The Audit, A Movie Made Over Zoom

So, you wanna make a movie but, you know, COVID.

Well, there’s always Zoom. 

OK, so when you record on Zoom, you’re at the mercy of whatever webcams your actors happen to have. And whatever the lighting and audio situations happen to be in their homes. And costumes are, well, whatever is in the actors’ closets. And sets. And props. And, and, and… 

And now there’s The Audit, taped entirely on Zoom. When you have 12 minutes to fritter on something fun, watch it. David Simon wrote the script with an eye to recording it on Zoom, then recruited local theatre director and actor Dave Leon to direct the show. The Dave/David team then recruited actors Jeffry Lampert, Karl Schweitzer, and Nina Goldschlager, to play the slimy sales rep, his manager, and the new woman in accounting. After two 90-minute rehearsals over the course of a week, the crew recorded two takes and sent the results to the editing suite.

Nina’s webcam gives her a bad sunburned look; Karl’s cell phone connects to Zoom at an oddball frame size; and Jeff’s camera is just fuzzy. Post-production cured Nina’s sunburn, and editing stretched Karl into shape. Jeff is still pretty fuzzy. 

The intrepid Midpen Media crew included Cathy Keys and Stan Ng. Dave, David, and Cathy set aside 20 minutes of rehearsal time with each actor alone to work on lighting, costumes, and props. Webcams and furniture got moved around, and clutter got rearranged. Lamps were adjusted.

And now it’s ready for the big silver screen. Or maybe not…