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Making Natural Victims (in Two Weeks)

Natural Victims indie movie #2wkfilm banner image

#2wkfilm or Two Week Film logoThe Genesis

In April of this year, I started following, mostly on Twitter, a group of filmmakers who set out to make feature-length movies in the span of two weeks.

The founder of this movement is a San Francisco-based filmmaker named Reid Gershbein, whose first Two Week Film (#2wkfilm on Twitter) was called The Dabbler, The Dreamer and the Man Who Broke the World. I reviewed that film, as well as one of the other Two Week Films from the first round, The Original Soundtrack, directed by Mike Peter Reed and written by Reed and Matt Smart.

Shortly thereafter, Reid announced there would be another round of Two Week Films in October. I started thinking about ideas for a movie that could be shot quickly, with no budget.

Running one day in Griffith Park, thinking about the changing media landscape and how my generation no longer gets their news from newspapers, the germ of a story started forming.

What if there was a serial killer loose in the park, but some characters didn’t know about it, because they don’t read the news?

Scene from indie movie #2wkfilm Natural VictimsWho were these characters? Two best friends and a girl who is flattered to be fought over. They aren’t stupid, but it’s easy to get lost in the park, because it’s so big and hilly.

The comedic engine of the story would be the best friends destroying their friendship over this girl. And the suspense hook would be that, at any moment, a serial killer could appear.

With help from producer Lillian Parker, I started putting together the production. Before I knew it, I had the equipment, the cast, some time off of work and was shooting my very own #2wkfilm.

Carter overhearing Angela and Billy talk about him in a scene from Natural VictimsThe Story

Natural Victims is a comedy about two best friends, Carter and Billy, who’ve known each other since grade school. At a birthday party in Griffith Park, they both meet a girl named Angela. They both like her.

Carter asks Angela if she wants to break away from the party and walk around the park. When they do so, Billy invites himself along. Pushing deeper and deeper into the park, both Carter and Billy do their best to shake the other and get some ‘alone time’ with Angela.

Eventually, they realize they are lost. What they don’t know, because they don’t read the newspapers, is that there’s a serial killer on the loose in the park.

Will Carter or Billy get the girl? Will their friendship survive? Will they survive? When Serial Killers Make Headlines, We Are All… Natural Victims.

The Cast

I’m very proud to have the three leads played by three amazing LA-based improv comedians.

MichaelMichael – “Billy”

Mike has an extensive improv resume, performing professionally on stages all over Boston and Chicago. New to LA for just a few months, he’s already begun to conquer the local improv comedy scene with his knack for fast talk and obscure comic book references. If you’re not in LA, you can also see him featured in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Bride Wars. Follow Mike @MikeLAnastasia on Twitter.

DrewDrew – “Carter”

You may have seen Drew in the premiere episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien as the Universal Studios Tour guide or, soon, in Goodyear commercials. A graduate of Upright Citizen’s Brigade and a frequent performer at iO West, Drew is a student of improv lore with a great nose for comedy. We expect big things from this diligent young comedian. Check him out on ucbcomedy.com or in some hilarious comedy videos he made with a group called The Wasted Potentials.

Amy – “Angela”

Amy has cornered market on cute geek and is a soon-to-be superstar in the Dungeons & Dragons community, with her new fantasy r.p.g. web series Chaotic Good. Her voice-over talents are much in demand and she can be seen frequently performing sketch and improv at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and iO West. Check out her comedy videos at her website.

The Making Of

I’ve blogged pretty much every day of the making of Natural Victims. Read along sequentially and follow the progress of the movie, or just read the *’d posts to get the gist.

Two Weeks Hard Work, A Final Result

Natural Victims
premiered online on October 17th, 2009 at naturalvictims.com. We’ve got some great responses and I gave an interview to Reid Gershbein, the father of the #2wkfilm.

I removed Natural Victims from YouTube on October 17th, 2010 for reasons I talk about here. The trailer can still be seen here. If you’d like to see Natural Victims you can request a screening here.

6 Comments

  1. Hello! I’m in Sweden looking for tips and ideas to buy a smart, easy, small and cheap filmmakers kit. Very inspiring to read about your 2 week movie! In this moment I feel like running out to buy me a camera kit just like yours and hope to make some funny video projects. Maybe you know about cameras in the same price group as LX3 with similar features to compare with? Or will there maybe be a new model out soon!?

    Thanks for sharing creative solutions and muse!

  2. Hi,
    Very cool project. I have read the camera comparison, and I am curious as far as why you chose the LX3 over the T2i to film this short film. Thanks.

    • @Cynthia,

      Very simple answer: the T2i had not yet been released. :)

      The LX3 was what I had, and on low budgets you film with what you’ve got.

  3. HI, nice work…..im also looking to doing some short films, i was wondering if you had any experience with the GOPRO? or any comments, pros, cons?

    • @Tom,

      Don’t have any experience with it but have heard great things. Let me know if you try it out and how you like it.

      Best,
      John

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