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10 things I learnt about Sci-Fi from watching shorts on Dust

In March 2021, Action On The Side ran a virtual Work Experience for Level 3 Media students. This article has been written as part of that, by Luke V.

Dust is a channel that specialises in Science Fiction Short Films. I watched a series of short films on their YouTube channel, and this is what I learnt...

Build up

What I have learnt about the Sci-Fi short films I had watched were that they all have a build-up that either starts with the character[s] trying to resolve an issue or to work on something to help the human race and then has a happy ending or a twist in which the main character has to sacrifice themselves, such as in The OceanMaker, or they have accidentally done the wrong decision, for example, Sky Fighter. Why I love Sci-Fi films is because there are always mysteries yet to be solved as all Sci-Fi films start with what is happening and why are they doing this? Then later on in the films it would answer the questions, for example, FTL starts with a man in some type of space ship, but at first, we do not know why? Until later on in the short film, it was to test if mankind can now make and now how to use ships in space to fast travel to other planets, such as Mars, and instead of waiting for the pilots to land on the planet for months, instead, it would take a few minutes.

However, when the character has travelled to Mars and plans to return something wrong happens to the ship and then fast travels further into space where the main character disappears off of the space radar and is somewhere unknown and we see two some type of organism ships slowly making their way to the ship and then the main character disappeared, leaving the audience at this point wanting to know more as we get more questions than answers. Such as what are those two weird looking things are and what did they do to the character? Next, the audience gets sent 21 hours into the future and there is something entering the Earth’s atmosphere and then in the main character’s front garden with his family there the exact two weird, organic-looking ships then put the main character back with his family and then they take off.

Sci-Fi helps all people to open up their imaginations and create their own world[s] and creatures, it allows people to feel free and escape from reality and the depressing things reality puts on us and Sci-Fi allows people to think of the most unique looking and talented creatures and also places, even if the place is Earth, but evolved or has become a desolate place.

Loved ones

Another thing that nearly all of the Sci-Fi shorts had in common was that all of the characters had their families or friends involved, someone the main character had a strong love connection with, and all the main characters risked something important to them too, such as their lives to protect, help, or both for their loved ones. For example, in Hyperlight, towards the end of the short, the female character had killed the second version of the male character that she was in love with because if both of the same people was in the same world one of them would die, so she had to kill the one she loved to also save him at the same time. Another example is Seam as during the whole short the male charter was trying to save his girlfriend from being killed, by taking her to the border of the robots as the girlfriend was a machine herself. But, in the end, she was badly injured and could not control her fears even when the boyfriend tried to help, so the girlfriend warned him to get back and then she sadly exploded and then the boyfriend continued across the border to completed their mission. These short films send a message to the audience that no matter how bad a situation is or how different the world has become everyone needs some type of company that they can rely on and that love will still keep going and is the glue for holding the characters altogether through every event, no matter how long or dangerous it is.


With the music in the Sci-Fi shorts, I noticed that when the characters are getting ready for a mission or in a battle the music would be very energetic and electrifying to give the audience a pumped-up feeling as the characters are getting ready for something that will go down in history or it is a life or death situation. For example, at the start of FTL and Sky Fighter. At the start of FTL when we see the ship in space the music sounds exhilarating which portrays that the character is getting involved in something that is very important in the short film story and will lead to something else further into the short film and the fight scene in Sky Fighter the music makes the audience also feel how the characters feel in that scene as being attacked in an asteroid field, anything could happen. The character could accidentally take a sharp turn into an asteroid or somehow outmanoeuvre the enemies and defeat them, there are many possibilities that could happen to either side and gets the blood rushing a bit more in the audience as everyone would want the main character to be ok and also the female character to give the audience some answers about the main character, what is going on, where are they, etc.

However, the music in Dedalo and Final Offer are calmer and foreshadowing to make the audience feel on the edge of the seats and portray that there is something that is hiding, such as a creature or information that the audience does not know yet about the short films. In Dedalo the music was dark to put more fear into the audience and so that the audience feels about the same type of fear the character is going through and how stressful and hard it is for the character to survive as she has to go past one of the aliens that are feeding on a member and during the whole short film not to make any sound or the aliens will come after her and it is bad enough that she is injured and needs to heal which can cause screams of pain. It shows the extreme danger she is in. With the Final Offer, the music is calm at first as the character and the audience are lost with where they are and what is going on, but at first, it looks like an ordinary and professional room where you would talk about deals. However, when the audience progresses through the films and find out the women is actually an alien, it is a life or death deal, and the character goes through the book about the deal to get answers the music intensifies. This makes the audience feel the pressure that both the characters are going through at certain points, such as when the main character goes through the book for answers, the music helps show that the main character is working through the deal and has found a way to win the deal and save humanity, the main character is not playing around. Then at the end of the Final Offer, the music becomes calm again and then a bit heartwarming as the main character has won the deal and the conversation is over, but then also finds out that the alien is just like himself when it comes to working and when people see him and treat him. So the main character offers to have a talk with her sometimes and they both agree to talk with each other and they both make a friendly bond, even though they are different species. The music helps spread love at the end and no matter what you look like, what you do for a living everyone should be treated with respect and that you can make friends with anyone, no one should be alone.

Character’s behaviours

I noticed how all the character behaves in Sci-Fi shorts, especially the main characters. With all the main characters they would all have a build-up from start to the end of how the main characters act and think. For example, in The Speed of Time, we find out that the main character time travels to the past of his wedding day and the main characters past self was weak and less skill for, for example, he was nervous to use a weapon, his past self, whilst his future self would kill anyone that he needed to. Then at the end of the video his past self went back in time and killed another past self and then the future also came back and killed the past self he was helping, so it gives mixed emotions and thoughts of what the main character is like as he is friendly with people that need help, but also a big killer. This conveys that in Sci-Fi films you cannot trust anyone, even the person who claims that they are helping you because in the real fact they could actually be helping themselves. The only person you can mainly trust is yourself.

Animation and visual effects

The animation and visual effects were out of this world, the giant robots in Seam looked very realistic and seeing the Starship in space in FTL astonishing. When I watched the first Dust video, FTL, and I saw the starship I looked exactly what space would look like if there was a live camera just floating around and the ship looked like some type of light speed ship, it looked really cool and out of the ordinary. Also with the organic blue looking ships, they appeared so realistic that because the ships looked as if they were made out of light when the got close to the windows of the Starship there was an actual light and the same type of light power and colour as the organism ships. Even when the took the man from the ship and took him back home when the main character disappeared and reappeared, it looked as if the character was being coded away and then back again like a droid and when the ships took off in the sky there was an actua