Executive produced by Spike Lee, The Girl Is In Trouble shows off a very different look from the period pieces I have shot for TV. A modern film noir, the worlds of urban money, drugs, and clubs collide to tragic ends. I was grateful because the producers allowed the director and I ample prep to develop his vision: punctuate a gritty urban drama with subtle moments of poetry.
An unlit, naturalistic look and speed were most important to him so we made a few key choices. First, we shot on 35 mm film. Even in today’s age of high quality video cameras, film can stand out with its subtle grain and texture. Second, we mixed handheld camera movement with precise dolly moves and slow motion. The contrast of the two helped to elevate the story from realism to poetry when called for by the story. Third, we shot much of the film with “neutral” highlights, allowing the naturally rich color palette of New York City to frame a story of broken dreams. Finally, we used soft top light and heavily diffused window light to give the movie an unlit look. This also permitted nearly 360 degree shooting and over 30 set-ups per day. Shot on Super 35 mm film. Directed by Julius Onah.