THE SHOUT OUT— 3 STARS
LESSON #1: THE DEFINITION OF A “SHOUT-OUT”— According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a “shout-out” is “a public expression of greeting, praise, or acknowledgement directed toward a person or group often as part of a performance, recording, or broadcast.” Shout-outs a little bonds of connectivity from being noticed. They’re not meant to be Hall-of-Fame speeches and hearty Dean Martin roasts. The important thing is to stay positive.
Shout-outs are cute tributes that are morsel-sized by design, which is what makes the short film medium an ideal spot to play with them as a storytelling engine. Husband and wife filmmakers Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon (A Bad Feeling/The Phantom Menace) use The Shout Out to spin the impact, boundaries of length, and that desired purpose of positivity that comes with those quick tributes.
Elizabeth Masucci (Virgin Alexander, Shame) plays a reality show star named Cameron Kim Michaels. The former contestant of The Bachelor is ready to connect and talk to her followers. She has been conscripted to take her popularity and charisma to record personalized shout outs for paying customers and fans on a familiar social media platform. The Shout Out opens with a montage of her vertical video salutes where the handheld camera loves Cameron and Cameron sure loves it right back. The same goes for the alluring Masucci grabbing our attention as this gleaming beauty.
LESSON #2: RECEIVING A SHOUT-OUT— Barring those people who avoid the spotlight or carry a little stage fright, most folks love getting acknowledged for something nice or good. They get those flutters of fulfillment. Their work or impact was not forgotten. Even the smallness of a quick shout-out becomes a huge confidence booster. Those flutters can grow from the stature of the person giving the greeting. Getting one from a close and loyal friend is nice. We know their support all too well, but getting a shout-out from a larger or more famous person can floor us in a starstruck way.
LESSON #3: THE VALIDITY OF A SHOUT-OUT— After the aforementioned definition, the next question becomes the cogency. Does the recipient or celebration point at hand deserve this little jingle or is a larger message needed? How genuine is the shout-out or the person giving the message, though? What is supposed to be cordial can feel contrived and fake if the giver isn’t committed or the message isn’t honest or, worse, too honest.
For Cameron Kim Michaels, putting on a semi-fake smile has gotten excessive and exhausting in a hurry. There is work to give a shout-out that is authentic and this starlet has run out of charm. For a message commissioned for a police officer named Chad (Masucci’s Virgin Alexander co-star Patrick Zller) by his mother, Miss Michaels loses it and unleashes an excessive rant that puts Pompeii to shame. Thanks to Chad’s off-screen mother videoing this moment at home, we see Chad’s emotional destruction right next to Cameron’s explosion to finish The Shout Out.
LESSON #4: THE INIQUITY OF SOCIAL MEDIA— In a few tidy and compelling minutes, Barrett and Fallon’s scripted short film challenges so many little social media-charged vices. The Shout Out puts the notion of life’s over-documentation and the constant need for attention and feedback on blast. Its exposed take on fake feelings and TMI inner biases are the underlying acids that sour the deceitful sweetness. The creators and performers have taken the titular shout-out idea and turned it into an apt and brilliant call-out instead. Their hot little short punches right between our front-facing camera eyes without a fun filter or superfluous hashtag.