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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Romantic Comedy "@Social #Connection" Pokes Fun At How We Love In Today's Tech-Obsessed Generation

"@SOCIAL #CONNECTION" (2014)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length- 10:46
Company:  Bair Film

So there's this guy (Gregory Shelby) and this girl (Holly Maag), and they're both addicted to their cell phones and all the fun games, apps and texting and the virtual world in which they spend almost all their time.  But they also like each other.  As in, like like each other.

But the problem is that neither one of them really know how to inhabit the physical world, and are so awkward socially that they can't even speak to one another without their cell phones.

A potent commentary on this generation's withdrawal into the safety of our computer screens, "@Social #Connection" won the 2015 Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival Platinum Remi Award and has been making several festival appearances elsewhere.

So does it live up to its reputation?  Let's take a look!

THE PROBLEM WITH REAL LIFE

The first thing I noticed when watching "@Social #Connection" was the heightened production values due to the incredible attention to post-production.  We're talking an amazing animated production company logo, numerous cell phone overlays, text messages, and the usage of black and white versus color to represent the real versus virtual worlds.  The score, from composer Matthew A.C. Cohen, is deliberately emulating the tinkly sound of Nintendo video game music.

All of this is crafted to give the viewer a particular experience where reality and the virtual world don't collide, but overlap wildly and become one seamless experience.  It doesn't always work, and in truth I found the music to be a bit much, but I appreciated the concept and I became used to it after a while.

THE MOVIE AS A WHOLE

It's one thing to make a movie where there are chases, guns, knives, pirates and aliens and make it interesting -- and it's a whole other beast to try to take something that is visually boring like two people texting and make it not only visually entertaining but emotionally investing.  Somehow, Bair not only manages this but creates a film that is simultaneously funny and affecting.

Our two would be lovers are emotionally stunted -- they live their entire lives using their cell phones as shields against the harsh actuality of the real world.  When it comes right down to it though if their relationship, and if they as people, are ever going to become TRUE people, then they are going to have to break free of their addictions to their screens and become reliant on each other.

It's a warm, heart affirming message, and thankfully both our leads are charismatic in their own ways, and both give meaningful (albeit mute) performances.

So a huge congratulations is owed to Eric Bair and his cast and crew for a job very well done -- I'm very excited to see what they come up with next!

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 4 / 5.  A well thought out story that unfolds more or less in real time, and manages to tell a funny love story in an innovative way.  There needs to be more of these kinds of scripts out there in the world today.
Directing: 3.5 / 5.  Bair smartly uses as many angles and shot changes as possible while incorporating lots of visual effects in post-production to make the "slow" scenes fun to watch.
Editing: 5 / 5.  This film was completely made in the editing room, and tons of love and care was put into making it pop.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  While, as I said, the video game music was a bit distracting at times, the concluding song was nice and touching.
Acting: 3.5 / 5.  Good performances from both our leads.  A special thumbs up for Shelby for his subtle and priceless expressions while he's trying to get his girlfriend to stop looking at her phone.

Final Grade:  3.8 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "@Social #Connection" and follow the creators 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!