A seemingly good Samaritan’s gesture eventually gets the best of him.

Teardrop starts off a little rough and messy. Pretty much what we’d expect from a drunk man crossing paths with a homeless man in an alleyway. But the two men (played by Marc Avery and Will Madden) begin a harrowing relationship that starts from an act of good faith, and turns into something a little more twisted. Writer and director Ryan Oksenberg tells us a little more about the story and how it came to be.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

Teardrop is inspired by a moment in my early 20s when I would invite people living on the street into my apartment to feed them, clothe them, shower, find a job, create a resume and listen to whatever they wished to share. On one occasion, this gesture of goodwill backfired on me when my guest wanted to repay me sexually. I declined their offer and they got offended, thinking I was too good for them, felt threatened and questioned my motives. The situation quickly grew dangerous. As they were being taken away by security and I returned back to my comfy home, I began to question myself and realized I was doing more harm than good. Surely I wanted to help them but at the same token I wanted life experience to fuel my storytelling.

How did you go about casting your leads? What were you looking for?

I met Marcy Avery (Derek) on set for a comedy skit I was shooting. When I was looking at him through the viewfinder I knew he had it. He just popped. He is a musician first with only a bit of acting experience at the time, but he had a rawness and vulnerability that was palpable and it was exactly what I was looking for in the character. I hit him up randomly to talk to him about Teardrop and get to know him and we just vibed creatively and collaborated on crafting the character together.

I met Will Madden (Alex) through a casting notice I posted on LA Casting. I recognized him from a short film he was in called Krista. He has an intensity about him and can project a sordidness, but in reality, he is hilarious, idiosyncratic and very charming. Like Alex, Will understood the lengths actors would go to try to get to the truth of a character, so satirizing that was no problem for him. He also knew he was playing a version of me, so he added a nervous energy to Alex that worked very well.

Did you have any fears or concerns that the message would be misinterpreted?

Not particularly, but I hope people don’t watch it and get the wrong message about homeless people or random acts of kindness.

What was the most challenging scene for you to film?

I would say as a director modulating the drunkenness of the actor over the course of the short. You could argue he sobers up quickly, but there is nothing more sobering than inviting a stranger into your home and sniffing out each other’s intentions. Trust me.

What do you hope people will take away from watching ‘Teardrop’?

The best way to help someone is to listen to them and let them be understood before offering a solution. Most of the time there is no easy fix, they’ll have to find it for themselves. You could end up doing more harm than good.

Also, ask yourself why you are offering to help. If it’s to benefit yourself, make you feel good about yourself, you may want to rethink things. It should be an egoless act. Not to share on social media.

Which films you can say directly inspired this film? 

The music of the American doo-wop duo Robert and Johnny inspired the tone and feeling of the movie. Songs like I Believe in You and Hear my Heartbeat evoke a bittersweetness; empathy and faith in others whilst evoking loneliness and a darkness. Alex and Derek are two lonely guys dealing with their own issues and it takes one act of fate to set in a completely disastrous chain of events.