So, the other day I am searching around through Amazon, when their mind-reading algorithm suggests I might be interested in a short film based on the comic book Misfile. Might? I ordered it and watched it immediately.
For those unfamiliar with Misfile, it’s a comic featuring a pair of characters who, due to a celestial filing error, have been changed. One, Ash, has been turned into a girl, while the other, Emily, is now two years younger, which in her case is an epic headache as she was a high-school senior on her way to Harvard.
The comic has a devoted following among TG readers, as you might imagine, since it explores a sudden sex-change where the male character remembers his life as a male, but everyone else thinks he was born and has always been a girl.
So, what of the short film? Well, the best word in this case would be promising. There were things I liked and things that left me– not liking. To start with the stuff I liked– the chemistry between Ash and Emily really started to come along as the pilot progressed. Early on, it seemed the actors were a little uncomfortable with their characters and maybe each other, but by the end there was a very nice scene where we could see them opening up to each other, and it made me interested to see more. I am always most interested in TG stories that deal with relationships and feature character development.
How much does it really explore the gender-angle? Not as much as I would like. Like any straight high-school male, Ash is appalled to find himself female, and the change in status alone is enough to freak him out. He doesn’t even need to interact with the world to be horrified to be one of them now, and there is a nice moment in his early hysteria where Emily tells him maybe he should feel proud to have been upgraded to female. The rest of what could have been interesting happens off screen– he tells us how he lost a drag race due to his now tiny feet, mentions some guys consoled him but ended up trying to get in his pants– and he is clearly mortified to have been the object of this kind of male attention– but it would have been so much more fun to see it happening and watch his reaction when he realized guys were trying to get in his pants.
Based on the research I have done, this is a pilot for a hoped for series, and in the making of video it clearly shows they put together a crew and brought in some legit equipment, so there is a commitment to making something awesome. However, it feels like there was a certain amount of “still figuring this out” happening, which is okay given that this is a pilot. Some of the shots seem poorly planned, the lighting off, the acting is sometimes tentative. But, again, this is a pilot, so we can forgive. Go back and watch the pilot for Seinfeld, and you will be surprised at how unready for prime time that show seemed at first.
As the pilot went along, I felt the chemistry between Ash and Emily got stronger, and I would be interested to see more of these characters as they continue their journeys and Ash finds himself having to be female in groups of people, especially at school, where his sense of identity is sure to be challenged more fully. I feel these actors will be really fun to watch as they develop these roles!
I am a huge fan of DIY projects, and I think it is awesome these creators have had the courage to go out and make it happen!