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Separation Smackdown

In the era of social distancing, everyone has had to adjust. But in the world of professional (or semi-professional) wrestling — where in-the-ring competition necessarily requires close physical contact — the challenges presented are particularly troublesome. But a shift in emphasis toward other entertainment aspects may be just what the sport needs to survive.

  • William R Coughlan
  • Anna Coughlan
  • William R Coughlan
  • Lee Perna
  • William R Coughlan
    Key Cast
    "Dillon Lessman"
  • Nick DePinto
    Key Cast
    "Claudius King, “The Mastermind”"
  • Edward Daniels
    Key Cast
    "Harry “The Accountant” Triangle"
  • Erin Rose Coughlan
    Key Cast
    "Moxie Carson"
  • Anna Coughlan
    Key Cast
    "Lexi Kane"
  • Brian Mac Ian
    Key Cast
    "Rock Columbus"
  • Mary Whittington
    Key Cast
    "Samantha Solstice"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Martial Arts
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 33 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 2, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 48 Hour Film Project
    Washington, DC
    United States
    August 12, 2020
    Best Graphics, Best Costumes
Director Biography - William R Coughlan

William R. Coughlan is an award-winning screenwriter and director, and founder and CEO of independent video production company Tohubohu Productions, LLC. He worked for several years with The Advisory Board Company (and its offshoot companies, CEB and EAB) in Washington, D.C., where he began as a graphic designer before creating a full-service in-house video and multimedia department, and then eventually moving into the ranks of creative department management. In addition, he provides creative oversight for the global public affairs firm EGA, is the Creative Director of Jabberwocky Audio Theater, and served for several years on the Board of Directors for TIVA, the Television, Internet, and Video Association of DC, Inc., filling the roles of Treasurer and Vice President before finishing his tenure as President. He also enjoys acting, voiceover performance, design and illustration, editing, animation, and writing autobiographical comments in the third person. He is the illustrator of the therapeutic workbook Stories for Children with Problems & Wishes, has provided schematic graphics for several HBS case studies, designed the acclaimed Protégé clay poker chip line, served as the Critic at Large for the online literary magazine Inkblots, has been a judge for both the TIVA Peer Awards and the Emmy Awards, founded and co-hosted the long-running Tohubohu Producer Podcast, and is an accomplished animator and ambigram artist. He currently resides at a secret compound in Northern Virginia.

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Director Statement

This film was a challenge, to be sure, filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020. As this was before vaccines were available, meticulous COVID safety protocols were in effect. In fact, in order to keep contact to an absolute minimum, we assembled five different shooting groups — effectively a collection of second-unit production teams — thanks to the tireless logistical wrangling of producer extraordinaire Lee Perna. Actors were organized into “pods,” keeping cast and crew almost entirely separated throughout the production. I drew detailed storyboards for the various production teams, making careful note of shot compositions and camera movements, as well as providing direction for the actors — many of whom were playing characters inspired in part by real-world wrestling performers, or at least their archetypes. The film addresses the impact of COVID restrictions straight on, only slightly exaggerating the over-the-top approach of the wrestling world — and even acknowledging, to a degree, the fact that the real-world WWE’s Performance Center, its base of operations during this stage of the pandemic, is located in Florida, whose governor had a... less-than-medically sound approach to COVID safety, to put it charitably.