PDA

View Full Version : The Two Wolves -- a film by AJ Brooks



AJ Brooks
10-11-2013, 10:38 AM
THE TWO WOLVES

http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/1707/ni7b.jpg

Yeah, I'm in!

AJ Brooks
10-11-2013, 10:39 AM
Here's the first screen:

http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/5702/05hr.jpg

PRE PRODUCTION:

Here's a few shots from location scouting today:

http://img547.imageshack.us/img547/5020/t2td.jpg

And here's Ryan (cinematographer [LEFT]) figuring out the lighting plan with Brent [RIGHT]:

http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/6240/zulx.jpg

And here's me hitting on our lead actress:

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/8936/qg0b.jpg

And below, our main actors gettin' jiggy with it at a rehearsal.


https://scontent-b-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1382090_4857046044493_1908235644_n.jpg

NICK ASH
10-11-2013, 10:42 AM
Awesome! Look forward to seeing your work...

Brandon Rice
10-11-2013, 10:46 AM
Excellent!

Stephen Mick
10-11-2013, 11:02 AM
Hellz to the yeah!

AJ Brooks
10-11-2013, 05:22 PM
Scouted the locations today and figured some serious stuff out!

This filmmaking stuff is fun, I must say.

ZazaCast
10-11-2013, 05:40 PM
There he is... wouldn't be the same without you AJ! Can't wait.

Matthew B
10-11-2013, 07:40 PM
Was waiting for your thread to pop up.

AJ Brooks
10-11-2013, 08:39 PM
Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in! :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)

Alan H. Chang
10-11-2013, 09:09 PM
Things just got real around here!

Elton
10-11-2013, 11:21 PM
Fantastic!

NICK ASH
10-11-2013, 11:46 PM
looking great from over here!

Elton
10-12-2013, 11:22 AM
Hey, just don't be marking any territory on our tree, mmmkay?

JaceDaniel
10-12-2013, 02:58 PM
uh-oh... here's trouble ;)

Charli
10-14-2013, 06:03 PM
I like those jar lights. Very cool. I know you're plate is full, hope you make it! Good luck!

AJ Brooks
10-14-2013, 08:28 PM
Shooting dates are set. This thing is gonna happen! Gonna be right up to the wire, as usual, but that's how we like it. :)

Matt Harris
10-14-2013, 11:24 PM
Nice to see you in AJ, down to the wire is the best way to go, good luck!

AJ Brooks
10-15-2013, 09:01 AM
Hey, just don't be marking any territory on our tree, mmmkay?

Haha, k, you got it! :)

Elton
10-15-2013, 09:25 AM
Glad you're in AJ! Looking forward to this

AJ Brooks
10-15-2013, 10:17 AM
Likewise! Looking forward to your chilling tail! (yes, that's right... tail) :)

Brandon Rice
10-15-2013, 10:32 AM
Really can't wait to see this, good luck!

Marlon Ladd
10-17-2013, 11:23 AM
Great poster and nice set design, AJ. Fitting that wolf would be in the title. I still remember your coming out party with, Red And The Wolf.

Matt Harris
10-17-2013, 11:44 AM
oh yeah, he's had WOLF in 3 movie titles now. I din't notice that.

AJ Brooks
10-17-2013, 12:28 PM
Two wolves and a fox, to be exact. :)

Shawn Philip Nelson
10-18-2013, 02:58 PM
And he's back :-) Congrats AJ! Looking forward to seeing it.

AJ Brooks
10-22-2013, 08:32 AM
Here's our two leads, Benjamin Farmer and Lavenda Memory.

Snappin' my iPhone pic. :)

http://img845.imageshack.us/img845/5207/ihtp.jpg

Marlon Ladd
10-22-2013, 10:36 AM
Um, both of those names are pretty cool. Are those real or stage names.

AJ Brooks
10-23-2013, 04:43 PM
Birth and given through marriage.

No more questions, Marlon, okay?! I don't wanna have to talk to the actors any more than I have to. They creep me out.

Gord.T
10-23-2013, 11:47 PM
AJ has yet to let me down. I used to love the action scenes. All the best.

Marlon Ladd
10-24-2013, 09:43 AM
Birth and given through marriage.

No more questions, Marlon, okay?! I don't wanna have to talk to the actors any more than I have to. They creep me out.

Lol!! C'mon now, I've seen your imagination and the stories you come up with. Crrrreeeeeeeepppyy!!

AJ Brooks
10-28-2013, 11:27 AM
Halfway done editing! Here's a screen:

http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/5702/05hr.jpg

Brandon Rice
10-28-2013, 01:59 PM
Looks good! Keep it up!

AJ Brooks
10-29-2013, 12:08 PM
Sound designer Johnny5 is doing a mix!

I didn't think I'd finish it in time, but he fortunately was free today!

And here's an updated poster. I figure it was good to include the actors on the poster. :)

http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/1707/ni7b.jpg

Matthew B
10-29-2013, 02:00 PM
Nice looking poster. Glad you'll get it done on time.

AJ Brooks
10-29-2013, 11:12 PM
Submitted with a whole hour to spare! I guess I'm losing my sense of danger in my old age. :)

Elton
10-30-2013, 12:05 AM
Wuss. Try barely having a live YouTube link with 2 minutes to go. ;-)

Looking forward to another fun film, AJ!

AJ Brooks
10-30-2013, 06:17 AM
Haha. :)

Ryan E. Walters
10-31-2013, 08:17 AM
It was a pleasure being a part of this project. Well done AJ. :)

Ryan E. Walters
10-31-2013, 08:18 AM
BTW- I love that we were able to light that shot with only 2x 4' Mactech LED's. :)


Halfway done editing! Here's a screen:

http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/5702/05hr.jpg

zucked
10-31-2013, 10:59 AM
Hate to be this guy, since I know so so many other factors go into your visuals -- which were phenomenal, by the way -- but what camera was this shot on? Well done on a beautiful film

ZazaCast
10-31-2013, 11:43 AM
Well done! Nice take on an old story/legend. Beautiful to look at and the lead actress gets my vote for best female lead!
Never a dissapointment from you AJ.
Cheers to all involved.:beer:

AJ Brooks
10-31-2013, 12:14 PM
Hate to be this guy, since I know so so many other factors go into your visuals -- which were phenomenal, by the way -- but what camera was this shot on? Well done on a beautiful film

Canon C100.

Ryan E. Walters
10-31-2013, 01:37 PM
We went all out and shot on a fisher price pixel vision camera for main unit, and an iPhone for b cam. ;)


Hate to be this guy, since I know so so many other factors go into your visuals -- which were phenomenal, by the way -- but what camera was this shot on? Well done on a beautiful film

NICK ASH
10-31-2013, 02:07 PM
Canon C100.

Great film. I want the C100 as my next camera.

AJ Brooks
10-31-2013, 03:46 PM
We went all out and shot on a fisher price pixel vision camera for main unit, and an iPhone for b cam. ;)

Yeah, Ryan wanted to break the bank and shoot on a laptop webcam, but I had to hold the reins and limit him to the more affordable Fisher Price and a stolen iPhone.

Had to remind him -- the enemy of art is the absence of limitations. :)

Zak Forsman
10-31-2013, 08:43 PM
is it okay for me to say this was my favorite of the bunch? :) not that there weren't other shorts nearly as good, but the writing, dialogue and performances here were such knockouts that it put it over the top for me. and the cinematography, production design, editing, sound design, etc all came together in a great way.

AJ Brooks
10-31-2013, 09:14 PM
Awesome! Thanks Zak! Glad you enjoyed it.

Gord.T
10-31-2013, 09:29 PM
You did not disappoint as always. The one crit I have is how your camera leads into the actors lines.
J.D once said that the camera should follow the actors lines.

Brandon Rice
10-31-2013, 09:30 PM
Quick review (going to try to do this for each film)

Writing: This was probably one of the places I felt this film might have been the weakest. Not that any of the writing was "bad" but that it seemed to drag out a little. I could kind of see where the film was going, and basically knew from the beginning that she was a "voice" tormenting him. I just thought that some of the writing could have been a little more lean, specifically in the opening scene. That having been said, the dialog was extremely natural sounding, and never felt "written". I know this has a lot to do with your cast, which leads me to....

Acting: The strongest point of this film. Excellent cast, the two leads were awesome! I really don't have much to say here, because they were terrific! It's hard to sell "talking to yourself" but your male lead did a wonderful job.

Cinematography: Really good stuff from a look standpoint. Some of your darker scenes had a bit of "noise" but that isn't something that really bothers me. The lighting was balanced, natural, and your compositions looked GREAT!

Editing: As I mentioned in the writing note above, I felt like the film could have been leaner. I found myself wanting to see what happened next instead of listening more to her torture him. I think shaving a little here and there could have made this tighter and have more of a "pow" factor. I always find myself edging on the edge of "too fast" when I cut, so I know I do have that tendency. Editing for pace has a lot to do with preference too. As far as the technical side to the edit, flawless.

Overall: A very solid short film! I am glad I got to see it, and proud that a fellow DVXuser made it. I wasn't surprised however from seeing your past work. I wouldn't be surprised if you were in the top films of this festival. Good work.

Gord.T
10-31-2013, 09:47 PM
I really enjoyed the performance by Lavenda Memory (http://www.youtube.com/user/lavendamemory).

Ryan E. Walters
11-01-2013, 12:16 AM
I know, I know- it's all about the art... BTW did you ever give grandma her phone back? ;)


Yeah, Ryan wanted to break the bank and shoot on a laptop webcam, but I had to hold the reins and limit him to the more affordable Fisher Price and a stolen iPhone.

Had to remind him -- the enemy of art is the absence of limitations. :)

Ryan E. Walters
11-01-2013, 12:21 AM
Cinematography: Really good stuff from a look standpoint. Some of your darker scenes had a bit of "noise" but that isn't something that really bothers me. The lighting was balanced, natural, and your compositions looked GREAT!

Thanks. To each there own, I know I'll never make everyone happy. AJ & I are happy with the images and that is enough for me. :) But just to clarify the noise is slight film grain that I added in. I like the texture that it added to the piece as I felt it added to the overall aesthetic and feel. :)

Slimothy
11-01-2013, 01:08 AM
Good job guys, my favorite.

Lynchenstein
11-01-2013, 06:22 AM
Thanks. To each there own, I know I'll never make everyone happy. AJ & I are happy with the images and that is enough for me. :) But just to clarify the noise is slight film grain that I added in. I like the texture that it added to the piece as I felt it added to the overall aesthetic and feel. :)

Oh, to have the gear and budget to be able to choose when to add noise :-)

Brandon Rice
11-01-2013, 07:13 AM
Thanks. To each there own, I know I'll never make everyone happy. AJ & I are happy with the images and that is enough for me. :) But just to clarify the noise is slight film grain that I added in. I like the texture that it added to the piece as I felt it added to the overall aesthetic and feel. :)

As I said, I noticed it but it doesn't bother me :)

Ryan E. Walters
11-01-2013, 12:52 PM
I would love to know more about what you mean? Can you fill me in? Is this a camera thing, an edit thing, or both? I'm not familiar with what you're talking about. :)


You did not disappoint as always. The one crit I have is how your camera leads into the actors lines.
J.D once said that the camera should follow the actors lines.

Ryan E. Walters
11-01-2013, 12:59 PM
Oh, to have the gear and budget to be able to choose when to add noise :-)

We used very minimal gear, and had a very small crew- 4 crew members (Me, Audio, Gaffer, Grip). To light the entire thing I used 1x 4' 4bank "kino", 1x 2' 2bank "kino", and 1x 1' LED. (The "kinos" are kino housings that have been fitted with Daylight MacTech LED's- more info in the "What's In My Kit" section of THIS BLOG POST (http://www.ryanewalters.com/Blog/blog.php?id=468304728156149432).)

Hawk Teflon
11-01-2013, 06:50 PM
SPOILERS. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THIS SHORT.

What I liked: AJ, as always your cinematography is top notch. Everything that I've seen that you've made has been very clean and inspiring. This was no exception. The actors were spot on throughout, too. Very solid. Even though it seemed a bit dark, I really liked your lighting throughout, too.

What I didn't like as much (but please take with a grain of salt): It was really dark on my monitors. There were a couple of shots that I couldn't see anything. I was a bit confused at the end. Did he bite his thumb or finger off? Where did all of that blood come from?

NICK ASH
11-03-2013, 12:39 AM
I didn't realize the story was well known....I was looking at talent and came across an actors reel and saw this....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uct5ruKcDjE#t=65

AJ Brooks
11-03-2013, 06:23 AM
Yeah, it's an old Cherokee story. She says it's a Native American proverb right in the script. :)

NICK ASH
11-03-2013, 08:05 AM
Oh dang, I missed that part. Either way, great film and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting!

Lynchenstein
11-03-2013, 05:08 PM
No matter the gear, talent will always shine through. Thanks!

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 01:37 AM
Nice entry AJ, good acting, beautiful to look at, overall a very polished piece. I did however get a little lost with the story at the end and would love to know what the guy bit/where the blood came from.
I thought your actors did well, and enjoyed the table exchange, but I couldn't help but feel as though the shot would cut to them on the beginning of the dialogue line. So to me the cutting at that scene felt very noticeably hard cuts back and forth. It felt as though some J and L cuts might just soften it up a bit.
I couldn't for the life of me think of the 'Two Wolves' story, but as soon as the women mentioned it in the film I instantly knew what it was and thought it was a perfect metaphor for the context of the film.
Overall another solid entry, but I didn't expect any less from you AJ ;)

AJ Brooks
11-05-2013, 08:39 AM
I did however get a little lost with the story at the end and would love to know what the guy bit/where the blood came from.

Thanks for the notes Matthew.

It's subtle and you won't see it on a dark monitor, but you'll see it in the foreground if you go back and watch that CU shot where he turns around and grins at her. :)

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 01:05 PM
Thanks for the notes Matthew.

It's subtle and you won't see it on a dark monitor, but you'll see it in the foreground if you go back and watch that CU shot where he turns around and grins at her. :)

Now I'll have to go back and watch it again. :)

AJ Brooks
11-06-2013, 06:57 AM
Now I'll have to go back and watch it again. :)

No! It's a trap! :)

alex whitmer
11-06-2013, 10:21 AM
Really great film. Lot to like, from the delish back lighting, location, use of elements. Acting/directing has big-screen quality.

Truly love the exterior shot of the barn (dusk or dawn, hard to tell, but sweet).

a

Chris_Keaton
11-09-2013, 07:16 AM
The acting was good and that is what kept this from being a bore. Even in one room pieces something needs to happen visually, but we got talking and some talking in a different place. And through all that talking there was still some mystery as what the heck really happened and who the chick was. I'm guessing with more time to give us where we were what was happening and the stakes for each character this could've been better. Otherwise it was a good looking, well acted, professional short. I can't wait to see what you can do with more time and a bigger budget and my script. ;)

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-11-2013, 11:12 PM
Fantastic Job AJ!
Ryan you friggin' killed it!

Great opening image. Sound, everything all working here.

Love the warm flame with the cool window lights.

Once they sit at the table , lighting in his shot doesn’t quiet match the wider shot or her shot I don’t think, and I like the wider shot and her shot. Better. Maybe a vignette on his shot to tone down the toplight?

Your dialogue is interesting. Slightly heightened (in a good way) and zippy. This is picking nits so I hesitate to mention but your while your actors are quite good maybe they aren’t always up to the level of banter you challenge them with at the table - making it zippy, clever, high stakes and completely behavioral / real at the same time. Quite a challenge. They’re still very good - just not nailing it totally or what I think you were going for there. This is a very tiny nit.
Once they get to the window - the acting and dialogue gel for me and it's all good.

Love when you cut to what would be the two shot at the end of the window scene and she’s just gone. Great looking shot and great story-forward.

Crap that super wide shot in the barn for “Where is the body?!” is great!
Love it. The scale of the set. The levels of depth and light. The hanging sheer fabric. The warmer window light the cooler reflection. The shadows on the floor, the multi colored wood slats - great!

In general both actors look great on camera / like “real actors”. She’s particularly engaging. Something about her hipster-tomboy-good looks and straightforward delivery. He really starts cooking once they get into the barn.

Not nuts about his ECU at 6:10. I think because we’re still figuring out exactly what’s going on (maybe we kinda know but aren’t sure how we’re supposed to feel about it yet or him, but that intimate and close a shot is a bit jarring. Not ready to be so up his nose yet emotionally and also in terms of your shot vocabulary leading up to it, it’s a but jarring. Maybe it’s the cut / edit too- the cut is weird in terms of where he is physically in the shot just preceding and then in the ECU.

Love the cutting / jump cutting of her over his shoulder though. Plays thematically well with the two wolves idea - devil on one shoulder angel on another - while somehow not being too on the nose at all.

Another amazing shot at 7:07 when he places the gas lamp on the foreground table in the barn! Depth via varying color temps, varying levels of light, deep set, with just the right things accented.


I feel dumb but I don’t get the ending even though I rewatched several times….






SPOILERS

Regarding the end :
I can tell he’s cutting or biting something off himself I think.
He turns and is grins and his mouth is covered with blood.
He holds up bloody fingers (I think) in the foreground but its too dark and they’re out of focus.
Did he eat his fingers? Did he win by “feeding” himself? Though for some reason I don’t think that could be it .
And if he did cut off or eat his fingers - I still don't get it. What am I missing?

Chris_Keaton
11-19-2013, 04:31 AM
He bit his fingerprints off, was my guess, but I couldn't see either. But I'm good at guessing.

Alan H. Chang
11-19-2013, 05:32 AM
Congrats, AJ and team! Another 1st place entry.

Brandon Rice
11-19-2013, 06:48 AM
Congratulations!!

Elton
11-19-2013, 01:39 PM
Congratulations AJ and crew. Always good stuff

Brandon Rice
11-20-2013, 07:56 AM
Congrats AJ! Good work!

lawriejaffa
12-20-2013, 06:06 PM
Hey!

The Two Wolves was a very elegantly shot, well cast and performed piece, with some very brief crude editing (during an initial conversation scene) that rectifies itself after a minute. Namely where we cut into actors speaking there lines - the choppiness here didn't let the dialogue fall so smoothly but once fixed it worked a charm.

The story - based on Native American Tale was not entirely accessible, but the basic premise of psychological horror/quasi-supernatural was effective. Especially in tone and atmosphere. The ending with the fingerprints - worked well BUT...

BUT....

BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT.....

As is too common for you AJ... it was a little hard to make out haha a vital plot element (not so much in your script as can be the case in some previous works, but for a simple shot essential to the satisfaction of your stories end. An obscure shot... shouldn't hold your film so hostage to an audiences understanding? Why risk it? WHY AJ... WHY!!!?!) I had to really go back to it and study the shot to figure it out. Seems obvious once you know... but you won't always have that second chance with audiences, and their assumption will be it is YOU who doesn't know what he's doing... not that there too stupid to figure it out. Consider that if you should produce a feature film and the difference which with folks (and users) will review your work!

Be wary of this!

Um and that's about it... Great work man! It's a dose of genre with genuine artistic merit. It's noteworthy however that Black out won the audience vote (and that this film came first ONLY due to a panel.) It's what the audience thinks that is important (in reality...) and I think, by just making sure - genuinely making SURE... that the smart ideas you have come across that bit more clearly would have seen that statistic increase.

And it deserves to, as you are a very gifted filmmaker and it would be a shame for inaccessibility to limit the appeal of your work especially if you should decide to pursue the genre in feature territory. As someone who is keen to see you develop a feature film, it... would suffer particularly more than your shorts from the sometimes cryptic editing styles you employ!

A worthy winner, but I genuinely wish I could have reaaaally loved it AJ than just really liking it - it's so close! :)