Journalist, actor and filmmaker Brent Rose bought a Sprinter van and essentially converted it into a mobile studio apartment, thinking he’d save money and find some adventure while traveling around for work. The plan was to live in the van for a year. Then one year became five. And though van life allowed Rose to tour the snow-capped mountains of Colorado and brick-red deserts of Utah and New Mexico, he also found the road somewhat isolating, especially when it came to relationships.
Then, when shelter-in-place orders came down in California, Rose suddenly found himself feeling very alone. A first date he’d long been looking forward to was canceled. He sought comfort in a Zoom call with two coupled-up friends, but when they kissed on screen, he went into an anxious spiral of wondering when he’d experience romantic love and physical intimacy again—even so much as a hug.
So Rose decided to write, and emerged with a cathartic essay about the emotional ups and downs of weathering the pandemic solo—the sadness, the smugness at not having to deal with kids home from school, the frustration, the hope, the grief, the moments of peace. After he shared the essay with a group of his close high school friends, they teamed up to turn it into a short film: Going It Alone, released last Friday through the newly formed Sneakout Studios, which consists of co-director and animator Rebecca Silvers, composer Yea-Ming Chen, sound designer Greg Sextro, illustrator Dylan Ricards and photographer C. Bay Milin.
Like Rose, Silvers, who collaborated on the storyline, is also sheltering alone in her apartment in Berkeley, and the two friends both use mindfulness and meditation to cope with the careening mood swings the pandemic can create. Observing one’s emotions, accepting them and letting them pass without judgment is foundational to many types of meditation; this idea anchors the plot of Going It Alone.