Can anyone remember the name of a short film that starts in a dystopian future where no one works, and people mostly just party all the time. The only job left is enforcing that all manufacturing is done by robots. A dad who is such an officer finds a music box his daughter received as a gift that was handmade and proceeds to hunt down an underground group of humans who work to give their lives meaning by making things, mostly toys. Unlike the robots they aren't always perfect.

I believe the department he worked at was called quality control.

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    Welcome to the site, Ray. That was a good first question with specific details about names and circumstances. In the future, if you click through the story-identification tag, there's a page with more questions to answer (scifi.stackexchange.com/tags/story-identification/info). In particular, a time period and location is often very much appreciated even if it's a vague "I watched this somewhere between Elementary School and High School... so 1988 to 2000? In Ohio probably... Tri-State area. We moved around" kind of statement.
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    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:55
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1 Answer 1


The Last Job. I haven't found a film version of it, but here's the transcipt of a scene from NPR (it was apparently commissioned from The Truth by Planet Money). There's also a version on Soundcloud.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) My specialty is robotics, mostly alignment and replacement. I help keep our society in perfect working order so everyone stays happy, safe and comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #2: (As character) Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #3: (As character) Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters) Thanks Quality Control.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) The robots need to do their jobs, and that's our job. We're Quality Control.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #4: (As Cocoa) Time to wake up, time to wake up, time to wake up.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) Thanks, Cocoa (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #4: (As Cocoa) Good morning, David.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) I do this job so that everyone else can spend their day doing exactly what their heart desires. And when I get up in the morning, I look outside and I see people relaxed, throwing a Frisbee, enjoying their lives. What I see is a well-oiled machine. And I'm just proud to know that I helped make that possible.


MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) That's odd. Hey, where did this come from?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As David Kirsch's daughter) Dad, I'm trying to sleep.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) Are you going to sleep your life away? Come on, where'd you get this music box?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As David Kirsch's daughter) It was my - it was a birthday present.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) Are you going to go back to sleep, or are you going to talk to me?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As David Kirsch's daughter) I'm going to go back to sleep, OK?

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) No, wrong answer. Who gave this to you?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As David Kirsch's daughter) Dexter.

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) Dexter? Dexter, who? Do I know him?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As David Kirsch's daughter) Dexter Batson (ph). Why do you care?

MCNERNEY: (As David Kirsch) 'Cause it's broken. Here listen, listen to this.


I did a lot of searches before I realized that the "false hit" that kept coming up was the real thing, the NPR page, first seen via film music box robot manufacturing "quality control". I kept thinking, "Man, that NPR article keeps coming up, but Planet Money is non-fiction", but finally I clicked through to see if maybe they were talking about the film, and there it all was.

The ending of the piece is that:

Eliminating that group of rebels has resulted in the protagonist's job being almost entirely unneeded and he realizes that he wants to be able to work. While on vacation at the beach, he builds his own imperfect music box for his daughter.

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