I wanted to make a short, short film, and I didn’t want it to take itself too seriously. I’d seen a lot of shorts that used personal testimony and VO to tell pretty one dimensional stories with zero sense of irony. Semi Skimmed was initially conceived as a playful response to film’s like that.
What I tried to do with Semi Skimmed is lead an audience into think they were watching a certain type of film, and then mess with these expectations for comic effect.
To do this I drew on range of influences, most notably classic period noire, to create a cinematic pastiche that treads a fine line between believable hyperbole and total absurdity. The film mocks Joel’s self absorption and pokes fun at his absurd fantasies, but we don’t fully throw him under the bus untill the last second.
With a perfectly pitched performance Alex, who played Joel, totally nailed this balance. He played the character straight and this really holds the film together. Like most comedy characters, Joel is labouring under the misapprehension his story is a tragedy. Alex managed to convey this and stay true to the character – whilst still sneaking in the odd Pratt Fall for good measure.