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One year passed since the short was first announced. The first question is, obviously, “What took so long?” And sure, it’s not even one of our longer shorts– it’s only ten minutes! Ironically, my initial mindset for this short was to make something simple and quickly. Something with the minimal number of actors and only voiceovers to make the production as light as possible. Yeah. That didn’t happen. There are a few reasons WFF took one year to complete.
The short was created in a totally backwards manner. I had decided the parameters fairly early on (a love story, a narration from five objects, a girl), but the script was actually written after I shot it. From the beginning, I had scenes in mind, but I didn’t intensively think about the dialogue until I had finished collecting all the footage. There were nights I just sat watching a shot for hours just thinking of a line.
The structure was totally fluid. Since WFF is basically a series of five confessions, there was no linear timeline to follow. And since the script wasn’t written yet, there was no outline or blueprint to follow while editing. This being the case, I spent a lot of time deciding how to piece together each shot into a sequence that made sense.
This short was created at the speed of life. I let my mood dictate when I would work. There were days when it was the only thing I wanted to do. I was excited and eager. Then there were days I hated it. I dreaded thinking about the entire project. And then sometimes, it was simply the last thing on my mind. It would sit untouched for months. Throughout the year, my attitude towards the short shifted a lot. This was new to me. Usually when we start a project, we finish it fairly quickly. But thinking back, making a short like this benefits from a comfortable pace. I worked on it only when I truly wanted to. Only when I had a genuine desire to see it move forward. If at any time I got tired, frustrated, or bored, I stopped working. In that sense, you could say WFF only received my undying attention.
Can the things we love, love us back just the same?
Glasses (David Choi – davidchoimusic.com) – The glasses represent sight. In a relationship, there are times when our one desire is to share with the other person. We hope to offer a new perspective. To learn and grow from each other in that way. To show the world. Unfortunately, nothing stays clear forever. Many things can blind us: jealousy, doubt, overthinking, and ironically, comfort.
Telephone (Bobby Choy – bigphonymusic.com) – The phone represents hearing. Relationships can’t exist without listening and communication. Sometimes, circumstances prevent people from communicating face to face. That distance greatly effects them. We hear about experiences when what we really want is to live them. Words can only go so far. The phone is interesting because it is constantly eavesdropping on our talks. What would that feel like? To always be talked to but never the subject of conversation. It must hurt to be so unknowingly ignored.
Umbrella (AJ Rafael – myspace.com/ajrafael) – The umbrella represents touch. The very simple idea of being close enough to touch someone. Physical contact. To be able to hold, cover, protect. These are basic parts of a relationship we hope to fulfill. Essentially an umbrella reflects occasional necessity. But who would want that? To feel needed when it’s only convenient.
Scarf (Paul Dateh – pauldateh.com) – The scarf represents smell. The intimacy of knowing someones scent is very special. It’s a privelege that isn’t easily shared and is often overlooked. It may sound ridiculous, but who are the people you can identifty with smell? Most likely those that you are very close with. People you have known for more than awhile. Also, scents can fade. Physical contact carries and transfers a scent but when that contact disappears, the scent is no longer.
Cup (Chris Dinh) – The cup represents taste. More specifically, the cup represents a kiss. And a kiss is the most universal symbol of love and affection. The fact that it describes a first kiss is even more significant. A first kiss is innocent and naive. We cherish it as though it will last forever. But when the cup is broken, the kiss is no longer possible– just like a relationship.
A pair of glasses that goes blind. A phone that resorts to eavesdropping. An umbrella that longs to be held. A scarf that treasures scent. A cup that wants to be kissed. These are the ways I tried to personify the objects to show they fell in and out of love. Between the five, viewers should be able to relate to different dimensions and roles of a relationship. Whether it’s budding in the early stages, the challenge of long distance, slowly fading feelings, or losing out to someone else. Even the order of the objects in the short show a progression in the relationship. Starting from looking and eventually moving onto touching.
Just like the objects are based on senses, I wanted the short to appeal to the senses. I wanted to stimulate people with beautiful images of the typical everyday things. One goal was to have each and any shot to stand alone as a still photo. Of course nothing can be that spectacular in real life. It only exists in the hyperreal, in our memories and imagination. The color treatment is reflective of this– with deep and saturated tones. A lot of WFF was shot during the “golden hour” right before and during sunset. This brief time, when the sun hangs low in the sky, provides warm color and excellent outlines around subjects.
Jesse Chui (songsforcinema.com) worked tirelessly to create the music for this short. The sound of it was crucial for evoking the right emotions. And I would say Jesse hit it spot on. I approached him a year ago with the project and he was really interested. I have to apologize to him for lagging so long. Jesse is amazingly talented and there was a lot of back and forth between us for each song. I think he really succeeded in creating music that can be heard as hopeful and romantic but also tragic and bittersweet.
For the voices, I asked popular YouTube artists like David Choi, AJ Rafael, and Paul Dateh because as singers their voices already have a great quality. In addition, hopefully having big names will lend to the online success and spread of the short. Bobby Choy voiced the telephone and he is the lead singer/songwriter of Big Phony. Chris Dinh voiced the cup and he’s been in many of our shorts before, including “Up in da Club” and “Poser!”
Besides the music and narration, there is rarely any ambient sound. This was a conscious choice. Since the way we experience memories is very much the same. Sometimes we choose to only remember the important pieces of an experience. All else fades away.
- The shallow depth of field and blurred images are references to sight and the inability to see clearly.
- There are symbols of being broken and/or replaced throughout the short. Can you find them all?
- The cup narrates the beginning and end of WFF. I like to believe that this is because the cup fell the hardest for her.
- Makoto Shinkai’s animation was a great inspiration. I cannot deny his influence on the aesthetic of WFF.
- Mimi Chao has been in a few of our works including the infamous “Yellow Fever” and our first feature length film “A Moment with You” I absolutely love working with her because she is so natural and elegant in her actions. I can tell her a feeling or mood I’m going for and that is enough direction for her. Makes my job easy haha. Hat’s off and cheers to Mimi for being the beautiful and talented actress in this short!
- Everything was shot locally. We used Mimi’s house, my house, street sides, backyards, etc. Definitely a no/low budget project
- I’ll try to find some production photos (if I have any) and post them later on!
- This short can be considered a prologue to a previous short I wrote, “At Musing’s End” It is the time period when Robin meets Adam. There are clues that connect the two shorts. The shot of the radiometer is repeated. And the ending theme song in WFF is the same theme in AME. Basically where one short ends is where the other begins.