Culture and Society,  Roque Recommends

Details About my New Short Film “YUP”

This past Wednesday (on my birthday), I released my short film YUP on Youtube! It was one of several film projects I worked on in the past year and a complete departure from anything I had ever done in the past. This week on my blog, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about the project:

If you have not seen it yet, here it is:

Maybe you have a bunch of questions. Such as . . .

  • Where are the Chihuahuas?
  • What do the gym members drink when they enter the space just before getting slapped?
  • What is the code?
  • Why is Minerva besieged at the end?

I will tell you now that every detail of this little film serves some purpose. I put a lot of thought and intention behind the script and visuals. Entry into the space where everything happens is only granted by at least one swallow of the mystery liquid and a violent slap on the face. The answers to all of the other questions relate what happens further down in the story. If and when the sequels are made, all will be revealed.

When I was developing this piece, I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish:

  • I wanted to be bold and adventurous with the story. This meant creating a narrative that, in the long run, would not be linear in a traditional sense. There are a few elements that seem random, but this is by design.
  • I wanted to work with the immensely talented artists in my community here in middle Tennessee. Out of their willingness to help me tell this story, there was a synergy that bonded us together. It was magical.
  • I wanted to experiment with movement and dance. Again, I chose to express this in a non-traditional way. The stretching, the “reach for Satan”, the Versatile dance, and the “sinister approach” by the three spies near the end all reflect my ideas in this regard.
  • I wanted to use rich jewel and neon tones in the costuming and make-up. There needed to be bold splashes of color in as many shots as possible.
  • I wanted to take a stab at creating music made exclusively for this film. “WAWA” was the direct result of this. It was the first thing I worked on before filming, and I connected with my friend (and producer) Rob Tonini to record it shortly after filming wrapped.
  • I wanted to be creative with the dialogue by building frames through the movement of the arms and body.
  • Mostly, I wanted the film to be quirky and swim against the tides of convention. The opening sequence features what appears to be a man with a purse and wearing a tutu. A woman named “Laxatavia” wears strange make-up and seems to have violent tendencies. Another woman has the name “RaRaaa Kaka Kaka!!!” and uses kitchenware as a weapon. And then, of course, you have the “gently abrasive exfoliating skin creme”. What’s up with that?

Originally, this film was an assignment for my Single Cam II class at my university in which I simply had to film a conversation of any kind. I let my imagination run wild with this piece, and I gave myself permission to delve deep into dance and movement, make-up and costuming, and comedy well beyond the actual conversation in question.

I understand that this film was a creative risk. It may certainly be an acquired taste for some more than others, but I am okay with that. I was (and still am) vastly more interested in the creative process and development of this piece than its reception.

Sometimes, you simply have to create purely for the sake of creating. I am happy that I did just that.

-Roqué

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