This project is my senior thesis at Ithaca College and is the culmination of all my visual effects and drone experience across my four years. Chipped is a sci-fi set in 1987 that follows a family in Pittsburgh connected to a biotech company called DreamVision. Privatized and unsuccessful, DreamVision attempts to bridge the gap between reality and the imaginary. The film follows a young boy who was a test subject for DreamVision as he begins to understand his unique ability.
Chipped - The Short
Welcome to the Chipped page! My name is Nico Johnson and I'm the writer/director of Chipped. For the last four years, I've been creating small-scale short films while studying Cinema & Photography, Visual Effects and Drone Operation at Ithaca College's Park School of Communications. Within my time here, I've accumulated a skillset for telling stories that exist outside of our own "reality."
This is my Senior Thesis project - my final testament to my education experience. In order to tell this story the way I want to, I will need a budget in order to bring it to life. More specifically, this film needs a budget of $3,500 to be made. It's a huge target to strive for, but this money will ensure that we have the necessary tools to make the film and that the cast, crew, and myself are properly fed and kept safe while shooting it.
While we have valuable resources via our school, we receive zero financial support on our path to making a film and thus accept financial responsibility for the budget. It's not feasible to spend $3,500 out of pocket as a student, and that's why we need the help.
What We Need
Here's a breakdown of our $3,500 budget.
Craft Services ($500): All food and beverage needs for the cast and crew, as well as for on-camera. We plan to shoot over two days, which means we will have about five meals to cover for our entire cast and crew.
Locations ($550): Several of our locations require money to secure them.
Cast ($1,000): Each of the four actors has day rates and transportation fees associated.
Production Design ($750): This film is set to take place during the 1980s and will require extensive production design purchases. Our locations include a lamps & lights shop, an arcade, and a period-accurate home. These purchases could be rugs for covering modern-looking hardwood floors or the actual props our characters use. Either way, the 1980s look is incredibly particular and if we are to serve it justice we can spare no expense.
Miscellaneous ($700): This covers various items such as camera gear rentals, green screens, gas compensation, and any other unanticipated purchases.
In return for all of your support, we are offering various rewards and memorabilia from the film as a thank you. Check out all of our perks on the right side of the page!
Meet the Team:
Last Minute Films is a production company currently based in Ithaca, NY, made up of four filmmakers: Max Friedman, Elias Goldman, Nico Johnson, and Spencer Muhlstock. The four of us met at film school, and ever since we've been creating content together. We love bringing engaging stories to life and sharing them with the world. We specialize in narrative fiction, but our body of work includes music videos, documentary work, advertisements, weddings and commercial videos for various clients and businesses.
Chipped will be the latest Last Minute Films Production.
Nico Johnson - Director & Visual Effects
Nico Johnson is a 21-year-old filmmaker from Owings, Maryland. He's a Senior at Ithaca College and spends most of his time fiddling around in After Effects or flying drones. Nico has hundreds of hours of on-set experience that has equipped him with a post-production mindset in a production or pre-production setting. He brings a vital perspective and set of skills to Last Minute Films' projects and is making his directorial and writing debut with Chipped. Recently, he spent six months in Los Angeles interning for Fox Sports as a motion graphics artist. Here are Nico's compositing and drone reels:
Spencer Muhlstock - Director of Photography
Spencer Muhlstock is a 21-year-old filmmaker from Ridgewood, NJ. He is currently a Senior at Ithaca College in Ithaca NY, majoring in cinema production. He has been watching and studying films ever since he was a child and hopes to be a writer/director one day. Over the past few years, Muhlstock has DP'd dozens of short film projects and has built a large portfolio of his work. Muhlstock's films have been an Official Selection 25 times at film festivals around the country, winning 10 film awards. In his free time, Muhlstock also works with organizations and businesses to create meaningful content. In addition to his camera skills, Muhlstock brings a Movi M15 to this shoot that will greatly stabilize our footage and allow for more complicated camera movements throughout the entire piece. In preparation for the film, Muhlstock has been working with Nico on many effects and camera tests.
Take a look at his cinematography reel:
Why fund THIS project?
This project heavily relies on compositing and visual effects working with the cinematography. Typically, shots that contain effects are rarely able to have the camera movement we will because of how complicated the process becomes. With our project, we aren't shying away from this kind of challenge because we know the end result will be unlike anything you've seen before.
Other Ways You Can Help
Follow the project from this page, and on our social media accounts:
Now that the short has been completed, it will be used as a proof of concept piece for a feature-length script or series. We started with a short story and now have a much bigger story to finish telling. We applied professional cinematography and equipment with industry standard effects and animation to tell the story of Tim Ewing, a mute teenager who discovers a family secret with a science fiction twist. The ceiling for this project is consistently rising and we look forward to sharing updates on the festival circuit in the coming months. Check back here for any future updates!
This project originally was a senior thesis short film, but evolved into a much larger story. In the attempt to get this idea out into the world to share and reflect on it, Chipped will be entered into numerous film festivals. As nominations are announced, updates will appear here in the future.
Best College Student Film - The Ridgewood International Film Festival
Best Cinematography, Music & Sound Design - Ithaca Student Film Festival
Official Selection - North Beach Film Festival