JJ Abrams is basically the Steven Spielberg for millennials. I don’t know if I’m speaking too soon but he really is! Look at the number of movies produced he has under his belt and so far he’s attached to some of pop culture’s largest movie franchises such as Star Trek, Star Wars, and Mission Impossible. HOW THE HELL DO YOU GET BOTH STAR WARS AND STAR TREK!?

Basically, JJ Abrams has his hands in as many cookie jars as possible and in 2013 he basically told us that he wants more. In a 2013 interview JJ Abrams and Gabe Newell (Co-founder of Valve), you know the guy behind the games Team Fortress, HALF-LIFE, AND FREAKING PORTAL!? Well, While JJ Abrams was talking about expanding into creating video games Gabe Newell talked about the idea of creating a movie based on both Half-Life and Portal! JJ Abrams even said, “It’s as real as everything in Hollywood gets”. SO HALF LIFE AND PORTAL CONFIRMED! Except there is just one problem.

Since 2013 JJ Abrams has been super busy, he’s Directed: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and produced: Believe (TV Show), Mission Impossible 5Mission Impossible 6, 11.22.63, Star Trek Beyond, WestWorld, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the list goes on! There is no way in hell that on top of juggling all of these movies JJ Abrams is just going to hop in and direct either Half-Life or Portal. But in 2016 all of that changed. It made me realize that Half-Life and Portal are actually still very much alive and is closer than we think and it’s all because of the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

If you haven’t seen 10 Cloverfield Lane  I won’t spoil it but I will tell you to watch it. It was so good! 10 Cloverfield Lane is about a woman named Michelle that ends up in a bunker and has to share the space with a crazy psycho named Howard that thinks the world is ending and a guy named Emmit. That was a super quick rundown of the movie but the reason why all of this is important is because of the man behind the camera, the director of the film:

Dan Tranchberg.


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Dan Tranchberg at the premiere of 10 Cloverfield Lane

If you take a look at Dan Tranchberg you’ll see that he is actually a pretty new director, and when I say this I mean he’s never made a feature film before 10 Cloverfield Lane. But what he did create just before 10 Cloverfield Lane was a little short film that came out around six years ago named Portal: No Escape (2011).


Currently Portal: No Escape is on YouTube and sits at approximately 21 million views. Since the release of the short film adaptation of the video games, many copycat videos began to show up. It was clear that Portal had a fan base that was willing to watch a film based on the video game. Dan Tranchberg’s Portal film is significant because this is why JJ Abrams found him interesting. If JJ Abrams cant direct the Portal and Half-Life films then he can at least produce it and get someone who clearly has a love for the subject to direct it, Dan Tranchberg.

I can go on and on about all the similarities from the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane and Portal: No Escape but that’s not why we are here.

Similarities in shot composition of 10 Cloverfield Lane vs. Portal: No Escape

I’m here to tell you the movies are very much still alive and the reason why is because of Dan Tranchberg. 10 Cloverfield Lane was just a test film!! It was created to see if Dan Tranchberg could handle the pressures of a feature film so that he can move on to a bigger budget and make more money. How do I know this?


Before 10 Cloverfield Lane became what it was (the sequel to the original Cloverfield (2008)) the name of the movie was called The Cellar. JJ Abrams and the Bad Robot company bought the script and later modified it to become the sci-fi movie we know it as today. Why not pick up a script that’s not being used then slap on a title that’s associated with a franchise already so that automatically we have an audience? No one wants to watch some guy’s movie named The Cellar if he hasn’t made anything like it before, companies would not take that risk. So give Tranchberg something that is established, that way his skill can be seen by a larger audience.

Staying on the topic of risk The Bad Robot company gave this movie a small budget. Since the movie was executed well you can’t really tell but when you step back you can begin to notice it. The movie really only had three settings, that’s a dead give away right there. Filmmaking at the end of the day is a big business so what you want to do is invest as little money as you can so that you can make a maximum profit.

If Tranchberg can be successful with a small budget and keep people entertained, and get the producers their money back than he will be considered a “good filmmaker”. It’s the reason why we have so many Marvel movies and a bunch of Transformers. They make money and lots of it. 10 Cloverfield Lane only had a budget of $15,000,000. You might be laughing and saying that that’s a lot of money but if you really think about it… it’s not when you think about the following:

The budget for the original Cloverfield (2008) was $25,000,000.

The film by JJ Abrams: Super 8 (2011) had a budget of $50,000,000.

And a film that came out in the same year as 10 Cloverfield Lane had a budget of $58,000,000. That was Deadpool (2016). I mention Deadpool because for a comic book Image result for Deadpool Gifmovie that is a very tiny budget. No one wanted to invest so much money into a comic book movie that was Rated R. So many things could have gone wrong. What if the mainstream audience didn’t like the character? What about the kids that think Spiderman is in the movie? The original X-Men (2000) from the same production company as Deadpool had a budget of $75,000,000. Just to put things into perspective for you.

So all of that was to show you that Tranchberg is not working with much here. What JJ Abrams is trying to get out of him is his raw talent. Can he handle the pressures with only a fixed amount of money? Imagine what the budget for Portal will be like, Imagine the risk of it being bad because it’s a Video Game movie and we all know how those end up.

To save even more money on Post Production all of the VFX inside of 10 Cloverfield Lane was done all in-house. In the end, it all seemed worth it because 10 Cloverfield Lane was pretty successful. critics gave it good reviews and it made $24,702,752 in the United States and Worldwide it crossed $110,000,000. After directing 10 Cloverfield

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Lane Dan Tranchberg also got the opportunity to direct an episode of the Netflix Hit Series: Black Mirror, Play Test (2016). His episode, of course, was all about video games.


The point I’m trying to make is that Dan Tranchberg will be the director of Portal and potentially Half-Life. The point of 10 Cloverfield Lane is to see if Tranchberg is actually qualified or if he was just some guy on YouTube that just so happened to go viral. If 10 Cloverfield Lane was a success then we would finally be getting the movie we were promised so long ago.

As you read this right now another Cloverfield movie is now in Post-Production.

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Published by Adler Lafleur

Owner, Founder, Director, Editor Producer of Kaylex Productions. Full-Time freelance filmmaker from New Jersey.

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