long conversation.

Much like Playing Through, the weight of the script is in the dialogue.  When we were making Playing Through, I had golf to rely on during the longer conversations.

The Climb deals with two people who live on the street.  I had to find a way to keep things moving even though my main characters do not.

So I tried to use the locations to my advantage and create as much depth as possible.

We’ll see how it all turns out but I’m definitely more comfortable on set.  What’s important to me is to always keep improving.

I’m not sure if I’ll direct again any time soon as I’m now firm on my goal of writing some new shorts and a couple feature scripts.

Writing will always be my first priority.  When I’m directing, I miss it.

So while I’m finishing post-production on The Climb, expect a lot more posts about screenwriting.

Playing Through Is On IMDB!

June 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

Playing Through Short Film 17 West Productions

Playing Through was officially added to IMDB today!

In addition to that, I now have my own page which I hope will continue to fill up as we continue to produce new films!

It’s a good day.

And check out the movie’s trailer below if you haven’t seen it yet!

Playing Through Wins Bronze Palm Award!

May 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

Playing Through Short Film 17 West Productions

Playing Through has won it’s third award!

We’ve been given the Bronze Palm Award from the 2010 Mexico International Film Festival.

I would like to send special thanks to the festival organizers for giving us this award!

Click HERE and HERE for more on Playing Through’s recent awards.