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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Modern Family" Dana Powell and Stacey Hinnen of "Veep" Poke Holes in Love With "Donation"

"DONATION" (2014)
Genre: Comedy
Length- 4:39
Company: Bruton Stroube Studios
Website: Official

Beth (Dana Powell, "Modern Family") donates blood, like any number of socially conscious adults do.  What might be surprising to you, and to the resident phlebotomist (Stacey Hinnen of HBO's "Veep"), is just why she comes back -- again, and again, and again . . .

"Donation" is a humorous short coming to us fresh out of the oven from Bruton Stroube Studios with a pair of comedically gifted actors taking the lead roles. 

Here we go . . .

A STICKY SITUATION

One of the first things you'll notice when you click play on "Donation" is its apparent production value.  Director Paul Emerson secured the perfect location for the shoot.  It does not take much suspension of disbelief to believe that we are actually at a blood donating facility watching for real.  The actors and actresses all look legitimate, no matter how background they are.

Now for the meat and potatoes of the film: the dialogue.  The script, written by Emerson and Powell, is a smart stab at how fickle obsession-parading-as-love can be.  With Powell as crazy lady and Hinnen as the straight man, "Donation" could do no wrong.  Powell delivers her lines with enthusiasm, and Hinnen's reactions are subtle but humorous in their own way.

All in all, "Donation" is a fun way to spend about five minutes of your time -- and you won't walk away without having laughed.  And laughed.
 
OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 4 / 5.  The script was smart and the dialogue hilarious.  The turnabout in Powell's character was a bit on the fast side, but I went with it and had a good time.
Directing: 3 / 5.  Nothing stuck out as bad, and the film's visuals managed to create a believable world.  I enjoyed Emerson's playful back and forth shots of Hinnen and Powell.
Editing: 4 / 5.  Lucas Harger's editing is solid and water tight.  The transitions were seamless and the pacing was good enough to hold your interest.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  Steve Horne's sound design is efficient, but I don't remember thinking about the music one way or the other.
Acting: 5 / 5.  Hinnen and Powell were brilliant.  I liked the sensitivity that Hinnen brought to the role.

Final Grade3.8 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Donation" and follow Bruton Stroube Studios on Facebook!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fun "Desire" Brings Animation to the Work Place -- Robo-Style!

"DESIRE" (2014)
Genre: Animated
Length- 9:06
Company: Red Echo Post
Website: Official

A little red robot sets out to draw schematics on green tiles, just like it has no doubt done many times before -- but this time, something is different.  To say any more would be nearing a spoiler. 

Cute and comedic throughout its short running time, "Desire" is an animated, fun slice of something different in an online world stuffed with more serious films.

TIME'S UP

The world's always changing, and how we choose to adapt will dictate how well we ultimately do in life.  In "Desire", this particular truth is embodied by our little red robot, whose desire forces him to do the unthinkable.

Scott Thierauf of Red Echo Post does triple duty on this short film -- he wrote, directed and animated the whole thing -- and he does a spectacular job.  Each individual shot segues nicely into the next, with challenging wide shots and even some robotic point-of-view shots. 

Interestingly enough, most of the robots in the film have very human emotions -- one desperately tries to free itself from the pincers of a giant robot, others help patch together a fallen robot, still more become jealous or arrogant.  For all their mechanical appearances, they are very human at their steel hearts.

Their interactions add up to provide an interesting satirical commentary at competition in the work place. 

With robots.

Who knew it was possible?

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  I much enjoyed the story, but without any dialogue or any real plot twists with the exception of the first few minutes of the film, "Desire" became more about watching the amusing hijinx taking place.
Directing: 4 / 5.  Thierauf puts on a good show and keeps the film visually interesting.
Editing: 5 / 5.  I can't recall a single shot that felt too long or too short, and the film never bored me.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  The soundtrack is a song by Rob Fetter entitled "Desire".  This was a mixed bag for me -- yes, the song is fun and catchy, but at the same time, it made the movie feel a little bit more like a music video, rather than utilizing a proper score.  Thierauf bills the flick as an animated musical, yes, but it didn't feel like it to me.  That being said, Grant Kattmann's sound design is top notch, with robotic sounds aplenty, all sounding authentic and none jarring on the ears.
Acting: N/A

Final Grade: 3.8 / 5

Don't forget to check out "Desire" on Vimeo and Red Echo Post's official site here, and then follow them on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!