ASCII by Jason Scott

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Headrush: My First Film —

Under the “humble beginnings” department, I present to you my first film; “Headrush”. Created in 1986, this was the final project for a film class I took in Sophomore year at Horace Greeley High School. It was shot on 8mm film, and required the soundtrack to be played on a record player timed to the beginning. I knew this was a tall order, so the soundtrack is a (copyrighted) piece of music that had a lot of notes and beat changes, ensuring that it would be more likely to synchronize to whatever was going on.

I described the film as “What it would be like to go through Horace Greeley High School after you hit your head.” Some kids were impressed. Some were not. My film teacher hated it, and as I recall, she gave me a C. (I still have the graded paper around here, and maybe I’ll dig it up one of these days.)

There’s only a dozen physical cuts in the film. The rest of them are done “in-camera”, with me basically painting scenes using the available light and background. This was, I contend to this day, a way to get around the limitations of the medium; cutting was hard work and the effect was jittery bounces in the film. I employed stop-motion shots in some locations, have two subliminal messages (one easy to spot, one harder to spot), and feature a cast of dozens, including my friends and my little brother. At one point you see a shadow running along grass. That’s my “director’s cameo”.

I apologize in advance that I only have it lying around in DiVX Format. The file is here and is 32 megabytes:

“Headrush”, by Jason Scott (1986)

I had a lot of fun making that thing; it was shot in about a day. If you know the place, it almost functions as a home movie. A very weird, surreal, screwed-up home movie.

I don’t think it deserved a C.

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  1. Michael Kohne says:

    Interesting. Yes, I can imagine that the world might look like that, post-concussion. I was afraid I’d get sick once or twice (anything with a wildly swinging camera can do that to me), but for a high school student, pretty cool.