By Don Simpson | January 28, 2012
Director: Daniel Martinico
Writers: Daniel Martinico, Hugo Armstrong
Starring: Hugo Armstrong
Paul Kaplan (Hugo Armstrong) is a struggling commercial actor whose lackluster existence is based upon an endless series of auditions and movement classes with a little everyday life thrown in for good measure. As is the nature with auditions — especially for commercials — the constant repetition and dehumanization slowly begins to breakdown Paul’s psyche. However, Paul must continue to trudge onward because acting is his career of choice and he must land some work in order to cover his basic costs of living.
As an actor, one must spend money to make money, and that is in addition to covering his everyday costs of living (rent, utilities, food). Headshots are a mandatory part of the audition process, they are often what lands an actor an initial audition. So Paul obviously blames the quality of his headshot for his lack of employment. Paul has noticed a blemish on the latest reproductions of his headshot and therefore demands that the copy center fix it. His interactions with the copy center employees are what really push Paul off the proverbial deep end. Paul’s mental state becomes so irreparably damaged that even his one refuge in life, his movement class, turns into a total horror show.
In the hands of director and co-writer Daniel Martinico, OK, Good becomes an experimental meditation on the inhumane stresses that struggling actors must endure. Paul becomes a Sisyphean character, one who seems to be held back from success by powerful yet totally uncontrollable forces. The Paul character is an actor simply because that is what Martinico and Hugo Armstrong know and understand, but this story can easily translate to anyone who is hopelessly trying to establish a career doing something they love.
I love the way Martinico captures the three aspects of Paul’s life — auditions, movement classes and everyday life — in three distinct visual styles. Martinico represents the auditions from the grainy (and clumsy) perspective of the low quality video cameras recording the auditions. The movement classes are shot handheld from the center of the action utilizing the same level of uninhibited chaos as the class itself. Paul’s everyday life is shot in a more traditional and controlled narrative format with purposeful framing and editing, thus escalating the dull mundanity of his existence. It is clear that Martinico has the most fun when shooting the movement classes (which were influenced by his love for Jonas Mekas 1964 film The Brig), but that does not render the audition or everyday life footage any less powerful.