Written, directed by and starring Steve Blackwood (Days of Our Lives, Beyond the Mask) Meet the Author is a laugh out loud funny multi-layered offering based on a stage play by David Susman. Blackwood is Marvin, a writer whose first book reached dizzying heights of popularity. Personal tragedy interceded to force an extended hiatus and he is now trying to break back into the best seller charts with his second effort.
Marty Smith is Jennifer, the fan who nails the returning author and she brings as much to the table as Blackwood. These two bounce well off one another and their interaction paces well with the opening scene of the short film. In what feels like a sly poke at the Mel Gibson vehicle “What Women Want” Marvin is met by a group of adoring female fans at his book signing.
With one telling Marvin to “call me” and others declaring their utter devotion, the writer becomes increasingly uncomfortable with all this attention. Meet The Author then shifts gears and loses nothing in the transition. Blackwood has, in his second effort as writer/director, knocked this one out of the park.
(It is interesting to note that his first film I Feel also featured Marty Smith.) The cinematography, by Evan Schneider, is spot on. Crisp and on point in terms of contrast and lighting, it really sets the scenes for the buildup of both the comedy and eventual revelation.
The film is funny, no doubt about that, but it also reveals a underlying theme. At one point Marvin states that he is a writer. It is, he says, the only thing he knows how to do. Interestingly, the long time between his breakout book and the sequel, proves that regardless of his “inactivity” his creative bent is still there.
There are a number of underlying points made in this film. While the comedy works brilliantly, the repartee between Jennifer and Marvin is witty, clever and, amazingly enough, natural, the real magic in Meet the Author lies in its hidden introspection.
This award winning film (winning Best Narrative Short at the Ri Sene Film Festival and getting special recognition at The London Short Comedy Festival as well as The Boston International Film Festival) proves that Independent Short Film is a genre that can entertain and make the viewer think.
Blackwood may be well known for his long stint on Days of Our Lives but he has shown a flair for writing and directing that matches his skill at comedy. Kudos also go to Smith for her portrayal of a fan with a difference and to Pamela Jayne Morgan as Marnie; the Public Relations gal with a fixation on Momma from Gypsy.
In fact, the entire cast, especially the adoring females at the start of the film, all go above and beyond the call. Everything about Meet the Author works, from start to finish. This is a full 5 star effort that makes the viewer laugh out loud repeatedly while simultaneously enjoying the deeper meaning behind the comedy.
Watch this one as Blackwood really nails it across the board (Pun intended.)
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