These shorts (all free online!), all of which happened to play at Sundance in the past few years:
The Crush (writer/director: Michael Creagh) (14 mins)
Please Say Something (writer/director/animator: David O’Reilly) (10 mins)
Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight (writer/director: Eliza Hittman) (15 mins)
Wauchope Winner of the Optus One80Project (2.22 mins)
Welcome to Wauchope, population 4000. The mills have closed up in this former logging town. Bored parents spend all day at the pub, while their bored sons crash cars into telegraph poles and their bored daughters fall pregnant. The local high school is overcrowded and underfunded. Into this crumbling picture walks Mr Berlin, an unlikely hero. A smart-arsed black Englishman, Berlin quickly makes enemies as he tries to provoke his students out of their apathy. He succeeds in reaching wayward Emily, but not before she falls pregnant to bad-boy Joe, setting off a dire chain of events that will rock the archaic country town. A teen drama with grown-up depth and vision, Wauchope tells small-town stories in a big way.
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY Reuben Field PRODUCED BY Dean Bates FEATURING Darin Berlin, Joe Kernahan, Emily McLeod & Lisa McLeod DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Shing Fung Cheung CAMERA ASSISTANT Chris Bland COMPOSER Clara Rolls
They make use of film as a visual
- These films aren’t just about strong, economical dialogue. Visual epiphanies are just as important; so are moody moments of pure color, texture, and sound, as well as other evocative, raw images.
Talking heads alone won’t work; don’t be afraid of silence, music, and beauty. Consider replacing non-vital dialogue with pure reactions and other meaningful, visual moments.
- The writer/director clearly demonstrates a personal connection to the story. In Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, the filmmaker has probably struggled with seeking acceptance, just like her lead.
- And we can all identify with the idea of having a crush on a teacher. The Crush’s screenwriter likely thought, What if I had taken that crush to the next level?
- For Please Say Something, writer/director/animator David O’Reilly clearly has a powerful and dark view of the struggles a relationship entails, and how two different people can feel as alien to each other as a cat and a mouse.
In each of these shorts, the creators’ connection to the material demonstrates a powerful point of view—something that’s much harder to find when you tackle big topics like space travel, the meaning of life, or an entire relationship. So please, keep your topic personal; you don’t need to address huge themes. By keeping your focus narrow, you will address those themes better than you could have imagined.