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Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Problem With Dreams Exposed In Short Film Drama "One O'Clock"

"ONE O'CLOCK" (2015)
Genre: Drama
Length- 15:57
Company:  Quichofilms

Teenaged Filipino aspiring actor Randy Ocampo (AJ Padilla) flies to America to try to "make it" in show business where his delusional mother (Amy Savin) failed.  He finds the going much harder than he expected it to be, but at least he's got an audition, so there's still a chance for him to achieve his dreams.

But if it doesn't pan out, he'll have to look more closely at returning home, poorer and with nothing to show for it.

TO CHASE A DREAM

"One O'Clock" is a short film written, directed and edited by 15 year old Miguel Quicho, but it doesn't feel like a student project in the slightest.  There's some rocky road, to be sure, but what Quicho and his cast and crew have accomplished is an impressive feat: a dramatic, subtitled short film that feels like the work of someone much older.

The story is simple, and it unfolds via a series of flashbacks which inform Randy's decision over the course of the film.  He's kicked out of his mother's house for refusing to fund her own dreams of being a famous actress -- as an older woman fixated on physical appearance, Randy decides she has no chance of accomplishing anything with her life so she may as well give up.  It's a pretty bold statement for your protagonist to make, one which could render him unlikeable.  For this viewer, anyway, it didn't do that and in fact added another dimension to the story at hand: when is it right to allow dreams to die?

Should dreams ever die?

It's an unspoken theme, but it gives the audience something to think about.

THE FILM IS THE THING

From a production value standpoint, we have a pretty good visual experience, starting with the handheld shots of the airport.  Using public places lends a film the illusion of a higher budget, and opening the film here was a smart move, especially considering how claustrophobic the rest of the film feels.

So is it a good film?  It's simple, with a predictable conclusion to the single story thread that is present.  The finale doesn't conclude anything, it pretty much just stops.  Without going into spoiler territory, what happens is just one step in a much longer process.  What happens with his mother?  Are they just done?  Will he be more understanding of her now that he knows how brutally hard it is out there for an inexperienced actor?

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2 / 5.  The film is one note struck over and over again -- nothing is resolved, we never see what happens between Randy and his mother, or even his friend, Jess (Rochel Mae Malaca).  I didn't entirely buy the whole countdown timer -- I understood it from a narrative perspective, but why would the casting director (Kristina Burmayan) sit there for three minutes straight like that?  
Directing: 3 / 5.  Quicho is a young director, but he has the basics of filmmaking down and he's perfectly capable of carrying the film and does so with modest energy conveyed through that handheld technique.
Editing: 4 / 5.  Quicho does a great job of editing the film down and keeping the story moving.  
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  The score is written by Ruthie Quicho and AJ Padilla.  It does the job.
Acting: 2.5 / 5.  The performances here range from bad to amateur.  Padilla and Malaca are probably the strongest thespians on display.

Final Grade: 2.9 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "One O'Clock" 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!