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View Full Version : LAKE WICWAS: {the sacrifice} - By Defcon



Matt Harris
10-25-2009, 11:25 PM
Fellow Monsterfesters,
I'm in the final stages of completing my latest flick,
waiting on my CGI guy to bust out my money shot.
Problem is, he's slammed so i may be screwed.

None the less I'll have something to post by the deadline.

Last minute entry as usual, super-guerilla style, first time
actors, no rehearsals, drinking booze on set. You know my drill,
uber-unprofessional.

The 6 minute short came out decent despite technical problems
(blown own skin tones, crappy shot gun mics) and I'm very proud
of my first-time actors who really stepped up to the plate and gave it
their all.

I am attaching a few posters...

-Defcon

Matt Harris
10-25-2009, 11:32 PM
I shot this with a canon vixia - nifty little camera. I used an HVX30 as a B camera, the footy matched exactly since both cameras are nearly identical.

13519

13522

13521

13520

Michael Anthony Horrigan
10-26-2009, 05:30 AM
Great grabs! I like your work so I'm really looking forward to seeing what you've done this time.

MAH

ZazaCast
10-26-2009, 05:44 AM
Nice! Looking forward to the film.

Shaun Patrick
10-26-2009, 08:29 AM
Really well designed posters--definitely one of my favorite parts of looking at all these threads.

TMerry
10-26-2009, 10:36 AM
WOW, your posters completely knocked me out!
Did you design them yourself?

Matt Harris
10-26-2009, 10:47 AM
Thanks guys, my movies may not be great but i can always fall back on my poster design. :)
TMerry, it's what I do for a living, I worked with New Line for the past decade so i know the poster design secrets.

Also, the poster where you see the monster? I don't think you'll be seeing such a detailed monster
in the final film so i'm pulling a bait and switch.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 01:38 AM
Uploading now... which is quite early for me actually.

EditPhish
10-30-2009, 06:16 AM
Congrats Matt... Looking foward to it! I like how your described your style... "super-guerilla style... uber-unprofessional"... but I bet fun!

Nitsuj
10-30-2009, 09:01 AM
Thx for comment. Dood your posters are probably the best in this comp. Makes me wish I spent more time on mine, or knew how to make a poster for that matter. I wanna put that into practice now for all my future projects really. Even before I start writing the script I think making a killer poster will help move it along and visualize if it is worth continuing the effort. ;) Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 09:13 AM
editphish, usually my movies are more fun than this one. this one came out very "talky" but the dialogue is over the top, tongue and cheek, and laughable at times. so yeah i guess its sort of fun. as long as people know that the short is not too be taken seriously, even though it seems like its trying to be serious.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 09:16 AM
Nitsuj, there are alot of really good posters i've seen for this fest. in fact the posters for these fests have gotten better and better over the years.

I agree that making the poster early on helps you visualize the film. l can't tell you how many
sci-fi movies i have rented in my life that have great posters but yet are horrible movies. the poster sells the movie, simply put.

for your poster, you just might want to change the font color from red to white, because the red isnt reading well on the dark background. otherwise your poster totally works.

Sprocketboy
10-30-2009, 10:10 AM
Excellent poster designs. Welcome to the fest.

cinealma
10-30-2009, 10:32 AM
What's up Def? Glad to see another old-school DVXUser chap with a film in this fest.

Can't wait to see it.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 10:46 AM
i keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in!

Marlon Ladd
10-30-2009, 10:51 AM
Looks like you snuck in the back door. I'm really diggin' the posters and the banner! Both posters look great and very, very professional. You took time to pay attention to the details.

Nice grabs too. This one'll be on my to-watch list for sure.

Rodney V. Smith
10-30-2009, 10:52 AM
Definitely up there on the list. Welcome.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 10:53 AM
marlon i kinda do the last minute thing, im not so good at promoting a thread for months and months. i can assure you i wont be a "contender" for this fest but i appreciate the viewing, thanks man!

cinealma
10-30-2009, 10:54 AM
i keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in!

No doubt. They had to do a MONSTER fest on us, those bastards! :laugh::beer:

lordambrai
10-30-2009, 03:40 PM
Nothing better than good super guerrilla style! Hope you only used natural lighting, adds to the realism/grittiness/horror! Good luck

Om Nom Nom
10-30-2009, 04:15 PM
As everyone's been saying, the posters are fantastic! And I love the lighting the grabs.. good luck!

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 05:45 PM
Thanks guys, yeah i use mostly ambient light. or available light. it has its ups and downs. for this short, there are some nice looking shots (the ones i posted) - but there are also some underlit shots
that i wish i threw some sort of rim light into. and in one scene i tilted a light at the camera and it looks... well it doesnt look how i wanted it to look. live and learn.

AJ Brooks
10-30-2009, 05:52 PM
So did you end up getting that CGI money shot?

Still should be good. Sweet posters.

Matt Harris
10-30-2009, 06:02 PM
thanks for askin'. yes i did pull off the shot, although it's not as "money" as i had hoped.
My CGI guy was slammed this week and was only able to do one pass on it. with a few more
hours of work it would have been great, but as is, it is serviceable to complete the story. i

long story short: im lucky i got what i got!

hoz
10-30-2009, 06:42 PM
you put forth two great looking posters! looks like a strong film!

Matt Harris
10-31-2009, 08:45 PM
I've done several dvxfests, enough to know when my production values arent up to snuff!

Before I get ragged on:

1. despite several mic tests, the shotgun mic i used sucked so i ended up with hissy sound. real hissy. as a result i ran my audio through soundtrack pro with noise reduction filters and it ended up sounding how it does. like an mp3 with a super low bit rate.
but i assure you it sounds better than the original. best i could do.

2. i used a canon vixia - i tried to control the exposure as much as possible but theres only so much i could do. its all pro-sumer automatic (i think). a few shots are over-exposed and whatnot.

3. my CGI could only do one pass at what is now officially NOT the "money shot".
he's a busy man and could only do the best he could in limited time. but we will do a revise in the future for a director's cut.

everything else you can bust my chops!

Herman Witkam
10-31-2009, 09:18 PM
Where's the sound???

Did you normalize it to -70 dB? :D

Matt Harris
10-31-2009, 09:53 PM
are you serious? theres no sound? the sound should be fine. let me download and see if there was a snafu.

Matt Harris
10-31-2009, 10:15 PM
herman, yeah, the shotgun mic was a sennheiser mke 300 which cost like $150. i got stuck in the middle of nowhere and thats all i had. my bad. I will get into details with you because you are a killer composer and know your stuff. i did some "tests" a year prior with a pro shotgun mic. a year later i used this cheapie sennheiser and thought my "tests" would hold up. they didnt. i blew it!

my actors live in Boston and I live in LA so i couldnt so ADR. EPIC FAIL.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
10-31-2009, 10:43 PM
Voices aside, pretty interesting premise. I found it a little hard to follow with the back and forth reveal. The story seemed pretty straight forward though once it all came out.
I also thought that the actors did quite fine. The music was spot on. Good editing.

BTW, you can totally see the camera operator in the reflection of the sunglasses. Not sure why you kept that shot?
Probably could have blown it up and bit and cropped him out.

Matt Harris
10-31-2009, 10:53 PM
ahhh you saw my reflection in the sunglasses. good catch. i showed the short to several friends and noone caught it so thats why i didnt yank it. my previous shorts for dvx (glassjaw, cabin, clara, solution) all have scenes where you can see me holding the camera in a reflection. its sort of my "hitchcock cameo". thanks michael for watching and reviewing, this was a wierd movie for me to make so i have no clue as to what people will respond to. thanks for taking the time to watch it.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
10-31-2009, 10:55 PM
ahhh you saw my reflection in the sunglasses. good catch. i showed the short to several friends and noone caught it so thats why i didnt yank it. my previous shorts for dvx (glassjaw, cabin, clara, solution) all have scenes where you can see me holding the camera in a reflection. its sort of my "hitchcock cameo". thanks michael for watching and reviewing, this was a wierd movie for me to make so i have no clue as to what people will respond to. thanks for taking the time to watch it.Ah, well if that's your thing then I shouldn't have mentioned it. I'll remember that for next fest. :)

BTW, I like the attitude of the lead actress. She came off really well. Very natural.

EditPhish
11-01-2009, 01:57 AM
You obviously had sound issues... everything sounded very distorted and we had to turn yours down. There was also a part towards the end where there was a lot of weird sound artifacts.

I liked your color grading during the exterior shots, but not during the interior nights shots. We struggle with lighting ourselves, so take it for what it's worth, but it seemed like you had a hard time with the lighting during the interiors.

The beginning was a little confusing. I'm not sure what the point of the one character being "mute" was. The actors seemed to do a decent job though, and one I caught on to the story further in, all was okay.

I enjoyed the concept, just felt it didn't reach its full potential.

MrFluffy
11-01-2009, 05:27 AM
You had some nich shots, but the dialog was baldy distorted which really detracted from the whole movie. Othar than that it was very enjoyable.

Charli
11-01-2009, 07:27 PM
I did not understand the fire part? I sort of did understand most of the movie, the bet, the sacrifice? The guy was a servant of the water creature?

It was okay, and the actors were okay, but it was just an okay film for me. It sort of left me confused. And even Michael Phelps could not swim out to that Island and back in five minutes, more like see you in a bit, or in an hour.

Chris_Keaton
11-01-2009, 08:57 PM
I don't know what I was thinking during it. But why was she mute, because she couldn't remember her lines? But I was confused as hell when the dude was on fire. Was that a ghost fish? Interesting piece. Good job.

Edgen
11-02-2009, 10:34 AM
Again, i applaud you for being such the jack of all trades.

I wish the big catfish in the end was a little more defined and/or perhaps a yell screech from the victims.

Till the next round!
/j

Matt Harris
11-02-2009, 10:55 AM
thanks for the comments guys and gals, i appreciate you taking the time to watch.
and yes i had more than enough technical difficulties on this one, i just did my best to work through them.

ramsaur
11-02-2009, 03:00 PM
What was up with the guy being on fire? I didn't get that? The music was kind of weird to the film but cool in a little way. My favorite part was showing the big monster at the end, that was pretty cool.

Matt Harris
11-02-2009, 03:55 PM
the guy being on fire is supposed to be figurative, the fire wasn't really there, it was a tribal sort of ceremony although the fire thing doesnt seem to sit well with people. i thought the music was my only saving grace! it was pretty much the only thing i didnt botch technically.

thanks for watching!

Sprocketboy
11-02-2009, 07:55 PM
I like the location and the actors fit well in the scenery. I did have problems with the acting, but nothing that stands out and shouts, Bad Acting. The fire scene is an out of place effect and the Jules Verne fish was shockingly enormous. You definitely need a sound effect for the monster fish. Thanks for putting it in the Fest.

Blaine
11-03-2009, 09:34 PM
Yeah, Matt, you definitely had some technical issues on this one. Ambient sound must have been a big problem as you over-processed the noise reduction. I agree with others about the fire thing. Having a mute girl reminded me of The Great Silence, a Spaghetti Western where the lead actor agreed to play the part as long as he didn't have to learn the lines so Sergio Corbucci made him a mute.

Even with your technical problems I was interested enough in the story to stay with it and see what happened.

xxrotinivol2
11-03-2009, 11:07 PM
It's nice to have someone attempt a large guy as the monster in the film. The mystical connection between the man and the serpent was very cool. Also, I thought many of the shots were excellent, the lighting etc. The story also made me want to know, who's gonna die, what's going to happen, etc.

While I wonder what a good ADR job would do for the film, I also think the different parts broke up the flow of the story. Maybe divide it up into two parts as opposed to the multiple could make it easier for me. Either way, thanks for submitting. The story was original, mythical.

jasonthewho
11-03-2009, 11:52 PM
The acting in this was strong, as was a lot of the cinematography. I really liked your title screens, they looked badass.

A few things didn't make sense to me: The fire (reading back a little, I see that was metaphorical... yeah, maybe there's a way to make something like that work, but it doesn't in its current form), why the deaf girl decided to take the bet, and why the guy just let his girlfriend swim to her death.

You seem to have a sort of Tarantino style, which I enjoyed. I just wanted some more clarity to the story.

vurfing
11-04-2009, 02:42 AM
No audio track - I had this problem (using vlc media player). There appear to be two audio tracks - one is virtually silent, the other normal. I scared myself halfway through by choosing the other track and getting deafened!

An interesting little movie, nicely shot and edited.

Rakesh Jacob
11-04-2009, 09:56 AM
No audio track - I had this problem (using vlc media player). There appear to be two audio tracks - one is virtually silent, the other normal. I scared myself halfway through by choosing the other track and getting deafened!

An interesting little movie, nicely shot and edited.

thnx for pointing this out! I was ready to give this a one and move on :)

TMerry
11-07-2009, 12:57 AM
Been dying to see this film even since I saw your killer poster and we PMd.

I REALLY liked the premise of this, and the acting was good with a strong sense of character between the guy and his girlfriend. But there were some odd story things going on. The girl in the back room was supposed to be Mute and scared s#*tless, but she
was happy enough to take the $100 and put her fears aside.
I'm not sure what this was shot on but a lot of it had a distinct video-ish look to it.
The fire I didn't understand, but that along with the After Effects looks you added and the flashing etc made me see that you could pull of some decent effects, thats why the ending caught me
by surprise that the big fish seemed thrown in there. I really wanted a bigger payoff.

So with all that said, I STILL like this short a lot, there's something about it that appealing to me
in the way its acted.

Fun Stuff!

PS take a look at my films poster I made on my forum, I know you do this for a living.. so feel
free to shred me to pieces ;-)

lawriejaffa
11-10-2009, 07:49 PM
Yep this was a mixed bag for me i think the sound issues really have to be corrected as the visuals are actually pretty good here and there - but there are some peculiar coloured shadows with some crazy grading going on here and there.

The performances seemed decent and the peculiar story was interesting even if i have to admit getting a little lost here and there.

I think this is a film that once 'completely finished' would be great to see uploaded again onto the user film section.