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Meat

Desperate for work, an idealistic college student agrees to a one day trial as a door to door meat salesman.

An idly paced film that illustrates the harsh realities of a young college grad struggling to provide for his family. Michael Forstein got the idea in 2009 when his friend Colin Keith Thomsen told him a story about the time he showed up for a job interview and instead of being interviewed, he was thrown into a truck with a veteran salesman and asked to go out on a trial and sell meat. He abandoned the charade pretty quickly, but used his actual experience as a jumping off point for the script.

What leads somebody to end up in a job like that, and to excel at it?

The combination of the story, characters and setting felt like something I hadn’t seen before. I liked how it sat somewhere between comedy and drama but didn’t cling too tightly to either genre.

What leads somebody to end up in a job like that, and to excel at it? The answer, of course, is that we all need work, and we all need money. As a result many of us are forced to do things we don’t necessarily want to do, which, if we’re not careful, can easily lead to becoming people we don’t want to become. But if reliance on money and employment is a fate we all share, then that’s one major way we’re all connected. That’s something that unites a door to door meat salesman and an idealistic anthropology major. So we started with that premise- these two guys are essentially the same; one of them realizes this, and one of them doesn’t but is going to find out, and it may not be pleasant, but it will be enlightening.

The bizarre zone that the film is placed between the drama and the toned comedy gives the story its unique calmness and wintery beauty, while the excellently written storyline drives the pensive characters through the desperate and unprepared situation.

I spent my high school and college years honing in on values and philosophies that went largely unchallenged until I was a little older and had to start making actual choices that defined who I was. That’s a process I think we all go through to some degree – our idealized persona gets challenged by life’s complexities, after which actual, battle-tested identity and values begin to form. For most of us it’s a long, gradual, and largely invisible process. My goal with Meat was to distill that process into a single day and, ultimately, a single moment — the moment when idealized self and actual self come face to face.

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