The Pod (2010) 58 minutes Raleigh, NC
A Film by Daniel McCabe and Nick Karner
With: Jess Jones, Nick Karner, Regan Deal, Susie Fisher
IMDB SYNOPSIS: Paul and Sarah are two low-level technicians on the deep space exploration ship, The Eurydice. When it explodes they find themselves the only two survivors on an escape pod designed for one. They have an unlimited supply of air, water, and food but have no hope of rescue. How can they survive together in such a small space? The Pod is a truly unique film unlike any other. It takes place in deep, infinite, silent space in a box the size of a coffin. The film includes dream sequences, delirium, monologues, and exposure to the blunt truth of daily human existence. There are scenes of improvisation and scripted scenes side by side. What sets it apart from other films of this type is that the characters are not facing any sort of external threat to their survival. There is no threat of running out of air, water, or heat. They are not drifting into a black hole. There is no reason they can't live forever in the pod. The only conflict they have to deal with is each other. Sartre would be proud.
History and Trivia:
The Pod was the first time Dan and I co-directed a film. Our writing process consisted of coming up with a basic scene and then moving to opposite ends of the room to start writing our own versions. We’d then try to combine our dialogue and notes into a coherent scene. I don’t recall who came up with the concept. I feel like I came to him with the idea of a two-person film and he had been thinking about doing something set in space, so we just went from there.
Originally, we wanted to use two different actresses and shoot the entire film twice, cutting between each actress to represent Sarah’s different states of mind. Ultimately, one of our actresses was told she needed to take a break from acting by her doctor, so we shot the film pretty much in a normal fashion. Jess Jones is a wonderful actress and always ready to work. The conclusion of the film is a rape scene and I tend to be very protective of my co-stars, so I had to make certain that she was completely comfortable with everything. She never complained, even when the set got extremely cold in our warehouse. We were supposed to be sweltering in the pod, but had to be sprayed with water to create sweat.
Curtis Jones, a theatrical designer, created our amazing space pod. The walls were removable so we could shoot from multiple angles. We rigged a projector outside of the pod to show computer images constantly running over our faces. Dan had a man in England design a model version of the pod which we could connect to a tripod and shoot our space sequences.
Dan was finishing his residency and left for Oregon, so I flew out there several months later for a week and we cut the film together. Dan was also in the movie originally, with the idea being that we, Paul and Sarah, might just be figments of his imagination, but we decided to cut Dan’s scenes. I was always sad to see one particular shot go. We rigged the camera to be a bird’s eye view of the pod, and Dan kept throwing a pill bottle at the camera. It was such a great shot.