This is the first short I wrote and directed after graduating from SCAD, the Savannah College of Art & Design. In 2001, I lived in the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles. I was acting but felt typecast in “nerd” roles. I thought the role of Danny, an autistic code-breaker, would help me break out of the mold.
The Cypher is a short digital thriller about three people whose lives are forever changed by the lure of easy money. Rachel Harper is a dedicated social worker who provides living assistance for Danny, a young man with autism and a traumatic past. When Rachel learns that Danny has been visiting a stranger’s house, she investigates and meets Richard Hutchins, a reclusive hacker who has been using Danny’s amazing code-breaking abilities to steal millions of dollars electronically from major corporations. Rachel is soon drawn into the scheme despite her fears and Danny’s growing reluctance to solve the complicated “puzzles”.
Although we completed principle photography in 2001, it took me another year to learn Final Cut Pro and edit the short film. Youtube had a 10 minute time limit for videos when I first uploaded The Cypher, so it had to be divided into three parts.
Please excuse the quality of the video, which we shot on DV with a Sony Handycam. The Cypher was a great learning experience and the start of Arcadian Entertainment. Hard to believe it was over twenty years ago!
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