Title: Murder by Accusation
Cast: Brian Beck, Paul Coughlan, Eileen Carey, Michael Sheridan, Lillian Sheridan
Director: Michael Sheridan
Writer: Story by Michael Sheridan; Screenplay by Michael Sheridan, Brian Beck
Synopsis: A detective and his bumbling police officer sidekick must discover the truth behind a dead body found inside the apartment of a bickering couple.
Release Date: 2002
Murder by Accusation was an experiment in digital filmmaking. Shot on mini-DV, edited utilizing Adobe Premiere 6.2 and Final Cut Pro 3.0, it was the first totally digital film created by its makers.
Developed and directed by Michael Sheridan, the film stars Paul Coughlan and Brian Beck, both of whom co-wrote the screenplay with Sheridan.
The story follows Detective O’Brien (Coughlan) and Officer Harris (Beck) as they attempt to unravel the mysterious death of a man inside the house of a deceptively happy married couple.
From the start, the film was designed to be a goof-ball comedy. Filled with witty dialogue and slap-stick sight-gags, the short manages to retain its humor from beginning to end.
In an effort to develop the comedy, Sheridan enlisted the help of Coughlan and Beck to work out the kinks. In other words, punch up the humor. Over the course of a three weeks, the group met regularly, using improv and discussion to find ways of adding comedy to the story.
The majority of the film was shot over the course of a single day — taking about 13 hours. Police uniforms were borrowed from friends in the NYPD, and all the locations were in Queens, NY.
The titling was creating using a combination of Adobe Premiere’s titling software, and Adobe Photoshop.
The film is called “experimental” chiefly because the project was done digitally. Shot and completed in a relatively short period of time — a month — with a budget of about $130.