TOTAL PERFORMANCE (2015): A Short by Sean Meehan
Timothy J. Cox, an associate producer for indie short TOTAL PERFORMANCE and a member of the film’s supporting cast, describes the premise of the short dramedy as follows: “The film is about Cori (Tory Berner), an actress, but her main gig is a bit different. She works for a company that employs actors to play opposite real people who want to rehearse a difficult conversation. A breakup, a firing, or even an embarrassing confession: the company that she works for provides a living, breathing ‘sparring dummy’ for their clients.”
There’s always a catch that turns premise into story. In this case, it’s Tim (Steven Conroy), who learns about Cori’s unusual day job during a first date with her. A flashback sequence of Cori’s most recent encounter with a client demonstrates the essentially comic nature of her work. When Tim later decides to hire her to rehearse his own “difficult conversation,” comedy quickly turns into drama. Cori has to overcome her personal feelings to help Tim with an upcoming confrontation, which is coming sooner than both know.
In inexperienced hands, this story could have turned into schlocky comedy and melodrama. After all, it’s a twist on a well-known comedy trope. This is not the case, however, in TOTAL PERFORMANCE. Under the direction of writer-producer-director Sean Meehan, Berner and Conroy deliver both comic and dramatic scenes that are genuine and convincing. Part of the credit for this believability goes to the excellent supporting cast.
There are many other impressive features of this film. In particular, the camera work (under the supervision of DP Chris Loughran) is fluid without being obtrusive. Another reason for the easy flow of the film is the editing (by Meehan). The locations that were chosen for the short give the right ambiance to each scene.
TOTAL PERFORMANCE is highly recommended by this reviewer. Not willing to take my word for it? Watch the short yourself: head on over to the film’s Facebook page to find out when and where it’s available for viewing. It’s now on the festival circuit, most recently at the 2015 SNOB Film Festival in Concord, New Hampshire.