Death Stone, Directed by Margina Sisson (California) - An unscrupulous couple dig up a relatives grave for profit but an ulterior motive could spoil the plan. Death Stone was inspired by our screenwriting groups yearly Halloween log line challenge where we write up to 10 pages, something on the darker side. When writing Death Stone, I imagined how horrible it would be to dig up a grave for profit and even worse, the grave of a recently past relative. Well, that’s exactly what Abigail and Jimmy do. They are after the priceless stone around Aunt Bitty’s neck and they don’t see a problem getting it. Except one of them may have an ulterior motive which could spoil the plan. Or not. This story deals with greed, revenge and just plain stupidity. I also had the idea to create (bookends) to this story, showing the screenwriters arriving, setting up and beginning the cold read of Death Stone. A few moments in, the actors morph into the characters they are portraying and the story plays out. At the end of the short film they return back to the table read, looking as if they just stepped out from the film. I call this, Table Read Cinema and Death Stone is the pilot to the Web Series I hope to launch, debuting other short films with a Horror or Dark Comedy vibe. But back to Death Stone...I hadn’t planned on filming it so soon until an opportunity arose that I just couldn’t resist. See, we were in the midst of our backyard renovation this past January 2020 when I realized we had one weekend where it was all dirt and no contractors. And I thought, “What better time to film the graveyard scene, right?” Plus, I had recently purchased a 10 x 12 green screen and was anxious to use it so it was a win win! I whipped together a cast and crew (14) mostly from my screenwriting group. My DP was able to get the camera equipment at no charge. We stuck closely to our schedule and shot all interior scenes and remaining exterior shots in the back yard in front of the green screen, all in one day and just slightly over budget which mostly was due to the stock media I ended up buying for establishing shots etc… Luckily we finished filming before Covid 19 hit but it did present challenges in the editing process and with our ultimate premiere which we ended up doing via Zoom and it was still great! With every project I learn something new that will be helpful going forward. With this project I didn't budget enough for stock media which took our budget slightly over but all in all it really was a win win.

Oregon Short Film Festival - Winter 2021 Official Selection

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