At 3:25 a.m,, the mortgage calculator tool on the FSK Bank Corp website crashed for 2 hours and 9 minutes, causing a minor inconvenience. The next morning, a conference call is scheduled to get to the bottom of the problem.
This is the set up for the short film Conference Call made by former Basex analyst Andy Maskin and released last week. Maskin wrote, directed, and produced the seven minute film, which gives the viewer a glimpse of the people on the other end of an utterly pointless conference call.
Conference Call is an inside joke, the kind of film that if you’ve been there, on that kind of call, is funny and all too true. There are six participants on the call, led by smarmy Nick, who not only joins late, but interjects himself in the conversation mid sentence, interrupting a question about heavy network traffic with “Heavy traffic, where? 2-85 looked clear to me.” Awkward small talk ensues. As people join the call, it becomes apparent that no one really knows anything about what happened, and the attempt to investigate the mortgage calculator crash is a formality at best, as Phil, the one who will ultimately make the final decision, never actually joins the call.
There are some genuinely funny moments in the film, most involving Nick. He hits the mannerisms of a self-absorbed and clueless manager perfectly, mistaking Kevin the Australian of being British multiple times, and spouting vague requests such as “When will you know when you will know?”. A hungover and barely conscious Cindy also brings some great comic moments, including the classic escape technique involving “another call.”
A really enjoyable aspect of Conference Call is the pacing, Maskin manages to capture the feeling of watching time tick away as you wait for someone to join, find something, or exchange meaningless small talk. Luckily, the film is a funny seven minutes, unlike the awkward real life calls it reminds one of.
Conference Call is presented by Flight Risk Films, and can be viewed here.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.