By Kylie Hogg
Local Music Journalist
Last Saturday, I got the chance to attend Texas State Film Club’s first look at their short film, “Near Miss”. The film is written and directed by Andrew Hodge and follows two strangers, Frank and Marie, as they meet and form an unlikely friendship on their last night on earth when they believe a giant meteor is set to hit earth and end humanity.
The film was filled with homages to San Marcos. Shots of iconic landmarks such as Sewell Park, Boyhood Alley, and the San Marcos River do well to capture not only the scenery of San Marcos but Hodge’s experience at Texas State. “Near Miss” also highlights musicians from San Marcos. Window Shop, Sammy Wells, and Flight by Nothing are put center stage to create the musical tone throughout this short film.
The film features two montages of notable places around San Marcos sound tracked by Flight by Nothing. The first being their song, “Una Tormenta en la Distancia”. It takes place after Frank and Marie have established that the meteor is set to hit earth that night. This song immediately sets a melancholy tone to the film and reinforces Hodge’s goal to establish a sense of hopelessness. It is a short acoustic track set in a minor key so when paired with the first montage it does well to establish the mood of the film.
The second song used by Hodge was Sammy Wells “Grave”. The song begins as the asteroid approaches Earth and we see Frank and Marie staring at a bright, white light. The song is backed by various strings, percussions, and pianos which make it very strong. However, since it is also set in a minor chord it also has a sense of dread. Hodge ensures to use parts of the song that feature lyrics such as “brace for impact” remaining on brand for what is happening in the film at the time.
There is a final montage of San Marcos towards the end of the film that uses another Flight by Nothing song. Their song, “Burn”, is much faster and upbeat, much like the mood of the end of the film. (Major spoiler alert ahead!) The meteor misses Earth and multiple clips are shown of San Marcos coming back to life as if nothing happened. The acoustic tone of the song keeps true to the overall sound of the film while allowing the audience a deep breath and changing the mood to something more upbeat after a highly tense moment.
Finally, the credits are backed by “Fixin’ to Die” by Window Shop. This song is a complete dismissal from the overall sound we heard throughout the film. It is a highly nostalgic tune that is almost silly compared to how serious the film was. It allows the audience relief. Closing with this song is almost tongue-in-cheek because of how silly it is, as well as the title being a direct contradiction to what happens in the film. Overall, it is a great way to close out a fantastic student film.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu