Every now and then you run across a piece of filmmaking that inspires, and stuns, and leaves you saying “holy crap.”
So this random guy named Jim Cummings followed me on Twitter the other day… and like all new follows, I clicked through to see his profile and find out who he is.
From there, I clicked through to his Vimeo Channel (you should too… just click) and there I watched his 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning short film: Thunder Road. (It’s since been turned into a feature, which is a 2018 SXSW Grand Jury Award Winner. Here’s the IMDB.)
Grab the tissues… it’s a eulogy… an 11-minute monologue that is utterly riveting, and will tear your heart out if you have one.
For filmmakers, it should be inspiring in its accessibility… it’s very shootable with a tiny crew and limited resources thanks to simplicity of concept and single location… but this kind of project lives or dies by the writing and the delivery.
And of course, you’ve got to direct the material in a way that allows for your actor to do great things with great material.
Jim wrote, directed, and starred in this short.
While you’re watching, you may or may not notice, but please appreciate that it’s one long uncut shot… this is a single take performance that covers a range of emotions, an engaging variety of pacing, and insights into character backstory.
Don’t be fooled by the escalating absurdity of the delivery… while it gets charmingly “big” in its physical performance in a way that puts me in a mind of the Coen Brothers, it’s a tour de force of “small acting.”
I haven’t even watched anything else on his channel yet… but I feel safe in saying I will.
And you should.
I can’t wait to see the feature version of this, but even if this short was the only incarnation of this piece, the world would still be a better place.
Oh, btw — he’s also turned his experience evolving his short to a feature with this “Short To Feature Lab.”
This dude deserves your attention. He is the shit.
Click through to his Vimeo Channel and give him some love.
Follow him on Twitter at @jimmycthatsme.
See him on IMDB.
Then go shoot something of your own.