In order to become successful, some sacrifices will need to be made, as found out by a documentary filmmaker in Scott Danzig’s short film Success.
No success story starts with “I just had an idea and the very next day I was a success”. Blood, sweat, and tears are nearly always shed and successful people will admit to having far more failures on their resume before becoming successful. Scott Danzig makes us aware of that fact with his latest short film.
Having failed prior with his film and commercial making, AJ (Alex Jay Sage) decides to make a documentary revolving around the personal stories of successful people, a decision which is fully supported by his caring partner Sylvie (Sylvie Yntema) and his mother and father. Once the creation of his latest project begins, AJ soon starts to be too preoccupied with his work that he soon neglects his relationship with Sylvie, his weekly game night with his friends, his day job and his own mother’s sixtieth birthday party.
Whilst a black comedy, Danzig’s success does actually hit home, and many viewers will relate to AJ. People sometimes do fail to see what they already have and push themselves too hard in order to earn more money and/or fame.
Success is a well-performed short film but it does have a few niggles. Danzig may have pushed himself too much in creating this piece. Not only did he serve as the director and writer (alongside Aliona Tsypes), but he also took the roles of the cinematographer, editor, sound designer, and music editor. Whilst he should be applauded for being able to do all these tasks, with so many roles, at least one is going to suffer, even if it’s slight.
Although amazing work can be shot on any camera, Danzig’s work using the Sony a7sii is a little disjointed. At times it looks great, just see the cutaway scenes of the guys in their role-playing costumes holding flaming torches or when the audience members at the film festival stand up, as examples of some stellar work. But those shots are sandwiched into scenes where the lighting and angles are rather bland. I really believe that hiring a true D.O.P would have worked wonders and it would have left Danzig to concentrate on blocking and direction.
Still, Success has great sound and Danzig’s editing skills keep the movie interesting throughout. The film has a message and it makes you wonder what sacrifices were made to get this made. Life imitates art, imitates life, etc etc.
Success is an interesting piece of work that makes you think and feel. Those are signs of a good film.