Safe Sex Now

by Omar Alqahtani

I went through a lot of ideas when deciphering what to pitch to Jtwo for my first film made under the Incubator Project. My first idea got put down because it involved smashing Justin mug. Also it might be because the idea was not very well thought through. But, sometimes it’s more fun to live in denial. After the failed pitch I became a lot harsher on myself when coming up with ideas. I shut down some fun ones like, involving intense, slow-motion, homoerotic baseball, or a dramatic mockumentary about razor scooters. I eventually settled on a comedy about chlamydia. I was a little iffy on the concept at first, but the pitch went through without many questions asked, so I decided to run with it.

I spent 1 day writing the script, and three days fixing up the typos. I was able to cast it pretty quickly, but got a little nervous because I didn’t really have time to rehearse. The short required the actors to react to each other in real time while in different locations, but also needed to feel lightweight. Getting that kind of timing and tone correctly seemed like it was going to be a daunting task, but I was lucky enough to surround myself with lighthearted people, that picked up on the tone pretty quickly, and were nice enough to listen to me agonize over minor line delivery.

We were able to have a light and fun shoot. It felt more like I was hanging out with friends than it was an actual shoot. In the end, I was able to capture all the footage that I wanted, but I still had this little nagging feeling that it wouldn’t work. The shoot went too well, I’m still not sure whether the scenes were timed 100% correctly or not, and it was kind of a weird concept with a weirdly planned execution. I kept thinking about every single way the edit could come out wrong.

Turns out, none of the things I was worried about became true. The problems that unraveled were ones I didn’t really think about. My first cut came out a little dull. Even with all the funky editing tricks I tried to use it still felt a little dead. When I showed my first cut to Justin, he suggested I find a way to get rid of all the negative space, maybe use some colors here and there. “Use some color” was the advice I carried when re-editing the movie. Other than the colors in the background, I tried to add little bits of life in every part of the video. Scene too quiet? Put in some music. Joke isn’t landing? Maybe if I cut between two background colors. Hospital scene a little dull? How about I add a frame of a literal pool of blood and some horror synth. I still wanted the short to feel breezy and deadpan, but adding little bits of life here and there, if done cleverly, can enhance the tone of a film rather than detract from it.

I understand that “less is more”, but sometimes, “more is more”, and other times “more makes less feel more like less”, and sometimes but rarely “less is less than more but more is less so less becomes more than what you wanted”.  Art isn’t a science, add some color and see what happens.

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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