For those of you who doubt, Murphy’s Law is incredibly real. When it hits, it could feel like you are being thrown feet first into a wood chipper. Within the film world, Murphy’s Law strikes constantly, sometimes strong enough to completely shut down a production. On the contrary, in some cases it ends up stirring up enough catastrophes to completely change your direction and for the better. The comedy film group, Future Boyfriends, experienced this rare case of Murphy’s law when shooting their latest comedy short. Brick by brick and piece by piece the wall kept coming down. What they were left with was a dedicated cast and crew, a bunch of already paid equipment, and a whole lot of ambition.
Lucky for them, director Erich Westfield and writer Kyle Vorbach had a stellar idea in their back pocket. That idea was Wake.
Wake stars Liam Sweeney and Carolyn Trahan. It tells the following story:
Wake is a horror/thriller following Alan Young (Sweeney), MIT’s greatest graduate and inventor of the Dream Machine, a virtual reality machine capable of giving you your own fantasy world. Unfortunately for Alan, the machine is glitching and only showing him nightmares. With investors breathing down his neck and his wife Amy (Trahan) walking out on him, Alan is forced to enter the nightmare machine and fix it from the inside. He can either fix everything or lose everything.
From the start, this short film is a bit of a mind f*ck. Playing with multiple dimensions of reality can be incredibly difficult and/or confusing as a story teller. That said, Kyle did a phenomenal job at making the worlds virtually similar, but with slight glitch effects (which as you can see were incredibly well done) and some really great camera work. The film leads you through the depths of Alan’s darkest nightmares and as horror fans how can we hate that.
The story is based off of one of Kyle’s among many creative types’ biggest fears, which is letting people down. As he puts it “The film, in a lot of ways, is an apology to my girlfriend for working so much and letting that sometimes get between us. It kicks off with the main character being so driven by work that he tears apart his marriage, and once he enters his broken virtual reality machine, it really gives him hell for that.” His machine is designed to let people live out their dreams, but cannot distinguish between the good and bad dreams. This leads Alan down a treacherous road, where he ultimately must confront his greatest fear, failure. “The main character in the film is based on a fear of my own and one I would imagine a lot of us share; a fear of letting everyone down. The fear of failing. In a lot of ways I think that’s scarier than death because in the moments where you do fail, part of you honestly wishes you could just die right there on the spot. You would prefer death to letting everyone down.”
All the way through to the end, this short film keeps you engaged in the chaotic life that Alan has made for himself. He has to choose between the love of his life and his life’s work. In a lot of ways, Kyle is right. As artists, we take our work incredibly seriously. A lot of the time it consumes us, leaving us closed in a locked room alone. Like Terrance Zdunich told us at the premiere for Allaluia! The Devils Carnival, sometimes you need to be antisocial. It is an important part of the process, but it sometimes takes away from our real lives and affects those who love us.
If you have gotten this far in this article and still haven’t watched Wake, scroll back up and watch it now. It’s definitely a great way to spend seventeen minutes of your life. Afterwards you might want to call a loved one and let them know how you feel. If you have already watched it, be sure to follow Kyle Vorbachand Future Boyfriends on social media by clicking on the links below.