Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Tim Mason’s crafty comedy No Other Way To Say It.
The Plot: A pair of ad execs try to coax just the right tone out of their voice actor.
The Film: In theory, the energy and nuance of sketch comedy should be well suited to the confines of short form cinema. But the very act of filming a sketch can often drain it of both. Don’t try to convince the cast and crew of No Other Way To Say It of that.
Why Press Play?
No Other Way To Say It is a clever, immediate bit of comedy. Writer/Director Tim Mason’ no BS approach to his script is largely to thank for that. It’s restricted to a single location with a small cast. The action is simple and focused. The dialogue is short, biting and built around the particular skills of his performers. And the story of an actor at the whim of dubious advertising execs is familiar without being repetitive … even if repetition is the central joke. Those elements combined make No Other Way To Say It one of the leanest comedies you’re likely to see. Lean means that the jokes all land. The story never flags. And the characters all feel authentic.
But lean shouldn’t imply thin. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface of Mason’s story. Though No Other Way To Say It often feels like a comedic sketch fit for SNL, Mason subverts the familiar nature of the overall story by building a dramatic subplot into the mix. That comes via a series of jarring text messages received by Beth Melewski’s voice actor. This sly bit of writing blends an unexpected bit of pathos into the overarching narrative. The outcome of that text conversation becomes a masterful bit of comedic plotting in its own right.
As with any comedic tale, much of the comedy relies on timing. Timing is all about performances. If you’re looking for subversive improv performers, The Second City is as good a place to start as any. The entire cast of No Other Way To Say It are Second City vets. Their performances are sharp but never showy. Seditious but never disorderly. Droll without being eccentric. They capture the energy and nuance that makes sketch and improv such an exhilarating experience. And yes, they make No Other Way To Say It a singular bit of comedic cinema. In other words, “it’s good.”
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Tim Mason Starring: Beth Melewski, Sue Salvi, Megan Kellie, Cayne Collier & Ed Flynn Director of Photography: Sam DiGiovianni Edited by: Mike Berg
I hope you enjoy No Other Way To Say It! Tim Mason’s film started the year with a Grand Jury Award from Slamdance. Let’s hope No Other Way To Say It extends that success through the 2017 festival circuit. With any luck, it’ll raise the profiles of everyone involved. Particularly that of Beth Melewski, who steals the show here. If you haven’t been fortunate to catch Melewski’s work, you should head over to her Vimeo Page and check out her reel. ‘Cause she’s a comedian worth watching. While you’re there, be sure to check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting and you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.