The Morning After

A husband confronts his cheating wife the morning after he has murdered her lover.

Director’s Vision

The Morning After was born out of a very practical need: I had committed to do a lens test with Meike’s new full frame cinema lenses. In addition to filming traditional test charts, I wanted to put them in a real world scenario. Since I had very little time and no budget, I wrote a short scene that I could film in my own kitchen. Within that box, I tried to write to the strength of a shorts. One thing you can do in a short easier than in a feature is to subvert expectations. Another thing audiences love in a short, but tend to hate in a full length feature, is leaving them with an open ending. Combining those parameters with whatever demons are fighting to get out of my subconscious resulted in the story.

I knew that such a simple story would live or die on casting. Fortunately Dean Shortland, an amazing actor I have worked with in the past, was interested and available. Based on his recommendation, Valerie Jane Parker was willing to come onboard with less than a week’s notice. Since we had almost no time for rehearsal, having two acts already comfort working together was a big win. Their incredible performances elevated the material in a way that made my job as the director easy, but my job as the editor very hard. There simply weren’t any bad takes!

The film’s soundscape is at least as important as it’s visuals. It needed a score that simultaneously left a lot of room for the performances, but still amped the tension. Austin Fields and I had been talking about very stripped down scores for some time, so once the picture was locked, he was ready to go. I love what he did. Because the film’s reveal happens only with sound design, I knew I needed Russell Mehringer’s talents. Not only did he do his usual amazing job editing the location sound, he literally tells a vital part of the story with nothing but sound.