We’ve all seen those wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubemen flapping around on the side of the road trying to draw your attention to a car dealership, a new fast food joint, a tax service, or maybe a strip mall sidewalk sale. But what if, instead of an eye-catching marketing device, they were really an enslaved alien race on the verge of revolution? That’s the premise of the clever new sci-fi short Skydancers, and you’ll never look at those thrashing bags of air in quite the same way.
Clocking in at just under three minutes, Skydancers won’t take up much of your day, even if you’re compelled to watch it two or three more times, which you very well may be. The brainchild of writer/director/editor Luke Asa Guidici (the zombie short Certified we wrote about a while back), this is a damn fine way to spend a couple of minutes of your morning.
Framed as a call to arms for oppressed inflatable tubemen everywhere, Skydancers is sharply written, building from word one, continually ratcheting up the pressure and tension until, well, you’ll see. I love the line, “The almighty wind that blows without fans,” it makes me laugh every time. Guidici uses well known “freedom speeches” as a starting point, citing the likes of Malcolm X’s “The Black Revolution,” Giuseppe Garibaldi’s “Encouraging His Soldiers,” and Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches,” with a healthy dose of Patrick Henry sprinkled in for good measure. But of course, he tweaks them ever so slightly to fit the unique situation as it exists in this film.
On the surface this all looks relatively simple, but there’s really an underlying complexity to the construction. The pacing and editing in Skydancers are spot on—how they got all the actors to hit their marks, I’ll never know—with the frame catching the flailing rubber tubes at exact the right moment, just as the powerful voiceover by Nick Shakoour hits the emphasized beats.
For a blow-by-blow breakdown of how Skydancers got made, check out Guidici’s blog HERE, where he takes you on a step-by-step journey through the process, from conception to the finished product, including that VFX shot at the end. This will be especially interesting and useful for any of you out there considering making your own films, and is full of handy dandy tips and tricks for getting things done when your budget primarily consists of personal favors and shawarma.