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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1649237
Reality TV shows are more TV and less Reality. Second Place, Short Shots
It would've been better if I'd thought of taking classes before starting on this project. Anyway, too late now. No time to learn how to use this thing. I'll just have to put on a brave front and carry on like nothing's wrong. Excuse me, they're calling me for my interview. That's the trouble with reality TV. It's more TV and less reality. In reality, I would've been working on my next short film. I do want to be Film Maker of the Year, you know. That's why I entered this reality show in the first place. What am I going to say in my interview? And why are they putting all this gook on my face? My face is too pale, and I look washed-out on the monitor? How's this gook going to help?

Anyway, here I am sitting under these bright lights for the interview. I'm supposed to look natural and casual. With these lights shining - anyone would look pale here, you know - and all this gook on my face, and all those instructions about not bending my neck too low or my expression won't be seen. Yeah, yeah. It's easy to look natural and casual in these circumstances. That was sarcasm, in case you didn't notice. And no, I'm not very sure if 'in' these circumstances is correct grammar, or it should be 'under'. Fortunately, a film-maker doesn't need perfect grammar.

They're counting down. Four-three-two-one. And there I am, on screen. Why are they calling cut? I cleared my throat? You're not supposed to clear your throat before you speak? Aha. I should've started to clear my throat when they got to 'four', so I would've had it cleared by 'one', so I wouldn't have been seen on screen clearing it. Natural and casual. Casual and natural.


Phew. I don't believe I got through that interview. It'll be shown for just - how long - fifteen seconds? Thirty? I sweated it out for two hours there, just saying that I think I have a chance to be Film Maker of the Year, though the competition is fierce. That's two good hours of daylight wasted. Not to mention the ten minutes it took to scrub that gook off my face. It was starting to itch. Naturally and casually, it was itching unbearably. My skin still feels a bit raw, with all that scrubbing.

Now to get to actually making my film. My subject is ants. Don't laugh. I can't bear it when people don't take me seriously. Yes, yes, I'm really making a film about ants. Yes, yes, the insects. Oh, you thought ANTS was an acronym for something sensible, did you? Well, I'll have you know, ants are sensible creatures and my film is going to be about them. No, you don't have to watch. Yes, I can tell you where the others are working, we had to pick our spots last night. Triveni is near the big banyan tree at the front gate and Rakesh is in the garage. Yes, yes, he is making his short film in the garage. Yes, that is fascinating. More fascinating than my ants. Yes, yes, of course I'm not offended you want to go watch Rakesh in the garage. I mean, no, no, I'm not offended ... you understood the first time, you've already trotted off out of earshot.

Now, this camera. Let's see. Hmmm. Turn this knob, I guess. Press this button. Is this the record button? I think so. Okay, here I go. Sheesh. Shouldn't have worn my good trousers, now they're all muddy at the knees. Trust the gardener to have watered the garden right before I want to use it for my short film. But I had to wear my good trousers, in case they wanted a full-length shot in that interview. No time to change, I'd already lost two hours, ten minutes of good daylight.

Aha! Look at those ants! Oh my goodness! What a shot! An ant actually taking on a housefly, and winning! I got it in close-up, too! At least, I hope this is the close-up setting. Now the triumphant march, the ants carrying off the vanquished housefly, in a line. Whooooo - I'm in luck. Are those two ants mating? I can't believe it. I don't think anyone has ever taken a shot of ants mating before.

Must put the camera off for a while. It is tiring, kneeling down to take a film of ants. Got some terrific shots, though. Where's that off switch? What's that? Why am I still talking to you when you're in the garage watching Rakesh shoot his exciting film? I wasn't talking to you in the first place. I was muttering to myself. Yes, yes, I know you can't hear me, you're in the garage, but I am still talking to myself. No, it's not a sign of madness, talking to oneself. It's a sign of creative genius and decision making.

Time to kneel again and get the camera going again. Come, come, ant, ant! That's right, climb that thorn, what determination, what courage! Look, that one's wiggling his antennae at the camera. How absolutely adorable. I feel like telling the world what great shots I've got. This'll teach those folks who said ants are boring.

Wait. Quiet. Someone seems to be calling my name. There. Shibani. Deputy Production Assistant. Why is she running in panic like that? What? My short film is due NOW? But - I thought - NOW? She's sure, she's sure. I thought it was midnight, but 12.OO PM means NOON. I have two minutes to hand in my tape. I haven't even viewed it myself. I haven't edited or anything. Okay, okay, here. Uh - help me open this, will you, please? I'm not sure ... thank you. She's got a marker, she'll write my name on it while running back to the judges.


I've changed out of my muddy trousers. I only have a green pair, now, the others are in the laundry. So I'm wearing green trousers. The judges have seen our films, and are going to give us their viewpoint. It's a big judgement, this one. Whoever wins this round is exempt from elimination in the next one. I just hope my ants got them.

Here we are, all lined up. It's a strange feeling, being all lined up like this. Like we felt in school, when drill-master was picking us for teams. He would look us up and down and grunt and point to the left, right or center, depending on what he was trying to choose for. Anyway, they like Triveni's film. Rakesh's vehicles didn't catch their attention much.

Hush now. They're talking to me. Listen. Concentrate. That first judge, she's the hardest to please.

"Brilliant! A stroke of complete genius! I mean, I was blown away! What an idea, what a concept!"

She liked it! She liked it! That ant on the thorn must've got to her! Here's the second judge now. He's much more analytical. Let's see what he has to say.

"I thought that was pretty darn good, you know. Never thought you had it in you. To make a film called 'ants' and not have a single ant in it - you actually had me glued to my seat, staring, waiting for the ants to come on! Talk about creating suspense! Talk about pointing out the futility of waiting for something that is never attained! It's unanimous you know, you win the round!"


I'm in bed now, after the party. Rakesh and Triveni are nice, they took me to a restaurant to celebrate my victory. They kept asking how I'd thought of it, so much depth in a few short seconds. I didn't tell them it happened because I couldn't tell the off switch from the on. I've only told you so far, that is, me. I. Me. I. Whatever.

Anyway, how did I handle it, when the judges announced me as winner of the round? How did I handle Triveni's amazed looks and Rakesh's envious glances?

I'm a pro at this game now. I acted like that was what I had meant to do. I acted like I knew what was on the tape I submitted.

I just gave them a natural, casual look.

Full Counts:
All Words: 1375

Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  (ASR)
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(Photo of a man holding a big camera.)

"Short Shots Contest Winners
Second: "Natural and Casual"

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