Short Film - Engaged


Coming to Palm Springs International Short Fest this week, Susan Omand says yes to Engaged by David Scala...

All Darren wants is to propose to his longtime boyfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong? EVERYTHING! From being in a romantic restaurant where everybody, even the waiting staff, seemed to be getting engaged, to an embarrassing engagement party where he was put under the spotlight in a Mr & Mrs style quiz about what his other half would answer, to that incident with the peanut, it’s safe to say things are not going well for Darren as he tries to find the perfect moment to ask his boyfriend Elliot to marry him. Luckily Elliot realises what’s going on and just waits for Darren to… well… wait. But will the perfect moment ever come? Is there even such a thing? Or is Darren, as his best friend Lara says, actually getting cold feet about this whole commitment thing?

This is a wonderful little film. The characters were endearing, the situations suitably cringe-worthy and the chemistry immediately believable, especially between Darren (Daniel K Isaac) and Elliot (Ryan Jamaal Swain) who were incredible together. The locations were very well chosen to help set the tone of the film and the lighting and cinematography were really effective, especially in the quiz scene, adding to the tension. I also really liked the fact that, at some points, the dialogue from Darren’s point of view would go deliberately “out of focus” – a nice effect of sounding fuzzy and echoey like it was through a wall or under water – while he got lost in over-thinking scenarios or internalising panic. It was a beautifully paced film too, none of the awkwardness was drawn out more than it needed to be, and the comedy in the writing was light and subtle and kept that way by an adept cast. But what impressed me most was that writer/director David Scala managed to get a bit of depth and connection to both his main characters and their situation in a short (15 minute) film.

I came out of watching it very satisfied with what I had seen and how it had worked out but also keen to see more of Darren and Elliot’s stories, their background and their future, so I would love to see something more come of this. To any TV commissioning people out there - There may be a question you want to ask these guys before it’s too late.