Last night I got to see Lee Goldberg's stinging and accomplished short film Remaindered, and I'm going to recommend it to you without reservation. Yes, I know Lee, and no, friendship has nothing to do with it.
The tale's as well-turned as you'd expect from a pro, and it takes imaginative flight from a reality that'll be recognised by anyone who's ever faced the world over a stack of books at a signing table. OK, so not everyone's done that. But it's about those dying-inside times when your soul and your sense of self-worth are laid bare for strangers to pick at, and there's no escaping them as they oblige.
It's the mise-en-scene, to get fancy about it, that takes it to another level. The small-town Kentucky locale is perfectly textured for the story, and Lee's choices are all spot-on. From the opening shots you've a real sense of a place and its people. A special shout-out here for Todd Reynolds as Detective Bud Flanek, whose easy John Goodman-like screen charisma left me surprised to see that he doesn't have a long resume of Hollywood character roles.
When I look at Lee's film and Danny Stack's more oblique and enigmatic Origin, I'm impressed and a little depressed at the same time... I've already written about my own early efforts with a camera and although I had at least as good a time and probably learned as much as these guys, my results were nowhere near as well-conceived or presentable (someday I'll tell you about Trick Shot, the entire 16mm movie that I shot with no sync sound and a busted light meter).
But here's the lesson. You don't wait for someone to give you a break. You make your own. You want to be a visual storyteller but you don't want to drum up support, gather people, strongarm your friends, motivate strangers, beg favours or otherwise hustle for something you believe in? Then you're missing the point... that's actually the job.