Award of Merit – Spotted (USA)

Title: Spotted
Runtime: 14 min
Country: USA
Director: Shranjay Arora
Placement: Award of Merit + Best Concept Art (Shranjay Arora)
Competition: September, 2020

Synopsis: An arrogant internet celebrity takes a trip to a cabin in the woods, only to find out he has a cult of followers, who’s ready to follow him into a “bright” future.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Seda Anbarci – Producer, Co-writer

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

SA: My co-writer, Shranjay Arora, and I have always been interested to explore the theme of how online communities are so close to being cults. We usually love ideas about the digital age, the internet communities and how it will affect humanity in the future. 

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

SA: We started writing it as soon as the idea hit us. Shranjay used to be a Youtuber, so he’s been interested in the Youtube culture and how it affects people. I’m usually the script doctor of Shranjay’s projects when I work with him because he’s the Director/DP and I’m the Screenwriter/Creative Producer. But we come up with ideas and write the scripts together. This idea transformed a lot since we started writing. We had to combine some characters and locations and lower the production budget of the script, so from pre-production to post-production, it took us two months to finish the writing process. 

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

SA: The biggest challenge is trying to condense the bigger idea into a short film format. When we come up with ideas, we always notice that the ideas are mostly for feature films. And I am a feature film writer, so I automatically think about the feature film plot points and sequences. But for short films, we try to combine some characters and try to establish the character arc in shorter format. That has been the most challenging aspect of working on short films.  

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

SA: We had to shoot overnight, so that was the most challenging part of the production. We had a limited amount of time to shoot. We ran into a lot of problems but came up with solutions on set as fast as possible before the time ran out. But in the end, it’s worth it because it’s always fun to be on a set. 

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

SA: I think planning the schedule for production is the most important part of the process. The more work you do in the pre-production, the more headspace you’ll have during the production. And that’s very much needed. You can never too prepared for a film shoot.