This Short Film (under 9 minutes in length) is directed by Samuel Ali and based on the Short Story "Spell My Name with an "S"" by Isaac Asimov. It was created for the 2014 Showdown in China Town Film contest on November 10. The film was uploaded to YouTube two months later [link].
Two Humanoid Aliens are having a conversation over Video Phone about their bet. Blue alien is insisting Green alien check their evidence for having created a Class A effect (created/averted Apocalypse How) with a Class F stimulus (changing one letter of one name). Green alien is shocked, and Blue alien reassures them "it's all in there."
Six Months Earlier... Dr Zoroastri visits a numerologist to find out what she can do to get a better job. She's bored where she is and wants to be more independent. The numerologist advises her to change her name to Soroastri, but refuses to promise results. Frustrated by their opacity, Dr Zoroastri leaves.
Two government agents discuss Dr Soroastri. The subordinate is concerned because of her Arabic heritage. His superior points out she's third-generation American and Zoroastri is Persian, not Arabic. They discuss possible Middle Eastern connections and the subordinate reveals that there was a Dr Zoroastri in the Iranian government who was also a biochemist, but they've disappeared. Without a connection to whatever the foreign powers are doing, there's no reason to suspect Dr Soroastri of espionage, but removing her from government projects is just good sense.
Sophie Soroastri is talking to her husband Marshall about Princeton offering her a job. Sophie is happy with the position and they agree that there's no point in changing the name back or to anything new. Dr Soroastri tries to visit the numerologist again, but they've closed shop.
The numerologist takes off its Human Disguise to reveal itself to be the Blue alien and calls their friend, Metsack, to show the results of the bet. The Green alien admits the point but argues that their boss isn't going to be happy when he comes and finds that biological war failed to occur as planned.
"Spell My Name With an S" contains examples of:
- Adaptation Name Change:
- Amusing in a story about name changes, Dr Zebatinsky is changed to Dr Zoroastri.
- The alien Mestack is renamed Metsack.
- Played With for the first names of the main character and their spouse. In both works, Sophie is the wife and Marshall is the husband, but in this adaptation Sophie is the protagonist and Marshall is the one to encourage her.
- Fortune Teller: Dr Zoroastri expects the numerologist to have seen the future in a crystal ball or something. Instead, they explain to her that they can only predict probabilities, and that the predicted event (getting a better job) might never occur.
- Gender Flip: In this adaptation, Dr Zebatinsky is now a female whose husband convinced her to visit a local numerologist.
- How We Got Here: The film opens with the Humanoid Aliens talking about their bet, and the blue alien says "it's all there, I worked it out for you", causing a flashback to six months ago.
- Human Disguise: The blue Humanoid Alien had disguised itself as the human numerologist to convince Dr Zoroastri to change her name to Dr Soroastri.
- Humanoid Aliens: The aliens making bets over the fate of the Earth have a very humanoid shape, having slightly different eyes and additional horns compared to humans. The one who pretended to be the numerologist has blue skin while Metsack has green skin.
- Middle Eastern Terrorists: Dr Soroastri was concerned about being investigated as a terrorist, but is firmly convinced that the investigations were on behalf of Princeton University, a prelude to their offer of a job.
- Nameless Narrative: The original story had names for every character, but in this adaptation the name of the numerologist and the CIA agents are dropped completely. Even in the credits, the agents are simply CIA 1 and CIA 2.
- My Nayme Is: Dr Sophie Zoroastri decides, on the advice of a numerologist, to spell her last name "Soroastri", and the story tracks two side-effects of that change; the offer of employment by Princeton (a prestigious college) and the aversion of planetary catastrophe.
- Race Lift: The main character is changed from having a Polish name (Dr Zebatinsky) to a Persian name (Dr Zoroastri).
- Setting Update: Several elements are modified from the original story, such as making the main character is a third-generation child of Persian immigrants rather than Polish immigrants, making them a female protagonist, rather than male, and changing her into a biochemist rather than a physicist so that they can remove the Cold War plot while maintaining the secret government projects.
- Short Film: Under 9 minutes in length, this work was created as a filming challenge where they had to include cigars in a mason jar as a prop and the line "What's that in your hand?" as dialogue.
- Spell My Name with an "S": This story shares a name with this trope because it is based on the Tropenamer, but is not an example. In-Universe name spelling changes are an example of My Nayme Is.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Dr Zoroastri covers her face with a shawl and sunglasses when she goes to the numerologist so that nobody will recognize her.
- World War III: Humanity is on course to destroy themselves with biological warfare, when a pair of Humanoid Aliens get involved to prove they can avert worldwide biochemical destruction by simply changing one person's name. The second one points out that yes, the first one won the bet... but they're both going to be in trouble when their boss comes back and the humans are still around. They immediately triple the bet, and the first one goes back to recreate worldwide germ warfare with another subtle change.