Directed by Ryan Williams
Starring Matthew Lewney, Esther-Grace Button
Short Film Review by Evie Brudenall
Finding love is a challenge for virtually everyone who seeks it, but for those who are introverted, there are extra difficulties and hurdles to overcome. Writer/director Ryan Williams explores this very common phenomenon in the romantic drama/comedy Conveyor.
Frank (Matthew Lewney) is a single man living alone with his beloved hamster. At work, he draws the attention of Audrey (Esther-Grace Button), a shy co-worker and their blooming attraction encounters many stops and starts along the way.
As soon as Frank awakens, he is at the mercy of his watch that incessantly beeps, indicating him to move onto his next mundane task such as brushing his teeth or feeding his pet/best-friend Reggie the hamster. That strict schedule continues as he heads off to work at a factory where he packages bobblehead dogs (a quirky but amusing choice of profession), completing the same action over and over again until the end of the working day. However, unbeknownst to him Frank catches the eye of his colleague Audrey, who makes general chit-chat with her work neighbour Churchill (Richard Easterbrook with a fictional name perhaps a bit too on the nose) that eventually leads to fatherly advice as he encourages her to pursue Frank. Audrey invites Frank over to have a drink with her after work, a gesture he awkwardly declines, citing prior hamster commitments.
An unfortunate discovery leads Frank’s meticulously ordered world to be turned upside down and disrupted. For the first time, possibly ever, Frank is late to work and upon his arrival, he sees another worker in his position enacting his role. Frank is forlorn and sensing his upset state, Audrey propositions another drinks date to which he accepts. Lewney and Button shine the brightest in their performances when they are together – their jilted interactions are painfully adorable as both clearly have feelings that they are too shy to express. Although, this particular will-they/won’t-they dynamic of two introverted romantics is one that strikes unoriginal and the story suffers considerably from this sense of déjà vu.
Director of Photography Spencer Burker wonderfully captures the tone of the piece through the use of visual language. The camerawork is fluid in its occasional moments of movement but it is often static as it captures the unfolding action and storyline; this deliberate creative choice reflects the unexciting life that Frank leads as he is unable to stray from the rigid routine he has become restricted by. The colour palette is cold and unassuming but when Frank and Audrey are on their first date and later in Audrey’s apartment, the scenes are warmly lit and create a tender atmosphere, suggesting that Frank is allowing intimacy and romance to enter his life without interference.
Sweetly told with a payoff that will satisfy audiences, short film Conveyor is lacking an all important dose of originality but is loaded with promise and potential in its in front of and behind the camera talent.