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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Janis Munz' "Take My Picture" Turns On the Charm In Fun Romantic Comedy

"TAKE MY PICTURE" (2015)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length- 9:16
Company: N/A
Website: Official

Paul (Ricky Faust) may suffer from social phobia so badly that he can barely strike up a conversation with anyone but his counselor (Jeremy Brooke), but that doesn't mean he doesn't get out and about.  He indulges his love for people with his camera, and creates stories with what he captures on film.

One particular location calls him back time and again -- it's a small circle in the local park where a lone musician (Ryan Egan) plays upbeat tunes with his guitar, and attracts the beautiful Mathilde (Ariana) day after day.

It's Mathilde that Paul desperately wants to meet, but he can't even bear to take her picture . . .

BUELLER . . . BUELLER

"Take My Picture" is a charming short film coming from producer/writer/director Janis Munz and the assistance of talented Director of Photography Jonathan Castro.  There's an inherent beauty to the location on display here, and every shot is captured from just the right angle.  Munz does a great job of supplying the editor (listed here as Lmlp, unless I'm reading the credits wrong) with just enough extra footage to cut back and forth in an almost pseudo-music video style.

There's also a hint of John Hughes on hand in this short -- though it's more of a romantic comedy than teen coming-of-age picture, characters frequently break the fourth wall and address the audience directly while commenting on what we're watching.  There's a narrator throughout that helps frame the story with some context, which adds a little more weight to the humor.

CONCLUSION

"Take My Picture" is not laugh out loud funny, but it's a more calm and centered nonsequitur sort of humor.  The writing is strong enough and the visuals are pretty enough to call out for attention, and it all works.

The finale seemed a little too random -- it comes through no effort from Paul, which means he begins and remains throughout a passive protagonist.  This never makes for the best storytelling.  It's always best if the protagonist plays some role, no matter how small, in the fate he or she receives at the end of the film.

But ultimately, that's a small complaint for what is a fun romance with strong visuals.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  Munz's script sets all the pieces in motion, but ultimately the conclusion does not follow logically and is not the result of any effort from Paul.
Directing: 3.5 / 5.  Munz and Castro create an attractive filmic world and keep the camera smoothly moving.
Editing: 3 / 5.  The film is cut together well and looks great from a color correction perspective.  It feels a little like a music video, which can either be a positive thing or a negative one, depending on what you're expecting from a short film.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  Egan and Taylor Mandel provide the music and it lends a special charisma to the onscreen action.  There's a lot of background noise, mostly ambient street sounds.  It gets a little distracting at times, particularly in the scene where Paul is putting sticky notes on the various pictures he's taken.
Acting: 3.5 / 5.  Faust, Ariana, Brooke and Egan all put in believable performances, but they are mostly one note performances due to the limited action provided by the screenplay.

Final Grade: 3.2 / 5.  

The trailer for "Take My Picture" is available on the official website.  For more updates, follow the film on Facebook, too!



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!