Doubles, is an exhilarating science fiction comedy from the mind of writer and director Jacob Motz. Doubles, tells the tale of a lowly office employee who has a crush on one of his fellow female coworkers. His world is turned upside down when a weird scientific occurrence causes his universe and another to collide into each other. This occurrence causes the appearance of duplicates of people already existing in his universe. To our protagonist surprise, the appearance of his crush’s double presents him with a unique opportunity to have a second chance at love and a first chance at winning the heart of the one he desires.
Jacob Motz frames the film’s situation in a light that is both realistic and extremely humorous. Unlike most science fiction tales, this film is not bogged down in the how or why. Doubles, instead focuses on the results. In turn, Doubles showcases the real world drawbacks of the situation and the real world benefits. All while maintain the frame of a love story stuck in a world going crazy. For us the audience, this results in a film that isn’t humorous through simple gags or jokes, but instead through its exploration of the world it has created.
Doubles presents itself more like a fantasy film, meaning that even though its plot is one of science fiction origin the storytelling mechanics mirror that of more fantastical films such as Citizen Dog or Trainspotting. Jacob Motz utilizes scenes of hyper reality to foreshadow impeding situations in the plot and to express the emotions of the characters. As far as plot progression is concerned this allows the film to never feel stale while always feeling unique and new.
The acting done by the film’s lead protagonist and the ensemble office cast is phenomenal. Michael C. Nelson, who plays the films lead presents himself in a highly relatable way that makes the audience feel both engaged in his love life and amused by how he interacts with the changing world. Brea Grant, who plays the protagonist’s main love interest is equally charming and likeable in her role. All and all, this is a film that benefits greatly from its remarkable cast. At the end of the day, the film’s acting and plot progression leaves it feeling heartwarming and quirky.
The world that Jacob Motz creates is the selling part of this short and also the aspect that will keep you watching. For a short running at twenty minutes, the details and the concepts covered in this short are highly topical and hilarious. For me as a result, the twenty minute running time felt at times too short, and I was left with a feeling of incompleteness. The world created in the film’s mere twenty minutes is just too interesting to exit after such a short time.
However, concerning what it does show and the story it does create in its short the time, the resulting short film is quite amazing.
For those who love a sci-fi tale but not the sci-fi feel, Doubles is the film to check out. You’ll leave with a piqued curiosity concerning the extent of possibilities in the film’s world. At the end of your journey you’ll have a satisfying feeling of “love found and happiness captured” when you examine the journey of our protagonist. Through Doubles, Jacob Motz creates a smart and funny story arc that would be a shame to miss.
Watch it twice!
Jacob Motz (Director/Writer)
First, what's your story? How did you become a filmmaker?
I studied Media Arts at Michigan State after making sketch videos in high school and falling in love with the medium. I followed up my bachelor’s degree with an MFA in Film Production at Florida State, then moved immediately out to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles I was fortunate enough to work as a personal assistant to feature film directors and really learn the process involved in making movies at the highest level. After doing this for a few years I felt ready to dive back into creating films, which I've been doing the past few years while writing in between.
What inspired this short?
Doubles was a fantastic and successful experiment for me. I wanted to create a story in a ludicrous world without feeling any pressure to explain why the world is the way it is. Spike Jonze, a huge influence in my work, has always been spectacular at doing this. He just kind of drags the viewer through a story without being bogged down with the why and how of it all. Inside this goal from an execution standpoint, I wanted Doubles to explore identity, which a story centered around two universes crashing into each other is ripe for.
Any interesting production stories?
We made Doubles for 18k over a three and a half day shoot. There was little time to handle rehearsals beforehand as both myself and my producer were working full time jobs at the time, but we cast such talented actors with great improv backgrounds that we were able to warmup in real time. These were the type of talent that just know how to play well together and in a big way, that's why the performances in the film feel so natural.
Post Production on Doubles was a bit of a beast. There were just so many layers to attend to as we were putting this thing together, from the VFX to all the radio elements and the wonderful score. It was one of those processes where you have no idea what you have until the very late stages, which was difficult. I know I was killing people who we had watch early cuts with my explanations of how much was missing.
What's the reaction been so far to this short?
The short has been extremely well received so far. We used our inclusion into the Short of the Week family to help get a Staff Pick at Vimeo, which led to quite a bit of exposure. Vimeo is so fantastic in that there is little doubt in the quality of the audience you are reaching. It's a place for filmmakers and enthusiasts to share their work so when you see over 100 thousand views on one of your shorts there, you know it actually means something.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
My approach hasn't really changed since finishing Doubles. I rely heavily on extremely talented collaborators and really could not make anything without their work. This goes from ATL crew to actors to PA's. I always say that making a film is a democracy and I do believe that.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
I'm continuing to write and am very excited about a few features I'm developing. On the short form front there are a couple irons in the fire. I'd like to be back out there in early 2015. I've been on a pace for one premium quality short film a year for the past few years, this pace has been wonderful for me as a craftsman to keep sharp while I develop for long form.
Any advice to filmmakers?
My advice to filmmakers is to find a group of likeminded, fantastic storytellers and feed off each other. Make projects, talk about films, stay sharp, and use your peers to keep your wits about you as you experiment with storytelling. My advice to filmmakers is to find a group of likeminded, fantastic storytellers and feed off each other.