Pinball obsessed Eddie discovers a curiously unique pinball table. As he works to repair the game and learn of its origins, Eddie starts to question whether sinister forces are out to stop him from realizing his destiny.
Socially out of touch Eddie is obsessed with old school pinball. When he's not hammering away at the tables in his local dive bar, he's fantasizing about 1970s pinball champs and working as a repair man. After discovering a mysterious old pinball table, Eddie starts a quest to repair it and learn of the game's origins. But aside from Eddie, the only other person who seems to have any knowledge of the game is an old timer named Emmett. As his focus deepens and his desire to fix the machine turns into paranoid obsession, he seeks out the help of his sister Liv to uncover the game's secrets. Is this the greatest game ever made? Will Eddie's paranoia prevent him from fulfilling his destiny? If you're good enough, can you really play one game of pinball forever?
Pinbox is much more than simply a pinball movie. It is a story that deals with obsession, alienation, and the innate hazards of wrapping our identity around a singular interest. Eddie’s quest to repair his game and figure out what it means, especially to him, starts innocently enough, but as his paranoia and tunnel vision escalate, Eddie starts to lose sight of what’s real and what is important. Eddie’s descent, while heightened in the movie, is something a lot of people can identify with: losing yourself in an obsession, feeling alienated from friends and family, even to the point of feeling out of step with life in general. While we use pinball and pinball culture to give texture to a universal human story, we think even pinball novices will still be intrigued and want to see Pinbox.
Perhaps most importantly, Pinbox can be produced and realized on a micro budget, drastically increasing its potential for viability without sacrificing any of the film’s potential, the story’s strength, or the audience’s satisfaction. This is a movie people will enjoy, a movie people will want to discuss and argue about after seeing it. Pinbox is the sort of film that makes an assertive statement about who we are as filmmakers, articulates our point of view regarding film, and shows off our desires and strengths as storytellers. Pinbox will be a bigger, deeper film than our previous works, and together with investors who share our vision, we can make that vision a reality.
Pinball is one of the great American cultural cornerstones, tantamount to rock n roll and baseball, a true phenomenon that has enchanted the entire world for almost a century. During the 1960s and 1970s, pinball made more money than the American film industry, and during its late 1980s-mid 1990s renaissance, designers created some of pinball’s most memorable games. After years of dwindling numbers, the past decade has seen an almost tenfold increase in convention and competition attendance (with over 115,000 attending in 2017 alone, according to the IFPA). A renewed excitement around pinball from collectors and new, younger players coincides with the growth of a fervent analog culture enthralled with physical entertainment and socializing in barcade style venues. With pinball’s star back on the rise and new manufacturers springing up all over the world, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for a movie highlighting a beloved American pastime.
The overall tone of Pinbox fits well in the mystery genre, a mix of noir and fantasy that works to disrupt the viewer’s perception of what is real. Is some of the mystery all in Eddie’s mind? Are there other forces out to get him? Through lighting and sound design, we will create sequences and images that work to trick the audience and keep them guessing. As referential counterpoints, Incident at Raven’s Gate meets Inherent Vice is an apt Venn diagram to draw.
Look / Style of Pinbox:
Though we will create a few stylized and surreal moments that impact the plot, much of Pinbox’s look will utilize realistic “as they are” locations around Metro Detroit. We can make use of existing locations, treating them as readymade sets that we can accentuate using a few efficient techniques (switching out a few light bulbs for effect, or simply adding a prop or two). The film is set in the present day, so dressing any sets and addressing wardrobe won’t be cumbersome at all. No sets/locations or set pieces in this film need to be realized from the ground up unless it is cost effective to do so, in which case we can easily accommodate. All sets can be found via location scouting rather than built from scratch, which will serve to minimize pre-production costs. Alternately, one large space could be set dressed several ways to depict 4-5 locations in the film (with minimal construction required) if it is determined to be more cost effective.
The film should have a shaggy, lived in look, and like a pinball game, it should be full of robust colors and sound design, with set pieces and camera angles that transform the real world into an element of the game. Aerial shots of cityscapes and highway interchanges at night that resemble pinball playfields. Shots of drawbridges and gated entrances that look like flippers. The glow of neon and deep field shot framing will give the scenes the look of a pinball playfield from a player’s vantage point. Films like Drive and Good Time serve as appropriate stylistic touchstones due to their distinct color palette. The nocturnal clockwork of the noir genre will provide stylistic cues for pacing and plot framing, so when we subvert those expectations throughout the film, the audience will feel as unbalanced as Eddie does in his quest.
Pinbox takes place in a present day, city like environment. Most sets/locations are indoor locations, making scheduling much easier from a logistical standpoint. We have already begun preliminary location scouting around Metro Detroit and feel very good about securing such locations as the Dive Bar and Eddie’s Apartment. Much of the exterior locations require minimal setup, as they are designed to spontaneously capture Eddie out in the world, often without even needing to run sync sound. This entire movie can easily be filmed right here in Metro Detroit with a very achievable 16 day shooting schedule.
Budget / Scheduling:
Budget and scheduling resources available upon request.