At one point or another during the pursuit of a creative career, artists must ask themselves what type of art they want to make. This question does not only apply to the individual vision of each of us, but what we are willing to sacrifice to achieve the dream job. In the new sci-fi short Real Artists, written and directed by Cameo Wood, that question brings up more emotional wear than one is capable of handling.

Sophia (Tiffany Hines) has an interview at her dream job, an animation studio called Semaphore. In the bright airy environment of the offices, Sophia’s wide eyes look around in wonder. She truly can see her potentialin the company and is honored to be having an interview with Anne (Tamlyn Tomita). The interview is pretty basic, going over Sophia’s resume and work history, but takes a controversial turn when the company is explained in depth.

Image provided by Smart House Creative

Image provided by Smart House Creative

While this film is classified as a sci-fi because of the space the company takes within the world, but that ideology transforms into tangible situations most creatives have faced. The quote in the film, “a great artist will do whatever it takes to create a great vision,” is the heart of the story, and we are forced to examine that question within ourselves. Most artists want their work to have a positive effect on people, as well as be loved by their audience, but at what cost. 

Artists create because we have an inner light that needs to be released through our chosen mediums. While the construct may differ, depending if it’s a message we want to state or an unexplained reason, we are able to create in a way that’s beautiful to us. It’s hard to imagine having that taken away from us, but where would we fall if it was our dream situation? That’s the question that Real Artists poses in a conflicting way.

We follow this question through the eyes of Sophia, and she becomes our representative. The construction of the company and the thing that makes them unique is a bit hard to understand at first, but with Sophia as our champion, we catch on quickly. She’s a unique character that the audience doesn’t have a problem connecting with. Hines does a great job of creating a strong character, but one that is vague enough for others to find themselves in, which can be extremely hard to do in 12 minutes.

Image provided by Smart House Creative

Image provided by Smart House Creative

Even through the art direction is the audience pulled in multiple directions, the clean lines and the window filled building brings up imagines of evolution in design into a modern age. Yet at the same time, the windows let in the harsh light of reality that can be damaging if we spend too much time in direct sunlight. The set creates a false sense of hope that quickly becomes unsettling. Modernization is not always a good thing.

The other significant thing to point out about this production is the cast and crew behind the film, who are 75% women and 50% people of color. It’s important to recognize that even in the smallest of imprints, we have filmmakers who are changing the perspective landscape of what a set should look. I don’t believe in brining attention to this in the way of showing a rarity, but instead in promoting progression.

Real Artists is an in-depth look at the artist soul and concentrates on a difficult question we must all face. The true meaning and outcome from the film is how affected you are one way or the other.

Real Artists will be screening at the Cinequest Film Festival in March. For more details on the screening information, please go to the short’s official festival page

Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Smart House Creative