Short Film Review: Meet the Author by Steve Blackwood (2018)

A few months ago, actor Steve Blackwood (Days of Our Lives, In the Light of the Moon) contacted me via The Wonderful World of Cinema‘s Facebook page to talk to me about his short film Meet the Author (2018). He directed it, wrote the screenplay and plays the main role. I felt highly honoured when Mr Blackwood told me he would like me to review his cinematographic creation. I like reviewing well-known classics, but I also like to use my blog to give visibility to lesser-known projects.

The story of Meet the Author by David Susman and adapted for the screen by Steve Blackwood takes place in a maritime town of New England. A writer, Marvin Bregman (Steve Blackwood), is presenting his second book in a little library. Marvin’s assistant, Marnie (Pamela Jayne Morgan), is here as well as the bookstore owner (Russell J. Gannon). Unfortunately, the event doesn’t seem to attract a lot of people, except for a disappointed man who has come here only for the non-existent food. Eventually, a lady, Jennifer (Marty Smith), arrives but she isn’t quite the type of fan Marvin would have expected. While she has hated his book, she seems to value him a lot as a person and desperately wants to get his autograph.

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Despite its short length, Meet the Author is a film that makes its viewers reflect on several aspects. It is a comedy that establishes some well-thought gags thanks to Blackwood’s screenplay, but it’s not one that lacks depth, and that is only here for our entertainment. Despite the illusion of a light atmosphere presented especially during the opening credits, tension can be felt during most of the story, especially between Marvin and his peculiar fan Jennifer. As this tension progresses to an eventual climax, we understand that the true purpose of this story is for us to ask ourselves many questions about our place in society and how we are valued within this one, questions that are brought by the character of Jennifer. Indeed, she brings Marvin to ask himself if the fact that he is an author is the only thing that defines him, and what does being an author really means. Although Jennifer seems to be a weird and irritating fan at first, we eventually understand that she worths much more than the bunch of crazy fans Marvin is dreaming about at the beginning of the film because she sees him as the human being he is and not only as a man behind a book. Jennifer is the living proof that honesty is often the best option.

Meet the Author involves actor with different and respectively interesting acting styles. One that we could qualify of natural and without pretention for Steve Blackwood, which eventually brilliantly accompanies the rising of tension as his character is confronting Jennifer. Marty Smith, who plays Jennifer, embodies the irritating type with a lot of energy and conviction before choosing to a calmer acting game as her character had made Marvin understood what was the real point of her visit and why she asked for his autograph even though she hated his book. Consequently, the two actors present significant teamwork that is in perfect agreement, depending on what is going on. On her side, Pamela Jayne Morgan as Marnie is the comical one of the story with her dynamism and the sense of fun she gives to her character. She, Bob Mignari, and Russell J. Gannon play secondary characters that influence a lot the comedic side of Meet the Author and which make the film an agreeable entertainment.

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Director, Steve Blackwood discusses the shot with Cinematographer, Evan Schneider. Gaffer (Robert Smith) 1st AC (Mike Sun) and Grip (Lexi Hadley) look on.

We like how the film starts with a pleasant atmosphere and beautiful aerial view of the city and its boats navigating in the water. Jazz music with a summer vibe accompanies these aerial views. Of course, this nonchalant atmosphere eventually fades away and, as the action continues in the bookstore, that atmosphere becomes tighter without having the film completely change its style. We have to salute the well-made work of Evan Schneider, who created an image agreeable for the eyes, clean, with harmonized colours and well-adjusted lightning.

Steve Blackwood did a great job as an actor, director, and screenwriter. He and his team created a short film that deserves to be seen. It will please people who like comedy and cinema in general (thinking of the various references to cult films made throughout the film). Meet the Author a film that makes one laugh, but also think, and if this was the objective, well, it was successfully done.