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Director’s forgotten film revived on Reddit

Independent short, Think Tank, lingers for two years before becoming an instant Reddit hit.


Kevin Morris


Posted on Aug 16, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 3:22 am CDT

Peter Calloway, the director whose independent short film became a huge hit on Reddit late yesterday, told the Daily Dot he is “completely blown away” by the sudden flurry of interest shown in his two-year old film

Calloway wrote and directed the film, Think Tank, which was released in 2010. The comedic short stars Matthew Rhys (of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters) who plays multiple versions of the same man, all engaged in intense debate on how to properly handle a date.

Redditor lurksanonymous posted the film to Reddit late yesterday with the title “My friend made this short film and is too shy to submit it to Reddit.

The post hovered on Reddit’s front page yesterday, receiving about 8,000 upvotes. Calloway said that, by this morning, the views on his Vimeo account had shot from almost zero to 60,000.

But like a lot of things posted to the social news site, the film attracted a fair bit of controversy. Most redditors heaped praise on the short, but cast doubt on the poster’s story.

“The short was fantastic,” wrote redditor whiskey_spit, “but this thread SMELLS LIKE FUCKING BULLSHIT! this short was made in April ’10 and has it’s own IMBD page but the [poster’s] “friend” is too shy to submit it to reddit? wat?”

Dozens of other redditors expressed similar doubts.

But Calloway confirmed to the Daily Dot that the person behind lurksanonymous really is his friend.

And Calloway said he really was too shy to promote the short himself — or, at the very least, too much of a perfectionist.

The TV and comic book writer said he had always wanted to direct. He paid for the short out of his own pocket, with a little help from his Hollywood friends.

“Directing was great,” he said, “and directing what I wrote was an incredible experience.”

But, as he explained to the Daily Dot:

“After having lived with the script for so long, then all the prep work to direct, then the production, then the post production process I have thought endlessly about the short and all the aspects that went into making it. I now watch it and instead of seeing the short, all I can see is missed opportunities – how, if I could, I’d set up the shot differently, or write the dialogue to be snappier, or get more emotion out of the scene.”

The film was entered into a few small film festivals and even won one, Calloway said. But he attributed that small success to “film geeks.” It wouldn’t appeal to a wider audience, he figured, because he “simply didn’t think anyone would want to watch it.”

Calloway said he wasn’t sure how to respond to the skepticism — though he said he completely understands it. As a longtime lurker on Reddit, he said he takes the authenticity of every post on the site with a grain of salt.

Calloway said he’s thinking of doing an AMA (“ask me anything”) on Reddit, but he’s “pretty sure that won’t make anyone believe the post isn’t fake, either.

“Besides, I’m not sure it matters,” he said. “People build their own narrative around this sorta thing, around all movies.”

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*First Published: Aug 16, 2011, 1:18 pm CDT