This is Kenneth Price’s latest stab at a mockumentary. With a collection of awards, How to sharpen a pencil is a widely accepted insight into the pencil sharpening industry, all done in a witty, satirical tone. But at times it is difficult to read the direction of this ten minute short film. At the beginning you are invited to believe that this man has a viable business of sharpening only HB pencils by hand, the traditional way and in this kooky bohemian world it is very believable that such a service would exist. Topped up with edifying facts, this is set up a bog standard explainer video.
But then Price chooses to drop in little jokes. The protagonist gets more angry, insulting the haters of his trade and the true identity of this mockumentary is revealed. With such humorous lines as ‘you can sharpen a pencil without a pencil sharpened, but you can’t sharpen a pencil without a pencil’, you begin to get the gist of where these filmmakers are heading. The language is rich with esoteric pencil based quips made more hilarious by the actor’s dead pan face and slight anger at the modern stationary world.
But no, this isn’t going to revolutionise the film making industry and ultimately it isn’t something you will be thinking about for days or urging your friends to watch. But, it is a light hearted, satirical dig at real documentaries that take themselves far too seriously. Jokes aside, it probably won’t be too long until we see a little pop up sharpening shop in Shoreditch where you can take in your pencils or your ball point pens to be re-capped.