It’s a romantic comedy about a woman who always finds herself the bridesmaid, but never the bride.
It was shot on real film without sync sound, tells a visual story without dialogue and features a professionally trained dog named Chachi who incidentally drives the plot.
For writer-producer Katie Micay, “Limited Engagement” is a testament to her exceptional filmmaking forte. The story follows Kate, an unmarried, perpetual bridesmaid and hopeless romantic. Kate is ecstatic to find an engagement ring in her boyfriend, Ian’s, pocket. But to her dismay, the ring goes missing and in a panic, Kate turns her house upside down to find the ring before Ian notices.
The two-person short stars Katie Lee (“10 Days of Rain”) in the role of Kate and Rex Alan McMillan (“Alice Agonistes”) as Ian.
“In just a few short minutes, this film takes you on a roller coaster of emotion,” Lee said. “There is a clear conflict which everyone can relate. The story finishes with a resolution that not only gives a sense of relief, but also reminds you to laugh at yourself because in life everything works itself out one way or another in the end.”
Micay aimed to craft a story with a self-deprecating and witty sense of humor. “While writing this, I pulled a lot from one of my friendships,” she said. “I am extremely sarcastic in real life and my good friend was extremely literal. It never ceased to amuse me how many times she would fall for my sarcasm.”
“Limited Engagement” is an exercise in creativity that demonstrates Micay’s screenwriting inventiveness. The entire story is put in front of the camera and is conveyed by the characters’ viewable actions. It’s entirely absent of expository dialogue and the achievement befalls only the best screenwriters.
“I actually love creating stories without dialogue because it pushes you to really tell a story visually,” said Micay, a Vancouver native. “These days a lot of films over explain, but the audience often prefers to put the pieces together on their own.”
Said Lee, “The script seemed really fun and quirky and I’m all about quirky. Plus, the idea that it was a silent, slapstick style comedy was very appealing to me because as an actor there is such a fun physical exploration to the characters.”
Growing up, Micay absorbed influence from shows such as “Friends” and subscribes to the writing convention that situational comedy is driven by strong characters. So is the case with “Limited Engagement,” where she created a dynamic leading female that carries the story in many scenes all by herself, all the while executing the needed comedic, situational mishaps.
“The audience really stays with Kate and goes through the struggle with her. You feel her pain and her happiness,” Micay said.
The character had familiar feelings for Lee and also hit close to home. She said the best part of acting in the role was “how relatable Kate is to most women. I was going on four years in my own personal relationship and was watching friends settle down left and right. Making Kate relatable and likeable gives the audience the ability to sympathize with her and also want to follow along on her journey to see what happens.”
From a producer’s standpoint, Micay was charged the task of finding a dog that would play an integral role. Kate’s plight within the story is incited to a peak when her dog accidentally swallows her ring. Kate discovers its whereabouts using a metal detector and winds up getting it back using a laxative.
“It could happen to anyone and likely something similar has happened,” Lee said. “You can’t help but laugh because everyone knows.”
Micay says implementing the dog, Chachi, was the biggest challenge to the production. “Even though he is a professionally trained entertainment animal, it was still much harder than a human,” she said. “We had him on set one day and had to get everything we needed in a very short period of time.”
Casting the human actors, on the other hand, was a different experience. “When casting, we needed people who were very expressive, but natural at the same time. Both Katie and Rex auditioned and it was clear that they were very talented,” said Micay. “They were both a great joy to work with. They really wanted to collaborate and help my vision reach the screen.”
Micay is known for her previous writing and producing of “Flirt,” a Reality Bytes Film Festival Official Selection, “My So Called Family,” that was an Official Selection at the Bel Air Film Festival and “The Firefly Girls,” which screened this month at the Sonoma International Film Festival.
“Limited Engagement” achieved critical acclaim as it received an Award of Merit at the Women’s Independent Film Festival. It was also an Official Selection at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival.
The 2012 film was dedicated to Micay’s great aunt, Clara Nelson. “She passed away before I made “My So Called Family,” which is loosely based off the week she died. She was a stand-up comedian that loved to tell a good dirty joke. She just loved life and family. When I moved to Los Angeles, she really helped make it home for me.”
Follow Katie on Vimeo and check out “Limited Engagement” here: https://vimeo.com/katiemicay