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Big Break

By Alan Ng | July 4, 2020

One thing I’ve learned about acting, after listening to one “big break” story after the other, is that they all have luck on their side—being at the right place at the right time. Making it in Hollywood is not something you can always plan… unless you’re really hot.

Dicle Ozcer’s short film, Big Break, is the story of one such emerging actor, Deena (Brianna Ripkowski), who is attending the premiere of the war epic, “The Rightful Wrong,” with her friend, Simon (Christopher Tedrow). Deena may only be in one scene, but it’s a good one, sort of. She plays a nurse and shares the screen with the film’s star, Harrison Clooney (Pourya Rahbar), and for artistic reasons, he needs to be completely nude. Deena’s front-and-center in this controversial scene which ends with an impassioned monologue from her.

Seizing the opportunity, she uses the buzz generated from Clooney’s scene in the tabloids to get herself face-to-face with uber-producer Todd Ryder (James C. Burns), who is also attending the premiere.

“Deena may only be in one scene, but it’s a good one, sort of.”

Dicle’s Big Break draws us into the working actor’s struggle, who knows that it’s less about the performance and more about how one markets oneself. To propel her career, Deena strikes gold being in a scene that the world is talking about well ahead of the movie’s premiere. She also learns the valuable lesson of editing.

Overall, Big Break is an excellent short film and worth watching. Dicle Ozcer has an exceptional grasp of the story and understands what it’s like to be in the trenches for actors. Lead actor Brianna Ripkowski is terrific and stands out as the straight person surrounded by various caricatures of the Hollywood elite.

One thing that keeps Big Break from reaching greatness is how tame it feels at times. I know this is all subjective, so take it with a grain of salt. While Deena is interacting with the producer Ryder, her director, and the film’s star, there are subtle hints of either misogyny toward her or the dismissive attitude of “why should I care” about you. It would have been great to raise the stakes higher and build more sympathy for Deena. Push the limits on the “controversial” nude scene, make her feel like more of a small fish, and go a little over-the-top with the “viral” moment of the film. I liked where the final punchline to the short went, but again it felt tame.

Big Break tells a good story, but as filmmakers, you want to push the tentpole moments of the story and literally burn an image into the audience’s memory. It injects a boost of energy to volatile moments and raises the stakes for the main characters. It forces viewers to remember not only that moment but the short film as well.

Big Break (2020)

Directed and Written: Dicle Ozcer

Starring: Brianna Ripkowski, Christopher Tedrow, Pourya Rahbar, James C. Burns, Andrew Searles, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Big Break Image

"…understands what it’s like to be in the trenches for actors."

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