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Buyer's Remorse

A Render Studios Short Film

The Power of a Purchase

Compulsive purchasing can project the appearance of wealth, social status, and success. That one-click dopamine hit is alluring—until it isn’t.


​Buyer’s Remorse explores the saying “money can’t buy happiness” as the lead character’s online shopping habits help her build a dream life (at least that’s how it seems in her product reviews). But what will happen when one bad purchase reveals the thing she’s been avoiding all along?


We wanted a stark contrast between the subject’s dream life and her reality, so we made several important choices in preproduction. Color and tone have a strong impact on the audience’s perception, so we utilized color theory to evoke certain emotions in the viewer: the dream sequences are bright, vibrant, and warm while her reality is dark, cold, and has a sickly shade of green that intensifies through the piece. 


We took the juxtaposition even further by having different directors and directors of photography for the dream scenes versus the reality scenes. Using different creative lenses (literally and figuratively) impacted how the scenes were shot and how the directors worked with the talent. 


To top if all off, we collaborated with a composer who really understood the script and the way we wanted the story to impact the viewer. We chose a Jon Brion-inspired approach and worked closely with the composer to polish this final piece of the film.

Awards and Recognition


Featuring - Sally Hecksel

Director/Writer/Producer - Karen Stefl

Director/Writer/Graphics - Garrett Jafano

Director of Photography - David Such

Directory of Photography/Editor/Colorist - Erick F. Rodenberg

Lighting/Grip/Sound - Scott Oberlander

Production Coordinator - Lilly Grace Conklin

Score - Allen DiCenzo

Audio Postproduction Circa Music and Audio Post

Location Special Thanks to Mayberry Homes

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