Pursued (2004)

A girl walking home from the school bus finds herself pursued by a mysterious black car.

After a hiatus from movie-making I finally took the "Advanced Movie-Making" class my senior year. Our first project had to be one without dialogue, that would tell the story purely through strong visuals. Pursued was intended to be my take on Stephen Spielberg's Duel, although at the time I hadn't even seen that film, only heard about it vaguely.

Pursued was again shot with my dad's Sony Digital8 camera, though this time all editing was done using iMovie on the school's eMacs. I had originally planned on having more involved special effects with this one, but scaled that back considerably. The only CG-enhanced shot that I ended up doing was Melissa's P.O.V. of the clouds overhead. However, even though there were virtually no special effects, I did make pretty heavy use of retimed footage and iMovie's limited color-correction features. Pursued was also the first movie I tried making a poster for (the poster for The Binder was made after the fact).

A digital video camera on a cheap tripod with its legs duct-taped around a milk jug, in front of fake wood-paneled kitchen cabinets.  No, seriously.

Another new thing I tried with Pursued was more use of a "handheld" camera. To this end, I constructed the (in)famous "MacGyver Steadicam." (see left)

This contraption consisted of a fairly heavy metal camera tripod, with even more weight added by duct-taping a water-filled half-gallon milk jug to the bottom. I held it by the vertical part of the tripod, right below the camera, and steadied it with my other hand on the handle for the tripod head.


The added weight of this system, along with the lower center of gravity, allowed me to even attempt shots like the extended backwards-walking "dolly" with the car hovering over Melissa's shoulder. It doesn't look smooth like a true Steadicam, or a dolly move, but it's a more watchable type of "handheld" video. I continued to make fairly extensive use of this hacked-together rig on my two subsequent movies.


This movie is also notable for being the first time I scored a video by using original music by Justin R. Durbin. I would keep using his music for the other two movies in The North Hills Pictures.