Mystery, paranoia, and cold blooded murder gel together on the silver screen in this 8 minute epic. Scotoma, is a fantastic short film from the mind of writer/director Mark Callum. In this short, Mark showcases his talent for dialogue and his genius in storytelling.
What is important to recognize about this film, is that its greatness comes from its reveal. Scotoma by itself without the reveal of the twist and turns of its plot is a heavy handed film that plays like any typical drama. It is in the reveal of the plot’s true nature that the film escalates into a whole different level of entertainment and amazement.
"I was joking with a friend about acting and when an actor has to learn lines its often in private, where they can concentrate on what they feel they need to bring to the role, it often means talking to yourself while saying your lines. My friend asked me if I had a “Special Friend” I talk to.. lol"
Scotoma, is a frightening tale that will impress you with its tremendous cast, dialogue, and use of music to tell a complex tale.
"This gave me the start of an idea for this story, someone who does have a Special Friend that they talk too, kind of a “voice in my head” thing, I played around with different ideas but came along Scotoma and felt this would suit the story best"
Where Scotoma starts is exactly where it ends, meaning that the film takes place all in one location. With that comes a dialogue heavy, and conversation driven plot. Mark Callum, does a great job of presenting this style with all of the benefits and without many of the drawbacks. Never does Scotoma, feel dry and heavy handed. The dialogue is brisk and engaging. Audiences will be left hanging on every word as the listen to hear the reveal of the film’s big mystery.
The appeal of this short film manifests itself in its ability to utilize music as its secondary narrative tool. As this story progresses, the music progresses to hint at something deeper and more sinister hidden within the short’s plot.
The acting dynamic between the film’s two leads is flawless, and feels realistic whenever these actors are on screen together. Together, they are able to communicate the tension and seriousness of the situation all through delivery of dialogue and facial expressions. As an end result, they lead audiences through the story in a way that greatly heightens the emotional impact of the short film’s narrative and heightens the mystery in how the narrative unravels.
By the end of this film audiences will be left thinking and scratching their heads. For any other director this is a no-no, but for Mark Callum and the way he so fabulously executes his story, this is a plus. He is able to make a film that sticks in your head after viewing and he has succeeded in creating a world that will have you questioning your own reality.
INTERVIEW with Mark Callum (Director/Writer)
First, what's your story? How did you become a filmmaker?
I went into acting many years ago and studied acting with the brilliant David Johnson at his drama school. but as acting jobs became hard to come by with so much competition out there I got bored waiting for the next audition to come along, so I started to talk to other film makers about possible projects. So I wrote my first script “The Last Holiday” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE_dTFqx_aI) and with the help of friends, we made our first film. To be honest we didn’t have much of an idea, we learned as we went along, but I loved every minute of it and got The Bug as they say, so started writing more and more until we had a collection of short films under our belt. Some have gone on to win awards and be shown around the world. Several have also been shown on TV in this country and others too
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
For me film making is everything, it’s like a drug you get addicted to, many of my friends don’t/cant understand what it is that draws you in, but those that do are just like me, they too see it as a way of life. I once read a quote that sums it up for me “I try to keep my creativity alive, that way it keeps me alive”. I’m not sure who said that, but it fits me totally.
My approach changes on every project I do, as they are never the same I have to come at it from different angles and start with my own questions e.g. Do I need the same crew members, do I need more or less crew, cast who do I choose to play these roles in the script, how many props will I need and what kind can I get, etc. do I need special effects from a makeup artist or CGI afterwards. locations where can I get, what kind of feel do I need for the location “example an office scene can look totally different if you shoot inside a modern office or an old style Victorian office, this can change how the actors feel and how people see your film”
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
Yes we have just completed another film THE ICEHOUSE PROJECT (trailer link https://vimeo.com/115317184 ) on this one I co-directed with a friend of mine Darren Langlands. Co-directing is something I’ve done before and fine it can work brilliantly for the film, especially when you start talking over ideas together, one will say one thing and the other will bounce straight back with another and before you know it you have a plan, a storyboard and everything else pretty much worked out. The description for this new film is a simple one
“Four suspects. One murderer. The Icehouse Project is a short neo-noir whodunit thriller from Tai Shan Productions and Alt Angle Films”.
Any advice to filmmakers?
When I started out I was happy to just film, as time has gone on I have become more picky with things, my advice with film makers is to always go into a project fully committed, otherwise you'll never be happy with the out come, if you think you can do it, then do, don’t again come away regretting anything, example I could have got that shot, could have used that prop better, should have lit that scene brighter etc, and my number one rule when I make a film is “to always enjoy it” if it's not fun then why are you there....