How Does A Roomba Show Emotion?

I shot a short film last December. It’s called “A Roomba’s Tale.” It should be done around late April, since I’ve been taking my sweet time with it.

Directing short films is always a privilege, since I get to work on a movie project with all my close friends. I’m not editing this film myself, which is a first. Instead, I’m working with my friend Daniel from work.

I don’t really remember how Daniel and I became friends. We kept bumping into each other at work, and I knew he had gone to film school at USC, so we both the same people. We both have a passion for superhero movies and video games…wait, now I remember we met!

When I first saw him, I commented on his cool Spider-man hoodie. No, Spider-man wasn’t on the hoodie, it was Spidey’s outfit in hoodie form. Nerdy, but cool in my opinion.

The next time I saw him, he was wearing another Spider-man hoodie. A different one. So he had two.

The next time after that, he was wearing a Spider-man t-shirt. “You really like Spider-man, don’t you?” I asked.

He did.

So now he’s editing my short film. We just finished a six-hour editing session today. Pretty dope. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I constantly need to remind myself that this is how real directors work (sorry Daniel). Not editing my own film allows me see the big picture and not get boggled down with minute details.

It’s also good practice to verbalize my vision and be able to communicate it to Daniel. At one point today, I started blabbering about how this clip should be blah blah blah, and realized that I didn’t even understand myself. Wow. Directing is harder than I thought.

Fortunately, Daniel is a great editor and shares a lot of the same editing sensibilities as me. Sometimes he’ll fix my notes before I give them to him. Psychic.

In the end, it’s all about telling a good story in the best way possible. As the title implies, this film is about Roombas. You know, those little robot vacuum discs. They have no face. No limbs. Nothing to express themselves with besides singular body motions. Somehow, it works. Or at least, I think it does. You’ll have to tell me when it’s finished.

At one point in the film, a Roomba has to show affection to another Roomba. Yes, it’s weird. Daniel and I scrolled through the footage we shot, gaping at the sight of Roombas bumping into each other until—

“Wait…did that Roomba just nuzzle the other one?”

“It looks like it’s kissing its cheek.”

We played it back. And burst into laughter. Somehow, we felt these two plastic discs managed to show emotion. It’s incredibly dumb and stupid, but hopefully when you watch it, you’ll laugh like we did.

Anyhoo, glad I was able to slip in my blogging for the day. I have a ton of work coming up, so these post may get shorter much to your disdain, all seven of you readers out there, according to my WordPress analytics.

Just kidding, there’s more than seven. There’s eight.

Josh out.

 

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