Stripping it down

I love the idea of stripping everything down to its essentials and telling your story with just the necessary pieces in front of you.‘ – Ray Wong

The above statement is one by director Ray Wong, who directed a sci-fi short film called Burnt Grass (2014). He was on a low budget when he and his crew made this short film, but he chose to make it work. He focused a lot on planting the idea of this ‘sci-fi mechanism’ and said that by doing this, he allowed the audience to do the interpretation and thinking whilst he had the freedom to explore the relationships in the film (Wong, 2014).

Our short film too had a lot of stripping down to do. As we began to think of ways in which we could put more emphasis on the message we wanted to convey, we began to strip it down, removing elements that weren’t necessarily essential to pushing the story forward, and instead worked on the things and relationships that mattered.

We decided to put more emphasis on the children in the story, focusing it more on Stella and her relationships – with her imaginary friend, Sam, and a real girl, Chelsea. We even removed some of the details about the children that we initially had. By doing this, we were able to have a clearer direction on where we want to bring this film, which is more to the topic of imaginary friends and how this child overcame that.

I believe that there is still a bit more to work on, and my group and I will be evaluating and polishing it over the next few weeks.

Burnt Grass 2014, short film, Canada, directed by Ray Wong.
Vez, E 2014, ‘Stripping Science-Fiction Down to its Essentials with ‘Burnt Grass’ Direction Ray Wong’, Directors Notes, viewed 6 April 2016, <>.

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