Local duo release first short film; positive reception, experience leaves them eager to do more

July 31, 2023 | 12:10 am

Updated July 30, 2023 | 8:25 pm

Taylor Graves and Christian Potts created their first short film, "Surreal," which debuted this year. Pictured is a scene from the movie. | Screenshot from movie

Taylor Graves and Christian Potts both come from creative backgrounds. What started as working on various video projects together led to them creating their first short film, “Surreal,” which debuted this year. 

“I would always jokingly say ‘let’s make a movie.’ Taylor told me he thought we could seriously do it and in Fall of 2022, he made a script and sent it over to me,” Potts said. 

The pair, who originally connected through mutual friends during their music and video work, were about to tap into a new passion. 

“I was laying in bed one night trying to come up with a story and it just came to me,” Graves said. “I sent it over to Christian and he liked it.” 

The duo knew they wanted to involve their friends and people in the community.

“We had a tight budget so we knew we weren’t going to hire big actors,” Potts said. 

“Surreal” is described as a commentary about the separation humans experience between reality and internalization, highlighting the human mind and how it works. 

“The person in this story has experienced traumatic events in their life. The goal of the film is to decipher what is real and what is hallucination. The audience has to figure out if it’s their imagination,” Potts said. 

A thriller left up to interpretation, the creators say everyone takes away something different after watching it. 

“We have shown it to hundreds of people,” Potts said. “We did a premier at Malco, too.” 

“Surreal” was also submitted to several film festivals. Potts and Graves are pleased with how well their project has already been received. 

“We were a finalist at the Golden Short Film Festival, semi finalists at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, and honorable mention at a few,” Graves said. 

When asked about future plans, Potts and Graves know they intend to make more films. 

“We have a proof of concept now,” Graves said. “We look back on it and realize we can do this. Now we get to ask how we can make it even better.” 

For this project, many volunteers emerged, some learning new skills for the first time.

“Taylor and I were the main crew,” Potts said. “Some people are interested in film, makeup, sound or lighting. Some workers had never set up mics so we taught them as we were filming. We wanted to create a space for practice.” 

While one of their goals is to create a feature length film, the pair are pleased to have a short film under their belt and are thankful to have raised support during the process. 

“It takes a lot of time and money to create a full length film and we have not hit that level yet,” Graves said. “We raised two grand on this one which helped us enter the film festival.” 

Two weeks ago, “Surreal” was released to the public to view on YouTube. The short film can be accessed here

“Ultimately, we have now shown people what we are capable of,” Potts said. “Since we have done this before, they may feel more confident donating or volunteering time. They see what we do, they like what we do and they naturally want to get involved.”

July 31, 2023 | 12:10 am

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