If you have a silly idea for a short film, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have a particularly bad short. That said, the odds are stacked against you. The reality is that with a little hard work starting with writing and all the way to editing and the willingness to get it right, you can overcome the odds. From writer/director T.J. Power, his short film, Your Call Is Important To Us, is a hyper-humorous take on automated customer service phone calls. The premise is very silly and not that original, but Power creates a 14-minute short that’s funny and works.
David James plays Simon, a ruthless businessman with a huge problem. His bank allowed a two million dollar transfer from his account to take place without his authorization. Simon’s call to the bank takes him down a meandering path of inane selections, inept service representatives, and a cheesy piece of hypnotic, mind-numbing hold music. All leading to the inevitable coronary.
“…a meandering path of inane selections, inept service representatives, and a cheesy piece of hypnotic, mind-numbing hold music.”
The gimmick behind Your Call Is Important To Us is the short intercuts between the increasingly frustrated Simon and the behind-the-scenes workings of the bank’s phone service center. What sounds like a cold and heartless computer tree of recorded messages and inept employees is a finely-tuned office of about a dozen workers with specific roles to handle your call. All are taking place in a single office and performed live. One person is the voice of the computerized menu system, another is the actual representative, and then the “supervisor” you always ask for thinking they have some kind of real authority to resolve your complaint. In this office, though, the hero is the piano player and his expert ability to play the same tune on an endless loop with unrelenting rhythm and pace.
Every call is directed by a conductor, who with a “wave of his baton” sets the pace and timing of every action to induce the maximum amount of frustration in the customer. He also serves as the coach and cheerleader providing the right level of encouragement and praise to each team member, always making them feel good about their performance. Quite frankly, this is an exceptionally nurturing environment for any workplace.
T.J. Power brings a high degree of comedic talent to this small production. He sets in motion timing and pace that is spot on. There’s a sweet human element to it as well. The comedy works primarily from its contrasting switches from the rantings of an angry customer to the divine service-call concerto. Your Call Is Important To Us is silly and sweet.
Your Call Is Important To Us (2018) Written and directed by T.J. Power. Starring Wade Briggs, Sarah Roberts, Richard Davies, Elise Jansen, Andy Lee, David James. Your Call Is Important To Us screened at the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival.
8 out of 10 stars