An unknown rock band struggles with a radioactive energy in their music that blows up amps, liquefies tape decks, and starts electrical fires.
On the eve of their first (and possibly last) show, The Privates, an unknown rock band, must decide whether to risk life, limb, and legacy for a 1AM slot on a Tuesday. It could change everything…or nothing at all. The guys at the Amalgamated Picture Company have brought us the most epic and anti-climactic action short before with ‘Epilogue‘ and we can all remember the clever Kickstarter campaign for this very short, that’s why we were extremely excited when we finally got to see ‘The Privates’ fully – and we were not disappointed.
The Privates is a sci-fi rock-and-roll comedy about the absurd frustrations and minor triumphs of an unknown rock band with a radioactive energy in their music they can’t control. The film explores themes of ambition, perfectionism, popularity, personal safety, compromise, and the subjectivity of success. It has respiration masks, electrical fires, jumpsuits, geiger counters, lightning, and guitars. It is also funny.
Our primary goal with the short was to introduce the characters and conceit of The Privates to help us make the feature. In terms of the overall premise, a sci-fi rock movie about the struggles of an unknown band was exciting to us because it was something we’d never really seen before. Though The Privates is obviously very removed from reality, the sci-fi angle was an interesting avenue to tackle some of the everyday obstacles and bigger creative questions that all artists, including filmmakers, deal with when trying to make their work when no one else cares.
While inspired by a Nashville band of the same name, and being eventual result of a very real late-night basement show in 2005, the film actually brings fictional characters, story and world. As real as some aspects are, director Dylan Allen does a fantastic job at creating a supernatural environment through the unusual premise, while the cast simply blows the roof off with a rockin’ witty performance.
Principal photography took place over 3 days at locations in Brooklyn, followed by several scattered days of inserts, green screen, and a miniature table-top shoot for the burning rock club. It was shot on the RED Dragon with Cooke S4 prime lenses with a crew of about 25 to 30, depending on the day. VFX was an entirely new venture for Amalgamated Picture Company, as was the miniature set they used for the rock club exterior, what the short VFX breakdown.