Tabula Rasa (2014)

In this new short from Whatsabudget Films we follow the story of Regan King and her older sister, Ril as they try to recover and pick up the pieces following a tragic accident that changed their lives forever.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Kacie Vance & Michelle Dawn Sharpe

Director’s Notes

Tabula Rasa was a nice break from the kinds of stories I had been telling up to this point. Fresh off the heels of Soulmates, we began shooting on Lather Rinse Repeat until scheduling caused us to have to put that film on the proverbial back burner. Not wanting to be slowed from making my 2014 goal, and having just met Michelle and Kacie from their work we had done on Lather, I penned the piece for the two of them and they were on board immediately. We happened to all have a window of availability that lined up perfectly, and we were off!

Having just completed our first love story in Soulmates, I wanted to focus my pen on a vastly different kind of love story, but a tale of love nonetheless. Regan and Ril’s story certainly gave me that opportunity, as it unfolds a heartbreaking tale of commitment and stewardship in the wake of unrelenting difficulty and tragedy. Michelle perfectly embodied that exasperated and yet thoroughly dedicated older sibling that we find in Ril, and gave the character an edge that almost reads as indifference, but comes out in the end as a guarded sense of self-protection. Ril is afraid of letting herself be hopeful that things will work themselves out and change as her experience has forced her to accept otherwise.

After meeting Kacie I totally felt Regan take shape around that sense of kindness and open-hearted nature. In fact, it felt almost cruel to put her character through what I did in the film for that reason alone. Kacie wonderfully connected with that sense of herself and realness in the character, and made the role that much more heartbreaking to shoot. The scene where her character has to break down was particularly poignant and filming it was just as heartbreaking as the film portrays it to be. In the end, the two of them, paired so well together as sisters. Their natural chemistry and connection off screen translated perfectly for the tale they were tasked with carrying.

This was a very simple one day shoot, that took place in Kacie’s house, as her parents were kind enough to host our intrusive cast and crew, and Kacie was kind enough to offer. When we got on set that day, I looked over her room wondering what all we would have to rearrange or discard from the room, and then what would we have to add to give it that Regan feel. But as the part was written for Kacie, her room was pretty much perfectly arranged to fit who Regan was in my mind. It was just such a simple shoot, I wish they could all be that easy.

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