Zach Braff Pokes Fun at Influencers in Short Film Reverse Engineered From a Student's Poster

The story behind 'In The Time It Takes to Get There'

How does Zach Braff feel about influencers? Let's say they might not be his cup of tea. 

The writer-director teamed up with Adobe and agency Pereira O'Dell recently for a novel filmmaking project. In November, they announced they were holding a contest for aspiring college creatives to develop a poster for a nonexistent movie. The winning poster would be the basis of a short film written and directed by Braff. 

Well, that film has now been made. 

The winner of the competition, Sam West, a student at Boston University, had her poster selected out of a pool of 1,100 submissions. The title of his fictitious film is In The Time It Takes to Get There. 

Here is Sam's poster: 

With only the poster to guide him, Braff set off to write, direct and produce the short film—his first creation under his new representation of RSA Films. Working backwards from the traditional filmmaking process, Braff took the mise-en-scène of the poster and formed the story. 

The film, which stars Alicia Silverstone, Florence Pugh and the Fyre Festival's very own Andy King, is a smart and charming satire about the role of social media and influencers in society. It takes place in the 19th century, or so we think. The script is witty every step of the way. 

Imagine a 19th-century selfie. Or better, a whole social post. The film does just that. It's hard not to "like." 

Muse spoke with Rob Lambrechts, chief creative officer of Pereira O'Dell, about judging the submissions, the filmmaking process and what they learned along the way. 

Muse: What inspired the idea of using the key art to build the concept and story?

Rob Lambrechts: The idea really started with us thinking about how we could show to students that anything is possible when you're creative. What better way to do that than turning a poster they made into a real movie?

Why was it important for you to come up with a creative way to engage students in the marketing side of filmmaking? 

Traditionally, the movie poster is used as a way to promote the film, so it was fun to flip that process on its head. I don't think it's very common for the poster to exist before the script! Instead of necessarily teaching students about marketing, I believe more than anything it illustrated the power of collaboration. As a creative professional, you realize that working with other smart, talented people can bring your ideas to a level you never dreamed of. 

How did your experience serving on creative award juries help you to evaluate the work?

Pereira O'Dell and Zach judged the posters. Ultimately it was Zach's choice which one he turned into a film, but it was a collaborative process. It's funny—it was almost the exact opposite of judging for award shows. When you're judging award shows, what you're looking for is how well an idea was executed, but with this what we were looking for was what this could become. It was a fun process and definitely sparked some "healthy" debates over which poster would make the best film. So maybe it was a little like a jury room. 

Why was Zach a natural fit for this creative endeavor?

First off, you couldn't ask for better partners in this project than Zach and the RSA team. From the very beginning, they took on the project with a passion that was exciting. When it comes to Zach himself, for lack of a better term, he's just super talented. He's a smart and funny writer and really has an eye as a director. The film manages to make a statement without being preachy, which is impressive. 

What is the most important thing you learned and are taking away from this experience?

Looking at The Time It Takes To Get There poster, I would never in a million years have thought of that idea for the film. Which was super exciting! The best part of this job is getting to work with incredibly passionate creative people, and good things happen when you stay open to ideas that aren't your own. I guess this wasn't something I learned but it was nice to be reminded of. 

CREDITS

Client: Adobe

Agency: Pereira O'Dell 
Creative Chairman: PJ Pereira
Chief Creative Officer: Robert Lambrechts 
Executive Creative Director: Jason Apaliski 
Creative Director: Estefanio Holtz 
Creative Director: Simon Friedlander 
Senior Copywriter: Andre Bittar 
Senior Art Director: Ali Sooudi 
Graphic Designer: Carolina Penner 
VP, Director of Production: Jeff Ferro 
Director of Business Affairs: Camara Price 
Chief Executive Officer: Andrew O'Dell 
Managing Director: Henry Arlander 
Brand Director: Jessica Smith 
Senior Brand Supervisor: Hillary Ashton 
Group Brand Strategy Director: Lenny Karpel 
Brand Strategy Director: Lauren Sooudi 
Director of Communications Strategy: Breanne Brock

Production Company: RSA Films
Written and Directed by Zach Braff 
Produced by Zach Braff, Morna Ciraki, Chris Karabas 
Director of Photography: Mauro Fiore 
Executive Producer: David Mitchell

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Ashley Falls
Ashley Falls is director of Clio Entertainment.