Interview with

Dan Perlman

Writer/Director of

Dan Perlman

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I tutored Alex Chavez, the lead in the film, for a year. One tutoring session, I asked him how a test went. He said that as he was walking into the classroom, the previous class was finishing the test. Some kids said the test was easy, some said the test was hard. I was reminded of that super-specific moment, which shows so much about the characters of different kids. Some perform like they don’t need to study, some perform panic even though you know they always get A’s, some don’t care at all, some are more concerned but act more shy or reserved. In one moment, you can learn so much about different characters and their relationships. I started with that moment and from there developed the story of Alex and Yan Bo, two friends and how their friendship is impacted by everything around them. This environment of a high-pressure prep school, the difficulty boys have communicating, the surrounding pressures all kind of add up.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

We made this short with zero resources or infrastructure. I had to produce the film and get the props and costumes and find the locations and cast it and work with the two leads, who were child non-actors, but honestly, it was the most fun I’ve ever had making something. I worked with such talented, hard-working actors. We had a great cinematographer in Juhi Sharma and my friend Steph Hill AD’d and kept me sane. My friend Daniel Johnson edited it and he’s one of the most talented people I know. They all made it happen. I really wanted to make this short and there’s no reason for it to exist except I really believed in the story and I’m so grateful and thankful and love the work of everyone who worked on this project.

How has the short film been received?

I’ve been really happy with how it’s been received so far. ‘Cramming’ won the Audience Award at the 2020 Brooklyn Film Festival and won First Prize at the 2020 Rhode Island International Film Festival. It’s a very specific short film, with non-actors and a one-sentence plot summary that might not grab you immediately, so the fact that people have watched the short and been surprised by it and seen the nuances and subtlety in it has been really special. I hope people continue to find it and enjoy it.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m the co-creator of ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’, a new comedy series which airs Sundays on Showtime. I also executive produce, write, and star in the series. I’m developing some other half-hour projects and a feature. I’d like to continue to make short films, though, it’s so fun to create some super specific idea and bring it to life. Hopefully I’ll always find ways to create stuff like that.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

Don’t wait for anyone’s permission and don’t worry about what the reception will be. I remember I asked my friend if I should share my short publicly one day or the following week and he joked, “The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Do I want 740 views this week or next week?'” It really made me laugh and just reminded me that you’re making this stuff just to make it, because you enjoy it and you want it to exist and put it out there and that’s all that really matters.

Recently Featured

Interview with

Dan Perlman

Writer/Director of

Dan Perlman

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I tutored Alex Chavez, the lead in the film, for a year. One tutoring session, I asked him how a test went. He said that as he was walking into the classroom, the previous class was finishing the test. Some kids said the test was easy, some said the test was hard. I was reminded of that super-specific moment, which shows so much about the characters of different kids. Some perform like they don’t need to study, some perform panic even though you know they always get A’s, some don’t care at all, some are more concerned but act more shy or reserved. In one moment, you can learn so much about different characters and their relationships. I started with that moment and from there developed the story of Alex and Yan Bo, two friends and how their friendship is impacted by everything around them. This environment of a high-pressure prep school, the difficulty boys have communicating, the surrounding pressures all kind of add up.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

We made this short with zero resources or infrastructure. I had to produce the film and get the props and costumes and find the locations and cast it and work with the two leads, who were child non-actors, but honestly, it was the most fun I’ve ever had making something. I worked with such talented, hard-working actors. We had a great cinematographer in Juhi Sharma and my friend Steph Hill AD’d and kept me sane. My friend Daniel Johnson edited it and he’s one of the most talented people I know. They all made it happen. I really wanted to make this short and there’s no reason for it to exist except I really believed in the story and I’m so grateful and thankful and love the work of everyone who worked on this project.

How has the short film been received?

I’ve been really happy with how it’s been received so far. ‘Cramming’ won the Audience Award at the 2020 Brooklyn Film Festival and won First Prize at the 2020 Rhode Island International Film Festival. It’s a very specific short film, with non-actors and a one-sentence plot summary that might not grab you immediately, so the fact that people have watched the short and been surprised by it and seen the nuances and subtlety in it has been really special. I hope people continue to find it and enjoy it.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m the co-creator of ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’, a new comedy series which airs Sundays on Showtime. I also executive produce, write, and star in the series. I’m developing some other half-hour projects and a feature. I’d like to continue to make short films, though, it’s so fun to create some super specific idea and bring it to life. Hopefully I’ll always find ways to create stuff like that.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

Don’t wait for anyone’s permission and don’t worry about what the reception will be. I remember I asked my friend if I should share my short publicly one day or the following week and he joked, “The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Do I want 740 views this week or next week?'” It really made me laugh and just reminded me that you’re making this stuff just to make it, because you enjoy it and you want it to exist and put it out there and that’s all that really matters.

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