Directed by Kyungchan Min

After the introduction of universal basic income, the world transitions into a more ideal post-capitalist society. In midst of the changing world, a young dancer attempts to process the death of their mother.

Project Breakdown

The idea for this project came from a conversation I was having with my friends: what if the widespread adoption of universal basic income led to an ideal post-capitalist society? In a nutshell, universal basic income provides a steady stipend to individuals in order to remedy widespread unemployment brought on by automation. The key concept here is the idea that unemployment is not necessarily bad. Rather, it will soon become the default status of the average individual. With the elimination of the capitalist system, we imagined a society where the abundance of free time would promote more artistic endeavors and empathetic interpersonal relationships free from the “time is money” ethos of today.

During my pitch to Justin and Maria, I was told that the project seemed “very ambitious”. With so much backstory, I recognized that it would be hard to condense it into a sub 3-minute narrative that is both compelling and meaningful. Especially in just two weeks. In the end, I decided to keep it simple: one shot, two characters, no cuts.

Visually, I was inspired by James Paxton’s work on Moonlight—particularly the shot below in the second act where Chiron meets Kevin on the beach. The softness of the light, in conjunction with the dark background, paints a beautiful scene with a lot of natural contrast. I decided to film from behind the actors because I wanted to give my characters a sense of privacy during an intimate conversation that the we, the audience looking through the lens, do not disturb.

Thanks to my friends, I was able to gather up a crew rather quickly. I worked with my friend Gabriel Meyer-Lee to write the dialogue and pick out the costumes during the first week. Since I’m not a director by any means, I received directorial advice from my director friend Julian Turner. On the day of the shoot, we arrived at the location with plenty of time and waited for the actors to rehearse their lines.

Although I found the lead actor early on, locking in the supporting role was quite difficult. Because it was closing in on midterm season, most of the potential actors were too busy to be a part of the project. I also expected rain—the final dance sequence was meant to be carried out in the rain as a baptism metaphor. Despite the forecast showing 80% chance of rain, it stopped raining three hours before the shoot. To salvage the shoot, I had the crew water down the background to mimic a post-rain environment. I think the biggest pitfall was the failure of the prop lighter. In order to inject the vignette with as much futuristic detail as possible, I borrowed a plasma lighter from my friend. It was a futuristic looking device with a purple plasma arc that acts as the combustion method. However, it failed quite miserably during the shoot, so we had to switch to a normal lighter.

All in all, this project showed me that a random conversation piece can end up as a short film in just two weeks. It was probably one of the most stressful two weeks I’ve come across in a while—with a huge chapter of my senior thesis due the same week as this project—but it was also one of the most rewarding ones. I think I often find myself saying “oh, I would totally turn this idea into a film, but only if I have time”. This project taught me that I can actually just go out and wrap up a short film I’m pretty happy with in just two weeks. The folks here at Jtwo have been extremely helpful in providing guidance, and I look forward to learning even more in the next two months.

Meet the Director

Kyungchan is an undergrad at Swarthmore College studying anthropology and film. As a cinematographer and colorist, he brings in his background in photojournalism and anthropology to provide a unique perspective to his work. After his graduation this May, he hopes to stay in Philadelphia and contribute to its growing filmmaking community.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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