A Matter of Choice is the 6th film to come from the talents surrounding Michael D. Witman. The film is a symbolism packed, short look at the quick decisions all of us are faced with in life, and how each event, no matter how small, affects every choice we make. A Matter of Choice stars Dale D. Moore as Adam, a man who is down on his luck and has all but given up on life. This film of choice also stars Michael Ray Reed. The script, which was a loose adaptation of Aesop's Fable The Old Man and Death, was developed by Michael D. Witman himself.

Location scouting was done in the later part of October 2003 with the help of Director of Photography, John Dentlinger. After many spots around the city of St. Louis, MO were considered, the final location chosen several blocks east of the world famous renovated Fox Theater. This location was decided upon because of its beautiful look, availability of light, and quietness of the area. Photography for the film took place over the course of only one day starting at 6 AM, filming out of order to control the direction of sunlight.

Director of Photography, John Dentlinger, along with the help of Assistant Camera, Robert M. Edgecomb, used extremely controlled camera work, and smooth dolly movement to emphasize themes that string throughout the short film. Using all natural lighting, but carefully choosing what time to shoot different parts of the film was crucial to the look of the final product.

Art direction, including costuming and set decoration, were closely controlled by Frank Newton, and emphasized different color palettes surrounding the different characters. The overall feel of the film that was created is one of a hidden city location, away from the world of business and commerce.

Two of the most challenging elements during the filming of this project were working with a non professionally trained dog, and creating a realistic looking crash. Levi, the dog, over the course of the day continued to amaze everyone on the crew and cast, only ruining one take the entire day. He was a good sport and good company for everyone.

To make the crash believable, a stunt was needed. With his previous experience, Michael Ray Reed volunteered for the job. After putting on Dale's Costume and spraying his hair blond, allowed himself to be thrown from the hood of a moving car, with the only mishap being a slightly cracked windshield.

Brianne Klugiewicz was in charge of both picture and sound editing for this project. She took the footage from the 500 feet of film that was shot and edited it down to a three minute film. She used very simple narrative editing with a well layered sound design to draw the audience into the story quickly. Also, late in the project, the decision was made to leave the film without a soundtrack, only using gathered sounds of the city as the underlying track. This helped to emphasize the critical shifts in the film.

Also during this time, Michael D. Witman took to the effects lab to create opening and closing titles as well as erasing a stand from the background of a two second long clip. This proved to be a difficult task, but was well worth the finished product. These graphics combined with Brianne's work put the final touches on the project.

Overall this project was completed in just under three months and costing just under $1000.

Now completed, A Matter of Choice has been sent to several festivals for consideration. Also, this film recieved a nomination for a Webster Media Excellence Award, but sadly did not take home another award for Michael D. Witman



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