“Lonesome” was shot in B&W on the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a skeleton cast &crew, and a shoestring budget. Heavily influenced by the films of the French New Wave, I wanted my first feature to be a film that was shot on the cheap, with a handheld camera, natural lighting, and using location shooting. In the early 2010s DSLR cameras started becoming affordable for first time film makers, who would no longer need to rent expensive equipment or buy a camera that would cost a life’s savings. With the advent of the affordable DSLR, I felt that we had the tools to make a film look cinematic, while still being able to maintain a low budget. Many challenging variables allowed us to complete this film. Many first time directors have the goal of trying to make the next ‘no budget’ feature that can become a cult hit, and ‘Lonesome’ was made in this spirit. Along with the ‘low budget’ shooting concept, I felt the story of ‘Lonesome’ had to be a simple story as well. My taste has always veered towards romantic narratives (heavily influenced by the films of Jacques Demy and Wong Kar-Wai). ‘Lonesome’ needed to be a simple love found, love lost story. I wanted the film to have a feel of improvised dialogue, even though the majority of dialogue was scripted. Initially the movie was conceived as being a silent film in which inter-titles would provide the narrative, and the dialogue would be subtitled. However, as filming went along, the artistic decision was made to leave the dialogue as dialogue(instead of using subtitles), and only use inter-titles to narrate. I wanted to play around with different genres, so it was fun to have the film be partially silent, partially a musical and to be dramatic with comedic moments. Ultimately, we were trying to achieve a romantic narrative that would fit the genre of Art-house or Indie Film, and still have that classic cinema look.
- TONY K HALL
About the Production
“Lonesome” was filmed over 16 separate filming days over the course of 26 months from October 2018 to December 2020. Since the cast & crew were unpaid, and everyone involved already had regular jobs and contracted paying gigs – we got together when we could. Many times not knowing until several days before shooting that we would actually be filming. The project was going to be a ‘shoot on the fly’ or ‘run and gun’ type of production due to most people involved already had other obligations. The COVID-19 pandemic also nearly derailed the project. When the COVID shutdowns went into affect in March 2020, we were only 85% done with the current state of the script at that time. As an independent project, we mimicked the ‘Safe Sets’ protocol set forth by the Screen Actors Guild and were able to film for 1 day each in October 2020 and December 2020 to get to a completed project. Some scenes we were never able to film, so ‘Lonesome’ was left with a short running time of 65 minutes but still worked as a complete story. Also, worthy of note is that ‘Lonesome’ started initially as a short film project. However, after the first 3 days of filming in the fall of 2018, we realized that there is much more story here than a film that would come in under 30 minutes. Some additions were made to the script at that time, and the main cast & crew agreed to the goal of trying to accomplish a feature, even though we knew this was a lofty goal. The writer/director felt that the amount of talent that had agreed to this project was too much to not go for a feature length film. Luckily because the script was not dialogue heavy, it left a lot of room for improvisation for how scheduling would go and for filming extra scenes that were added to the script along the way.