How to make a cybercrime movie on a smartphone without a Hollywood graphics budget!
The main protagonist in our cybercrime thriller Cyberlante is a hacker called Matt. Although patronised and underestimated by his boss, Clayton Kendall, Matt uses his hacking skills to infiltrate computers, mobile phones and networks to glean information, mostly to satisfy his curiosity, but also as a means to protect himself and others whom he feels might be threatened.
We faced many challenges in making this ultra-low budget feature film, not least how to convey to a regular audience the layers of technological complexity involved in the black art of hacking. Of course Hollywood movies such as Enemy of the State (1998), Hackers (1995) and Blackhat (2015) embellish their scenes with high-end sophisticated graphics to somehow ‘visualise’ the workings of computer systems and networks.
The cost of creating these techniques for the big screen can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions!), and so we clearly needed a different approach. When one delves into the actual processes undertaken in hacking, the reality is – perhaps unsurprisingly – not full of colour and massive arrays of monitors churning out reams of complex data. Invariably, it’ll be a seemingly unremarkable person sat in front of her or his laptop. Indeed, when we descend into the underlying workings of computers and ‘operating systems’, we are involved in simple computer instructions and data – these, compiled into ‘programs’ and ‘scripts’ designed to perform various functions. In the case of hacking, these activities are illegal.
So, that’s the approach we took with Cyberlante: go for a more simple approach and put across the often rudimentary way (text instructions on screen) in which these cyber criminals ply their trade!
Update: CYBERLANTE was shot with smartphone technology and is available now on Amazon Prime! Details on the Official Website