Dissection of an Indie Production: The Making of ‘Autopsy’

Posted on Sep 19, 2017
Dissection of an Indie Production: The Making of ‘Autopsy’

Adam Long was a Creative Director at Mutt Industries when he decided to make his first short film. The complexities of producing commercial work for national clients was nothing new to Adam, but directing a short film was a challenge he eagerly sought. “I really just wanted to work with actors and a story that was longer than 60 seconds” he says.

Adam shared his aspirations with friend and Mutt copywriters Adam Peterson and Jesse Donaldson. In turn, they proffered a short story to Adam that could be adapted for the screen: a macabre comedy about a group of friends performing a makeshift autopsy. Adam immediately started to assemble a cast and crew, including bringing on savvy producer Chris Lawson to help the project reach it’s full potential.

In one long and tireless day, the crew shot Autopsy in a friend-of-a-friend’s basement with Portland based actors riffing on the script.  When it came to post-production, Adam knew that he needed to collaborate with Chip Sloan. “Working with Dig1 and Chip for so many years now – we have a short hand on how we communicate…so much of the film I wanted to give [the cast and crew] freedom to take ownership in the creative. I had a few suggestions in terms of what goes where and the types of sounds and mood I was going for, but otherwise I just let Chip roll.”

“Rolling with it” ended up generating some amusing opportunities. When tasked with creating a sound for a glowing orb object in the film, he used fellow sound designer Reed Harvey’s Elektrosluch 3+ device from Slovakia. It generates sounds from electromagnetic fields found in common electronic equipment. Chip says it is “like a Theramin that replaces your hands with electrons”. Sweeping the device over our mixing consoles and video monitors in the studio resulted in a sound that’s spooky and mysterious and unsettling –befitting of a story such as Autopsy.

Autopsy has screened at Hollyshorts in LA and has an upcoming Portland premiere during Oregon Independent Film Festival where it has already won “Best Horror Short”. Check it out September 22nd at 7:15pm at the Clinton Street Theatre. We’re looking forward to seeing where this film goes next. To keep up on Adam Long’s work, visit adamlong.xyz.