Sam loves his job working in a morgue, almost as much as he loves his celebrity idol, Alfred Molina. So, when Alfred Molina arrives on Sam’s cold hard slab (a potential victim of some nefarious seals), Sam’s world is thrown into chaos and despair. SAM DID IT is a dark comedy that explores how a fan’s world can be impacted by the loss of their favorite idol.
What We Thought:
Not only is Sam Did It a funny and twisted short film, it’s also a prime example of what a short film can and should do. Dominic Burgess stars as Sam and he also wrote and directed the short. His name may not jump right out at you, but he’s one of those classic “Oh that guy!” you see all over your TV screen. His short is exactly what you want to make when you have a great resume, but you aren’t familiar to everyone.
First I’ll talk about the actual short. It’s dark, but I love dark stuff. It’s set in a morgue so you immediately know you’re in for something different. We don’t really know anything about Sam, but that’s why the short works. We don’t need to know anything about him. We get thrown right in the room and we see Sam’s response when he removes the sheet and sees the body of Alfred Molina. I won’t spoil what happens next because I honestly laughed out loud at one part and just really enjoyed the short overall. Burgess is immediately likable and funny and you just go along for the ride. Plus the ending is pretty laugh out loud funny as well especially with his reaction at the end.
Not only is Burgess great in this 10 minute film, but kudos to Alfred Molina for playing the dead version of himself. Molina is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and a highly respected actor. He doesn’t need to do little things like this, but man do I respect him even more for doing it. He clearly had fun with Burgess and he gets even more cool points in my book for taking the time out of his schedule to do it.
Now going back to what I said about this being an example of what a short can and should be. The average movie goer won’t understand the point of a short, but to me, a short can be a showcase for talent. Burgess isn’t a name everyone knows, but here he showcases his abilities. This short is way better than any acting reel you can send to a casting company. He shows range. He’s funny. He’s the leading role which isn’t always the case for actors/actresses who get supporting and character roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love character actors and most of my favorite actors are character/supporting players, but sometimes these people want to do more, dive into a character more or even develop the character themselves and making a short like this does exactly that.
A short like this shows you can make something great even if you aren’t Spielberg or Cameron. This is pretty much a single location shoot. It uses less than a handful of actors and sure most of us can’t get Alfred Molina to show up for our project, but if you get the right people, you can create art. This short is further proof you don’t need a giant studio, millions of dollars, green screen and wire work to make something entertaining. Keep it simple and make it memorable.
Sam Did It will be a festival darling. It’s quick and puts you right into the situation. Burgess is great in the role and Molina is always a favorite of mine. Nothing more to say than…
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR:
“Most people have someone in the spotlight they idolize; a celebrity crush, a cherished band, a loved sports figure. When we lose those people, there’s often a mass outpouring of grief. People change their social media avatars, tell stories about how their work impacted their lives, how much they loved them… I personally felt like 2016 and early 2017 was a particularly relentless time in terms of the phenomenal artists that we lost. Even though we may never have met those people, the impact of their loss can still feel deeply personal and moving to us. We grew up admiring their work and their artistry. Their songs or movies and their achievements can mean so much to us, defining key moments in our life. I wanted SAM DID IT to explore those feelings, through a tinted glass of humor… which I can’t help but do.”
TITLE: SAM DID IT
RUN TIME: 10 MINUTES and 22 SECONDS (including credits)
CAMERA: ARRI ALEXA
SOUND: 5.1 SURROUND