For many couples, working together could be a situation fraught with peril. For a couple who star in The Test, a short that recently screened at the Florida Film Festival, working together was something they sought out.
The Test, directed and edited by Anthony DiBlasi and starring real-life married couple Lauren Bowles and Patrick Fischler, was written by Bowles. In it, Bowles and Fischler play Margot and George, a couple in the process of an amicable divorce while anxiously awaiting the results of an untimely pregnancy test.
“Maybe she’s pregnant – and that’s the whole reason they’re getting a divorce,” explains DiBlasi. “He really wants children, she doesn’t want to adopt – that kind of ate away at their relationship, and they’ve finally come to this part in their lives where they’re stepping away from each other but still very best friends.”
DiBlasi describes the film as a ‘drama-dy,’ with moments of both poignant drama and comedy – such as when the dog runs off with the pregnancy tester. “That’s the joke – the test keeps getting messed up. Every time, something horrible happens to it,” says DiBlasi.
Both DiBlasi and Fischler were special guests at Full Sail University on Friday night as they talked to students about the making of The Test. Students got to watch the film on Full Sail’s Dub Stage and then ask the director and actor/producer questions about the film production process.
Also on hand to talk about the film’s sound editing were Full Sail Dubbing Stage Engineer Michael Orlowski, M.P.S.E. (Supervising Sound Editor and Re-Recording mixer on The Test) and Dave Chmela, M.P.S.E. (Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer).
DiBlasi described what it was like to work with Bowles and Fischler, both of whom are longtime television actors:
“Most of the time, I’ve had people come up to me after screenings, and they were like, ‘How did you get such a good performance out of them?’ I’m like, ‘Well, this advice goes for every movie you make; casting is 80 percent of it,’ said DiBlasi. “They’re husband and wife, so the chemistry is inherent. But that was the first time they’ve ever worked together, so it was kind of a wildcard going on. They could have hated it.”
It turns out, Bowles was inspired to work with Fischler after watching a short featuring her half-sister, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband, Brad Hall.
“She [Louis-Dreyfus] and her husband made a short last year. It was called Picture Paris,” said Fischler. “And it premiered in Santa Barbara, and we went and saw it, Lauren and I, and we turned to each other after and we really did say, ‘Let’s do this.’ And so we made one, and it premiered in Santa Barbara.”
DiBlasi, who typically does horror and thrillers, said he was drawn to the short because of the dramatic tension between the two characters.
“I love the short she wrote because, for me, it was a roller coaster, and I tend not to like shorts very much because I don’t like punch line [endings],” said DiBlasi. “What I liked about this is it’s just a snippet in time. If I can make someone laugh and cry within a 10-minute period, we’ve accomplished something pretty good here.”
So far, response to the 12-minute film has been positive, says DiBlasi. At the Florida Film Festival, The Test was part of the competition narrative shorts program, I Feel Love. In addition to screening at the Florida Film Festival and in Santa Barbara, The Test has been an official selection at several festivals and won Best Short Film at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Idaho.