I’ve been feverishly working on finishing up a half-dozen short films I shot in 2014 that have been waiting patiently for me to get to the editorial on them. I will admit it’s been nice to have an inventory of films to work on during our Chicago Winter, which always requires having plenty of inspiring indoor activities.
This first one is called, “Hello??” and features a lovely Chicago model friend of mine, Claudine Tambuatco.
The genesis of this film came from a couple of places. Claudine and I had a pre-production meeting a week before the shoot. We discussed a few ideas, and ended up settling on a story about a woman getting ready for a night out. But that was really only half an idea. It needed a hook. It needed a story.
And then I remembered a series of conversations I’d been having with one of my best friends in LA. She was telling me about some dating experiences she and her friends had been having lately. And Claudine and I decided to weave that into our story. I won’t give anything else away until you watch it.
Claudine and I had a wonderful time shooting in our beautiful location. It was fun to continue to expand on our shooting ideas off of each other during the production. I like going in that way with a plan, but allowing plenty of room for discovery along the way.
She agreed it was much more interesting to have her character get stood up, rather than showing her getting into a black town car or something cliché like that. And I think it’s an experience that most women and even a few men could relate to. Especially these days when people use the texting crutch to say they’re running late or to cancel well past a polite time.
When I showed an early rough cut to my friend in LA, her reaction was perfect.
“God, it’s fucking right on! I just got pissed at a fictional dude!”
Another friend I screened it for was already yelling, “Boo!”, as soon as she realized it was getting dark, and Claudine’s character had been waiting far too long, even before finally getting the cancellation text.
“I love that she just walked away without even responding. She had already moved on. Yeah, that’s how it looks and feels.”
Clearly this was an experience my friends could very easily relate to. Sadly.
The idea of using texting to help tell the story, wasn’t exactly an afterthought, as I knew I might need something to help set up the story at the beginning. But as I was doing the editorial on it, I cut it without any graphics to try to make it play as a story even without that. Sometimes it’s good to see if you can make a story work without over-telling the audience what is happening and let them figure it out as they watch.
But in this case, I thought if I didn’t have something up front to give the audience a hint, they wouldn’t necessarily feel her anticipation for the evening ahead. It would just seem like a normal day getting ready for nothing in particular. I really wanted viewers to see her day of calm and relaxed, then excitedly thinking about the evening, going through the process of getting ready, and be there with her as the day progressed.
Without any dialog, I thought Claudine did an incredible job of telling the story. You could imagine her thoughts through her subtle expressions. Really a wonderful performance.
You can find Claudine in many places online…