Watch: Dan Gaud's Riveting 'Tonight I Strike' Robot Sci-Fi Short Film

June 20, 2013
Source: Vimeo

Tonight I Strike Short Film

"Who are you?" Another intriguing new science fiction short film to watch today, if you've got the time for something a bit more contemplative than the usual flashy sci-fi fare. This short is called Tonight I Strike, and features a couple of robot helpers while set in the near future but the story is actually about a brother caring for his young sister. Created by up-and-coming filmmaker Dan Gaud, the short has some excellent cinematography and solid indie acting, although some of the visual effects look a bit rough (except the bots). However, there's an emotional story at its core that shines through and makes this a worthy summer short.

Tonight I Strike doesn't have a synopsis; available directly on Vimeo. Directed by Dan Gaud, written by Gaud & Ayz Waraich. The cinematography is by Kevin Rasmussen, and the music is by Casey 3PM Clark. The cast includes Bass Stewart, Delilah Kates and Michael Coughlan. Mentioned by Dan on Twitter about the making of: "The one minute space sequence took 4 months to make. Three months of rendering on my laptop and another month to comp it." Gaud is a Canadian VFX supervisor-turned-filmmaker based out of Montreal. For updates on Dan or his work, follow him on Twitter @dangaud or visit dimeworth.com.

Find more posts: Sci-Fi, Short Film, To Watch



Ah Shit. This was really good.

DAVIDPD on Jun 20, 2013


Nice share Alex thank you. The cinematography was fantastic, as were many of the VFX, big kudos to these guys. The first 4 minutes I couldn't look away. Great actors and direction too, for such a VFX heavy thing.

Linkfx on Jun 20, 2013


Excellent, sad, but excellent

ListenToVinyl on Jun 20, 2013


That was really good.

Nick Sears on Jun 20, 2013


Thanks a lot for the kind post Alex. Truly appreciated.

Dan Gaud on Jun 20, 2013


Fascinating short. There's lots of stuff to think about in there, for instance it sure isn't the 2003 I remember. It probably is pretty close to what some predicted it would be back in the 70's though.. I'll have to watch it again to catch all the implications. The magnetic sheath is interesting too. I'm puzzling how to get it to work smoothly and not drop the crowbar when you scratch the back of your head 🙂

Brian Layman on Jun 20, 2013


2003. Exactly. Not a lot of people spotted that.

Dan Gaud on Jun 20, 2013


I was keen on the year because of the existence of space shuttle. when the boosters started rocketing back to Earth I really wasn't sure what would happen next! The flames from the back of the boosters as they fired looked really good btw. (And is that another shuttle off in the distance too?) So, your "exactly" has me wondering how far down the rabbit hole goes. Is the film about something completely different than what it shows on the surface. I generally don't put myself forth as someone who ascribes hidden meanings to others works, but there are enough interesting choices made in this film that I wonder if I should in this case. The large world map and the centering of the middle east in the shot, the promise made after he (we?) stopped looking for Anna and her innocence. So in this case is the story the story, or the film about something else entirely?

Brian Layman on Jun 21, 2013


Terrible acting and dialogue (You know its bad when the only bearable actor on screen is the robot), above average production quality... I can't believe the comments, "Excellent" acting? Who are you kidding? It baffles me how low your sites core audience standards must be. They're well below "Solid" indie actors, I've seen better acting in film school shorts... The main character is about as bland and boring as (M)Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. This guy should stick to effects and leave everything else (direction, writing, editing, all of it), to those actually capable. This is just basically showing off effects and the camera, the story is non existent... I thought she was going to be a robot, or something... But instead she was just randomly kidnapped right in front of her brother (Who I have zero sympathy for, he's an idiot and I was given no reason to care about him, other than the fact he has a sister), murdered and left in a field? Whats the point? Why have all the different tech? Why set it in this specific setting? Why talk about their father? Why is any of this significant to any other facet of the story? It isn't, its awfully conceived and decently executed, which is sad because it does have some good ideas, its just super shallow and feels like the creators really thought they were "on to something", when in actuality they were failing miserably at telling any sort of cohesive story whatsoever. Another failed Christopher Nolan wanna-be trying to make things too lofty for their own good. A Terrible short that simply looks professional, inside its a different story.

Matt on Jun 21, 2013


Feeling better now? ......

Lea on Jun 22, 2013


People don't seem to keep honest standards up for indie films. It isn't terrible for indie, but to say that the acting/dialogue are excellent or good is dishonest. You aren't going to get better if nobody tells you what to work on. Genuine advice to the film-maker would be to stick to actors that you know are solid from other work. And have several other people pick apart your dialogue and change ANYTHING they mention as sounding forced or strange. I know its hard to find child actors, but if they aren't holding up in a conversation scene, you need to reevaluate and change to something they can handle. Maybe shorten the scene and just get a few lines that feel more perfect. I had trouble watching the scene on the grass due to wooden dialogue from protagonist and the strange lines the child actress had to say. Many other scenes were unnatural enough for me to cringe. This isn't meant to be harsh, its an honest opinion of some things to work on. The VFX were way above par for an indie, and there were some high concepts in there, but the basics of character depth weren't satisfactory. On top of that, the previous comments criticism's are mostly very well founded. This is set in the future, but aside from the very short robot fight, there are no other "future" world implications. This could have been set in Buffalo NY 2013 and nothing important would have changed. And the simplicity of the story is not helped at all by the Tarantino style "start at the end" technique. There is not really enough time to establish an emotional payoff at the end, so it all feels rather pointless finding her in the field. Did I miss why she was kidnapped at killed? Are we supposed to fill in the blanks because we've already seen "The Lovely Bones"? Why do we skip from her kidnap to an unknown timespan later only to be told afterwards that he has been knocking over criminals looking for her. You just rush into him trying to surprise attack people we don't know, for reasons we don't know, then for more reasons we don't know, they were somehow expecting him, and then somehow he beats down 3 very solid looking goons and a combat robot(trying a little too hard to recreate Liam Neeson in Taken). You could have had a quick scene of him interrogating a criminal INTERCUT with images of him searching for his sister and beating up other informants and could have had some expository dialogue there telling us that he has been on this intense search. Then when he gets to the guys at the end, we would have a reason to care about the fight because we know whats going on. Later, how does the protagonist find that tiny sign of his sister in a giant field at night? As an experiment, give a bottlecap to a friend and tell him to hide it in a field and come back and tell you the address. Then go see how long it takes you to find that friggin bottlecap. If a disreputable goon told me my sister was at 3 Maple and I got there and all I saw was a giant field, I would have assumed he lied to me, not search every row of the field in the dark. On the other hand this is a very good showcase of VFX and decent cinematography. I'm not saying give up, I'm saying keep people around you that give good constructive criticism and listen to their opinions.

jpeters1138 on Jun 23, 2013


Thoroughly enjoyed it. As to the comment above--criticism with the aim of contributing to improvement is always useful. Such criticism, when sincere, is typically delivered in a way and with a tone to encourage improvement. Your's on the other hand is simply the criticism of someone who likes to hear their own thoughts and who delivers it solely that others can recognize the "greatness" of what's in your head. Hint: it isn't great. Try actually applying your intellect rather than just posting whatever passes through your head as if everyone else will care.

David on Jul 19, 2013

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