I recently got the chance to watch short film from writer/director Dan Finnen entitled ‘The Buyout.‘ The short begins as a man’s loyalty to his business partner is tested when Google offers to buy out his company, IF and ONLY IF he manages to kill his business partner before the end of the day. The short dabbles in the idiosyncrasies of startups, ridiculous acquisition prices, and murder. I had a chat with Dan as we discussed the Tech world, putting together the short and more, check out the trailer for the short below.
FS: I feel like your short skews how short and fast these startups are being bought by conglomerates every day. Where did the concept for the short come about?
DF: The new American Dream is creating a startup that gets bought out by a big company. Many, many companies are just trying to get something out there, and their goal isn’t to make money, but to get the attention of another company to purchase the product or company and cash out. Of course, when the big buyout does happen, there always seems to be conflict from the sudden deluge of money. I wanted to explore how the prospect of scoring with a big buyout might push people to do things and be somebody they aren’t.
FS: How do you feel your short fits in the tech world and silicon valley?
DF: Even Muncie, Indiana has a business incubator these days. Everybody wants to be the ‘next’ silicon valley, and the business incubator is ground zero for small startups and big dreams. These spaces fascinate me and aren’t featured much in popular entertainment. They’re basically big shared offices where lots of different companies share desk space. There’s so much delusion that goes into starting a business (I should know), and there is so much hope, optimism, despair and defeat that has to constantly be happening in places like a business incubator.
FS: Visually, it’s a stunning short, with the production values feeling of a “feature” quality – what can you tell us about the production?
DF: We were testing out some experimental firmware ‘hacks’ for the Canon 5D MkIII with this shoot (thanks Magic Lantern!), and we were able to shoot the whole thing in raw. Doing so gave us a lot of fine control over the colors and also gave it a very organic grain that I love. We had minimal budget and time to dedicate to this project, so I made sure to write it all with locations we had easy access to.
FS: What are you working on next?
DF: I just co-directed Old Town with Derek Cox, so we’re working on getting that in front of the right people. I’m also planning on shooting two short films this summer, so right now it’s a matter of deciding what script to choose.