Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Aaron Abrams’ slice-of-life drama It’s Not What You Know.
The Plot: A would-be actor hits up a hip L.A. party and bumps into an old flame.
The goal of any filmmaker is to try and tell a story that captures an authentic mood or feeling. If they can tell an entertaining, engaging story on top of that all the better. Obviously, it’s rare that a film manages to do all of those things. When they do, well, it’s important that we recognize them. So do yourself a favor and recognize Aaron Abrams’ It’s Not What You Know.
The film takes place over the course of a single night. It unfolds in a single location, and it clocks in at just under 10 minutes long. Given those restraints, the film’s romantic ambitions should probably feel a little slight. In less capable hands, they probably would. But sometimes restraints force a filmmaker to skip over the arbitrary bullshit that drags so many other movies down and cut right to the chase.
That’s exactly what Abrams does with It’s Not What You Know. The film opens with struggling actor Jay (Abrams) arriving at a L.A. house party with a personal agenda and a package to deliver. Those opening moments follow Jay as he tries to network with as many of the industry folk in attendance as he can while also searching for the target of his delivery. Those interactions are brief, and they err on the side of superficial – i.e. they’re exactly the sort of interaction you’d hear at such a party. Jay’s job and agenda shift when he bumps into Charlie (Carly Pope), the target of delivery and – of course – his old girlfriend.
It’s Not What You Know takes a slightly amorous detour from Hollywood hob-nobbing once Charlie is on the scene. And yes, the moods and feelings that permeate Abrams’ film are of the “long lost love” sort. But Abrams scripts the action with a dexterous earnestness and the film somehow manages to balance its fervid romantic underpinnings with a welcome edge of emotional realism. Pope and Abrams build on that realism by bringing a subdued sincerity to their performances. DP Robert Scarborough lenses each passionate (and anti-passionate) moment with crisp, casual warmth. Editor Mike Banas bolsters the almost-amorous mood with a sly, propulsive bit of editing, and that combination makes It’s Not What You Know a reverent tale of missed chances. One with an uncanny sense of romantic longing and heartfelt humility.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Aaron Abrams Starring: Aaron Abrams and Carly Pope Director of Photography: Robert Scarborough Edited by: Mike Banas
We hope you enjoy It’s Not What You Know! This really is a laudable directorial debut for Abrams (already well know for his work as an actor). It should come as no surprise that It’s Not What You Know played well on the 2017 festival circuit, scoring the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Intl. Festival of Short Films and Best Debut win at the Discovery Short Film Festival. Though Abrams’ schedule is quite full with acting gigs for the foreseeable future, we can only hope he’ll find his way back behind the camera asap. Until then, you can keep an eye out for Abrams on screens big and small – or you can scope some of his prior work over at his Vimeo page.
While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – team Vimeo has curated for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device … SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting, and you may just stumble across your new favorite filmmaker.