The Short Film Experiment #2 – Notions

So it’s a CHASE MOVIE.

Reasons to make a short chase film:

1. I’ve never seen a live-action one before, and I’d like there to be a really good one out there.

We should bear in mind that I am a criminal underviewer of short film in general and have probably seen >1% of all the short films out there on the interverse. But that said, I have seen a bunch, and none of them was a kick-ass chase movie.

2. Chase scenes in features are a) usually pretty damn cool and exciting and b) reasonably hard to pull off successfully. If I’m going to be telling you all about this process, I might as well make it a challenge. I’m not saying it would be necessarily easy to make a Coffee and Cigarettes-style dialogue-heavy vignette (for one thing it could be really boring, as per reason 3). But it’s certainly less likely to reduce more than half of the on-set crew to tears and/or fits of rage*.

3. More than half (made-up statistic) of all short films suffer from a lack of visual flair, which is sad and irritating because you’d imagine that with a significantly shorter running time than a feature you would want to pour every stylistic technique you’ve got into that single-figure timeframe.

Again, it’s not guaranteed that the film’s going to look interesting or be in any way compelling, but it certainly forces you into a situation where you know it will definitely look absolutely rubbish unless you up your game.

4. Chase scenes make perfect sense as short films to me. The goal of the main characters is clear: either they want to catch somebody (or something) or not get caught themselves, and by the end they either do or don’t. Some action movies just stretch this premise over 100 or so minutes and add nuances of plot and character amid varying action set-pieces, but when it boils down to it, The Bourne Identity is a chase movie, as is Vanishing Point – some would argue the chase movie – and I don’t think it’s too crazy a notion to suggest that pertinent points of either flick could be condensed into a killer chase short.

5. Chase scenes that drag on suck, as do short films. The lesson for both? Brevity rules. So that’s what I’m going for.

Good reasons all, I’d say. In the interest of transparency, here are the key ideas I’ve come up with for the story so far:

  • A couple.
  • A bathtub.
  • A clothesline.
  • Some nudity.

And that’s it. There are other, less clear images of running and yelling and falling but I’m sure you already saw that coming, you smart buggers.

I guess we’ll next talk when I have a clearer idea of who/what/where/why. I’m toying with the idea of writing an outline – a short (less than a page) prose synopsis of the flick which I sometimes like to do if the idea isn’t already crystal clear in my head – but I think I’d rather go from story ideas to the first draft to give more a sense of progression. And besides, writing chase scenes in prose can be really bloody boring unless you’re Cormac McCarthy.

‘Til  next time, folks.

(Yes, the rubbish title stays. For now, at least.)

*Actually that depends on how much of a Jim Jarmusch fan you are, I guess.

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