Filmmaker Joe Kramer Releases Comedy Short 'Running the Gammatar'

A scene from Joe Kramer's comedy short Running the Gammatar
A scene from Joe Kramer's comedy short Running the Gammatar

Filmmaker Joe Kramer has released Running the Gammatar, a colorful, nearly seven-minute-long, Godzilla-inspired comedy focused as much on the relationship between self-absorbed 20-somethings as it does its blobby, fire-breathing, Japanese monster. Filmed in Philadelphia, PA, Kramer’s Gammatar short is the latest production from the 28-year old who has written, directed, shot and edited short and feature-length films, television shows and commercials for NBC-Universal, Comcast, PBS, Adidas, TMZ and The Weather Channel.

At first, Running the Gammatar looks like any other dryly comic, young-romance-gone-bad story where boy meets girl (here played by Kramer and Jessica Bernard), boy tries to break up with girl, all highlighted by each character’s self-centered banter. That is, until a giant killer monster comes onto the scene and blows the boy’s chance at an easy break up, along with charring one half of his girlfriend’s face. The monster stays on the scene, continuing to wreak havoc, while Kramer's character focuses on moving furniture and the minutia of mixing the perfect half-and-half Slushie.

Kramer, a partner at a creative collective called Engagement Studios, cites influences such as Woody Allen, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld for his Gammatar script. “I'm a huge fan of storytellers that choose not to focus on huge, dramatic issues but rather, everyday human problems,” he says. The idea behind Running the Gammatar was to take a story that audiences have seen a million times (a failing relationship) take it completely out of context and place it within a monster movie. “I thought we could get comedic mileage out of telling that basic story while a Godzilla-esque figure rampages around in the background; after a brief period of time, it would become normal and the only thing our protagonists could do would be to go about their lives as if nothing was happening.”

Making each of his Gammatar characters blasé and self-absorbed seemed like a natural decision in Kramer’s mind. “I always find 'unlikeable' characters to be far more interesting to watch, and making them still 'likeable' to some degree was an interesting part of the challenge. And also, really, who at that age isn't at least a little self-absorbed? It was just a matter of exaggerating those traits.”

Along with preparing to screen his film and send it into festival competition, Running the Gammatar is up for the Awardeo Company's Video of the Week; voting ends Monday, November 3, 2014. Photo and video ©Joe Kramer.