View Full Version : TROIKA -- A Short Film by Brian C. Parker

Brian Parker
12-07-2007, 09:02 PM
Genki Films Presents











Ok guys, this is my first Fest. Really looking forward to it. Can't wait to see all of the films.

Brian Parker
12-07-2007, 09:02 PM
Screen Grabs Pre-CC





Brian Parker
12-07-2007, 09:03 PM
Well, this was gonna be BTS shots but I really don't have that many interesting ones...mostly shots of all of us laying around trying to cool off. I think the actresses were a little worried that we might actually be making a porno the way I kept taking off layers of clothes. Ah well. I'll see what I can find.

Luis Caffesse
12-07-2007, 11:00 PM
One more in the mix!

Brian Parker
02-13-2008, 07:41 PM
OK, a little late in the game but I did manage to find some behind the scenes shots.


Me with my new baby (the XH-A1)


Andrea and Aaron doing the whole acting thing


I get some coverage shots while everybody competes in Maximum Extreme Shoe Elimination Challange

Brian Parker
02-13-2008, 07:53 PM
Ok guys. Here's my quick spiel about Troika.

This Fest was a lot of firsts for me. First festival, first project shot on the XH-A1. I played with a video camera whenever I had the chance as a kid and I took some video production classes in college but all of the assignments were very practical and inorganic exercises. This is my third real short and first time casting actors.

I came up with the idea based on a suggestion by my sister on the direction I should take with the theme of love. Production actually went along pretty swimingly but post-production got done to the very last minute. In retrospect, I wish I had kept an active journal throughout the process but, and you can call me superstitious, I didn't want to say that things were moving along and then have production come to a screeching halt. I might recap some of the highlights of production later though.

So here it is. My submission for DVXUser.com Love Fest 2008. Glad to be a part of the whole thing. Immense learning experience and I'm really looking forward to watching everybody's films and getting some feedback that can help me improve. That's it. Thanks guys and enjoy.

Ted Arabian
02-15-2008, 12:52 PM
Hey Champloo,

Nice film. I like your message in the story.

I thought that you did some really nice things here. There were some nice shots but many were very soft. I don't know if that was intentional or not.

The sound was pretty thin. The dialogue just didn't have a lot of "presence."

The performances were okay. I would like to have seen the guy go farther with his emotions. I mean, here he is holed up with a gun. To really believe that he would use it, I needed to see more anger, frustration, loss and hopelessness in him.

Funny use of music via the cell phone ringtones. Clever.

Story was my favorite part of your film.

Nice job! And congrats!


btw... lucky guy to have 3 women in his hotel room! :)

Michael Anthony Horrigan
02-15-2008, 02:25 PM
A little soft looking, almost dream-like. Was that intentional? If it was maybe the shot of him at the end could have been made more clear.
Some shots like the gun on the table could have been shot a little more steady or on a tripod.

Interesting story though. I also like some of the framing of your shots as well.
Kept the scenes interesting.


Brian Parker
02-15-2008, 10:14 PM
Ted: Thanks for the feedback man. Yeah, I was going for a misty like quality without having to fill the room up with dry ice but I might have gotten a little carried away with the effect.

I cast the guy because he reminded me a little bit of Ajax from The Warriors and I was wanting the that same kind of intensity and edge.

Glad you liked the story, that means a lot. Appreciate the feedback.

Michael: Thanks for the advice. I might try to go back and motion track on some of those shots. Glad the framing was good. Was worried since it was all in a plain hotel room and all dialogue based.

Thanks for the tips and compliments. Good lookin' out.

Chris Messineo
02-16-2008, 06:08 AM
It was definitely a little too soft throughout. Maybe pick a moment or two for that strong of a look, but not the whole thing. I also agree, the framing was good and you had some interesting shots. You did a good job with the space limitations.

I liked the mystery of the story at the beginning and the idea of him hearing the voices of those three women from his life, but I wish the dialogue had a little more subtext.

02-16-2008, 07:02 AM
Acting didnt do it for me, . . . but what do i know about acting. . .

Brian Parker
02-16-2008, 01:35 PM
CHRIS: Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm gonna go back and tone down the softness because it seems to be the consensus that it was a little too strong. Glad you liked the story premise. Thanks!!

KEN: I wish that I'd been able to have the actors spend more time together prior to shooting. I think they were around each other for a little over an hour before shooting began and I think they were all coming from a very organic place in terms of feeling comfortable with their characters and interacting with the other characters in context. All the actors worked really hard and did a great job being dedicated and going beyond just being the talent on set so they were more than I had hoped for. Plus they agreed to do it for free. I just tried my best to make them look good. I think that if I had put more time into letting their methods flow, the performances could have shone that much more. Thanks for the feedback man!

02-16-2008, 01:57 PM
Thanks for submitting this film. It is an interesting concept of having a guy holed up being sought of haunted by past relationships.

I wanted to bring up a basic technical flaw in the film that people can fall prey to if you are not careful. You crossed the eye line. When shooting a scene there is an imaginary line that the camera needs to stay on either side of. If you cross that line, it looks like the characters aren't looking at each other.

You can cross the line when we see the camera in a wides shot reestablish it, or if one of the actors is looking directly into the camera. I did it a little awkwardly in my film with a two shot, but I think it was permissible.

The time to never do it though is when it is a single shot on one of the actors or over the shoulder.



Congrats on getting the film in the fest and I am looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Mark Harris
02-16-2008, 02:39 PM
There are some obvious issues with the visual and audio, which I am sure people have covered. But the biggy is that in a piece like this, your actors have to kick ass and take names. And that takes a) really amazing actors. b) some nice juicy rehearsal time. It seemed like one or both were lacking to really make this thing cook the way it wanted to.

Brian Parker
02-16-2008, 03:15 PM
bosindy: Yeah, I totally crossed the eye line in that shot. I guess I just didn't realize it. Thanks for pointing that out and elaborating on it. These are exactly the reasons I wanted to get into this fest is to get these good critiques so I can keep growing. Thanks bosindy!

Mark: Thanks Mark. I'm really trying to improve on my skills working with actors. I spend a lot of time worrying about technical things and think that sometimes I might be leaving them kind of high and dry. I wish that we had more time for rehearsals so that we could have really brought that energy that you're talking about to the piece. I think one of the first things I need to do is connect with a good DP who I can trust so that I can give the actors a little more time. I appreciate your feedback!

Mark Harris
02-16-2008, 03:20 PM
Yeah, we all get caught up in the same problems. And that is exactly why I love working with Timur so much. I know I CAN trust him to execute on lighting and camera, so I can try to focus on performances. But it's still always hard. I am a HUGE fan of rehearsals, but it seems there is never enough time in those either...

Anthony Pierce
02-17-2008, 11:24 PM
I loved the camera work and the music you used was great. But the look might have worked for me better if it wasn’t so soft after he wakes up. I think for production value, if we encounter the woman in different locations. Its tough to pull anything off when we’re stuck in one room. The story was good so over all I like it. Love to see what you do next.

02-18-2008, 01:20 PM
Hey Champloo. I thought this was an interesting film. I agree that it was soft, but I feel it added a bit of grit and edginess to the piece. It also helped sell the character's psychological state. I thought a lot of the dialog was good and liked the acting from the females. Especially the girl w/. the camera.

Nice work.

Brian Parker
02-18-2008, 02:40 PM
Anthony: Thanks, I appreciate that Anthony. Yeah, the general consensus seems to be that it was a little too soft visually but a lot of that was done in post so I'm going to adjust it a little, especially for the shots after he wakes up. I feel you on the one location issue too. Production value is a big thing. Thanks for the feedback!

DUKE: Thanks man. I'm definately gonna be doing some softness tweaking. Glad you liked the dialogue and yeah, the girl with the camera was really good. I enjoyed working with her and the others as well. Thanks for checking it out.

Alex Jeffery
02-19-2008, 06:28 PM
Hey cool film.

There were some absolutely amazing lines of dialogue that I felt were ill performed. I just felt like your leading male wasn't living truthfully in the world you created for him.

There was that moment when the girl says "It's like you're in a movie" (not verbatim) and the music stops, and it was hilarious. I think you could have pushed it even a little further, but that's just me. Bold direction there.

Brian Parker
02-19-2008, 06:42 PM
Alex: Hey, thanks for checking it out. Glad you liked the dialogue. I was really hoping for a little more dimension to the lead performance but I felt like he did a decent job. I'm trying to push myself to interact with the actors more so that the performances can be cultivated and produce even better results.

Haha, glad you liked the part about being in a movie and if I can be considered directing boldly than I think I'm starting to move in the right direction. Thanks for all of your feedback man.

02-20-2008, 11:29 PM
The commonality between the three women is the heartbreak they communicate while he tries to undermine that truthfulness. But I feel like his reality is far darker.

Pleasing Work (Three Stars)

Brian Parker
02-21-2008, 08:03 PM
gvansant: You know, that was exactly what I was going for! :grin: Thanks for the feedback and for checking it out!

Shawn Philip Nelson
02-21-2008, 08:53 PM
Ah man! For a second there I thought he had killed all three of those women and they were the ghosts/delusions of his mind.

At first I thought you used a bad 35mm adaptor, but looking at your BTS pics I see you used the stock camera. So did you just go overboard on a radial blur? It was too much.

Your audio was distracting. I'd recommend getting the mic ALOT closer to the mouths. Your dialogue was good, let's hear it better next time.

Melody was the hottest.

Brian Parker
02-21-2008, 09:29 PM
shawneous: Man, that'd been messed up if he had killed them.

Yeah, I was trying to make things fuzzy and the general concensus seems to be that it was too much so I already started toning it down and tweaking it for the Director's Cut.

Audio has always been my achille's heel and I know you have no frame of reference but I've been trying to improve it from my previous work. I know how critical it is to a good film and spent a lot of time trying to fix it in post although that only helps a little. Glad you liked the dialogue.

You mean Melanie? Yeah, she was wearing jeans originally but opted to shoot her scenes without them on. Who am I to argue? Thanks for all of the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Luis Caffesse
02-22-2008, 08:32 AM
Brian - just watched it for the second time.... and I haven't read through this thread so you can get my honest reaction - so here we go:

First off - interesting concept, though I felt some of the exposition in the dialogue didn't come off as well as it could have. Though honestly I don't know if the issue is with the dialogue itself, I suspect it's more with the performances - I just wasn't feeling a whole lot of chemistry between him and the women (except for a few moments with the one that was laying on the bed). Overall I think this piece has a solid idea going at the core of it, but more sincerity in the performances would have sold it to me. I didn't really believe this guy was ever upset enough to consider shooting anyone.

Techwise I'm sure you know what the issues are, so I won't spend too much time on it.
Their was an aspect ratio issue wiht the file I downloaded, so everythign seemed a little squished. The audio also was a bit weak. But these things to me are all forgivable and easily fixable in the future - so story is what I would concentrate on.

The thing I do have to give you a huge congrats on is keeping the piece moving visually. There isn't a whole hell of a lot you can do in a hotel room shotwise - but you did a great job of keeping them moving, keeping the blocking smooth and changing up your shots - all without confusing me as to who was where in the room. That is a hell of a feat in my book. So as far as your shot construction and blocking goes - which is an area I think I personally need a lot of work on - you did a great job with a very limiting location.

Editing wise I feel the pace could have been picked up a bit, and there were a few times I felt you were relying on the music a bit too much to move things along. But with a quicker pace to the dialogue and more honest reactions from the actors - this could be a really solid piece.

Going back to the acting for a second - I think that is what was bothering me ... they didn't seem to react to eachother much. Acting is all about listening to the other person, and often times I felt they weren't really listening to eachother but just waiting to say their next line.

I hope you find these comments helpful (because that is how I intend them) - overall I think you should be proud of the work you did with your blocking and shots, which is a huge part of directing - and would concentrate your next piece on getting the best performances out of your actors that you can.

Nice work - interesting concept - and thanks for sharing it with us.
Looking forward to seeing you enter the next fest.

Brian Parker
02-22-2008, 04:53 PM
Luis: Wow. Thanks for all of the great feedback. This is the kind of stuff I've really been hoping for.

Yeah, the technical issues still trip me up. This was my first time shooting in HD and I spent a while trying to adapt which led to some complications on the exporting to final format. As far as the audio goes, I dropped the ball on mic setup in some places. None of this is to make excuses but moreso for my benefit to reinforce what I've been learning from all the feedback that I've received.

Thanks for the compliments on my shots and blocking. It's an area I'm still a little nervous about and the fact that you think it worked is awesome.

As far as editing goes, I wonder if I'm too close to the work and if I should pass it off to somebody else to edit in order to cut extraneous bits. I'm definately not stuck on the one-man-show bit but I know that sometimes I shoot sporadically and I'm hesitant to assume that somebody can sort through the mess that is often my raw footage.

Ah, the acting. Yeah, I definately understand what you mean. I've always liked the idea of being an actor's director but I often get bogged down with the technical and logistical aspects of the shoot and kind of neglect my actors. There wasn't a lot of rehearsal unfortunately and when we shot, I was doing my best to move briskly in order to allow for people's various schedules. It's an area I definately need to focus on (got myself some Judith Weston books) and I hope to be able to grow.

I definately do find your comments helpful and I'm really glad that you stopped by to give them. Your film was one of my top favs from the whole fest and it means a lot to me that you'd share them with me. Thanks Luis. I appreciate it man.

Luis Caffesse
02-22-2008, 06:22 PM
(got myself some Judith Weston books)

Hahhaa - what's funny is as I was reading your post I was thinking "Oh, I should recommend Judith Weston to him"
(I'm in the middle of reading 'Directing Actors' right now - great book so far)

Bryce A
02-23-2008, 10:44 PM
Mark: Thanks Mark. I'm really trying to improve on my skills working with actors.... one of the first things I need to do is connect with a good DP who I can trust so that I can give the actors a little more time.

Hey Champloo, I think you have a great understanding of what you want in the future. That is a 100 times better than making a mind blowing film and not looking for improvement. You have a vision and a passion for getting this stuff off the ground. Those are the keys you need. Looking forward to your next project. Oh and great job on casting a million beautiful people.

Marlon Ladd
02-24-2008, 07:07 PM
Champloo, I liked the story here. The acting could have been better, but we all have to work with what we have. Sometimes you can't tell your acting isn't believable until you get into the editing room. I learned that after it happened to me a couple of times. So, now I make sure when I'm on the set that I really believe it there. If it happens there, then it'll even be better once you're editing. I did also think that it looked a little too soft. Other than that, I liked it. It was cool how you had to try and figure out exactly what was going on with the different women just suddenly appearing. I'd like to see it again if you plan to change anything. Good luck.

Brian Parker
02-24-2008, 09:23 PM
BRYCE: Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you see those qualities in me and I'm going to try my hardest to cultivate them. I'm flattered, especially considering how much I enjoyed Tailight. Looking forward to seeing more of your work as well. Oh, and thanks for the compliment on casting. Aaron has a good look and the ladies are definately beautiful...the three of them were often a little distracting. Thanks for the feedback Bryce.

leenewton: Glad you liked the story. Yeah, I'm planning on really trying to focus more on the performances now. Thanks for the tips. I'm gladly taking in all of the great advice I've received. I've been putting together the Director's cut and I've toned down a lot of the fuzzy look as well as recut a 9 minute version which I feel gives the actor's performances a better and more consistent flow. I'm thinking about posting it somewhere for anybody who'd like to see it. Looking forward to seeing more of your stuff. Thanks for the feedback man.

02-25-2008, 07:30 PM
Good job mate. So the lead was going to shoot himself for failed relationships? (or shoot the ex's - sorry I'm tired, brain not working).

I see in the BTS shot of you filming there's an xlr chord, I thought sound was camera mic. What was your setup then?

There's some problems with the film but they've all been mentioned, have to say though I hope we can all take a page out of your book and be appreciative on constructive critisizm.

Looking forward to your next one.