At first and last glance at “Stand By”, it could be assumed that it reflects director Tony Osso’s life somehow, that Johnny (Ryan Duncan) could be exactly like him. Maybe, and maybe not. At first, “Stand By” introduces us to Johnny, who’s gay. Now, it could be representative of his affinity for pink, including the cake tent used for his cupcakes, but it’s more than that. He’s part of an Italian family who’s having a party and he spots a guy in a bathing suit jumping into a pool and he watches him, transfixed. The best thing that Osso and actor Ryan Duncan have done with the character is to not use any flamboyancy to make it so blatantly obvious. Johnny is a nice fellow, very peppy, and that’s enough to move the character along.
The most appealing and probably the weakest aspect of this short is what Osso does. He does a complete 180 after an offensive remark is uttered on the subject of perhaps one day being able to choose what your child will look like and what traits it will have. It deals with Johnny and his mother and it’s not a direct statement, but it hits home pretty hard. We hear someone call “cut” and the cinematography changes right away from the party atmosphere colors we’ve seen, to the pale colors of the filming location and Tony Osso comes on the set to talk with his mother about how she believes she should be acting in the scene at hand.
It’s a perfect example out of many about what it takes to light a film and also to make it happen. However, what would have been of better use here, instead of Tony walking off the set out of frustration, would be to explore this comment even further. Not so much as what it stems from, but the ripple effect it would probably create. The mother goes after the offender, a family member, and it goes on from there. Even without the opportunity for that, “Stand By” still presents a strong theme of indifference toward different types of people that may not be considered “normal” by others.