Web series are at their best when they use their brevity and repetitive nature to become a meditation on a theme and mine the smaller moments of our lives for the profound or absurd. Local Chapman University film students Almog Avidan Antonir and Tom Assam-Miller's series Long Story Short does just that.
Each three-minute episode, deftly directed by Antonir, features Assam-Miller as a typical, frustrated college student recounting a typical college experience. For instance, episodes include "I Went to the Beach" and "I Couldn't Fall Asleep."
Assam-Miller narrates the rapidly edited action in a monotone monologue filled with French art-film ennui. The story bounces among fantasy, reality and everything in between.
One of the greatest challenges for web series is creating stakes in such short episodes. "I Had to Write an Essay" accomplishes this task immediately when it opens on Assam-Miller weeping in darkness, and rivets you to the screen as his attempt to write an essay on Nicaragua explodes in anxiety, lust, anger, pain, self-disillusionment and, finally, victory.
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After the show became a viral success on Reddit in January, accusations flew that it was a rip-off of the similarly styled French TV series Brief. The duo had actually meant to make a college-themed riff on the Israeli TV series Bekitzur, which is a take-off on Brief.
But rather than focus on all that, just watch Long Story Short's latest episode and they'll explain it themselves. It's called "Short Story Long - We Made a Web Series."
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what's worth watching online. Watch Long Story Short at youtube.com/user/badlucktommy/videos. Read more about Long Story Short at Stephanie Carrie's blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.