For artists around the world, a global pandemic offers nothing but opportunities to create. The benefits are obvious: a chance to create without distraction, an extended period of time to work uninterrupted, and a serene moment to be alone as you produce the masterpiece that’s been sitting in the back of your brain for years. In Reynaldo Dumas and Ralph Klisiewicz’s A Survivor’s Guide to Writing in Quarantine, our only obstacle to that great piece of work is ourselves.
Our hero (Steve Peebles) is a writer, sitting on his couch with his laptop, needing to meet a deadline, and experiencing the all-too-familiar disorder known as Writer’s Block. Breaking the fourth wall, our hero speaks directly to the camera and outlines how he plans to fight his affliction and ultimately come out a winner on the other side.
“…outlines how he plans to fight his affliction and ultimately come out a winner on the other side.”
The short film is divided into chapters, which turns into three or four comedic, satirical bits about writer’s block and lack of creativity. Chapter one is entitled “Fuel for Inspiration” and addresses the substances writers inject in themselves to bolster creativity, like ayahuasca or in the case of our hero…coffee. Being locked down, he realizes he’s out the essential caffeinated beverage, which starts an odd encounter with his stove. The remainder of A Survivor’s Guide to Writing in Quarantine becomes a treatise about forced isolation and diminished inspiration.
Director Klisiewicz’s short film is probably one of the more professionally produced shorts coming out during the pandemic. He employs good social distancing practices considering that Peebles is the only actor appearing in this two-person production. The overall appearance of the apartment is clean and never looks thrown together. Peebles is quite good in the sole role and gives an excellent comedic performance.
Story-wise, Dumas’s script is sure to be relatable to the majority of writers and their struggle to pull brilliance out of thin air. Though the comedy may be a little “inside baseball” and directed to the writing community, you still want to mine the comedic gold in the subject of “writer’s block” that is relatable to everyone. A Survivor’s Guide to Writing in Quarantine is very much worth watching for a light laugh in “these trying times.”
"…relatable to...writers and their struggle to pull brilliance out of thin air."