Five Steps to Success Short Film Review

Updated: Apr 2


Directed by: #RyanWadeStott

Written by: #RyanWadeStott

Starring: #ChristienBartGittens, #JodiHutton, #SophieWhitebrook, #CarlBeech

Film Review by: Julian Gaskell

This short begins at a business motivational conference (The 5 Steps to Success) with the organiser (Jodi Hutton) preparing to introduce the next speaker who is due to arrive at any moment. Enter the room a sweating and slightly dishevelled young man (Christien Bart-Gittens) wearing a suit, black leather gloves and clutching a suitcase. When the organiser asks if he is Professor Kelly, he hesitantly says he is and then somewhat bewildered enters into the room and begins to bluff his way through a presentation.

It is obvious to the viewer from the start that this is someone who is on the run having committed a crime which we later discover is a jewellery heist. He wants to evade capture and what better way than to take this timely opportunity he's been given to assume the identity of the scheduled presenter who hasn't arrived yet. Slipping straight into presentation mode he immediately starts adlibbing his way through the slides and even interacts expertly with the audience like a corporate speaking pro, showing impressive calmness and knowledge. He then goes 'off script' leaving the slides he had, thus far, navigated well and so he begins a short confessional speech about his life’s journey, from a university graduate to jewellery store thief (which explains his aptitude for making presentations). This makes the audience 'laugh' rather than raise any alarm bells . He continues with a long anecdotal speech about an inflatable orca whale he once wanted on holiday and his near death drowning experience. A metaphor about his life, we can deduce, which he follows by winding up into a tirade about the injustices of the world that have basically led him to this situation. His presentation style seems to have unsettled only the organiser whilst the rest of the audience sits totally absorbed, even when he shows a gun he has tucked into his trouser pants and a bleeding wound.

Written and directed by Ryan Wade Stott, produced and starring Christien Bart-Gittens, this filmmaking partnership have made a curious short that has a message about society it wants to make. It lacks any real subtlety with the sweating jewellery thief who assumes the identity of the presenter. The producer, Christien Bart-Gittens, cast in the lead role is capable of delivering a good presentation, but he is more convincing as a motivational speaker than a jewellery thief. All of the action takes place in the conference room which works well as the sole location. It maintains an intensity and there are plenty of interestingly wide shots combined with some slow zooms, a mix of close ups and quick edits that keep the tempo of the film high. The sound design is effective too in aiding the emotion of the film without ever being intrusive with a suspenseful electronic score and there are the police sirens too are similarly blended in so well, it's difficult to tell whether they are in his head or from actual police in pursuit.

The ease by which he manages to walk into a conference room in such a manner is a bit on the incredulous side especially with a room full of people that look so unmoved by everything that if there was a S.W.A.T team intervention they would probably be equally unstirred. But the film tries hard to deliver its message to make us empathise with this anti-hero’s fact driven monologue about the state of society. He makes his speech up on the hoof, which is a bit too polished for a passing thief on the run, even for an ex-graduate, but he takes the opportunity to get on his soap box to share a different kind of motivational speech about the world.