Posted by Valentina Valentini on March 30, 2012 at 2:52 am
What walks like in indie film, talks like an indie film, but isn’t an indie film?
A Lifetime movie.
With the caliber of television content on the rise in general, it’s only fair that the made-for-TV movie world be among the competition.
In the running is Courteney Cox’s feature directorial debut, Talhotblond – a remake of the documentary, Talhotblond, which tells the true story of an online love triangle engulfed in deception and eventually death.
I was fortunate to have a visit to the set of Talhotblond this week, where I was able to chat with some of the producers, Cox and Doug Emmett, her director of photography.
The indie feel on set comes from the 16-day shooting schedule for an 88-minute film. Also the fact that they’re in practical locations instead of a studio may contribute, which often results in smaller crews.
“This is not just a job,” says Cox, who is attempting to give the film an American Beauty feel, “we’re here to make the best film possible under the hardest situation.”
One of the major differences between a documentary and non-fiction feature is the shooting style. Cox found her DP, Emmett, via only a recommendation from Isla Fisher (whom Emmett had worked with last year on Bachelorette) and a look at his reel.
“I didn’t want to make a typical TV movie,” Cox explains. “I wanted to work with someone who was hungry and excited. When we met I told him the look I was trying to achieve and he brought together some reference photos. We were completely in sync. I will definitely do another project with him – the next job that I get, Doug gets.”
Emmett has quickly risen in the ranks as a go-to indie DP in and around New York City. He has made nine features in the last four years and joined the union at the ripe young age of 28. Now he’s ready and eager to make bigger budget films and break out his talents in Los Angeles and beyond.
“Fine cinematography is all in the details,” Emmett said during a quick break. “We’re in a culture where television is mimicking cinema more and more, and the goal is to help elevate the genre.”
There certainly is a stigma behind made-for-TV movies, but perhaps with veteran talent like Cox and Laura San Giacomo, who stars in the film with Garret Dillahunt, and exciting new talent like Emmett, the cheesy or soap opera-y reputation the films get will slowly begin to fade.