Former Charleston-resident and filmmaker Taylor Engel may be rubbing elbows with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon soon. His short film The Pavement has made it into the top 20 short films selected for HBO’s Project Greenlight, the Affleck and Damon produced series that searches for first-time filmmakers before selecting a winner to produce a feature film. Engel’s also shown some of his work at SXSW. More specifically, the music video he shot for Righchus/Matt Monday.

To be considered, filmmakers must submit a short that’s under three minutes and a bio video that’s under two minutes. For The Pavement, Engel decided to focus more on the format than the story, at first. “I think it’s a really tricky format and people try to tackle them in different ways. Some people try to cram everything a feature length story would have into a 20-30 minute timespan. Or some people think that it’s not possible to fully develop characters and tell a complete story, so that make something that is more or less just a few minutes of setup that lead to a punchline,” he says. “So my inspiration started with the format itself — if I give myself let’s say five minutes to tell a story, what is the best kind of story to tell in that timeframe, and what’s the best way to tell it? I wanted to find an interesting way to reveal a story that really only works in short amount of time.”

That interesting way was to use a rhythmic and repetitive voice-over that says the same thing but with different shots, each way tells a different story. To see Engel’s and the other shorts, visit You can also vote for your favorite short and help select the last film to go through to the top 10. The judges select the other nine finalists. Voting ends Fri. Sept. 26, so get to it.