11-11-2009, 06:48 AM
This is my new short film "My Cousin's Cousin" Shot completely on a Canon T1i (500 D)
Eugene is a gifted student attending the DUVEY School of the Arts. He has a bright future in illustration but has lost his inspiration. Until he meets his soon to be girlfriend Sherrie, she is beautiful and brings excitement to his Life. Eugene is happy but soon finds out his cousin Vinny, is related to Sherrie making her kin to Eugene.
Vinny and Eugene are very close, they speak everyday and now not wanting to ruin his relationship or spoil his with Vinny: Eugene keeps everyone in the dark.
After many successful dates with Sherrie Eugene finally has a romantic evening with his new love at home; until Vinny unexpectedly arrives just before Sherrie does.
The banana in the tailpipe occurs as Eugene is forced to make the best out of the ball of lies and deceit... if Vinny finds out.
VinArk J. Productions 2009
This is the 3rd thread you started for this film :)
11-11-2009, 07:59 AM
I was holding my input till the 4th thread.
11-11-2009, 08:00 AM
Polls suck because they're not constructive.
I just picked up a camera myself a few months ago, so I can't comment too much on the technical aspects of your shoot. But, everything was in focus, it cut together well, etc. I could hear what the characters were saying. So, "technically" it was servicable in terms of getting a moving picture in an order that makes sense.
The main actors were both attractive, and all three of them appeared as if they had personalities that could translate to film.
I'm not sure of your current situation (college, hobbyist, etc). This "felt" very like college to me -- it felt like you were trying and trying to make your actors try, which always leads to epic failure, I think.
So, constructive crit one: Get someone else to write your shorts for you. Just because you're a filmmaker doesn't mean you have to be a writer as well. Most filmmakers aren't make-up artists, gaffers, sound techs, etc. Sometimes a filmmaker has to wear many hats, but if there's ANY way to push anything off onto anyone else who might be able to do a better job than yourself in any of these areas -- you should push it off. Writing is absolutely not something you should be doing on your own. If you are in college, there are tons and tons and tons of playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, novelists just sitting around wishing someone would pop up and say that they want to film a short of theirs. Find one of these people and then film that. If you became a filmmaker to serve the writing you're doing, then put the camera down and focus only on writing for the next few years. There's so many things bad about the script it would hardly be constructive for you (or myself) for me to sit here and point it all out.
So, if you consider yourself a writer, keep writing, writing, writing. If you're a budding filmmaker, though, go find someone else who is writing, writing, writing and shoot something they've written. You never know, you might end up striking gold with an awesome writer and you two can both ride the wave.
I think there were some lighting issues in the dorm scenes. I think when you were outside you had sunlight which is always sweet, but when you went inside it was like there was no lighting at all. I took a lot of heat for not lighting my own first two attempts at filming in my webseries. So, for my 3rd ep shoot last weekend I made sure everything was properly lit.
Last, the acting. The thing about directing is that everything is always your fault. Again, for my first two times filming I took a lot of heat because my actor sounded like he was reading from a script -- which he was. So, for this last shoot I rehearsed with him everyday until he had all his lines memorized. It took a lot of extra effort on my part to do all those rehearsals, but it'll show in the final product; just like the improvements in sound and lighting. Here, it isn't that the acting is bad, it's that it has no direction. I felt like the actors were told what to DO rather than what they WANTED. I mean, it made no sense when he's standing there next to that wall behind her, clawing and looking all bizarre.
The performances were SO bad, the writing was SO bad -- both things being your fault. Sometimes (but not often) a seasoned actor can create performance without direction, but if the people you are using are at all neophytes, they need every single moment, every single line defined. They need to understand their motivation in the scene as well as their motivation for why they're saying what they're saying. I'm working with someone who has never acted before a day in his life, and only now heading into the third time working with him has he finally begun to take my more subtle (specific, motivational) directions (which, I'm assuming, has to do with him getting off book).
If someone is stating something embarressing or with reluctance, don't tell them to say the line with embarressment and reluctance, tell them to deliver the line AS IF...Deliver the line as if they're telling the parents of a five year old child that their child has cancer. Or make it even more personal. If they're a waitress, tell them to deliver the line as if they're talking to a vegan patron, "I know you asked for the vegetarian. I'm sorry to tell you that the sandwich you just ate had veal in it." These sort of directions supply the subtle paint strokes while the more broad sketches of the piece have to do with giving your actors the motivation they need to exist in the present, the now, the character. You could literally tell an actor "Your motivation is to get that Snickers bar sitting on the kitchen counter." and to the other actor, "It's your motivation to keep him from getting that Snickers bar. And neither of you guys can move or get up from your chairs."
Imagine what that brings to the PERFORMANCE, see? It doesn't matter if a Snickers bar has anything whatsoever to do with the moment or the scene, what matters is that you've given the actors something besides their ACTING to focus on. When you provide specific motivation you're imbuing the actors with subtle nuances they're incapable of portraying without those motivations. I took years of acting classes. It'll help you to do the same -- to learn how actors operate, how performances are put together so that you can speak their language when the need arises.
Again, a seasoned actor will give themselves these kinds of motivations. But the kind of folks independent filmmakers work with aren't always going to be seasoned, yeah? But your actors do have some FLAVOR. Now it's your job to guide their innate talents into actual performances. That means TONS of rehearsal (lots of which can just be done over the phone), and consistent motivation as well as specific details regarding line deliveries.
1) Camera? CHECK
2) Committed filmmaker? CHECK
4) Purposeful lighting?
5) Detailed direction?
6) Motivation for actors and consistent theme of story?
There's my constructive.
Have at it and good luck!
11-11-2009, 08:02 AM
i was holding my input till the 4th thread.
11-11-2009, 08:16 AM
Thank you Chamber005 for your insightful input.
11-11-2009, 09:20 AM
Thank you Chamber005 for your insightful input.
I know it's rough when you're trying to get input from people other than the casual viewer. I had to chase some people down on these boards to give me some critiques, but it was well worth it. Usually people here (and on other forums) will start giving you critiques more readily when you've either sold a few things, are using a camera (well) that they want/have or, ya know, if you're a girl. ;)
I've also found that being specific in your questions helps. Try going to the acting forum and ask about the acting in the piece, go to the audio forum, go to the cinematography forum, lighting, directing, etc. I got very little help in the User Films forum (though that's where I always update). But when I was asking about specific sound issues on the series, I got tons of help in the audio forum.