Monday, September 16, 2013

"Miss Dial": can you make a comedy movie about a home customer service rep? Are phone calls visual enough?

Miss Dial” (directed by David H. Steinberg) takes indie comedy down to its simplest form.  It is filmed in 2.35:1 so that it can spend most of its 89 minutes splitting the screen between two callers.
The setup is worthy of note. Erica (Robinne Lee) works at home in LA as a customer service rep for a service company that resembles Alpine Access, Arise or Live Ops.  (See my IT Jobs blog, Aug. 13, 2007).  She has to be pleasant and sociable on the phone, and has scripts for a large number of consumer products.  Her boss (David H. Lawrence XVII) monitors and checks up on here, and reminds her that her productivity had better stay up, and that she probably has the only kind of job she can get.  That doesn't mean she is a bad person, does it? 
But she cheats on the job to take breaks to cold call and meet people, pretending that she has a technical problem with her connection.  And she does meet a couple of interesting people when she “misdials”.  Eventually she meets a handsome EMT tech (Sam Jaeger) whom she thinks is in NY.  Oh, she doesn’t know he’s handsome until the end.  But there is some clever dialogue about lookism (odd for a phone bank person) – “you can do better than this.”
The Facebook page (Phase 4 Films) is here.

Back in 1974, I wrote a little short story called "Friendship over the Phone", about a gay man finding another peer wants only "friendship". not a "relationship". 
I bought a digital copy on Amazon for $9.99, the price of a budget movie ticket.  It was not offered for rental on Amazon, but it is offered on YouTube rental for just $1.99.  My own experience has been that Amazon, private Vimeo and Netflix are less likely to have slowdowns than YouTube on feature films,

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