View Full Version : Bear

10-29-2013, 01:05 AM


Been working on it for a while, but just got around to creating the thread.

Looks like there's some fantastic films brewing - I can't wait to watch them all.

10-29-2013, 01:18 AM
Written & Directed by Chris Lynch
Lily Cave, Catriona Argue, Anne Lynch, Graham Carrothers
Grip, Boom & Sound: Greg Rochon
Ms. Cave's hair, makeup and wardrobe: Leanne Teron
Music Courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Special thanks to the Cave/Teron family for a tonne of support.
Extra Special thanks to my wife, Anne.

Filmed in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Filmed with Panasonic GH1 Camera (unhacked)
Lumix 20mm/F1.7 & 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 lenses
KinoFlo 401 Lights
Kessler Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly
Jag35 Shoulder Mount w/ DFocus Follow Focus
Audio Recorded with Rode VideoMic & Rode NTG3/ZOOM H4n
Edited with Sony Vegas

Brandon Rice
10-29-2013, 06:37 AM
Wow, another late entry coming in! Can't wait to see it!

10-29-2013, 10:53 AM
Great to see you back!

10-29-2013, 02:19 PM
Thank you. It's sure great to be back...

Hawk Teflon
11-02-2013, 11:15 AM

What I liked: Opening shot with "Bear" in the magnetic letters was done very well. I think that's the only titling you need. Take the other one out. Acting was pretty good across the board, I think the best was from the main talent, though. I liked the push/pull on the cake as well.

What I didn't like as much: I feel like the Lego scenes at the beginning and end were paralleling the death of the father previously. But at the end I'm not sure if he's really dead or just absent. I tried following the ending Lego stuff for clues, but I just didn't see them. This probably sounds weird, but since I'm not familiar with the layout of the house, having the closet open across the hall from the girls' room made me think they kept going in and out of a closet in her room. The lighting felt a little flat throughout as well.

I have to say that this one left me confused. Was the dad dead? Was the bear talking? What happened to the bear's head? When did she get the dad bear? What did it mean?

11-03-2013, 04:39 PM
Thanks very much for the feedback.



What I intended for the Lego was it to more or less represent her state of mind. The whole story is about the little girl who has come mentally unhinged a bit due to her parent's divorce. At the beginning it's chaotic and dark (car accident, skeletons, and so on). The Lego scene at the end is more serene as she imagines her back with her dad.

The main idea:
Her mom's new partner is trying to build a bridge, and gives her the teddy bear. The girl imagines the bear coming to life and tormenting her. She imagines her dad showing up at her birthday party and giving her a larger bear to protect her from the other bear. In reality, he never shows, the big bear is hers all along, and it's her who writes the tag on the large bear and beheads the little bear.

I tried to play with colour a little - when she is imagining or halucinating, it's brighter with a soft glow, whereas the rest is more muted and dull and flat (as you noticed). Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the lighting setup. Next time...

I hope the clears things up. Thanks again for the feedback!

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 01:54 AM
Hawk hit the nail on the head.
What I will add though is that I think you overcomplicated the plot by making the mothers new partner a woman. You could have still done the 'new partner trying to build a bridge with the girl' easier and stronger with a man, as she had obviously just lost her father. Remember this a short film, keep it simple, this is where stereotypes and cliches CAN be your friend.
I also got a little lost with the end. Was the small bear speaking to her? Where did the big bear come from? Why did the big bear kill the little bear?
You said you tried to play with colour, but I think you really needed to get your lighting and composition right first, as like Hawk said, it all felt a little flat.
My favorite part though was the Hitchcock/Vertigo shot on the cake, nice.

11-06-2013, 02:34 PM
Thanks for taking the time to view and comment.

Funny you should mention the casting of a woman. The part was written for a male actor, and I had it cast and ready to go. But due to scheduling conflicts I had to find a last minute replacement. Fortunately, my awesome wife stepped in and saved the day. So, "Dave" became "Diane". In fact, I had written the story with a young boy as the lead but was unable to find a suitable actor so the wonderful Lily Cave agreed to do it. So once again, what was once "Tommy" became "Tammy". I think she did a great job and fortunately the story worked either way. I would have preferred a male "dad", but what can you do? :-)

I completely agree with the lighting feedback too. I'm still struggling with that. Due to my silly schedule we had one day to shoot it all, and with nobody else but me to do everything (but the sound), it was all very rushed and it definitely shows in the lighting. Not an excuse though, and I'm going to be taking some time to practice different setups with the kit I have in hopes of improving for the next short.

I had the dolly-zoom cake shot in my head from the start and I'm glad it worked out well in the end. Lily got one candle to stay lit on the first take too...

Thanks again for the feedback - I truly appreciate it.


11-08-2013, 09:10 PM
This looked good and with the bear thing I thought we were going to get another demonic toy. But in the end I really didn't get what was going on with the Bear. So basically all I got was a kid who seemed a little nutty (she did a great job) and mourning the loss of her dad. None of that screams horror to me. But overall a nice job.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-11-2013, 10:21 PM
Nice opening sequence even before you push into the mirror, then that was a really cool cherry on top.
Nice light and score on the Bear. I think you undercut the creepy subtle vibe by cutting to the title with the boo sound effect. You have us under your spell - I’d like to see a cut where you keep us there and the opening sequence is broken out of when she steps on the toy at 1:55, then turns the lights on. As it is, after the Bear title with the scare noise you have to go back to the dreamy music box and colored lights. I’d’ve preferred if you just stayed there, just have the title “Bear” come up over the shot of the bear, keep us in the dreamy music and colors and continue til she steps on the toy then turns the lights on.

Once she does turn the lights on - the lighting and look is uneven. I think you benefit some from the look because it feels so slice of life, but you’ve set such a high expectation with you’re opening.

Great shot over the shoulder of the bear in the high camera angle.
I don’t like the low angle looking up on him as much. The over the shoulder angle - he’s big and powerful. He looks wee in the low angle up for some reason - needs a tighter shot maybe? And again I think the creepiness is undercut by the hiss sound effect. Just seeing him there and the music and the girl’s reaction is all we need - we’re projecting all kinds of things onto this bear just because of the music and your great camera angles, the context, and the acting.

When the mom comes into interrupt the conversation between the little girl and the bear - the exposure and lighting us just all over the place cut to cut. You display such facility in the opening sequence and some of the frames and camera moves are so great - like the Hitchock zoom while she’s making her birthday wish at 5:55, that it points out the poor / inconsistent lighting for the regular drama parts. Things are just blown out and the color temp doesn’t match and you cut between grades that are very different.

Then you end strong again back int the toy world. The Toy segments have a very nice Twilight zone feel.

11-12-2013, 03:12 PM
Thanks for the very kind and detailed words, Jack.

Inspiration to improve!

Lighting: my weakest link for sure. I plan to spend some quality time over the long, cold Canadian winter working on this.

Scott F
11-13-2013, 08:07 AM
I would have preferred a male "dad", but what can you do? :-)

What, this sort of scenario doesn't happen in real life? Please. No need to apologize for your creative direction. It worked 100% for me.

I'm slowly going through these submissions as I have time. I enjoyed this one. I think you had some great work with shooting the toys. Camera moves & lighting were nice. Love all the lego stuff.

Technical issues did abound in the big picture. Already mentioned was lighting & grading shortcomings. Sound was an issue in places. The living room was very boomy. There's just complete silence @ 4:22, takes me out of the film. Sound is a tough one. It has to be real tight to really sell the story.

Overall, I like where you went with this. While it's not a typical "horror" film, you played with the genre while addressing a family issue. ++++ points for originality. I do like the ending but admit I needed to read your explanation a few posts back to get it.

All you guys who submitted films kick ass. I'm hoping to get something together in the near future!

11-13-2013, 09:04 AM
Thanks a lot, Scott. I wasn't planning on the modern family arrangement, but we worked with it and I'm pleased with how it came together. I knew all along that this wasn't going to be a "horror" film per se: no terror or jump out at you moments, no gore and all that. I wanted to do a little bit of a creepy, melancholy story about the child's mental anguish from a family breakup.

I really enjoyed playing with the intro toy and Lego setup, and the mirror shot - that took a long time to get right, rocking the camera forward on the tripod legs while working with the dimmer for the lights. I needed a helper!

Yup: Lighting. Yup: Sound.

I had a few missed audio takes too so I was forced to use the backup on-camera audio and the GH1/Rode VideoMic aren't renowned for their sonic qualities :-) Still, I could have worked it all together better. I should try to fix up everything as much as I can in another cut of the film and see how it turns out.

Thanks again for the feedback, and I'd love to see what you bring to the next fest.

11-14-2013, 07:01 AM
I liked this film Chris...well done. Have to agree with most of the above comments, but I guess I'm not as picky.
Loved the opening sequence...and that mirror shot was the topper!

I really enjoyed playing with the intro toy and Lego setup, and the mirror shot - that took a long time to get right, rocking the camera forward on the tripod legs while working with the dimmer for the lights. I needed a helper!

Yup: Lighting. Yup: Sound.

As mentioned, the "zolly" shot is alway fun too and not the easiest shot to pull off. Congrats on getting this one together and in.....and I hear you about having a helper. :happy:

11-14-2013, 03:27 PM
Thanks a lot!

I did have some helpers for the dramatic parts, but the intro and outro bits was just me late at night trying not to wake up my 4-year-old sleeping in the loft bed.

He didn't quite understand why I had to make his room look like a girl's room for a couple days, but he enjoyed ripping the head off the bear :-)

11-14-2013, 04:50 PM
... but he enjoyed ripping the head off the bear :-)
Who wouldn't!

12-20-2013, 05:18 PM

Bear can be directly compared to Arabella, both films utilise the traditional creepiness of the doll... the perturbing life of the inanimate form! Where the films diverge is that Bear, clearly follows a path towards artistic/psychological perspective/introspection (and Arabella a traditional genre narrative.)

This places a great challenge upon Bear's shoulders... why? Because it attempts to reach an intellectually elevated platform (within the confines of genre) than the easier route taken by Arabella.

First of all I applaud the attempt to combine sophisticated ideas/artistic merit with genre – it is in fact a commercial niche in my opinion to be explored.

Annnyway I did like the strange (but unexplained) sense of foreboding associated with the bear... it builds during the short (and we come I guess, to believe that it is a psychological invention of the child) to compensate for a missing father? Perhaps not?

It's... not a film that gives a lot of answers (or makes them accessible) at least not to me. I did enjoy it's general feel and tone, and at times it's very inventive cinematography (particularly the lego scenes at the star and end.) Also noteworthy is the lesbian relationship narrative, rarely depicted with any maturity in genre films. (that's right? Or am I just assuming this block-headedly?)

All in all a bit too inaccessible to produce the necessary quota of 'entertainment' that I would have liked from this. It left me a little bewildered.

Anyway some great ideas here and there and all over the place – perhaps they just require more discipline at tying themselves together for the benefit of the audience.

12-20-2013, 05:26 PM
The master returns!

I anxiously await my "Thank you sir, may I have another!" beatdown. ;-)

12-20-2013, 05:28 PM
Muhhahahaa (yeah you mean the bast*rd returns ;)

I'm just gutted I didn't make it into this festival, but I LOVE that dvxfest is back in action! So happy to watch all the entries :)

12-27-2013, 12:06 AM
Thanks for the very kind feedback. Indeed, the bear's malevolence is a product of the child herself. And agreed, it was a tad too out of reach for most. I'll get better at this eventually. Also, the lesbian couple was a product of conflicting schedules. A traditional hetero couple was written. :-)

I can't wait for the next fest!