Colin Levy | Writer / Director

The Disappearing Act

The Disappearing Act is a 50-second spot for Coca-Cola, shot on 35mm, about a clever stage magician uses Diet Coke to misdirect his audience from a somewhat sloppy and obvious trick plays out onstage.


Although the finished film is just 50 seconds, this project was a really big deal for me. At the time it was the biggest, most professional, and well-organized project I'd directed.

This was my entry for the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker's Award. Here's how the contest works: Coca Cola provides a theme. Students from 13 film schools across the country submit a script, storyboard, production plan, and budget. The scripts are judged, and 10 finalists are chosen - and each one is given a $7,500 grant to make their film. The winner is awarded $10,000 - and their film will go on to be shown in over 20,000 theaters this summer.

My friend Roque Nonini and I submitted our materials in October '07, and in November we found out that we were finalists!

We worked on the film until January. We spent about a month in preproduction planning the shots, building the trap door, gathering props, organizing crew, casting the magician, coming up with a shooting schedule, etc. Production lasted just three days (which sounds like it should have been plenty for a 50 second film, but this stuff takes time!), and then we had about three to four weeks for post.

It was interesting because postproduction was the most familiar and comfortable phase of the process for me. I edited it and did the visual effects work myself. The trap door and crowd duplication shots took me about three weeks to complete. Check out the VFX BREAKDOWN below:

I had a great experience collaborating with Kyle Newmaster and Gordy Haab on the soundtrack, and I'm really pleased with how everything came out. Although we didn't win the contest, we made the best film that we could and we had a great deal of help and support from a lot of talented and dedicated people. Overall it was an amazing experience and I certainly learned a lot.

I hope you enjoy the short!