The Global Search for Education: Mark Kiefer Discusses The Car Service: A Clash of Cultures and Comedic Conflict
This month, audiences can screen The Car Service on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.
The Car Service, a short film directed by Mark Kiefer, is packed with witty and tense dialogue. It’s the story of two men (played by Liam McNeill and Eddie Nason) locked in a dispute over an expensive car’s needs, set against contrasting backdrops. The film’s quick and engaging narrative offers a refreshing media experience, blending humor and intrigue.
The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Mark Kiefer.
Mark, what inspired you to create a short film centered around a seemingly ordinary car appointment, and how did you then develop the concept to explore the clash of opinions and attitudes?
The Car Service is a sort of sequel to an earlier short we’d done, featuring a young rich guy who’s new in town trying to order a pizza from a not very fancy pizza shop. I liked the idea of the clash of cultures that can occur in these everyday settings, and what the conflict of different perspectives reveals about the characters. In the case of a car servicing appointment, one character may have money, but the other has valuable expertise, so while they’re at odds with each other, they also need each other, and a conflict with this kind of dynamic makes for great comedy.
The film has contrasting settings — a rich man’s balcony and an auto service shop. How do you think these locations enhance the story and character dynamics?
The settings, in a way, mirror the characters and tell us more about them. The garage is loud, busy, and filled with people working hard, while the car owner’s luxurious home is a picture of ease and serenity, suggesting that he doesn’t need to work at all. We also used a strong contrast of colors — red for the garage and blue for the rich man’s house — to further emphasize the “collision of worlds” reflected in the conflict between the characters.
How did you work with the actors to capture the witty and spirited dialogue?
We’ve worked together many times before, and these actors (Liam McNeill, who played the car owner, and Eddie Nason, who played the mechanic) have great experience in playing these kinds of characters — rich and entitled or gruff and overworked, etc. — so we used those prior characters as a starting point to inform the roles in this film. And we tried to create as much contrast as possible between the characters’ expressions, again mirroring the central conflict of the story; so while they both express irritation and stubbornness, they do so in their own unique way, etc. Liam’s accent was particularly important in this regard.
The film provides a quick and engaging viewing experience. What do you hope audiences will take away after watching The Car Service?
In the first instance, we hope audiences will find it funny and entertaining, but we also hope they’ll appreciate the underlying ideas in the story — that despite our differences, we can overcome conflicts if we work together, and that no matter how old we get, in many important ways, we’re all still children inside.
Thank you Mark!
C.M. Rubin with Mark Kiefer
Don’t Miss The Car Service, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.