In academia, the word 'rubric' describes a system of evaluation, one used to grade multiple elements by a single standard of criteria.
Around the time of working on this short film, I was caught up with a nagging and naive question: whether an artist, or anybody for that matter, had to be 'good' in order to be 'great'? Put simply, does how we do what we do matter. Or does it only matter, the result?
In tackling this personal question in terms of story, there were two elements that seemed natural, if not obvious.
First: the realm of arts and entertainment, which is constantly being held hostage by mandates of truth and recognition. Truth can mean what we want it to mean, but essentially the (again, perhaps naive) notion that every artist wishes to create the thing they want to create. On the other end of the scale lies expectation and the warm reception of an adoring public with whom the work is shared. Public and private personas, strengths against vulnerabilities, and the need to be perceived as normal, and accessible, but niche. A legend of the moment.
Within that maelstrom, there is perhaps even more weight placed on the shoulders of women, simply by existing in a society which places great expectations on the aspects of their daily lives, like beauty, behavior, and age. Even more fascinating, that the battle along these lines is often waged between women themselves.
But again, this was, for me, a personal question: Does it matter who we are, how we are, in what we do? I was disillusioned by a number of contradictions I had recently encountered in my own life and work, this work which I had romantically sublimed in my understanding, to shine a light in some way on realities, or at least elements of realities, and yet the very idea of that work had begun to feel so constructed, so baseless.
And so I wrote and filmed this "meditation" on class and beauty, and the irony of how much it is impressed upon those arenas of performance, and how much it is ignored outside, and also the complications of how women treat women, how many times the ones suffering are the first to make others suffer, and how, especially in the vacuum or self-obsessed bubble of "art", it can wrap itself up in it's own cyclical horror.
How to break free from that Rubric? The one by which we are all judged, and the one by which we judge even ourselves.
Writer/Director: Jared McNeill
A woman with a secret wakes in a locked room, accompanied by a stranger who holds a key, and more than a few secrets of her own. As a nightmare unfolds, a truth shared between them is revealed.
Sound Design / Music
Hair & Make-up
Writer / Director