Explosions Movies Created by Product Manager’s Ideas: “Network Mysteries”

  Film, Product manager

By hypernerve

「If I see your screen, I see your

If I see your screen, I can see your soul. 」
-Teemo Beckman Bittorf

The above sentence comes from Teemo Beckman Bittorf, the producer of this year’s hit movie “Searching,” which is currently being released in China and has achieved good results in its three days of release.

The story tells the suspenseful story of a single father who is a software engineer in Silicon Valley and searches for his missing 16-year-old daughter through internet tools.

One of the reasons why this movie has won great acclaim this year is its bold attempt.The movie is the real shot taken by no camera in the whole movie.,But only the recording angles of various screens, consisting of: mobile phone screen, computer screen, monitoring lens and live TV lens.


The whole movie, like a cleverly designed and timely high-quality product, has just occupied the top several places of “Movie Store” recently.

A low-cost movie with a high reputation and a high box office.

“Network Mystery Trace” was first screened in a small scale at Sundance Film Festival. It won two awards and won the favor of Sony Pictures. It began to be released worldwide. Since then, its reputation has exploded.

从上至下分别是 IMDB、烂番茄和豆瓣的观影反馈

On the major scoring websites, Network Mystery Trace received a favorable comment: rotten tomato fever 92%, IMDB score 7.8, and METASCORE score 71.

On Douban, its rating is as high as 8.5, which is better than 96% of suspense movies. Up to now, the movie’s global box office has reached 80 million US dollars.

The director who used millions of budget to support millions of box offices is a former employee of Google

The most remarkable thing is that the movie took only 13 days to shoot and cost less than US$ 1 million to produce, so the current box office performance is undoubtedly a big hit for this low-cost movie.

Behind this menacing aura is a talented director  Aneesh Chaganty  anish Chaganti, who first caused a sensation in 2014 before he graduated from college.

《网络谜踪》的导演阿尼什·查甘蒂,竟然是一位 90 后

At that time, at the University of Southern California Film Academy, anish and his partner Seif Ohhanian (also the screenwriter of “The Trace of Network Enigma”) used Google Glass to shoot a 2-minute short film “Seeds”. After the short film was uploaded to Youtube, it exceeded 1 million hits within 24 hours.

This incident attracted Google’s attention and he soon joined Google Creative Lab. After joining Google, anish’s main job is to plan, shoot and produce advertisements related to Google products.

It is said that he is good at using “screen image recording” to create advertisements. He once said: “I tried to use the cold and ordinary screen images as the canvas for conveying emotions. I tried to move people to tears with the click of a mouse. 」

After meeting with producer Teemo Beckman Bittorf, both of them were keen to make movies only on the screen. Therefore, they developed a movie project called “Screen Life”. This is the movie “Network Fan Trace”, which is anish’s first feature film and a product under the concept of “Screen Life”.

Before making the movie, I made a Demo with the product idea.

At first, Network Mystery Trace was only an 8-minute idea, but with the encouragement and support of investors and the brainstorming of the screenwriter, it eventually expanded into a feature film. In order to concentrate on making this film, anish resolutely resigned from Google.

Anish also made full use of the idea of designing Internet products. Before shooting the movie, he made a demo of the movie himself.

In the traditional film and television projects, some delicate and large investment projects will also be designed as preview films for financing and casting, but they are often animated presentations of shot-by-shot scripts.


However, anish is bolder, in order to invite more big-name actors and accept the advanced creation of “screen performance”:Anish played all the roles in the movie, finished filming the movie demo and sent it to investors and actors who wanted to invite.

This is not the  MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that is often mentioned in product design.

It was also in this way that anish invited John Zhao, a famous Asian actor, and attracted his attention with this sincere demo.

Asian Actors Persuaded to Play

A good product, in addition to the product manager, cannot be separated from the cooperation of technology, design, operation, market and other functional departments.

Similarly, behind this movie stands the director and screenwriter team, which provides excellent script and logical support for the movie, but what presents the movie is the in-depth understanding of the roles of the starring actors and their participation in the performance.

John Zhao john cho, who starred in “Network Mystery Trace”, has gained a large number of fans for playing Sulu in “Star Trek” and the topic of the former # StarringJohnsho (# John Zhao as the lead) has also caused a stir.

He is also the best Asian actor in Hollywood today, and the leading actor in “The Trace of Network Mystery” makes him the first Asian actor to star in a Hollywood thriller.

阿尼什与男主演 John Zhao 在片场沟通

However, according to his own account, when he was initially invited to perform, his heart refused. Because he felt that the whole movie was very strange in the form of a computer screen, there was no “movie feeling” and it was also a difficult process to have no opponents to play.

He later said in an interview:“For me, acting is a two-way thing. Only when you face to face with the actor opposite you can the most real emotional reaction be fully stimulated. 」

However, the final presentation of the film was still very smooth and true. Apart from the editing effect, it could not be separated from John’s wonderful performance. The film also became the pride of john cho’s career.

Movie Impression: A Real Peeping into the Hero’s Life

In the end, the film, which took 13 days to shoot, took two years to edit and finally showed the effect we see in the cinema now.

The whole movie is like a kind of mockumentary recording a screen, although this form is not the first one. In the 16th episode of the sixth season of American TV series “Modern Family” and the recent thriller movie “unfriended 2: Dark Net”, it is the same expressional method without real shot and full screen.

At the level of screen shooting, Network Mystery Trace can be described as “insane”. Even the transition between computer desktops will be connected with other electronic screens without any real pictures.

这不是一个简单的 gif ,而是电影中的画面

Therefore, it will create an illusion, like staring at someone else’s computer screen for 100 minutes. Moving to the big screen in this way is indeed a complicated experience. After all, the font size 22 you are familiar with at ordinary times has expanded almost 50 times and is displayed on the big screen.

Network Pursuit: From  Windows to Reddit to Live Websites

The movie begins with a series of quick clips that tell the background of the story through the family records of computers equipped with window XP.

However, the director still “rudely” pulled out the place where Windows was criticized.

导演是真·windows 黑

Scene 1: My daughter wants to play a web game. After opening the game “Infinite Maze,” the explosive pop-up window “Dangdangdang Dangdang ….
Scene 2: Anti-virus software poking eyes in the lower right corner of the computer. When the man mainly looked for information from the old computer, after a long boot, a reminder “You haven’t run anti-virus software for 694 days” popped up.

This old computer, which is not young, bears the memory of the family: Windows startup sound, classic blue sky and white clouds desktop, and large-grain pixel image quality, all make people miss the XP era.

Geek Dad Show Operation: No Privacy on the Internet

The story turned around when my daughter left her Macbook at home. Coincidentally, she didn’t have a power-on password. Dad succeeded in getting through all the “checkpoints” through a series of operations on the computer.

The way dad cracked his daughter’s social account may have been experienced by many people. Although it’s not very advanced, it’s still full of images.

What he used was the password retrieval, which used the associated email boxes to find opportunities layer by layer. After several iterations, we found the mailbox that we can log in to. As a result, the daughter’s social media gate was completely opened at that moment.

I believe you, who have retrieved the password, will definitely smile at this operation.

Although this operation is absolutely necessary, it still exposes the potential safety hazard of social accounts.

With the unlocking of a computer and an account, it brings the cracking of almost all accounts. The common practice of binding each other is also the key to cracking at that moment, just like dumping a domino, followed by a series of dumping.

A large number of pictures in the movie are mainly video calls made by male owners on Facetime, and his skillful search operation has always relied on Google’s entire family: a large number of Google searches are applied, case information is collated and shared by Google Drive, and key location information is marked by Google Map.

Until the climax, apart from the  G Suite, more familiar Internet products appeared: Facebook, Yahoo, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and so on, as well as the current hot live websites and video communities.

The information left by the hero’s missing daughter on these social networking sites has become the only way for the hero to learn about his daughter. The constant exploration has shocked the hero deeply and brought him closer to the truth step by step.

Network Mystery Trace: Network Know You Better than Family

Another subtlety of the movie lies in the suspense of its plot. The whole story has gone through several reversals. The director deliberately laid down many foreshadowing in the movie and also laid out many clever clues.

But I’m not polite to tell you, if you infer, you will definitely guess wrong.

In any case, this movie has been a great success and has undoubtedly become a fact. On the whole, Network Mystery Trace is a well-intentioned work, but what the desktop movie looks like on the big screen may need to be experienced.