A Personal Narrative Disguised As Production Notes
The stats and titles come first. GREEN GLASS FILMS started production on ALGENY, its first feature-length film, on August 26, 2006. Principal photography was completed on September 14, 2006, after an 18-day shoot. I’m Andrew Burroughs, the writer/director/producer.
Now on with our story.

ALGENY is the modern-day tale of a young man whose dreams of starting and belonging to a family are shattered after discovering he’s a marked man by one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the country. It came to me after I finished up the film festival circuit promoting my short, STATUS. I came across a book written by Jeremy Rifkin called The Biotech Century, and it spurred an interest in biotechnology. He coined the word ALGENY—which can be loosely defined as the upgrading of existing organisms. The idea of exploring the good and the bad of biotech—the players and the played—fascinated me. The intersection of—and conflict between—corporate and private interests. The Common Good vs. The Bottom Line, with a very reluctant hero in the crosshairs.

So as I thought more and more, I thought about the billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and their collective role in relieving pain. Was it because there was obviously more money in treating people rather than curing them? With ALGENY’s villain scratched out, the screen in my head switched on.

But First, You Have To
Write It Down

Marathon Man, North by Northwest and Three Days of the Condor was my Holy Trinity—the Goal. In those classic thrillers, a regular person was thrown into an extraordinary situation. The idea of handling the extraordinary while yet yearning for the ordinary is a tried-and-true formula that still left room for modern interpretation. So, rewrite, rewrite, curse, rewrite, rewrite, sleep, rewrite, rewrite, pray, shoot.

Then There’s The Money……
The Plan, The Script, The Money. That’s the order. Daunting does not adequately describe that process. Perseverance, family understanding, and decent credit ratings paid off.

ALGENY’s funding had two phases—production and post-production. First came first. And four weeks after principal photography, second came second.

“I Hope I Get It”
Alfred E. Rutherford got caught in the wide net we cast and, boy, was I ever glad. He had everything we were looking for in our Justin, our lead: The right mix of honesty, physical strength and emotional vulnerability. With the idea of complimenting Alfred, we found our other leads, and went to work.

What I’m particularly proud of is the idea that our cast is multicultural, without that being a big deal. As much as it can, ALGENY reflects today’s world, so I wanted to make sure it adequately looked like that world. I felt that an ethnically diverse cast was important for ALGENY, a film not too far removed from reality. I always considered ALGENY to be a small film with a global feel.

Rented Equipment And Hope
Production was the usual mix of Murphy’s Law (“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong….”) and its lesser-known brother Parkinson’s Law (“Work expands to fill the time available”). But I was up to the challenge; it’s part of the job description, after all. Sean M. Baxter served as my cinematographer and second brain as we shot ALGENY on Super 16mm film.

That’s right; I said film. Why film instead of digital? Two reasons: 1) More than half of the film takes place outside during the day, and 2) the latest Super 16mm camera equipment enabled us to move fast and efficiently through multiple set ups, while still being able to take advantage of that warm intimate feeling that film gives off so well.

The production schedule consisted of only 18 shooting days at 15 different physical locations in and around New Jersey. A carefully assembled, professional crew was given a schedule pretty much suited to CBS’s The Amazing Race. My production manager Lamar Mackson really had my back; he helped me come up with a shooting schedule that would be able to maneuver through any unexpected schedule surprises. Since the script contained more locations then the average Indie, there was even less error margin than the usual. Preparation—in the form of Pre-production—was the key. I made sure the principal actors had two months of rehearsal time. I also visited each location in order to effectively storyboard. This allowed us to keep up our momentum whenever Murphy's Law would strike, because Parkinson’s Law was a mainstay on our set. But momentum and the creativity it produced knocked them both back.

The Clean-Up After The Party
Changing from Director to Editor, I was able to edit ALGENY in my bedroom. Post-production was much easier than it could have been. As a Director, the editing process for me actually starts at the writing stage. So by the time I actually sat down in front of my Avid, most of the unwanted fat had already been cut. It then was all about the pacing and exploring the different editorial options—keeping the beat while opening all the creative doors. Three months of editing taught me two things; 1) I’m a better writer when I edit, so I think I’ll continue doing my own post, and 2) I’m smart enough now to know to never do it alone, so thanks to Ronald Searight, my Assistant Editor, and some of my editor friends.After the picture was locked, The Brothers Jones—Kenneth and Kevin M—composed the score. The treat of seeing the courtship and the eventual marriage of image and sound never gets old. They have my thanks, and I look forward to the day in which I’ll no longer be able to afford them.

So ALGENY survived its birth pangs, and now finds itself to you. Yes, it’s designed to raise eyebrows about Corporate Power, individual rights and the nature of sacrifice. But it’s also designed to entertain, and I hope it fulfills all of its promise.