Carbonear comedienne and filmmaker likes the short take

By Chad Feehan / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Sketch comedy, short films, and coming of age stories. These are some of the building blocks of Elizabeth Hicks’ creative process, and in turn her upcoming short film “I Need to Get This Off My Chest.”
The Carbonear resident has been making indie films for years including 2022’s romcom “Bounce” and a slew of Nickel 48-Hour Challenges from the past decade.
“I Need to Get This Off My Chest” is a comedy about a young girl who has to deal with the consequences of committing a crime, and even though the situation sounds dire, things are not actually as bad as what the protagonist makes them out to be.
“When you’re 12 years old and something happens to you for the first time, you think the world is ending no matter what it is,” Hicks said.
The film also touches on themes of finding oneself, wanting to grow up before you’re ready, and wanting to be something before that time has come.
“It’s definitely based on a real feeling,” she said. “It’s a story most people can relate to whether you were a little girl or not.”
Hicks is one-fourth of the sketch comedy troupe Mom’s Girls, and was once a juror for the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival where she watched over 100 short films.
These experiences have directly informed her filmmaking process, where the quick and to the point style of the short format is her bread and butter.
“That’s sort of the ideal amount of time,” she said. “Short films really need to be about very few things… When I’m writing short films and get the chance to actually make them I’m so aware of the format and having that background in sketch comedy in a live performance has helped me craft this story for this format.”
While her previous film “Bounce” was inspired by well-known coming-of-age directors like John Huges, Greta Gerwig and Amy Heckerling, her vision for “I Need to Get This Off My Chest” is stylistically unique compared to your standard but beloved Molly Ringwald affair.
Imbuing this relatable scenario with absurdity, she hopes the cinematic style will juxtapose the reality of what is happening within the story.
“That is where I’m hoping a lot of the laughs and the comedy will come from,” she said. “When it plays out in my head, a lot of what’s important about the story is the way it appears on screen.”
Aside from the ever important setup and payoff of the joke, writing truth in her characters is important for Hicks. In order for a plot to be funny, the characters and the stories they move through need to make sense.
When ruminating about this philosophy of funny, SNL (the long running television show Saturday Night Live) immediately comes to Hicks’ mind.
“Those actors are taking what they’re doing so seriously, and it’s the fact that they’re taking it seriously (makes it) so funny,” she said. “It has to be true for them, and that’s where the funny will come from.”
In addition to receiving a small grant from ArtsNL recently, “I Need to Get This Off My Chest” is also funded in part by the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award.

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