In a fancy restaurant, Ben plans to propose to his long time girlfriend, Laura, only to find out that his ring was mistakenly sent to the wrong table.
We’ve all heard about or seen films about proposals going wrong, in Daniel Sorochkin’s dinner proposal story we focus on the often forgotten aftermath of standing up for yourself. In Check Please the protagonist, Ben, has to stand up for himself and get his ring back from Mike. But he also has to understand the inevitable price he has to pay – that his marriage proposal will not be as romantic and intimate as he wished for. His dream of a perfect night is ruined whether he claims what’s his or not.
I always liked telling stories about one’s need to stand up for himself. That theme has come up in a few of my projects. My protagonists need to push themselves out of their comfort zones in order to get what they want and deserve. In some of my films the protagonists succeed in standing up for themselves, in some they fail. Just like in real life, you win some you lose some. But even if one succeeds it always comes with a price. I feel like these themes are very relatable. We all have been in situations that challenge us to stand up for ourselves, and there is a price to pay for doing so. I know I personally have been there many times.
The idea of Check Please came to men as I was trying to think of a short that is contained to one location. But as soon as I wrote the script I realized the difficulties that it brings. How do you make a film that takes place in one location always engaging, entertaining and powerful?
Broken up in pieces, Daniel’s story makes sure it entices the audience early with the main event occurring within the first minute, where the protagonist’s goal and flaws are very clear and the stakes are constantly raised. As we carry through we are made sure to be kept on edge with a balanced structure and constant introduction of new events to decay the situation even further.
I knew that each beat of the film should feel different, new and nuanced, raising new challenges or uncertainties and keeping the tension high, otherwise the audience would easily turn away. In rehearsal with my wonderful and dedicated actors, we worked on exploring various blocking and rhythms to the acting beats. This was crucial. I made sure that dramatic moments are interwoven fluently with the comedy, and that the characters constantly change tactics while attempting to achieve their goals. This was the way I chose to keep my audience engaged, surprised, and feeling a range of emotions. I hope these attitudes helped make the film captivating even if it’s all at the same location.