Seasons Change (2013)

An emotional look at one woman’s struggle with depression and the isolating cold that it brings to swallow her whole.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson

You can also get the free digital download of Seasons Change here! Just click and download will begin. Then just unzip the file and enjoy!

Director’s Notes

Seasons Change was a very personal piece, and one that I only felt comfortable doing once I knew I had the right actor for it. This was the first short (and would not be the last) where I would work with Erica. I met her during auditions for a feature film project I will discuss later, but immediately knew that she was someone who I could give anything to and she would instill it with awesome! The piece was already powerful, in my mind, but to realize it and see it come to life via Erica’s performance, she really brought more to the film than I could have imagined.

There was so much heart in her delivery of the monologue, that what is heard in the film is the very first take of her going through it. I had even altered and extended the monologue a bit the day before the shoot, so it wasn’t even the version of the script she had previously worked with, but she absolutely nailed it first time in. There is a back-up second take of the monologue that has never seen the proverbial light of day, because it simply wasn’t needed.

Having witnessed depression first hand and the isolating waves of darkness and cold it can deliver, I wanted to make this film using the metaphor of the changing seasons and treating the script and short in a much more poetic way than with our other films. This was more in line with our first short film, and not like the other two 2012 films that we released. I had hoped that the film would kind of work on multiple levels, and that the underlying message about depression and its impact would subtly come through. And from some of the feedback I’ve received, it does resonate and connect with people. Who knows if its for the reasons I intended. Either way, the short remains one of our most liked projects.

Holly stepped in midway through our day to help us out on set, and it was amazing that she did. It was only with having that second set of hands, that I was able to revisit the cemetery and fully capture that shot of the camera spinning over Erica laying on the ground. We had attempted to shoot that earlier in the day, and I was fairly unsuccessful on my own. In fact, I left that location earlier in the day believing I would have to compromise and go a different direction for that scene. Enter Holly to save the day!!

Natalie (formerly of Black Cat Bookstore in Manitou and now head of the MAC) was kind enough to let us shoot the short film there in her store. This gave me the ability to try and connect the character in the opening of the film, to the memories of her childhood, a lost connection for her that helps bring on the current bout of darkness we see descend on her in the first moments of the short. By having her reading one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poetry collections, ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’, and framing her at one point in the tracking shot that moves through the bookstore through the children’s bookshelf, I had hoped to bring those connections to mind. However, the book is hard to make out in the shots, so I thought I would share that tidbit here in the Director’s Notes.

The Hunt Begins!

Although this was actually filmed as our fifth short, it was released as our fourth. This is important because this was the first film where I began inserting Easter Eggs in our works. From this point on in our Whatsabudget Films collection, every short we make will include some reference to Shakespeare or his body of works. Save for one film, Coffee & Cigarettes, which was filmed before this one, but released after it. The Easter Eggs that I have included may be a simple visual reference, it may be a direct or indirect reference buried in the dialog between characters (or perhaps characters themselves), or even thematic/compositional in nature. However they made it in, they are there! I hope that the fan(s) will have fun hunting them all down.

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