Watch After Us here.
Our latest short film “After Us” is an important project to us because the inspiration behind the project came from a few different places. While we’ve noticed several comments saying this was “just another romantic short”, or “more of the same from WFP”, most people won’t even realize that this project was the culmination and fulfillment of several creative goals.
The first lies in the main character, Carly, who is played by Victoria Park. Having a female be the lead and focus of the entire short is something that we don’t often do in WFP. While we have had female leads in the past, they are usually driven by the actions of an opposite male. This isn’t something we purposely do, with the intent on only telling stories from the male’s perspective, we just normally write from our personal point of view… and we are guys, haha. Christine has always pushed us to have more female leads which we gladly support (like in When it Counts, The Places We Should Have Gone, The Other Side of Yesterday, and others), but we wanted the girl in this story to be completely self sufficient, which leads to another inspiration.
We recognize that many of our stories are about trying to get the girl/boy or losing the girl/boy, but we wanted to tell a story where that wasn’t the goal, and not even the point! Making Carly end up with no partner was the intention from the very beginning. We didn’t want to make an ending where the she needed another guy to make her feel whole again. The message of this short was that we must try to find strength within ourselves, and build our own lives in these difficult situations, rather than rely on another to make us feel better. Because it’s only when we are understand ourselves, that we can truly know what we want from, and can offer, others.
Another inspiration comes from one of our own past works, “Strangers, again”. Around this time last year I had wanted to do a thematic continuation of “Strangers, again”. Not really a sequel with the same characters, but just as “Strangers” presented the stages of a relationships beginning to end, I wanted to do a short about what happens after the end, because, as those of us who have been through it, there’s a whole other process of pain and growth to go through. This was paired with me realizing that most of our romantic content dealt with either the building up to love, or the breaking down of it, but rarely going past that point. Even though the catalyst of the short is losing love, the rest of the short departs from love being the focus.
Many people will watch this short and think that it’s another sad love story, but if you really think about it, it’s a story about self discovery, not even about loving someone else, but loving yourself.
This short took place over 3 days. The script called for a lot of locations, and a lot of passing of time, so many different set ups and resets were required. You’ll notice that many shots are repeated but something is notably different in the frame, this helps illustrate that time has passed. For example, each new step begins with her bed in the morning. The first time we see her still and afraid. The 2nd time see rises and gets up. The 3rd time, the frame is empty, she’s not even there as she’s awake even before the camera.
We worked with a small crew, moved fast, but still had pretty long days. Check out the full behind the scenes here!
Frequently Commented Comments!
WF’s recent stuff are all sappy love stories!
On the contrary, so far this year we’ve only made 2 love dramas out of 11 sketches/shorts. The rest have been 4 comedies about relationships, 1 about living a full life, 1 about going again career stereotypes, 1 about racism, 1 teasing internet trends. This has actually been our most diverse year of content ever. I think people just forget what we’ve done… or the romantic stuff stands out the most, which means that they resonate with you the most, so why so angry? =) And even if we were making a lot of love stories, we have been since the beginning, it’s not “recent” haha.
Please make a guy version!
It’s funny, every time we make a video from a guy’s point of view (Strangers, again,The Last, She has a Boyfriend), we always get comments that say “Please make a girl version!”. We should just make two channels and make each short twice from opposite sides, haha. But hopefully you can see that the message in “After Us” is not just for girls, it’s for everyone. You don’t have to be female to feel the same emotions.
This reminds me of “Her”!
While it’s very flattering for that comparison to be made, because “Her” is an AMAZING movie, the truth is that movie never came into my mind. Voiceovers are used all the time in movies and TV. One of my favorite uses is in the show “Scrubs”. Maybe because it was a girl’s voice and they were talking to each other made it feel like “Her”. In case you missed it, the voice is actually Carly herself. It’s her own inner voice that’s talking her through things. The idea of Carly talking to herself was meant to represent how usually we know what’s best for ourselves. Deep down we know what the right thing to do is, but it’s usually impossible to implement it. Giving advice is always easier than applying it. So Carly already knowing herself what she should do emphasizes the message that recovering from a breakup is an internal journey.
I love the music!
We love the music too! When I first started editing I was a little worried because I knew that the music would be crucial to this short. But I didn’t want to do an orchestrated score, I wanted produced songs to drive the soundtrack. But finding good, independent, and free to use music is very difficult. Fortunately, I recalled our trip earlier this year to Singapore where we met a singer named Daphne Khoo. She was singing at the event we were speaking at and she gave us a CD. I remember listening to it then and being really impressed. When this project came around I immediately knew which song to use and I emailed her and thankfully she was very grateful for us to use her song, “Weak” in the closing. The other music is by April Nhem who I found through our good friend Tom Ngo. He’s always on the verge of new artists and is currently helping to manager April. We fell in love with her sound as soon as it was shared with us. Kenson did a phenomenal job extending and elaborating April’s music to fill in the rest of the score.
OMG it’s KEVIN!
Yeah, it’s been a long time since Kev has made a video on youtube! I guess we are very lucky to have him here! Kev’s a good friend of ours, and right now he’s taking some personal time (and also about to release an AWESOME looking movie), but we’re glad he was down to come by for these quick cameos. Wasn’t it cool to see him in a more romantic role?
I wish this came out 6 months ago!
Sorry we couldn’t be there for when you broke up! But we actually did shoot this 6 months ago, in March! After shooting though we had to focus all our energy on making the movie, so “After Us” had to wait awhile to get edited and finally released to you.
Of course Phil casted himself as the “cute guy”
Ok, first, haha… this was no intentional the way you might be thinking. Yes I did cast myself at the end, but more because I thought it’d be a fun tie-in to “Strangers, again”. Perhaps my character there continued on into this story. I also didn’t write “cute guy”, that was Christine’s original line so I just kept it there. I don’t think narcissistically of myself as cute! Finally, I actually wanted to take this scene out. After we were finished editing and saw the short in its entirety, I questioned if bringing in a male at the end undid everything we were trying to do. Christine believed it was okay to leave in there, because despite still being attracted to others, she makes the conscious choice to be single as part of this healing process.
Why do you always make us cry Wong Fu!
Sorry to make you cry, but happy to make you feel. =)
(Photo from our first day, July 6, 2004. Did a “photoshoot” with it, haha)
I wanted to write about this before I got too far…
Last month, at the height of our movie production, my car and I had our 10 yr anniversary. There is nothing else from 10 yrs ago that I used every day and still do today. If you think about it, that’s pretty incredible. No other material object in my life has been that much of a constant. So this post is dedicated to it.. (and Acura I guess, haha)
My 2004 Acura TSX came to me in July of that summer between 2nd and 3rd year of college. Prior to that I had driven our family’s old 1990 Nissan Maxima. I actually really liked that car, “souping” it up in college with stupid little lights and air fresheners, the tape player which I plugged into my discman. I brought it down to college, but one unfortunate afternoon I got into a relatively minor accident and the car was “totaled”. Mind you, it only had some bumper damage, but seeing as the car was 14 yrs old, the value to fix it was more than the value of the car.
My parents didn’t want me driving a car with bumpers being held up by tape so that summer we started looking for cars. I was thinking of a used 2002 Acura Accord Coupe. Or in my dreams a used Lexus IS! But my parents preferred getting a new car. At the time the Scion TC was the brand new hot car, and I would’ve been totally happy if that were my new car. But they took me to the Acura dealership. The TSX at the time was also a brand new model being introduced. I told my parents that I wouldn’t feel right getting this car at that age, it was too nice. I literally said, “I feel like I would have to dress up everytime I drove it” haha. But they wanted it for me, and I couldn’t believe I was getting it. I know cars, much less new cars, are a luxury not many people/families can afford for their children, and I am so grateful that my parents could give me this car. Someday, I will return the gift. (freaking A though my dad loves Mercedes, he’ll hafta wait awhile for that haha)
It’s been 10 yrs, and I’ve been driving and taking care of it all along. (I technically named it “Tessie” at the time cause I felt that’s what everyone did with their cars, but I never really actually used the name, heh). Several tires, a bumper, a handful of dents, dings, and “dangits” later, a decade has passed. It sits quietly and faithfully for me each day. I’ve never had any real trouble with it thankfully, and everytime I sit inside I still remember the feeling I had when I first got it. I think of the residences it’s been parked, the trips it’s taken me on, the people who’ve sat in the passenger seat.
Some people tease me saying I drive an old car, and I guess, thinking back to when I was in hs in 2000, if I saw someone driving a 1990 car, I too would think, dang, that’s an old car… But I still see my beautiful TSX.
And as soon as school resumed, I put Tessie to use right away, haha. Here’s a video project from one of my courses. The first appearance of many in a “Wong Fu Production” =)
via Phil’s WordPress blog post.
There’s an end for all of us or hope for all of us, and we believe that there is this last person that we’ll find.” This one’s a little more positive and more definitive in that sense, and that has come over time with me personally. You go through life as a younger person trying to figure out why people are in your lives, why they end, why they don’t start. It all comes to a reason. People always say, “Everything happens for a reason” or “Everything happens for the best,” and I’m kind of just wondering when is that reason going to come? When is that best going to come? That’s what the idea behind this one is. We’re showing that it can actually happen.
On the eve of my 20th birthday, I wrote in my journal that it was very exciting/scary to be entering the decade where I would probably be getting married and starting a family, cause, that’s what happens in your 20s, right? …With only 3 months left of my 20s, I either have a lot of work to do these next 90 days, or have to accept that I was incredibly naive and flat out wrong with my teenage prediction/perception.
While there are a variety of reasons why I “missed” this mark (most of which will be covered in a blog post or short film at some point ), a big reason is that I have an equally naive concept of what getting married means and results in. And I would be the first to call bs on myself, I mean what do I know? I’m sure one’s perception of love and life totally changes once the vows are made and children arrive, and this is what this post is about.
I wish I had more communication with married men. Not just the surface “Yeah married life is totally different” “no one’s ever ready for kids” “happy wife happy life” stuff… I mean, real, honest communication. When I do talk to young husbands and fathers it’s taboo to ask some of the harder questions. It’s even more taboo for them to answer them on the real. And even older men, I don’t feel comfortable asking certain things.
Have your feelings changed? Do you still think about someone in your past? What do you fantasize about? Who do you fantasize about? How do you not act on them? ..or, have you? Why do you stay? When you do have doubts, how do you fight them? Sure you were madly in love when you first got married, but what’s it like being held to a decision you made 5 yrs ago? 10 yrs, 20 yrs? Have you not changed? …Would you change anything?
Am I over complicating things? Do these issues not occur? Is it actually much simpler than I’m making it to be? “Chill out kid.”
I believe that as male animals we have primal desires that are suppressed because we are civilized and have evolved emotions. I believe that as intellectual humans we develop within our own life span and what we feel and believe rarely stays constant. So how do these men do it? And I don’t ask that question like it’s impossible. I literally want to know what makes them able to do something I don’t fully understand yet. I think when they are trying to be polite or good role models they’ll answer something about “I don’t miss that life”, and “what they’ve built together”. But is that all? How much is attributed to active choice, how much is it true love where they can’t see themselves with anyone else?
I’m not questioning the validity or authenticity of the answers. If it really is some special ingredient or level of “love” I have yet to grasp, that’s awesome. I can’t wait to get there. But perhaps I want to know that there isn’t that special ingredient. That despite being madly in love, thoughts and desires will always arise and are dealt with. I don’t think men want to admit these faults, they don’t want to disclose these secrets.. but I really don’t think they should be secrets, because honestly, there’s no secret. People’s minds and hearts wander constantly. Own up to it and tell those of us who haven’t gotten to where you are how you manage. Share your knowledge, share your struggles. It could possibly help both sides.
I’m a flawed man, I’m a scared man. But I want to be above these fears and doubts. I want to be confident in my future. A vow at it’s core is about confidence, no? Or is not having confidence the reason why one needs a vow? I think the only way I can make these promises and enter that next stage of life is to learn how to love, desire, yearn, miss, and let go of people in the right amounts. Is my first mistake believing that husbands and wives have found that balance?