Bradley Gueho is a 24-year-old filmmaker based in Lafayette, LA. Gueho, a graduate of ULL’s moving image arts department, directed 11 as his senior capstone project. This short film, shot entirely on 35mm, follows an aspiring basketball player’s journey as he builds confidence in his game before college tryouts.
How long have you been active in the film industry?
I’ve been involved with film for about three years, stepping foot on my first set in the fall of 2020.
How has your experience as an editor/director shaped your creative vision?
Starting out, editing prepared me as a director and definitely influenced my vision when approaching a project. Most editors prefer having as much to work with as possible to tell a story. That mindset leads to many ideas of how a scene or story can play out using filmmaking techniques that have come before. Ultimately allowing me to narrow down shot types, camera movements, emotions, pacing, etc, leaving plenty of room for creativity.
What went into your decision to use 35mm film?
After having completed just over a month of pre-production, just a few days before our first day of shooting, Levi Porter (our Director of Photography) asked me, “If we were given the opportunity to shoot with a 35mm film camera, do you think it would be suitable for 11? If so, tell me why?” So, I took a second and said, “Well, many of the films that have influenced the project are basketball movies from the 90’s. He Got Game (1998), White Men Can’t Jump (1992), and even Space Jam (1996) to a degree.” We believed that the aesthetic of 35mm would further elevate the emotional portrayals of these characters, and recording to a physical format would only ground our story even more.
What visual aesthetics does this medium offer?
Personally, I love the results that film produces, especially when Levi is behind the camera. And for what we were doing (evening exteriors in a park with lots of beautiful trees, a dark gym with soft lighting overhead, and the gritty exteriors of a concrete court lit only on one side), I believe it makes everything in the frame feel more grounded and real, whether that be physically or emotionally.
What are the challenges of working with 35mm?
Going in, we knew time management and scheduling would be of the utmost importance because Levi would be operating the camera and loading the raw film stock. We also set a limit on the amount of film we wanted to use, and that only set the bar higher to meet those numbers.
What were some creative ways that you overcame those challenges?
Scene 2 is a heavy back-and-forth dialogue scene, so to prevent using too much film over dialogue happening off camera, we have some sections of conversation between Donovan Shockley (Writer/“Dame”) and Cameron Washington (“Eli”) we would do line by line.
Camera speeds, action, line of dialogue, cut.
Camera speeds, action, next line of dialogue, cut.
It’s not the standard for how to shoot a dialogue scene by any means, but it was one way of saving film.
That being said, not having someone to converse back and forth with for nearly the majority of a scene is difficult. It was something that I was coaching on the spot, and it was a challenge that Donovan and Cameron overcame very well. Their ability to adapt and perform, along with our crew, makes that scene.
How long did the production process take for 11 from start to finish?
Pre-production began in January, and then we locked color, sound, and music in August. Production was only 3 days (two weekends) at the end of February and early in March, but we took our time with it. With Levi coloring, Andrew DeRitter sound mixing/creating foley, then Gandhi and Jacob Silvas providing the score & soundtrack, I knew we were in good hands. I didn’t want anyone to be unsatisfied with their work due to a lack of time. Anything good and worth doing takes time.
What are some memorable moments from production?
I would say one of the most memorable moments would have to be filming the opening gym scene. We were getting close to the end of the day, pressed for time, whilst trying to complete Donovan’s workout montage. Everyone is moving as quickly as possible to get each take in the can and set up for the wide shot of Dame shooting threes alone. All we needed was for him to make a couple of baskets. What could’ve taken 30 minutes and put us further behind took one take because Donovan made 5 buckets in a row. Though it cuts around in the film, that wide is the only take, and he made five straight. Everyone cheered in awe. It was a pretty clutch move by Donovan!
What does the title of the short mean?
The title is based on the number of points that are played in a pickup game of basketball until reached by one team. The story happens because of the game, and it was the original title of Donovan’s initial draft of the script. We both agreed that it was unique and felt like a solid title. It’s also been sort of a lucky number for me prior to the project.
What drew you to basketball as a subject?
When Donovan first presented the script, my initial attraction to the project wasn’t solely based on basketball but the ability to tell an uplifting story through athletics. Sports have a long history of underdog stories in cinema, and both of us wanted to create something unique and heartfelt that could reach beyond sports audiences. After all the screenings and festivals, I’ve seen it resonate with audiences beyond the genre. I believe what we accomplished is something that everyone involved with the project can be proud of, especially for a student film.
Could you describe your creative process behind selecting the soundtrack for 11?
Much of my influence for the score and soundtrack came from “The Last Dance,” not only because it’s one of the best basketball docu-series possibly ever but because its story primarily takes place in the 90s. With a lot of influence from the basketball movies of the 90s, it felt right to start there and develop something similar but have it resonate with contemporary music fans as well. Gandhi and Jacob accomplished that premise very well and proved it as the right fit for the story.
How does music enhance your creative vision?
Sports are exciting, and I wanted a sound that reflected that. We kept that in mind going into production, which was one reason we shot the game sequences the way we did.
What are you currently doing for work?
Currently, I freelance as a videographer and editor here in Lafayette.
Are there any future projects you’d like to pursue?
I’ve had a short film script written for quite some time now that I hope to produce eventually. Though I’d say, my ongoing pursuit is collecting and helping tell stories from South Louisiana. Whether through short films, music videos, mini-docs, or vignettes, I’d say those categories and supporting others in producing similar work are projects I’m always pursuing.