Using an iMac, iMovie and his dad’s digital video camera, 17-year-old actor Daryl Wein directed a 12-minute film, “Life is a Train,” that captured third prize in the International Young Filmmaker’s Festival.
Wein came up with the idea for his movie during his weekly two-hour Metro commutes between Westport, CT and New York City, where he would audition for acting roles in commercials and films. He observed the intricate social hierarchy of the commuters riding the train, he said in an
Apple Hot News story.
“It’s just so interesting to see what people do on trains, how it works and just the system of what goes on,” Wein told Apple. “I thought it was a cool location — a whole movie that takes place on a train. It would be a challenge, but it would be rewarding. The lighting is cool; the whole ambience is really interesting.”
Before starting on his award-winning film, the young filmmaker practiced by creating some impromptu movies using his dad’s digital camera and his iMac. But for “Life is a Train,” he enlisted a friend, Toby Burns to help write the script, and two other pals (Luke McCormack and Peter Duchan) to help with the on-location shooting. Wein and Burns portrayed the two main characters.
They storyboarded the entire mini-movie and even built a small dolly for the floor camera and a larger one for the to push down the aisle for overhead shots of the commuters. Wein then got permission from the MTA along with free weekend passes to shoot on the train. In each train car, they asked the riders if they minded being extras in the film. No one did.
Wein shot the entire movie in sepiatone, using iMovie’s built-in special effects to further distort the film’s color to look gloomier. He also used a 16 x 9 widescreen format “to provide an independent feel,” Wein told Apple.
Using his iMac and iMovie, Wein spent 40 hours editing almost two hours of raw footage down to 12 minutes, adding narration and a musical soundtrack. He created the film while juggling his acting career and a normal load of schoolwork.
At the International Young Filmmaker’s Festival competition, judges from the Director’s View of New York City reviewed over 100 submissions from young filmmakers around the world, narrowing the field to 25 finalists. Shortly after taking third place, Wein entered the film in the All-Connecticut Young Mediamakers Competition, where he won first place.
Wein has decided to study drama as an undergraduate at New York University, but his passion for making movies has already inspired thoughts of pursuing a graduate degree in filmmaking.