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Better Love

Better Love is a New York comedy about surveillance, suspicion, and knowing

(or not knowing) what one wants in a relationship. Madeline (Marianne Hettinger)

has been screwed in past relationships so is determined to help other women. It’s a

business, and she expects to turn a profit. With a right hand girl to handle the tech

side side of marital surveillance (Carrie, played by Abby Lee) and a client named

Stephanie (played by Cheryl Horne) who is confused just enough to follow along with

her plan, things seem to be falling into place. Madeline sets up a series of tests in 

Central Park for Dennis (Stephanie’s husband), who encounters scenarios placed

along the path he takes for his weekly walk designed to test his character and faithfulness.

But the best strategical plans can be no match for the chaos of the city and Madeline

soon learns that being a cyber-sleuth is more complicated and dangerous that she could

ever have imagined.


Much of the pleasure of making this short film was the chance to work with so

many talented and professional people - the talented cast, the dedicated crew

and - everyone! 


Better Love was shot in the late summer and fall of 2013. The final edit (V3), 19 minutes, was completed in late 2015.


The idea for the short film - originally called Better Love through Surveillance (BLTS) - 

came from the necessity to write a script that would lend itself to shooting in the city,

ideally in the neighborhood of the upper west side. The desire was to write a comedy

about what has become a quite serious subject. The story brings together many

potentially dangerous and troubling ideas - a jealous wife, cutting edge technology,

private investigation, eavesdropping/spying, crime and maybe punishment. The

comedy comes, I think, from seeing how far characters will go to get what they may

(or may not) want, the joy of dialogue and performance, the way that love can creep 

into work (or vise versa). The story was designed to have fun with, to give the actors

and crew chances to stretch and improvise, and to be created with ingenuity and

inexpensive digital equipment.


We shot on a number of digital formats, mostly on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

utilizing the uncompressed RAW format (DNG in BM terms). But we also shot much

of the interaction between Dennis the husband and the actors he encounters with

subjective HD GoPro cameras and there are even a few shots during the Thoth 

performance scene that we captured with an iPhone and a 10X long lens.


Post production was a longer process than I thought it would be - but life has its

interruptions, good and bad, and mine have all been mostly good. And the process

of originating in Cinema RAW files and figuring a path to final output has been as 

tricky as I imagined it would be. But that's a tech story and needn’t be told here…


Better Love credits:


Producers

Arnold C Baker II

Thomas W. Campbell


Writer and Director

Thomas W. Campbell


Cinematography

Antoine Themistocleous


Featured Cast:

Dennis - Arnold C. Baker II


Madeline - Marianne Hettinger

Jack - Jay Frisch


Stephanie - Cheryl Horne

Carrie (Tech Girl) - Abby Lee

Singer / "Bag" Lady - Charlotte Schioller

Bike Buy / Beggar - William Thomas

Hollis - Frank Turano


With

Tourist Cam 1 - Tanya Velasquez

Tourist Cam 2 - Madeline Boldyrew


Sound Recording


Brendan Duffy

Kenn Dunn


Jay Frisch

Nick Demitto

Thomas W. Campbell


Tanya Velasquez


Original Music, Performance
and Lyrics

Reese Desormais


Original Musical Performance

Charlotte Schioler


Theme Musical Recording, Editing and Mixing


Chris D. Butler


Hand Drums and Percussion

Nkumu Isaac Katalay


Electric Bass

Chris D. Butler


Trumpet and Valve Trombone

Duncan Herb


Produced at Butler Recording, Brooklyn, NY


Makeup and Wardrobe
 - Tanya Velasquez


Still Photography - Veronica Szarejko


Production Photography


Veronica Szarejko

Hauwa Turner


Thomas W. Campbell

Nick Denitto


Editing, Sound Design, Post Production

Thomas W. Campbell


Made in cooperation with SAG and
the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television/New York City


Shot in Central Park and on the Upper West Side of New York City


Very Special Thanks to


Lily Moy


Ina Rosenthal

The City of New York Mayor's
b Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting

The Screen Actor's Guild


Central Park Conservancy


© West 109th Street Productions 2016