Garrick’s Short Film About Struggles of Depression Reaches 5.5 Million Views

By Hutton Jackson
A&E and Online Editor

This article was originally published in Issue 4, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (October 22, 2015). Click here to view the entire issue.

In the age of social media, it is much easier for young talent to put themselves out on the internet in hope that their work will get discovered and go “viral.” For several DeSales students, that’s exactly what happened. Senior TV/film major Richard Garrick’s short film “Cuts that Spell,” which represented the struggles of depression through modern dance movements, went viral when the website Upworthy shared his video on its Facebook page.

Upworthy, a site that “draws attention to stories that matter” according to its website, posted the video on its Facebook page on Oct. 7. By the end of Oct. 8, the video had over 50,000 views. As of Oct. 23, the video has more than 55,000 likes, more than 100,000 shares and more than 5.5 million views on Facebook.

Garrick wrote and directed the short film. He posted the video at the beginning of the summer on YouTube and earlier this semester posted it on his Vimeo account. A couple days later, someone from Upworthy emailed Garrick and asked to share his video, which he gladly agreed to. However, Garrick never expected the attention the video would receive.

Senior dance major Melissa Faller performs “Cuts that Spell.” Photo courtesy of Richard Garrick.
Senior dance major Melissa Faller performs “Cuts that Spell.” Photo courtesy of Richard Garrick.

“My reaction to it going viral was just, I don’t know, overwhelming. I got home one day and my phone blew up with all these people telling me to check Facebook, and there it was,” said Garrick. “As to the positive responses, it just felt amazing. As a filmmaker you want to love your work, but not be in love with your work, so I was a little hesitant to look at the comments. But when I saw all the positivity, it just felt right, like my message was getting out to people. It gave [other people] hope and made them realize that they aren’t alone, and that was the whole point of this.”

Garrick says his inspiration for “Cuts that Spell” came from his own experiences with depression. At the time I wrote it, there was no real outlet for me to express myself and what was going on,” said Garrick. “I kept it bottled up because I was scared what people would think of me. I don’t know if  ever really wanted to make ‘Cuts that Spell.’ I’m not very good with words, as weird as that sounds. I have trouble physically expressing myself to others, and the only way to really express myself was to do it with art.“

The video features a dancer who makes movements with red paint while the narrator verbalizes her thoughts. Garrick lauded several of his friends who assisted him in the film’s production. Senior theater major Heather Terranova narrated the film and senior dance major Melissa Faller choreographed and performed all the movements in the piece. Senior communication major Austin Berner composed the music, and TV/film majors Brian Kissig, Tate Q. Steinberg, John Griffith, Dom Dickson and Lindsay Driscoll played roles in the film’s shooting and editing.

“When Rich asked me, I was more than thrilled to help him with his vision,” said Faller. “After seeing how many people are suffering or know someone who’s suffering from depression, I think it’s important to remind ourselves to always be aware of what we say or do because you never know how it affects someone else.”

Garrick chose dance as the focus of his film because of dance’s ability to tell a story without physical narration or dialog by a character.

“I needed a way to show the turmoil and struggle going on in my head through action and there was no better way than through dance,” he said. “So I brought the idea to Melissa because I knew she would be able to perfectly represent the words through her movements.”

Ultimately, along with his team, Garrick was able to reach a large population of people who struggled just like he did.

“I made this video to show people that they aren’t alone, to connect with others and hopefully represent them,” he said. “And to help show what they were going through for those that couldn’t. I think I did that and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped, shared it and believe in me and the story.”


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