Small but perfectly formed

This month’s Screening Room post is authored by Nick Ward, the prominent NZ screenwriter behind Kiwi pool comedy hit “Stickmen”, “Second-hand Wedding” and “Love Birds”. He’s also put pen to paper for the small screen, with episodes of “Nothing Trivial”, “Outrageous Fortune” and “Burying Brian” under his belt. As a Show Me Shorts ambassador Nick’s picked 3 extremely short short films for our viewing pleasure.

We live in a 0 to 100 world. A world of fast food, faster cars and ultra-fast internet connections. We want our entertainment now and we want it quick. Which seems at odds with our movies. While everything all around us is getting smaller and faster and more compact, feature films are getting longer and longer. There are even apps that tell us when it’s a good time to sneak out of the film and go to the loo without missing out on important plot points.

So, with that in mind, here are some short, short films that won’t take up too much of your precious time. While they are short and sweet they still manage to tell stories that are compelling and involving. Proof that you don’t need hours of film to create a story that will stay in your memory. All you need is a good idea well told.

“This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit. Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do — not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less bullshit.” – Stephen King, On Writing


The Black Hole

First up is the story of a man who finds an interesting way to get his hands on some stolen cash. Not a single line of dialogue and yet it still manages to keep you watching right until the end. What’s more it even finds the time to say something about human nature and the allure of greed.


2AM- The Smiling Man

Next up is a bit of horror. Don’t worry it’s not a bloody gore-fest but it will creep into your nightmares. Based on a true story that someone shared on the interwebs this one might make you think twice about walking alone at night. I suggest you watch it with all the lights off. It’s not big on scares but it will crawl under your skin.


Das Tub

This film is a bit of a cheeky choice because I wrote it. We wanted to tell an action story but on a small scale. James Cunningham and his students at the Media Design school in Auckland created an instant classic and I spent a whole day naked to help out.


So there you have it: a heist movie, a horror film and and action adventure all in the time it would take to boil and egg- or fill a bathtub. Story telling is an art and the honest truth is if you can’t tell a story in two minutes then there’s a good chance you can’t tell it in two hours. Short shorts are great when they’ve done well and I’d encourage you to seek some more out. They don’t take up too much of your time and they can be extremely rewarding.