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Matthew B
08-08-2013, 05:31 PM
Arabella
Based on the urban legend/scary story

The last short I did was for Warfest, so I'm really keen to get this one done.

Poster courtesy of Matt Harris.
77422

Chris_Keaton
08-08-2013, 06:24 PM
Cool! I look forward to seeing it.

Brandon Rice
08-08-2013, 06:36 PM
Welcome Matthew! Didn't you win Warfest?

Matthew B
08-08-2013, 07:03 PM
My entry 'The Token' did win Warfest, but I can't take all the credit. I had a great cast and crew and Noel and I worked together very hard on that.

I'm in a different state and city this time around so I'll have to see how I go collaborating with someone else.

Brandon Rice
08-08-2013, 08:47 PM
Well good luck! Can't wait to see what you do!

Matt Harris
08-09-2013, 03:33 PM
matty b! heavy hitters emerging. lookin' forward to your entry.

Elton
08-09-2013, 05:08 PM
excellent!

Noel Evans
08-09-2013, 08:42 PM
I had a great cast and crew and Noel and I worked together very hard on that.

True, however to deflect back, Matt produced The Token entirely as a lone hand.

Matthew B
08-09-2013, 08:51 PM
True, however to deflect back, Matt produced The Token entirely as a lone hand.

Oh, you! :)

ZazaCast
08-11-2013, 04:09 PM
Oh no... This is sure to be a hit. Really looking forward to it, you guys always push the limits.
Plus, you're always a day ahead of me here in NY! :2vrolijk_08:

Noel Evans
08-11-2013, 04:56 PM
Oh yeah and of course good luck this time round Matt.

Ryan P. Kelly
08-13-2013, 08:19 AM
Looking forward to this Matt! The TOKEN was so good

Charli
08-27-2013, 06:33 AM
Good luck, Matty!

Richard J. Johnson
08-28-2013, 10:31 AM
Looking forward to it. Good luck!

Matthew B
09-23-2013, 06:46 AM
And that's a wrap on principal photography. Had an amazing cast and crew, who went above and beyond. I couldn't have asked for more. Now onto the edit.

ZazaCast
09-23-2013, 07:13 AM
Excellent... and congrats on the wrap, the hard part is done. Now comes the fun!

Elton
09-23-2013, 08:32 AM
Congrats on getting it in the can! Excited to see what you've made.

Matt Harris
09-24-2013, 09:55 AM
stills asap please!

Noel Evans
09-24-2013, 01:55 PM
Well done Matt. Now cut that baby.

ZazaCast
09-25-2013, 08:12 AM
Please chime in!
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?311453-HorrorFest-II-Official-Rules-amp-Prize-List/page7

Matthew B
09-26-2013, 05:40 PM
Well, got the audio files back from the sound recordist from the day, and they're... completely unusable. So that will be me ADRing 2 pages worth of dialogue scenes. I foolishly made the mistake of giving some students (2nd year I might add) from the local sound school an opportunity. That is the first and last time I will do that, which is a shame because I like being able to give students work on films as I was once one. What I don't understand is that between the sound mixer and the boom op, both of whom were listening to the audio, neither of them flagged the issue with me. They just kept quiet and ignored the issue, when we could have done something about it. Needless to say I am quite pissed off and now need to fix someone else's mistake.

Brandon Rice
09-26-2013, 10:53 PM
So what exactly made it unusable?

Matthew B
09-26-2013, 11:35 PM
So what exactly made it unusable?

Not sure if I can quite explain it. It's completely distorted, but the levels are fine. This leads me to believe that they were running the audio way too hot out of the mixer and adjusting the levels on the recorder to bring it down. So, I have completely distorted audio (I mean every single word is clipping) at perfect levels.

ZazaCast
09-26-2013, 11:37 PM
I guess the hard part isn't done...I spoke too soon. Sorry to hear this, but you'll fix it up nice I'm sure.

Matthew B
09-26-2013, 11:42 PM
I guess the hard part isn't done...I spoke too soon. Sorry to hear this, but you'll fix it up nice I'm sure.

Already done one of the ADR sessions and synced it up nicely. Two more sessions and I'll be done.

As for the shoot being the hard part. Normally I'd agree with you, but it was just soo much fun. I had a great camera and grip crew and we all had an awesome time. Not to mention I fed everyone some great grub... A slowcooker/crockpot is one tool that every low-budget filmmaker should have. The smell throughout the day and the food at lunch time ensures that no one is ever unhappy on set.

ZazaCast
09-26-2013, 11:53 PM
I knew it...no worries! My film is completely ADR, but it was the plan all along.
Wish I was at your shoot just for the food.:happy:

Alan H. Chang
09-27-2013, 05:18 AM
Not sure if I can quite explain it. It's completely distorted, but the levels are fine. This leads me to believe that they were running the audio way too hot out of the mixer and adjusting the levels on the recorder to bring it down. So, I have completely distorted audio (I mean every single word is clipping) at perfect levels.

How bad is it?

Matthew B
09-27-2013, 06:00 AM
How bad is it?

I can send you a file if you'd like, but bad enough to warrant ADR.

Alan H. Chang
09-27-2013, 06:10 AM
I can send you a file if you'd like, but bad enough to warrant ADR.

Send away.

Brandon Rice
09-27-2013, 08:08 AM
Alan is a magician with sound, you never know what he could do with it :)

Alan H. Chang
09-28-2013, 12:47 AM
bad enough to warrant ADR.

This.

Matthew B
10-01-2013, 08:50 PM
Looks like we have a picture lock. A couple of ADR sessions to go and then it's off to Justin and Alan for their magic touch.

Elton
10-01-2013, 10:58 PM
Congrats!

ZazaCast
10-02-2013, 08:09 AM
Beautiful...progress... love it! :thumbsup:

Brandon Rice
10-02-2013, 08:14 AM
Looks like we have a picture lock. A couple of ADR sessions to go and then it's off to Justin and Alan for their magic touch.

Congrats! Can't wait to see your film!

Matthew B
10-15-2013, 06:27 PM
Poster courtesy of Matt Harris.

77421

Matt Harris
10-15-2013, 06:34 PM
Nice, good working with you Matt, can't wait to see the film and I'm proud to be on your team!

Elton
10-15-2013, 11:37 PM
Very nice!

ZazaCast
10-15-2013, 11:59 PM
Nice tagline...you know, my Mother always used to tell me that same thing! :thumbsup:

Alan H. Chang
10-16-2013, 12:00 AM
A little update. Currently wrapping up all the dialogue/adr, then it's off to Mr. Durban.

Matt Harris
10-16-2013, 12:07 AM
Durban's score will be great as always!

Alan H. Chang
10-16-2013, 12:10 AM
Durban's score will be great as always!

Are you composing any of the entires this fest? You're right up with the league, Matt.

Matt Harris
10-16-2013, 12:23 AM
Thanks Alan, I'm doing poster design and some color correcting for this fest.

Marlon Ladd
10-17-2013, 11:20 AM
Looks very interesting. Got my mind wondering what it's about.

Noel Evans
10-17-2013, 12:43 PM
Nice poster Matt Harris. Almost Time Mr Bennett!

Matt Harris
10-17-2013, 12:52 PM
Thanks Noel, Matt art directed it well.

Matthew B
10-17-2013, 02:23 PM
Durban's score will be great as always!

It is indeed good. Just a few minor tweaks and it'll be done.

Hawk Teflon
10-17-2013, 03:06 PM
I'm not familiar with this urban legend. Part of me wants to look into it, but more of me would rather have the surprise.

Matthew B
10-17-2013, 10:53 PM
I'm not familiar with this urban legend. Part of me wants to look into it, but more of me would rather have the surprise.

It's only based on the urban legend, the ending is completely different. :laugh:

Alan H. Chang
10-25-2013, 01:49 AM
Just sent off v2 of the edits to both Justin and Matt. Epic!

Brandon Rice
10-25-2013, 08:47 AM
Just sent off v2 of the edits to both Justin and Matt. Epic!

I bet it sounds GOOD!

Alan H. Chang
10-25-2013, 07:41 PM
I bet it sounds GOOD!

It looks GOOD too.

Matt Harris
10-25-2013, 07:42 PM
Can't wait to see this, psyched for you guys.

Matthew B
10-25-2013, 11:14 PM
After many back and fourths, we have the final score. Big thanks to Justin who put up with my pedantic notes and made what I believe is a great sounding score.

Matthew B
10-26-2013, 03:37 PM
Looks like we have a completed sound design, just need to listen through a couple more time to be sure. Well done to Alan on a great job.

Matthew B
10-26-2013, 03:38 PM
Also, big shout out to Matt Sorrels for his amazing job on the VFX shots. Can't believe how quickly he did it as well.

msorrels
10-26-2013, 05:17 PM
Also, big shout out to Matt Sorrels for his amazing job on the VFX shots. Can't believe how quickly he did it as well.
I had a great time doing it too, thanks for letting me help out. The film is going to be amazing.

I think we may have too many Matt/Matthews working on this. Is that like three? Usually it's a fleet of Daves.

It's funny yesterday, after I sent out the final renders, I was looking for a post on DVX and found this thread I posted in a couple of years ago. Here it is http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?228778-Special-fx-and-tracking The filmmaker wanted to replace the leads eyes and I offered some advice. Including this little gem:


Oh yes, let me stress this is super painful time consuming work. Hours will flow like water. But I doubt you need real 3d tracking, face markers, Nuke, etc. Normal roto and tracking should actually work, but nothing automatic or easy, no shortcuts here. Every blink, every twitch you'll be tweaking the path or the shape. Every shot will need a lot of babysitting. But as long as the effect recipe isn't something insanely complex (a real 3d model with complex angle-based shading) this is something you could do with AE and mocha.

And now I can honestly say I was right. You can do it with AE and mocha. And yes hours did flow like water. It may be a while before I ever want to roto another eye again.

Alan H. Chang
10-26-2013, 05:32 PM
The best comment I've gotten out of this regarding my sound design elements:


it sounds a little like the Darkknight and War of the Worlds

Matthew B
10-29-2013, 01:58 PM
Uploaded and approved. Now the usual lost and alone feeling after finishing a film.

Lynchenstein
10-29-2013, 02:33 PM
Wonderful poster! I'm spooked already!

AJ Brooks
10-29-2013, 02:45 PM
Uploaded and approved. Now the usual lost and alone feeling after finishing a film.

That's why I wait until 5 min. before the deadline to submit.

Don't make me go back to the real world! PLEASE!!! :)

Elton
11-01-2013, 10:10 AM
Very nice work, Matthew! I want to say more later but let me just say I can't wait to throw this on the projector and watch this with my kids before bedtime tonight! :)

Andy Olson
11-01-2013, 10:07 PM
Good Job! I enjoyed it! It was nice, simple and spooky. My kid has a bunch of stuffed animals too and literally just today got a doll... I'll have to keep my eye on it now! Good performance from the young actress and nice voice effect for the doll singing! Nice work. Really liked the shot in the first scene where the little girl comes back in and the Doll has butchered all of the other toys!

Thanks,
Andy

NICK ASH
11-02-2013, 11:23 PM
Ok, this is one of my favorite's. I thought your story was excellent, the acting was believable and the set design worked great. It was a super creepy film and those that have a thing for dolls eyes (me) will definitely get creeped out. Ironically, my wife and I just watched The Conjuring last night and the beginning talked about this story of Arabella. I loved everything throughout and thought you did a great job!

Jared Brownlow
11-03-2013, 06:34 PM
This movie just goes to show how a short film does not need to be complicated to be good. The plot was very focused and easy to follow, and the camera work was superb. You need to get down to Sydney and start making features! Australia needs more talented film makers such as yourself.

Hawk Teflon
11-04-2013, 07:08 PM
SPOILERS FOLLOW. READ THE FOLLOWING POST AT YOUR OWN RISK.

What I liked: This, to me, felt like a Horror film. Some of the others in the fray had some scare moments, but didn't feel very horror-y. This one did. Really creepy feel to it. Very well done. On top of that, I really like the way this was shot. We didn't have see anything gory or over the top because, let's be real here, dolls are super creepy. Really strong lead character. She delivers well. I really like that you guys had her and the doll wearing the same thing toward the end. Good build of suspense, too, with the eerie singing and music. The eyes of the girl at the end was good.

What I didn't like as much: To be honest the few things here would be minor semantics and preferences. I would have liked to have had more of a scare. Make it even creepier if you can.

Really solid entry. I'm surprised more people aren't commenting on this, but it IS at the bottom of the youtube playlist. Hopefully people are just working their way down.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 02:17 AM
Very nice work, Matthew! I want to say more later but let me just say I can't wait to throw this on the projector and watch this with my kids before bedtime tonight! :)

Thanks Elton.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 02:19 AM
Good Job! I enjoyed it! It was nice, simple and spooky. My kid has a bunch of stuffed animals too and literally just today got a doll... I'll have to keep my eye on it now! Good performance from the young actress and nice voice effect for the doll singing! Nice work. Really liked the shot in the first scene where the little girl comes back in and the Doll has butchered all of the other toys!

Thanks,
Andy

Thanks Andy. Yeah that doll definitely had the creep factor going. We ended up leaving it on the stairs when we went upstairs to shoot some more and kept forgetting it was there. A couple of us kept jumping every time we'd go up and down the stairs.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 02:20 AM
Ok, this is one of my favorite's. I thought your story was excellent, the acting was believable and the set design worked great. It was a super creepy film and those that have a thing for dolls eyes (me) will definitely get creeped out. Ironically, my wife and I just watched The Conjuring last night and the beginning talked about this story of Arabella. I loved everything throughout and thought you did a great job!

Thanks for your comments Nick.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 02:20 AM
This movie just goes to show how a short film does not need to be complicated to be good. The plot was very focused and easy to follow, and the camera work was superb. You need to get down to Sydney and start making features! Australia needs more talented film makers such as yourself.

Thanks for the huge compliment Jared, definitely put a smile on my face.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 02:23 AM
SPOILERS FOLLOW. READ THE FOLLOWING POST AT YOUR OWN RISK.

What I liked: This, to me, felt like a Horror film. Some of the others in the fray had some scare moments, but didn't feel very horror-y. This one did. Really creepy feel to it. Very well done. On top of that, I really like the way this was shot. We didn't have see anything gory or over the top because, let's be real here, dolls are super creepy. Really strong lead character. She delivers well. I really like that you guys had her and the doll wearing the same thing toward the end. Good build of suspense, too, with the eerie singing and music. The eyes of the girl at the end was good.

What I didn't like as much: To be honest the few things here would be minor semantics and preferences. I would have liked to have had more of a scare. Make it even creepier if you can.

Really solid entry. I'm surprised more people aren't commenting on this, but it IS at the bottom of the youtube playlist. Hopefully people are just working their way down.

Thanks for you feedback as always Hawk. I really appreciate that you are one of the few who actually comment on every thread.

Glad you picked up on the costume choice in the final scene.

Angie (lead girl) did a great job and was surprisingly mature for her age, I had to keep reminding myself that she's only a kid and not push her too hard, but she had a great attitude and was very patient.

ZazaCast
11-05-2013, 02:16 PM
Matthew.... GREAT job on this film. I really have no place critiquing your work as you are a professional & it shows.
Everything about this worked for me, could you have made it 'scarier'...probably, but would it have added to the film?
I think not. Scary is different to all people and as I discover with each fest, different strokes for different folks.

So, that said, I'm going to throw in my 2-cents. :beer:

The same way you thought I should cut my film, I felt that there were a few places that you could have held a shot longer on the doll and let people
creep-out on it. When the girl is first introduced to the doll, the shots at the table...and the 'twisty-push-in' were just too quick, there was no time
to really see the doll, let the music build and realize just how creepy that thing is. (IMHO) The film's just a little over 5 minutes...tons of time... let it breathe,
maybe have the girl try to destroy (rip it's head off, bury it, burn it, etc.) the doll and yet, each evening, it returns untarnished. Build a better sense of fear & panic.
But like I said, I'm just talking here, one man's observations & thoughts.

Loved the film. Your cinematography is top-notch and every other aspect fell right into place. Kudos to the crew & all involved, I think you have a winner here. :thumbsup:

msorrels
11-05-2013, 05:52 PM
The same way you thought I should cut my film, I felt that there were a few places that you could have held a shot longer on the doll and let people
creep-out on it. When the girl is first introduced to the doll, the shots at the table...and the 'twisty-push-in' were just too quick, there was no time
to really see the doll, let the music build and realize just how creepy that thing is.

I suspect Matthew wasn't so sure how well the VFX was going to work. All the doll shots were very tightly edited before they were sent to me to add the eyes. To be honest I was kind of scared to death I might ruin the film. Before the color grade (and without audio) the VFX eyes are not nearly as spooky looking, but I did the work counting on the grade and I think that came out great. It's always hard to judge a shot after you have watched those same few frames over and over and over.

ZazaCast
11-05-2013, 09:30 PM
I suspect Matthew wasn't so sure how well the VFX was going to work. All the doll shots were very tightly edited before they were sent to me to add the eyes. To be honest I was kind of scared to death I might ruin the film. Before the color grade (and without audio) the VFX eyes are not nearly as spooky looking, but I did the work counting on the grade and I think that came out great. It's always hard to judge a shot after you have watched those same few frames over and over and over.
Either way, you did an excellent job...and I hear you, thank goodness there were no VFX in my film!

Matthew B
11-06-2013, 12:53 AM
Matthew.... GREAT job on this film. I really have no place critiquing your work as you are a professional & it shows.
Everything about this worked for me, could you have made it 'scarier'...probably, but would it have added to the film?
I think not. Scary is different to all people and as I discover with each fest, different strokes for different folks.

So, that said, I'm going to throw in my 2-cents. :beer:

The same way you thought I should cut my film, I felt that there were a few places that you could have held a shot longer on the doll and let people
creep-out on it. When the girl is first introduced to the doll, the shots at the table...and the 'twisty-push-in' were just too quick, there was no time
to really see the doll, let the music build and realize just how creepy that thing is. (IMHO) The film's just a little over 5 minutes...tons of time... let it breathe,
maybe have the girl try to destroy (rip it's head off, bury it, burn it, etc.) the doll and yet, each evening, it returns untarnished. Build a better sense of fear & panic.
But like I said, I'm just talking here, one man's observations & thoughts.

Loved the film. Your cinematography is top-notch and every other aspect fell right into place. Kudos to the crew & all involved, I think you have a winner here. :thumbsup:

All very valid points, I can certainly appreciate where you're coming from.

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for taking the time to comment, the comments and critiques are the reason I love DVXfests - learn a lot.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
11-06-2013, 09:33 AM
I enjoyed this. Secretly I think I was comparing it to Annabelle from The Conjuring.

78261

How could I not. Aside from the whole possessed doll theme, even the name is very similar.
Arabella had some good creepiness to it and the little girl was great. Cinematography was good too.

The doll moments worked but I never felt they reached the point of "horror movie" scary. Not bad, though.
As a short film I thought it was very good. Well constructed, good editing, and very polished.

The VFX were very good as well. Great job.

alex whitmer
11-06-2013, 09:49 AM
Really enjoyed this one. Your lead is a shoe-in for best actress.

I can't really comment on camera angles, and sound and lighting - not my area - but story-wise it's clean and coherent. Two issues, though: why would the great-grandmother give the evil doll to her? Not a good relationship? Wanted to pass it on to someone she trusted? From Jessica's reaction to the death, there didn't seem to be a feeling of loss. ?? Maybe a comment from Jessica could have made it clear - like, 'Why, I thought she didn't like me' or something to give a clue.

The other issue is that Jessica resorts to same/similar ways to try and get rid of the doll. It never escalates to real fear, or a real determination to lose it - chop it up, burn it, pull the legs off - something more than a closet toss.

Okay, maybe a third issue: I felt Angelika was a tad old to be playing tea party, especially with folks her age so wired on tech these days. However, in an Alice-In-Wonderland kinda way, it works, and may actually lend more to the creep factor. On the fence about it.

Nice film, fun to watch. Easily a 9/10

a

Matthew B
11-07-2013, 01:47 AM
I enjoyed this. Secretly I think I was comparing it to Annabelle from The Conjuring.

78261

How could I not. Aside from the whole possessed doll theme, even the name is very similar.
Arabella had some good creepiness to it and the little girl was great. Cinematography was good too.

The doll moments worked but I never felt they reached the point of "horror movie" scary. Not bad, though.
As a short film I thought it was very good. Well constructed, good editing, and very polished.

The VFX were very good as well. Great job.

Never seen 'The Conjuring' but will definitely have to check it out.

Thanks for the comments and criticisms Michael.

Matthew B
11-07-2013, 01:48 AM
Really enjoyed this one. Your lead is a shoe-in for best actress.

I can't really comment on camera angles, and sound and lighting - not my area - but story-wise it's clean and coherent. Two issues, though: why would the great-grandmother give the evil doll to her? Not a good relationship? Wanted to pass it on to someone she trusted? From Jessica's reaction to the death, there didn't seem to be a feeling of loss. ?? Maybe a comment from Jessica could have made it clear - like, 'Why, I thought she didn't like me' or something to give a clue.

The other issue is that Jessica resorts to same/similar ways to try and get rid of the doll. It never escalates to real fear, or a real determination to lose it - chop it up, burn it, pull the legs off - something more than a closet toss.

Okay, maybe a third issue: I felt Angelika was a tad old to be playing tea party, especially with folks her age so wired on tech these days. However, in an Alice-In-Wonderland kinda way, it works, and may actually lend more to the creep factor. On the fence about it.

Nice film, fun to watch. Easily a 9/10

a

Thanks Alex. Some really good questions that have definitely got me thinking.

Chris_Keaton
11-09-2013, 07:37 AM
That is one damn creepy doll. Didn't she figure out that locking her in a room doesn't work. Maybe this was time for her to play with fire. And when that damned thing is singing was she the only one who could hear it. The acting by the girl was awesome. I wish it was a bit more scary and maybe if the doll moved on its own in just subtle movements it would've provided that extra fright. Okay, in my mind grandma possessed the doll so she could possess the girl and live on. Or she was just a mean old woman passing on a creepy doll to the kid. This was a very professional short and super sharp. If you ever need a script let me know. :) Great job!

Matthew B
11-09-2013, 11:46 AM
That is one damn creepy doll. Didn't she figure out that locking her in a room doesn't work. Maybe this was time for her to play with fire. And when that damned thing is singing was she the only one who could hear it. The acting by the girl was awesome. I wish it was a bit more scary and maybe if the doll moved on its own in just subtle movements it would've provided that extra fright. Okay, in my mind grandma possessed the doll so she could possess the girl and live on. Or she was just a mean old woman passing on a creepy doll to the kid. This was a very professional short and super sharp. If you ever need a script let me know. :) Great job!

That's actually the same backstory I had thought of about the Grandmother possessing the doll in order to live through the girl. But for a short it just complicated it too much, so I left it out.

Thanks for the feedback Chris.

Chris_Keaton
11-09-2013, 05:09 PM
That's actually the same backstory I had thought of about the Grandmother possessing the doll in order to live through the girl. But for a short it just complicated it too much, so I left it out.

Thanks for the feedback Chris.

Yeah, I tried that in a short before and its hard to pull off under 10 minutes.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-11-2013, 10:59 PM
Arabella got crazy eyes!
Really like the score - somewhat Goblin or Carpenter-esque. Classic!
Nice shots of the tea party - works well with the score.
Nice push in on the girl when she comes back to the tea party.
Nice montage of shots of the other dolls.
Nicely lit night / bedroom scene - maybe cool it off a little?
I like the lighting in the kitchen. Thie CU on the daughter is nice and the OTS on the mom with the light on the cabinets is particularly nice. Maybe bring down the master at the end to match the CU and Medium OTS on the mom?
At 4:00 - Arabella on the stairs - the little girl’s costume now matches the doll’s somewhat - you started her out in blue and now they’re both in pink with similarly shaped dress - interesting…
Really like the push in on the door at 4:40. Again, nice lighting in the bedroom scene - maybe cool off that big light coming through the window though and bring the master down a bit.


SPOILERS
I really liked the ending. Didn’t see it coming. I guess what the little girl knew as grandma was really the entity Arabella and grandma’s soul was trapped in the doll. When Grrandma’s body died, I guess Arabella went back into the doll which “Grandma” had bequeathed to Jessica. Now Jessica’s trapped in the doll and the entity will live in Jessica’s body until she dies. Cool.

So - when I saw how they looked similar in the stair scene I was wondering where that might go - didn’t expect vessel swapping (body for doll) but was thinking Jessica was going to be somehow assimilated or brainwashed or manipulated by the doll. Maybe it would have been cool to change the order of Jessica’s last two outfits - have her in the cream dress in the stair scene and the pink dress at the end to underscore Arabella becoming her or vice versa depending on how you look at it.

Nice work - one of the best!

EDIT: Haven't read the whole thread but saw a few comments on back story. Here's my train of thought during viewing. The implied backstory came together pretty quickly for me Took 2 seconds during viewing - "OH... she has the blue demon eyes Arabella's possessed her. Wait - the Doll has human eyes, Arabella's possess her body and trapper her in the doll, cool. Wait - why would grandma leave her a possessed doll. Ohhhhhhhhhhh..... Arabella must have been in grandma and left the doll to her granddaughter so she could swap for a younger / living body via a brief trip back in the doll. Even cooler." That's all the steps it took me. Why grandma would leave her a possessed doll stopped me for about 1 second, then what seemed like the logical answer / back story (for me) came immediately,

Matthew B
11-11-2013, 11:04 PM
Arabella got crazy eyes!
Really like the score - somewhat Goblin or Carpenter-esque. Classic!
Nice shots of the tea party - works well with the score.
Nice push in on the girl when she comes back to the tea party.
Nice montage of shots of the other dolls.
Nicely lit night / bedroom scene - maybe cool it off a little?
I like the lighting in the kitchen. Thie CU on the daughter is nice and the OTS on the mom with the light on the cabinets is particularly nice. Maybe bring down the master at the end to match the CU and Medium OTS on the mom?
At 4:00 - Arabella on the stairs - the little girl’s costume now matches the doll’s somewhat - you started her out in blue and now they’re both in pink with similarly shaped dress - interesting…
Really like the push in on the door at 4:40. Again, nice lighting in the bedroom scene - maybe cool off that big light coming through the window though and bring the master down a bit.


SPOILERS
I really liked the ending. Didn’t see it coming. I guess what the little girl knew as grandma was really the entity Arabella and grandma’s soul was trapped in the doll. When Grrandma’s body died, I guess Arabella went back into the doll which “Grandma” had bequeathed to Jessica. Now Jessica’s trapped in the doll and the entity will live in Jessica’s body until she dies. Cool.

So - when I saw how they looked similar in the stair scene I was wondering where that might go - didn’t expect vessel swapping (body for doll) but was thinking Jessica was going to be somehow assimilated or brainwashed or manipulated by the doll. Maybe it would have been cool to change the order of Jessica’s last two outfits - have her in the cream dress in the stair scene and the pink dress at the end to underscore Arabella becoming her or vice versa depending on how you look at it.

Nice work - one of the best!

EDIT: Haven't read the whole thread but saw a few comments on back story. Here's my train of thought during viewing. The implied backstory came together pretty quickly for me Took 2 seconds during viewing - "OH... she has the blue demon eyes Arabella's possessed her. Wait - the Doll has human eyes, Arabella's possess her body and trapper her in the doll, cool. Wait - why would grandma leave her a possessed doll. Ohhhhhhhhhhh..... Arabella must have been in grandma and left the doll to her granddaughter so she could swap for a younger / living body via a brief trip back in the doll. Even cooler." That's all the steps it took me. Why grandma would leave her a possessed doll stopped me for about 1 second, then what seemed like the logical answer / back story (for me) came immediately,



Thanks for the comments Jack. I'm glad you got that from the short. Sometimes I get worried that I'm being too subtle.

Thanks for the suggestions too.

Marlon Ladd
11-14-2013, 02:24 PM
Very pro film, Matt. As others have said, the little girl's acting was excellent. I like what you did with the lighting. Especially the shadows on the bed when the little girl was trying to sleep. I think everything all around was really good, including the cinematography. I didn't have any issues with the story. It made sense to me. It was, to me a simple story that was told very well. Nice job!

Matt Harris
11-14-2013, 04:01 PM
Matt this was a solid short film, nice act 1, act 2 and act 3. And you did it in nearly the classic dvx 6 minute time frame. Extra kudos for that, because your short flew by, and there was no fat to trim.
The lead was an excellent little actress, good for her! Score, cinematograpjy, post, CC, it was all (mostly) seamless. Congrats! You are always a consistent director and you didn't disappoint.
The simplicity of your story was spot on and effective.

ps I wrote "(mostly) seamless" only because the girl's whistle-sing-hum was a bit loud in the mix and her face isn't moving and it just looks and sounds very ADR whereas if you lowered the volume a few DB it would have been more subtle and less jarring for me. just a nitpick though, and nothing that detracted from the story.

Matthew B
11-15-2013, 12:29 PM
Very pro film, Matt. As others have said, the little girl's acting was excellent. I like what you did with the lighting. Especially the shadows on the bed when the little girl was trying to sleep. I think everything all around was really good, including the cinematography. I didn't have any issues with the story. It made sense to me. It was, to me a simple story that was told very well. Nice job!

Thanks Marlon, really appreciate it.

Matthew B
11-15-2013, 12:31 PM
Matt this was a solid short film, nice act 1, act 2 and act 3. And you did it in nearly the classic dvx 6 minute time frame. Extra kudos for that, because your short flew by, and there was no fat to trim.
The lead was an excellent little actress, good for her! Score, cinematograpjy, post, CC, it was all (mostly) seamless. Congrats! You are always a consistent director and you didn't disappoint.
The simplicity of your story was spot on and effective.

ps I wrote "(mostly) seamless" only because the girl's whistle-sing-hum was a bit loud in the mix and her face isn't moving and it just looks and sounds very ADR whereas if you lowered the volume a few DB it would have been more subtle and less jarring for me. just a nitpick though, and nothing that detracted from the story.

Thanks for the feedback Matt. I'm all for nitpicks, that's how I grow...the devil is in the detail :)

Brandon Rice
11-20-2013, 07:57 AM
Congrats! Great work on this film! My favorite of the fest!

Elton
11-20-2013, 12:50 PM
Good job Matthew B! Was impressed with the film

Matthew B
11-20-2013, 12:55 PM
Congrats! Great work on this film! My favorite of the fest!

Much appreciated Brandon, thanks.

Matthew B
11-20-2013, 12:57 PM
Good job Matthew B! Was impressed with the film

Thanks Elton.

msorrels
11-22-2013, 01:54 AM
Congrats on the fest results!

I made a quick VFX reel for Arabella you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/80051177


https://vimeo.com/80051177

Note: the soundtrack is all my fault, I didn't have any sound elements from the film and kind of wanted to see what Premiere CC was like for workflow with Acid (the soundtrack is some loops). Can't say I'm happy about what I made (it's lame) nor how poorly it fit into Premiere.

lawriejaffa
12-20-2013, 05:06 PM
ARABELLA

Arabella was simple – straight forward – creepy entertainment. Very reminiscent of the campy entries (that comprised of many entries in my favourite dvxfests, (Twilightfest!)

It's cute and a little over the top (which is often necessary in such a short film!) We have evil singing dolls – glowing eyes etc – the works!

With films like this feedback more drifts towards (the somewhat tedious technical direction.)

So I'll race through... yada yada...

Cinematogrpahy – attractive and retro – invoking 80s horror imo. Loved the lighting on the bedroom – well done there. Simple effective low keySound? Watch you're levels and sfx bro – especially with the singing doll. Too boomy. Don't forget sound is more important than the visuals!

The girl was good but she was perhaps a little too old, perhaps not dressed in the manner that immediately invokes little girl (shorty shorts made her look older than a child that might play with dolls like this imo.)

Acting was a bit stiff for the parents – sure they did okay you know? But in terms of the CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE a bit of gloss to that might have added to the sense of authenticity to the story. The way it is right now, it lends the film towards a more meta/externalised perspective as if... we know the filmmaker is in on this campy slightly humoured tale which works too of course.

A more sober/ natural acting style, along with a more sophisticated sound design, along with the same cinematography would have yielded a surprisingly effective film for the simplicity of it's premise! As it stands I enjoyed it! It got the fundamentals right, albeit in a slightly rough package!