Last year, I started filming my first official short film, "Voices". I've had it hidden from the public for a few months and I didn't decide to release it until the beginning of the year. There wasn't a particular reason for that, it just happened that way. One thing I get told a lot is that this short film spoke to them and they are super impressed with the message behind it. Even when everyone interprets it differently, they still catch the main theme behind it, which is mental health.
This topic was very taboo a few years ago, but it's becoming more prominent in discussions and it has even amplified because of Covid. It's interesting for me because we had our son in February 2020, weeks before the lockdowns began. Now, I know that being a parent is stressful and learning how to raise a child while having some major sleep deprivation is a huge task, but adding the initial fear of the pandemic and how we were going to protect our son added so much stress for us. We couldn't rely on a whole lot of people because we didn't know who was exposed and we couldn't risk our newborn getting this.
It became unbearable at times because we were told numerous times that we just have to figure everything out on our own, no matter what the situation was. Being a new parent definitely changed the way I do things and changed the priorities, as it should be. The things that I didn't see coming was everyone expecting me to do certain things or keep certain priorities. It was hard to act the way I always have, let alone function in general, but the mental toll this has taken me to places I don't like to go.
Before I continue, I just want to be clear that I'm not placing any blame on my wife or my son. As a matter of fact, they're the ones that have helped me through all of this.
When I wrote the script for this film, I knew I wanted to talk about this subject because it was something that I was going through. I'm that type of filmmaker that writes and films about something that affects me and I create a whole story out of it. I don't put a whole lot of details about everything I'm going through, but I keep it vague enough for everyone to take the story and identify with it in their own way.
I loved making this story because my wife helped me make it and I got to show my son off a little bit. Even though this story is a little complex for the subject matter, it wasn't a complex process to film. It also helped that I had a plan laid out and I organized my shots to be as efficient as possible so I wouldn't be filming this for days.
The scene that was the most challenging was the mirror scene. Not because of the animations or special effects, but it was hard to keep myself from laughing. I don't know what it was, but for some reason I couldn't stop laughing at what I had written. Maybe it was a little embarrassing to say the stuff that I've heard people say or maybe it was that I had to look somewhat emotionless, but for some reason I decided at that moment to get bit by the giggle bug.
The biggest thing I wanted to accomplish with this short film is that I wanted to show people that mental health is important and it's something that needs to be openly discussed. Speaking from personal experience, it's hard to put in to words what's going through your head and I just hope that this will give a chance for someone to have a voice. I don't necessarily speak a whole lot in this short film, but actions do speak louder than words. So make sure to ask those you care about if they're ok or if there's something that you can help with. Sometimes just being there is enough.
Check out the film below and let me know what you think!