HandintheBoxinc. started in fifth grade when founder, Steal Adcock, had to complete a live-action film for a school project. That same year he had spray painted a refrigerator box black with a hidden door in the back. This box was to be used as the classic disappearing into a box magic trick for the school’s first talent show. Unfortunately, the talent show was canceled and the box became irrelevant. Frustrated by this, he dropped out of the show entirely because it had turned into another school play. After the completion of his first film, his mother joked that he needed a company name and that the name should be hand in the box inc and that they could film his hand coming out of the hidden door in the useless refrigerator box for the logo. At first he thought it was silly, but he went along with it and the name still stands.
This company has been in the process of building itself up for over twelve years now. Adcock has been practicing writing scripts, directing, acting in, editing, and marketing his own films for the same amount of time using YouTube and Facebook. As he remarks, “The years have been filled with a burning hot sun while taking hours to film war scenes, getting fake blood on your expensive camera, getting excited when a scene provokes some kind of un-predicted emotion, and the stress during editing when things do not go as planned…it’s quite a rush.” The past two years, Adcock has submitted his first full-length original film, True Love Story, loosely based on his life during his first semester attending St. Mary’s University, to Sundance Film Festival, San Antonio Film Festival, and Austin Film Festival. Adcock is in the process of submitting his latest original short psychological thriller, Loves Death, which deals with suicide. He announced his most recent film festival project, Solipsism, that he claims to be a combination of, “Lucid dreams, astral projection, higher dimensions of space and time, paradoxes, and near death experiences,” all of which he claims to have extensively studied (besides astral projection) for one of his unrelated, personal research projects.
In terms of the future of HandintheBoxinc., Adcock wants the company to not only produce independent full-length narrative films, but also independent music through bands, mostly of the rock genre. Adcock also hopes to be able to provide classes for ordinary people who are inspired to become film-makers because, “I believe that if you are not following your passion, you need to start doing it now. Life is too short not to and you only have one life to live, that’s it.”
How Filming Started
In the Words of Steal Adcock
In elementary school I was consistently bullied and blamed for things I did not do. By 5th grade I had to do a school project and my teacher wanted me to make a live action film since the year before I had done stop-motion. I had no interest and thought making a movie would be like a cheesy school play. My teacher was persistent and I decided to give it a try. I started working on the script with my mother and when I realized how much control I had over the story and what would happen, I got excited. My first film earned me the respect I had been desperate for—a sense of control for the first time in my life. I went through various phases and obsessions growing up—first it was building tracks, then it was science, the human anatomy, inventing, model making, hamster mazes, filming, Legos, psychology, philosophy, the Bible, and then God. Film has always stayed with me and has not died out over the nine years that I have been working as a film-maker. Filming has become more than just an obsession and it gives me joy when I feel down and excitement when I feel life is getting dull. This semester I began to think back at the struggles I experienced growing up and realized that whenever I was making a movie with my friends or writing a script, these processes of film-making were my escape. What I also realized was that all my life I never really had control over the things that happened to me—not living with my real parents, being bullied, and getting rejected—but with film I had complete control. Not only did I have control over the story and the characters, but I also had control over the entire process as a whole. Guiding my actors, helping them get into character, and then watching them portray honest and personal moments that stem from my own life compels me to keep making films.
I premeditate myself to sleep before film shoots thinking about the shots I’ll get, whether I’ll have my actors improvise, or imagining my characters and what world they live in, what they are going through, what thoughts are running through their minds during the conversation, or what makes the conversation real? Everyone has thoughts and years of personal experiences, so how are they going to react and why are they going to react at all? I’m not thinking about where I want the plot to go or what genre I’m trying to stay in, I’m thinking about what my character wants to do and why they want to do it. Over the ten years I have been filming my friends and I have filmed in a court room, we’ve used fireworks to create practical effects for war scenes, and we’ve gotten down in muddy rivers for Omaha Beach scenes to ensure that what is shown on screen is real. I’ve experimented with most of the genres and I started with horror then did war, adventure fantasy, crime, romantic drama, and now I am doing a mystery thriller. I own two Youtube channels and am a Youtube Partner. The last film I made, True Love Story, was submitted to Sundance Film Festival.
I want to continue to pursue writing, directing, and editing my own films for my independent film company that I hope to establish under the name, HandintheBoxinc. I have 20 original scripts I have written and have been revising the past several years that I do not have the resources to film, but hope to in the future.