Wearing five GoPro cameras, a man attempts to visit every one of Trip Advisor’s “Top 315 Attractions in Miami'. Don’t say “I miss you.” Say “the content would have been better if you’d been in it.” That’s how Dylan (played by writer/director/camera platform Dylan Redford) begins trying to patch things up with his girlfriend, who he's hastily dumped to film a promo video of his Miami vacation in hopes of launching his new life as a TripAdvisor-funded travel influencer (tripfluencer?). The shoot has been kind of a disaster, but Dylan pluckily splices in fake stories about moonlight hookups and wise locals to buff up the inspo content of his visit.
As he satirizes the typical self-shot travel video, prying off the genre’s presentationally blissful veneer and diving into the hell of actual tourism, Redford plays an ambitious doofus who’s thoroughly inoculated to the effects of failure, because he lives there. Raw-rubbing all the seams that every smarmy vacation video purposely hides—the sweaty wait for the bus, the listless dehydrated trek through garish attractions, the Airbnb Dark Night of the Soul that looms in the moments before crashing out on some stranger’s back-bedroom futon—Redford somehow pole-vaults right over the seemingly-inevitable cynicism of the affair. Maybe it’s the confessional air of the footage captured by his many body-worn “action cameras,” or the abundant insecurity on display: apologetic asides flash by in stock Arial subtitles, and an attention-averse Dylan publicly whisper-narrates to his shotgun mike in ASMR-inducing interludes.
I recommend you let the autoplay function whisk you from “My Trip to Miami’s” credits into the pre-loaded queue of non-ironic Miami vacation clips—the jetskis, the highway timelapses, the occasional porny beach shot of the content-creator’s companion—and from there reflect on “My Trip to Miami’s” ultimate irony. While fictional Dylan is stuck in Minneapolis editing GoPro footage and trying to win back his girlfriend’s trust, the real Dylan Redford re-located to Miami and now works with the venerated Borscht Corporation, who commissioned this short for their 2017 festival. The dream of the character Dylan was realized by the real-life Dylan in part through the making of a movie about the illusion of that dream.
It’s a too-satisfying ending for a film that leaves us submerged in a tender ocean of uncertainty. But, behind every slickly atomized vision of Miami that’s slapped up online to feed the FOMO of a couple-hundred viewers, I like to imagine that there’s a Dylan, trying to broadcast his loneliness out of existence. (14 minutes).