What makes a scene work?

Does it lie in the carefully executed plans of a film’s cast and crew? Or does the magic rest upon fortuitous mistakes, spontaneity and improvisation? What steps must be taken to convey your vision and intent? Watch our video series, Frame of Mind, to get answers to these questions and more from commentators working in a wide variety of areas in production who’ll guide you through clips from their films, in their own words. Moviemakers and film fans: Grab your notepads, popcorn, or both, and press play.

Kris Avedisian’s native Rhode Island is the backdrop for his short-turned-acclaimed black comedy feature Donald Cried—a tale of arrested development as seen through the eyes of both the arrested (Donald, played by Avedisian) and his old friend Peter (Jesse Wakeman) as they’re reunited shortly after Peter’s grandmother passes away. Wearing multiple hats as writer, director, producer and lead actor in the titular role, Avedisian designed his film to walk the line between documentary realism and off-kilter cringe comedy, heightening the relatability of its simple story about the kind of guy everyone knows—that townie perpetually doomed to never leave town.

In the video below, Avedisian discusses Donald Cried‘s snowbound locale; his characters’ motivations; shooting for efficiency versus shooting for style during the film’s 11-day shoot and more. The scene gives you a glimpse into one of the film’s many measured moments of painfully awkward tragicomedy.

Let us know what you take away from Avedisian’s frame of mind in the comments below. MM

Donald Cried opens in theaters March 3, 2017, courtesy of The Orchard. Video courtesy of The Orchard.