See the Original 'Whiplash' Short Film Damien Chazelle Made First

March 2, 2015
Source: The Film Stage

Whiplash Damien Chazelle

At the Academy Awards last weekend, a couple of little Sundance indie sensations won big awards. One of them was Whiplash (the other was Boyhood), written and directed by Damien Chazelle who was named multiple times by winners including J.K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor) & Tom Cross (Best Editing). The film also won Best Sound Mixing, taking home a total of three Oscars. It has been a long journey for Chazelle, as he first premiered Whiplash as a short film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. That short got him the financing to make the feature, and the rest is history. Whiplash was one of my favorite films of 2014 (#2!) so I'm happy it won; it's another excellent indie success story. Luckily, the original short is now online.

Our friends at The Film Stage recently found a copy of the original short starring Johnny Simmons and J.K. Simmons that Damien Chazelle made first and submitted to Sundance 2013, which then helped him get the feature made. The subtext explains: "Whiplash was originally planned to be a feature film but the writer/director could not get funding for it so he made this short film and submitted it." Watch that short:

Watch the feature version of Damien Chazelle's Whiplash, also with J.K. Simmons, on iTunes or Netflix. Here's a quick video where Chazelle explains how he went from making a short to making the feature film:

I'm already looking forward to seeing what Chazelle does next, as he seems to be a bright young filmmaker with quite a bit of potential. I really do love Whiplash and I'm glad it's being seen by more and more people. It's interesting to note the differences between J.K. Simmons lines in both versions, and also the similarities too, since most of the character was fleshed out in this short. It's also interesting to compare Johnny Simmons, who is a talented actor in his own, to Miles Teller as Andrew in the feature version. There's a few background actors in the band that show up in the feature as well, and it's fun to see how this started out before it become the Oscar-winning indie success story that it now is. A big congrats to Chazelle.

"Not quite my tempo." That line is already becoming a part of cinema history, and it began with this short before making its way into the feature, and into Sundance, then into theaters. I'm so happy that Chazelle has gone on to such great success. If you're looking for any inspiration on how to start as a filmmaker, look here. This is a story that will be admired for many years to come. And I can't wait to see what Chazelle does next.

Find more posts: Indies, Short Film, To Watch



Can anybody tell me whether it's okay to watch the short before watching the feature film? Or is it better to watch the short afterwards?

Terry Craig on Mar 2, 2015


I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of the most pivotal scenes in the movie are portrayed in this short film, some of it word-for-word. Watch the movie first. It's SO worth it.

Compassionaut on Mar 2, 2015


The short is like a 3rd of the movie almost exactly word for word the same. The movie is pretty silly and definitely not movie of the year although definitely enjoyable and entertaining.

ff on Mar 2, 2015


So good.

Jonathan on Mar 2, 2015


No longer available due to Sony... fuuuuuuuck youuuuu.

Blake on Mar 4, 2015

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