Derek was the writer, director, and executive producer of "Blame," a narrative short film pulled from real experiences. The film is currently enjoying a festival run being an official selection of nine film festivals across the globe and counting. He looks forward to sharing it with the wider world during its late 2023 online release.
Try, Try, Try Again
Derek wrote "Blame" in the summer of 2021. The team was slated to enter production two separate times in 2021, and once in 2022, each time being shut down at the last minute due to COVID-caused production issues.
Despite all of these hurdles, Derek wouldn't have been able to forgive himself if "Blame" fell to the wayside. This story was personal for Derek. Not only was the story as personal as could be, but he also found actors that embodied each character's sweetness, sarcasm, and bitterness.
Derek found actors that embodied each character’s characteristics of sweetness, sarcasm, and resentment. He focused on age-accurate casting which lent us a plethora of talented character actors in an age range that Hollywood often ignores. He also targeted actors who had Broadway experience, given that the intended shoot style would require actors who could hit their marks on concise and coordinated beats.
"Blame" is a cutdown from a film that was longer in which each scene was a single, one-take shot separated by title cards. That style was inspired by films like Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise” (1984) and Hu Bo’s “An Elephant Sitting Still” (2018) in choosing narrative structure and storytelling techniques.
Ultimately, the phrase "kill your darlings" applied in post and Derek chose to intercut scenes and alter the narrative for the betterment of the film as a whole. That being said, Derek, alongside Director of Photography, Frankie Turiano, went through the painstaking process of capturing the majority of the film, prior to meeting Dorothy, the film’s antagonist, which was a learning experience that will pay dividends as Derek looks towards his narrative filmmaking future.
"Blame" is a culmination of all the time Derek has spent with his mother and her siblings together. What he's learned most from that time is that what makes a family special is the capacity they have to forgive what has been said in moments of stress. No matter how bad it gets, an apology goes a long way.