Total Performance

We all know the cliches about actors and the sometimes bizarre day jobs they end up working until they finally get a break. I suppose in a way any job that requires you to interact with people counts as practice for an actor, but some day jobs are just designed for actors. For example, the company struggling actress Cori Sweeney (Tory Berner) works for, the titular Total Performance, offers an unusual service for their clients. Don't worry, it isn't anything I can't mention in a family-friendly review.

Say you have a difficult conversation ahead of you. Maybe you need to fire a longtime employee who's also become a friend, or like Walter (Timothy J. Cox), you have to confront a cheating spouse. It's the sort of conversation (or possibly fight) you might want to practice so that you can feel less nervous, right? Total Performance will send over an actor to help you 'rehearse' before you confront your actual spouse or employee, thus making the real confrontation easier, at least theoretically.

As Cori explains it to Tim (Steven Conroy) while they're on their first date, she's a living sparring dummy for the clients. She admits that sometimes it is a little hard to shake off the aftereffects, but she likes the job because it's such good practice. She still doesn't seem to be having much luck with the auditions, despite all this rehearsal, but at least she's got something to help pay the bills while she tries to make it as a real actor.

When an assignment hits closer to home than she ever expected, though, Cori gets a different perspective on both her job and her clients, and maybe even herself. A collision like this was probably inevitable under the circumstances, but that doesn't make it any less of a shock for Cori, or any less of an eye-opener, and it just might change her life.

It's a great concept for a film, well-executed and well worth watching. Best of all it doesn't beat you over the head with any of the questions it asks, taking the more understated route and letting you ponder the implications for yourself. It's a good and thoughtful short that makes you think about the ways we interact with each other. There's currently no business out there like Total Performance as far as I can tell, though I expect there to be soon. These days it's harder and harder to tell what's real anyway; this sort of enterprise could be the 'virtual reality' of the future. Entrepreneurs, take note.

Cori is slightly distracted while with a client.


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