Martin hates his job. He turns up, he gets it done; that’s about it. But when he undergoes assessment by the human resources officer of his slightly mysterious company, he is shocked to find that they don’t think doing an OK job is enough. The powers that be want to know why he wants to stay. As the clock ticks, Martin struggles with the big questions.
DIRECTOR’S NOTES - Rebecca Hobbs
“I started out as an actor, and then became fascinated by the whole process of film making. I was aware, that as an actor you come in very late in the piece. Then I started writing and I caught the bug: the desire to take a story from beginning to end grew and grew.
The tricky thing with a short film, is that the twist at the end is often what it’s all about. It’s the thing that made you want to make it. But do you talk about that in the press kit, and hope the subsequent reporting won’t give the end away? I’ll take a hopeful punt ...
I wanted to explore some fairly big existential questions, but being well aware of my limitations as a first time director, I decided to find a way to ask those questions using only two characters and one set. I ended up with two sets, but essentially, forcing limitations on myself helped me to focus what I was trying to say, which was, hmmmm, that’s that big question again...
I suppose I’ve had those angsty periods in my life when I felt I was treading water to such an extent that I felt if anyone was watching above, they might just decide to take it all away ... When I thought about that concept on a practical level, it started to interest me as a story.
In terms of the look and sound, I was after a “strangely normal” feel. To that end I used a very ordinary office set, and added certain oddities, for example using all that red, to echo the other, “real” set, the hospital that Martin is actually in. I also covered the noticeboard in the office with life/death references, the idea being that the true story is in front of you from the beginning. I wanted the reveal at the end to have a deja vu feeling if possible.
For the same reason sound-wise, I used a lot of effects that belonged in a hospital, and brought them into the office set, throwing them into the flashcuts, which are of Martin in the hospital, the equipment etc, so the audience is bombarded with clues all the way along, and the whole thing has a slightly skewed feel.
I wanted a wry sense to the music and Don McGlashan and I came up with the idea of a mocking theme motif that popped up as the tension started to mount between the characters.
The casting was easy: Jeremy Sims is one of Australia’s top actors and I know him from working there. He has a really strong energy and I wanted to see the effect of that energy on Paolo. I thought they’d work really well together.
I worked with Paolo Rotondo on The Ugly, which was one of the reasons I wanted him in this film. As it was my first film it was important to me that the actors were not only talented but easy going (on me!). Besides being very very good, Paolo is a true gentleman.”