by Faruq Oyekan
Bus Stop is a sweet and tender romantic drama from the mind of writer and director Jamie Sims. Bus Stop encapsulates the charm and beauty of similar films such as Before Sunrise, Aya, and Top Five, while bringing something new to the concept in the form of sharp dialogue and a heart – warming narrative.
With a runtime of 12 minutes, Bus Stop is a film that will capture the audience’s hearts through the almost authentic love connection that can be felt between the films two leads. Sam Underwood and Valorie Curry do a fabulous job of playing the characters of strangers falling in love. Sam Underwood especially is relatable and presents his character in a way that allows audiences to emphasize with a man they’ve only known for 5 minutes or so.
Bus Stop came about through spontaneous opportunity. Sam Underwood is my best friend, he left Woking for New York to study acting 10 years ago and we've never stopped speaking. He now shoots Uzis at Kevin Bacon for a living.
We always wanted to do something together, but our schedules never allowed, so we were also waiting for the perfect time.
- Jamie Sims
Presenting a convincing romance in a short film format is often hard due to time constraints and character development limitations, however, in Bus Stop Jamie Sims pushes past these boundaries to present audiences with a story that is highly developed.
Bus Stop is shot beautifully. From the intense use of close ups to capture the intense feelings of the narrative to the color grading that gives the short a film like feel, everything about the cinematography in this short is up to par and seamless.
"Then last year he just turned up at my house in Woking with his girlfriend Valorie Curry, a much more talented actor than Sam. They were in town to visit family before going on an adventure in Europe and said "we're free on Monday if you want to make a film" Surprise. I said yes! Monday was three days away.
That night, after a brain storming bath, I wrote the script. Called up my crew and started to produce the shoot. It was an insanely fast turnaround but we all pulled through."
- Jamie Sims
The writing in this short is stunning, and leads the way in developing the character's backstory and growing romantic connection. Bus Stop’s dialogue is refreshing and even humorous at times, providing audiences with many memorable moments. These moments are often delivered in moments of person to person conversation, that showcases the film’s strongest connections to the films of Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight).
Concerning its music, a catching choice of tunes will leave you bobbing your head. The shorts choice of music is beautifully scored by Ursine Vulpine. All in all it creates a sensible tone that fits the film’s narrative like a shoe.
For fans of romance and even fans of drama. Check out Bus Stop now on Vimeo.
INTERVIEW with Jamie Sims(Director/Writer)
What inspired this short?
I saw Jurassic Park in 1993 when I was 6 and thought it was real, when My dad explained that it was filmmaking I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
At the time that manifested into wanting to be an actor which I did, until I was 22. Then, becoming annoyed with having my career placed in other people's hands and after watching a DVD extra of Kevin Smith's "Clerks X", where he said "if I can make a movie, you can."
I picked up a camera with my friend and we made a silly parody of "paranormal activity". It wasn't anything big, just us with a camera and some editing software - I fell in love there and then with cutting and splicing video and sound to tell a story.
The parody went on to being featured on the UK release of Paranormal Activity - which is mental. I then applied to UCA Farnham to do their Film Production BA.
What inspired this short? Any interesting production stories?
Sam, Val and I met up on the Sunday to read through and workshop the script. Being such a short turn around, I was anxious of the script being a first draft so this was really important to me.
The shoot took place over a bank holiday weekend too so it would have been really hard to get permission to shoot in our town center. I knew I wanted to shoot outside so before writing the script, I managed to get hold of a council member who got in touch with the person in charge - who was on holiday - the next morning I went to the offices in person to speed through the approval.
Sam and Val were expecting me and maybe a friend with a camera to shoot a little short. Instead there was about 8 of us and Sam's mum providing catering. :)
Easter Egg: Sam's mum and family are in the background when Sam and Val are looking up at the war of the world's statue. This was the longest and hardest take to get as her timing was always off. Ha! The rest of the shoot was a breeze. In fact, it was one of the easiest and straightforward shoots I've ever directed.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
It's certainly helped with my problem solving, having to think quick and improvise. Also to be more spontaneous.
But I'll never underestimate the importance of planning. I like improvising a lot but I'd rather have a plan that I can adapt during the shoot. Yes, you can make a cool film in 3 days with your mates but imagine what you can do with 3 weeks.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
Well my next film will be finished on the 13th of April - I don't know what it is yet though... I've just entered the 48 hour sci-fi contest so we'll be making a film next weekend in 48 hours. - I don't learn.
But Sam & Val and I are working on a very cool short film shooting in New York hopefully in May. It's a drama with a sci-fi element inspired by the Mars One project. Very excited to start this.
Any advice to filmmakers?
Make lots of things. And don't stop. Share your work. Really think whether it's better to share your film or do the festival circuit. More and more fest, don’t require exclusive rights anymore. So make sure you're holding on to it for the right thing. You don't want people to lose interest in it.
If you do keep it offline make sure you're telling people about it. Create art trailers. If you can't think of anything to write or make, enter contests the Internet full of them. I’ve won quite a few, one got me a job at the creative agency "Mother London".
These are great because they give you a brief and a deadline. It's good practice for client work - making to spec and you could win some lovely prizes as well as exposure.