Alexander Jeffery Talks About How RED Changed His Approach to FilmmakingFebruary 04, 2016
“The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy” marked Alexander Jeffery’s debut at the 2015 Louisiana Film Prize, earning his short the coveted Grand Prize Award. A graduate of the first REDucation, Alexander spoke with RED about his introduction to the RED ecosystem and why shooting digital has become the perfect format for him.
With a passion for filmmaking that spans across the various crafts, the technology behind the storytelling was particularly intriguing to Alexander:
“Since I was in high school, I obsessively followed the development of technology, specifically cameras, and I remember when the RED ONE was announced, I wanted to get my hands on one so badly. This might make me a bad filmmaker, but I never had the desire to shoot on film. I’m too impatient. I always loved the immediacy of digital, I was a big Robert Rodriguez fan and he was a big advocate for the transition from film to digital, and I just thought digital was the best option for the speed at which I wanted to work.”
Despite his traditional schooling throughout college, Alexander still felt compelled to further his studies with REDucation. The experience provided him with invaluable insight into the technology of creating the perfect shot while encouraging him to push past the conventional approach to filmmaking.
“Film School was about growing up and learning about the old ways of doing things, which I think has incredible value. Testing, failing, trying again. It was an amazing experience. REDucation was all about getting hands on, learning fast, and debunking all of the myths surrounding the “foreboding” RED workflow…I’m not a cinematographer, but REDucation made me feel very comfortable as a director with understanding the technology, and since I do a lot of my own editing, all of the workflow trial and error was incredibly valuable."
After taking REDucation, Alexander chose to purchase a SCARLET MYSTERIUM-X and eventually used it to shoot “The Bespoken Tailoring of Mister Bellamy.” The short was purposely created with minimal dialogue coming from the main character, and therefore created a need to tell the story in a visual manner. Alexander knew that the SCARLET M-X would become an integral tool in the storytelling, as the viewer becomes drawn to every nuance of the film.
“I’ve always loved silent film and I am always trying to push myself to say less and show more. The writer, Paul Petersen, and I agreed that Bellamy should not speak until the very end of the movie…The film is about looking inwards, instead of external factors in the world that you have no control over, to find your true self. I wanted the audience to get wrapped up in his enthusiasm and just felt words would have gotten in the way of that. So, with those goals in mind, I worked closely with my cinematographer Joel Froome, who has an utterly brilliant eye, on making the story as visually interesting as we could and really showcasing the stunning Louisiana landscapes.”
In creating a short that relied heavily on visual storytelling, the lighting played an integral role in commanding the mood. The production conveyed a wide range of scenarios that included sweeping daylight views to small rooms lit by nothing more than a candle.
“We used very little artificial light on the film…We had scenes that were lit almost entirely by candlelight, with maybe a very small kino fixture creating some two-tone atmosphere in the shed. But the camera performed beautifully in those low-light scenarios. Combined with a beautiful color grade by Jaime O’Bradovich at Company 3 New York, I couldn’t have asked for a better looking image. The amount of detail that was in the RAW image is astounding!”
To experience “The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy” for yourself, it is currently touring the festival circuit with upcoming distribution on iTunes via ShortsHD. In the meantime, visit the production’s Facebook page to see their next stop on the circuit or head to Alexander’s Vimeo account to see the short’s trailer.