A deep dive on my former projects uncovered this gem, and I wanted to share it. This is my first time directing talent for a personal project comedy skit, and it’s great exercise to see the early attempts at the process of building a project.
I have a friend who looks pretty much exactly like Reese Witherspoon. It sparked an idea for a spoof on a medical condition called C.L.A.S, or Celebrity Look-Alike Syndrome.
THE SETUP - Rachelle is a spokesperson for this fake condition and wants to spread awareness. She walks us through some of the social problems and interactions with having the uncanny resemblance to a celebrity, but we start to feel something is off:
- We first see her run into a couple fans that want a selfie, they accidentally drop the camera and she picks it up with a ‘bend and snap’ from Legally Blonde. Our first clue to who she looks like (it should be obvious)
- Second we see her eating with a friend, and to be funny their server brings a plate with a Reese’s cup and a Spoon and mouths “with her spoon!” Our second clue to who she’s talking about. Looking back on this, I don’t think the gag was easy enough to follow. It’s quick when he mouths the name, and it might be a little stretch for the audience.
- Our third clue is her signing a fan’s napkin at a coffee shop. Here’s where it becomes evident that something isn’t totally right - she signs it your F.R.I.E.N.D… which is a nod to a popular 90’s sitcom which has nothing to do with Reese Witherspoon (save for a cameo). We then see the barista say “Jenny?” which should tip us off to the mismatch. Then, one of my favorite parts of this whole project, we see Rachelle walking down the sidewalk with a shirt that says “Pitt Sucks” nodding to Jennifer Anniston’s split with Brad Pitt.
At this point we as an audience should be confused.
THE PAYOFF - I wanted Rachelle to have an over-the-top denial of who she looks like because she’s been constantly compared to Reese her entire life - almost like it’s been an abuse of her identity.
We hear her say “it’s really hard looking like Jennifer Anniston”, and I wanted the audience to feel bewildered at how obviously wrong she is. She 100% looks like Reese Witherspoon, it’s undeniable. This is where I feel like we get the payoff to the tension we’ve felt through the spot, the producer of the commercial interrupts her and corrects her - “Reese Witherspoon, you mean Reese.”
I tried to create the most awkward atmosphere we could here (with 3 people in an apartment). I wanted the moment to hang in the air so we could really dive into this emotional rift in this poor girl’s situation - she’s been called Reese her entire life and has tried so hard to push past it and this commercial was her moment to solidify her denial to the truth, BUT it comes crashing down because the truth is too obvious to shake.
I think that comes through enough, but would have been stronger if the earlier gags were a bit more obvious. However, Rachelle nailed the act. She made the best crazy eye face like we could see her mind snapping, and then she flips out on the producer and sound guy. It was awesome to watch.
Rachelle is an actress in real life, and the producer is her actual husband, so it was kind of a perfect situation. All in all, I think the comedy is there at the end. There’s some fantastic moments that get good chuckles.
It’s fun to watch back through stuff and see the growth. Though I haven’t directed something close to this since, I know it was a great arena to practice some needed skills in the production world. The lesson here is to go create, continue to make things and get better. Thanks Film Riot!