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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #11: Retrospective - Rough Cut (2007)

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

To commemorate my start as a filmmaker 15 years ago, I am sharing a retrospective series of write-ups dedicated to my past short film work that includes brief commentary for each short film as well as a few "fun facts" about their creation.

10/16. Rough Cut (2007)

A man mows the lawn.

During the summer of 2007, the video camera I had been using since 2002 for all of my productions, my dad's Sony DCR-TRV720, literally fell apart in my hands from rigorous overuse. Shortly after, I replaced that camera with the high definition-capable Canon HV20. No more was I tethered to outmoded technology. Now, I was equipped with the latest in consumer-grade video technology even though I would not utilize the HV20's HD capability until my following and 11th outing.

I decided to baptize my shiny new camera with a short film that was born out of my unusual love for the household chore of mowing the lawn. The project started off as a far more bold experiment which resembled stop-motion animation. However, that direction was ultimately scrapped and I ended up making something a pinch more conventional but still wayward enough to be considered my first experimental effort.

Fun Facts:

• For some reason, I believed that getting the lawn mower to spew smokey white plumes of exhaust involved pouring water into its gasoline tank. However, I initially poured water into the oil tank by mistake which caused the engine to quickly jam. When my father discovered what I had done, let's just say I have never seen an angrier human being in all my life. Luckily, a trip to a local repair shop and about a hundred dollars later fully resolved the matter.

• The shots of the camera looking up from the grassy ground were accomplished by taping a string of grass blades around the rim of the lens and shooting skyward. No GoPro camera involved.

• The fiercely rotating blades of the lawn mower were actually suspended not much more than a foot over my up-facing and very unprotected camera for the shot of the lawn mower's spinning blades passing overhead.

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