Close friends Jack and Tank resort to a desperate scheme in order to pay for urgent medical treatment which could save Jacks dying son.

“Rip & Run” is a captivating proof-of-concept short film from Daniel Boocock, whom you might remember from our Best Short of 2020: The Neolith. The film is a teaser for a larger story that is commercially leaning and specifically aimed at television, offering a movie-like experience with a mixture of spectacle and substance.

This Neo-Western tale brings together modern-day sensibilities and a cityscape aesthetic to create a thrilling narrative filled with crime, drama, high stakes, and adrenaline. At the heart of the story are two close friends, Jack and Tank, who are facing a dire situation. Jack’s son is dying, and they need to come up with a large sum of money to pay for urgent medical treatment. Faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the friends resort to a desperate scheme to raise the funds they need. However, their plan quickly spirals out of control, leading them down a dangerous path filled with unexpected obstacles.

The film does an excellent job of setting up the larger story, introducing viewers to the characters, the stakes, and the world they inhabit. The audience is drawn into the gritty, urban landscape and the complex web of relationships that exist within it. The story’s tension builds steadily throughout the film, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating what comes next.

Overall, “Rip & Run” is a well-crafted, high-quality short film that showcases the potential of the larger story it represents. The film is sure to appeal to fans of crime dramas, Westerns, and thrilling television shows. With its mix of style and substance, it promises to be an exciting journey that viewers won’t want to miss. We had the chance to ask Daniel a few questions about the project:

What inspired you to create Rip & Run and how did you develop the concept for the film?

I’ve always liked TV shows such as Miami Vice, Breaking Bad. Films like Heat, Elite Squad, Sicario, Scarface, The Town & The Wild Bunch. Everything in them is riddled with high stakes. There are build ups of apprehension for characters with payoffs in bursts of adrenaline for the audience. At the same time, there is lots of drama mixed in there too. Different elements fuse together. So, with that in mind, I took the initial first step towards making my own equivalent with Rip & Run. The idea was also further developed via things in real life such as corporate gangsterism, money laundering, transnational business syndicates with ties to crime, ‘good’ people in desperate situations taking crazy risks for what they deem necessary. All these dynamics play their part in developing Rip & Run as it stands now and also what it can go on to be in the future.

How did you approach balancing the neo-western and modern cityscape elements of the story?

That was my favourite part. Balancing the two. Character-wise having rogue anti-hero’s wanting to break out of the box they’re in, I think is a universal theme. Especially if that box is a big sprawling city like grid riddled with decay under its surface. The main characters Jack & Tank are a part of that grid, they even uphold it to an extent, particularly from an ‘orderly’ standpoint, given the twist at the end. But they themselves, in their own way, are the darkest fears of that grid when they decide to go up against aspects of it. Jack particularly is torn between its structure given his desperate situation. He knows at heart that there’ll be no turning back from what he is about to do. Visually contrasting the rough with the smooth in terms of a modern cityscape look, merged with its decay, also makes things more familiar to a present-day audience, plus having a blood pumping industrial dark techno sound track also adds to that more modern sensibility. Though, at the same time, those techniques do come from certain western traits. Back then it was deserts, old towns, gunslingers and sweeping scores. I took that methodology and revitalized it to a more modern drama at hand.

Can you talk about the visual style of the film and how you achieved the look you were going for?

Rip & Run was shot digitally on a Red Gemini so images can be pushed that bit harder in the dark. I wanted a hazy daylight, grey and autumnal feel for the day shots. At night I wanted a dusky burnt tinge to supplement the darkness. That’s most apparent in the oranges and yellows. Such a look comes from old bulbs and an old way of fuelling lampposts which still exists. For me It gives off better colour textures which are moodier and more atmospheric in the dark. It’s easier on the eye too than the modern white light streetlights. The guys done a good job with the colour grade (We are Crayon in Australia). I also used hints of fluorescent green here and there plus a bright fluorescent flickering blue too. Basically, I made use of what actually available in terms of look and light rather than having lots of lights on hand. Even if there was a ton of money, I’d still want a similar look, only more upscaled. Most of the shots were done on Steadicam on either a 24mm or 35mm lens to give a wide look with a sense of movement. The big gunfight was all handheld.

How did you work with the actors to bring the characters to life and what qualities were you looking for in your cast?

In terms of cast (and crew) regardless of any level of talent, experience or other types of circumstances etc, I tend to look at people’s personalities now more than I ever used too and go with my own intuition. There are obvious things that an actor would be required to have (authenticity, character perception, reading between the lines, right fit, their own preparation methods and ability etc) but for me, looking at the person as an individual is key, I look to see if they are willing to go on that journey or climb up that mountain with me so to speak, regardless of what may or may not happen. If your game and hungry and invested then you will probably do some of your best work as I like to push things that bit further than most for what is deemed ‘possible.’ It makes things exciting. But if the vibe is off for whatever reason, then I won’t go there. A bad apple can affect the whole barrel.

How did you approach creating the action sequences and what was your process for choreographing them?

Whether it was the ‘easier’ action type sequences or the more challenging ones my approach was very cavalier, get in and get out, sink or swim, I love all that, at least in one respect but there was hardly any time to actually shoot them and no time at all (or money) to rehearse. For the big gunfight I had a shot list, with the time available I worked out that we had 2 takes (tops) per shot to get what was needed so everyone had to be right on it. Any errors from anyone then I had to move on regardless. We had the police watching over us alongside the armourers and I wanted to use assault rifles, with double flash blanks (and double the noise) in a residential area at night. It was touch and go and the margins for error were spread way too thin but I’m amazed we actually came out with something! I even had friends who lived about 3 miles away texting me asking “is that you?” They could hear every shot. The police were great, the owner of the location close by was great. For me It was all fun and games and something I’ll look back on fondly when I’m older, given the audacity of it and how up against it we actually were from the get go given the constraints.

Can you talk about any specific shots or scenes in the film that were particularly challenging to shoot?

Action is always the trickiest thing to shoot, especially without any rehearsal, money or time. You need a really good camera op & focus puller; you don’t want to be doing too many takes or keep messing up shots. Even with safety nets in place, and an elite level rehearsed crew, I imagine things would still be pretty frantic. For me It was either take a shot at it with a skeletal unit or don’t do it at all. If there is even half a chance, I’ll always take a shot at something. I had just a couple of hours to shoot the big gunfight. Ideally, I would have preferred a few nights to play it safe. But that’s all part of the game until it isn’t no more, especially when you’re on the climb. Either way I’ll always aim high to show what is possible in the long run. As it stands the action sequences In Rip & Run pack their own punch. What they can be going forward would be something special indeed.

How do you envision expanding the story and characters in a TV series format?

I have a series bible (outline) all prepared and written to be considered. It’d be an eight-part series initially. All the characters are fleshed out further and their individual circumstances are heightened within the Rip & Run story as a whole. Friendships become strained, loyalties tested, betrayal and backstabbing are always close at hand as the pressures and external threats intensify on all fronts. The set-pieces would be more extravagant and daring. A good streamer or a big broadcaster backing it would be perfect. Rip & Run certainly would fit in well on those types of platforms. The bigger the better as I’d want to push for a spectacle and substance type feel. It would likely take a whole load of moving parts for that to come to fruition but in my eyes, it can be done with the right team and setup in place. I believe that Rip & Run would catch on commercially too in different territories. Its got drama, action, it would look and sound really slick. Plus, it would contain themes and dynamics people would relate too or be interested in. Right now, the idea is a rough diamond. A teaser for a bigger story. All it needs is to be unearthed, upscaled and polished. I recently had a screening of the longer proof-of-concept version in London. The critic from the FT hosting it said to me “you know where this can go don’t you? You could turn Rip & Run into something international and set it in different places, similar to the way Narcos went.” It was like he’d already read my mind.

(Watch the longer Rip & Run proof of concept version below)

What are your favorite short films?

My own, haha. The Desolate One, The Neolith and Rip & Run

Rip & Run – proof of concept version