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Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 01:49 PM
Be gentle.

Or not.

Brandon Rice
02-16-2006, 04:06 PM
I am surprised you have no comments... I really liked this film (in my top five). I rloved the costume design, and the great twist at the end. Decent acting overall, and cool location!! Loved it!

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 05:20 PM
I am surprised you have no comments... I really liked this film (in my top five). I rloved the costume design, and the great twist at the end. Decent acting overall, and cool location!! Loved it!

Thanks for taking the time, Brandon, and I regard being anywhere half-close to these other entries as a huge compliment. I am delighted you liked our efforts. Some specific comments:

1. Costume design - the Agents' uniforms (the two blondes - some may have noticed a theme here) were selected/designed/outfitted by myself and 1st AD/Associate Producer/FX Coordinator/good buddy Craig Webb based entirely upon budget. The Scavengers' and Attorneys' wardrobes were assembled by Craig Webb and certain lead actors (Charlene Fernetz, Mike Todd and Colin Brousson) based upon general consensus reached in pre-production discussions. Charlene assembled all her own costumes. The "balaclava effect" was kept in because, being Canadians, we simply like cheese and blondes (not necessarily in that order).

2. "Twist" at the end could have had more visual impact, but for the crappy director not really knowing what he was doing. Idiot.

3. The Actors - some are pros and some aren't (I won't say which are in which category) but every one of them came through, put out and put up (with yours' truly). By the way, Charlene Fernetz (the female lead), won the Best Actress award at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in 2005 for her lead role in a feature film entered last year; and Martin Taylor (the Judge) was simply the most awesome person one could ever hope to work with and the part was written from day one with him in mind.

4. Location (I assume you mean the riverbank) was indeed cool. And wet. And miserable. But we had fun. Yeah, right.

Thanks again for the time you took in viewing the short and making your comments, Brandon.

(just a little more work to finish here and I can start watching the rest of the entries too)

Blaine
02-16-2006, 05:33 PM
I had to go back and rewatch it before I could comment on it. My overall impression was that it was a good watch. http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif I particularly liked the lighting used in the "trial". The "blown out" white of her dress was almost mystical. I also liked the kill shot of the man, smoke and fire, cool. :cool: My only quibble would be the text into. Perhaps a different font or layout might have made it more visually stimulating. Overall, very good. I liked it. http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif

ps Was it pretty nasty shooting in the rain?

Kaz
02-16-2006, 05:47 PM
I liked the costuming a lot and the outdoor shots are really nice. I guessed the ending early, but I'm known for that and it's really annoying.

I'd say more but I plan on watching the stand-out films again before I vote (assuming I reach 100 posts!)

Nice work!

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 07:24 PM
I had to go back and rewatch it before I could comment on it. My overall impression was that it was a good watch. http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif I particularly liked the lighting used in the "trial". The "blown out" white of her dress was almost mystical. I also liked the kill shot of the man, smoke and fire, cool. :cool: My only quibble would be the text into. Perhaps a different font or layout might have made it more visually stimulating. Overall, very good. I liked it. http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif

ps Was is pretty nasty shooting in the rain?

Blaine,

Thanks for the comments. First things first.

Rain sucks. Cold rain sucks worse. Cold rain and wind sucks ... well ... worser (AK!). We had it all.

Thanks for the lighting comment on the trial sequence. The only good idea the director had and the lighting guys pulled it off expertly (IMHO). It helped that the lead actress packed the perfect wardrobe, too.

The kill shot of the guy was fun to do. Had some help from Thomas FX in North vancouver in getting the chemicals and Craig Webb mixed the right ratio of flash to smoke. We also tried several colors of flash, and obviously went with the one you saw. The actor, Mike Todd, pulled the scene off great (it's hard to blow up and then fall onto river rock - or so he said).

Like your comments on the intro - particularly because it hadn't occurred to me. In retrospect, this was the most ignored part of the short (albeit the very first thing we shot).

Thanks for your comments.

ExtremeSleuth
02-16-2006, 07:24 PM
i liked the costumes as well. the acting was alright. i didn't like a couple of the actors (not going to be specific). overall though i thought it was a neat idea.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 08:19 PM
I liked the costuming a lot and the outdoor shots are really nice. I guessed the ending early, but I'm known for that and it's really annoying.

I'd say more but I plan on watching the stand-out films again before I vote (assuming I reach 100 posts!)

Nice work!

Thanks Kaz.

Er ... how early did you guess the ending? If it was during the opening UFO landing, then I'm really a schmuck!

Your comments are much appreciated.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 08:24 PM
i liked the costumes as well. the acting was alright. i didn't like a couple of the actors (not going to be specific). overall though i thought it was a neat idea.

Thanks for your comments.

If you don't want to say which actor(s) you didn't like, just tell me the ones you did like.

And I'll put a stop payment on the cheques of the actors you don't mention.

Oh. Wait. I didn't pay them. Except for the little girl (child labour laws and all that).

You didn't hate the little girl, did you? She'd cry if you did. Especially after I cancel her cheque.

Thanks for the comments and for the time you took to watch it.

Cheers.

(you did hate the little girl, didn't you!)

mikkowilson
02-16-2006, 09:53 PM
Good, but not great.

I found the opening sequence to be weak. I was a little confused what was going on.

It was all veyr well shot, but once I have to confessthat I did guess it was about the child from the get go. By the time we go to the trial I was almsot thrown off by the desciion to have the moss coment, to me at least it was almost obvious it was the child by this point.

Ligthing was great,a nd teh SFX worked in very well too. I love the guy smoking as he went down! Cool!

The judge was a great character, very well played. :)

Overall I liked it, but I think I was a little lost on the story.

- Mikko

ProfD
02-16-2006, 10:09 PM
I liked the intro lights behind the trees...we tried to come up with something similar for ours, but went in another direction and location. Interesting story concept. I didn't follow it so well towards the end, but, overall seemed cool.

Slimothy
02-16-2006, 10:11 PM
The opening shots was great. The EXT shot of the river was beautiful. I really liked the cinematography in this one, mainly the beginning. The acting was pretty good, and I liked the main Leader guy in the end. The story was alright, but I didn't get everything. There were some sound issues here too. At one point it sounded as if you bounced from using ADR to location sound. Also didn't like the soldiers voice change. Took me out of the story. Overall I think this one started with a bang and ended on a lesser note.

One question: When the guy gets shot, how did you do the smoking thing? Looked really good.

ExtremeSleuth
02-16-2006, 10:43 PM
Thanks for your comments.

If you don't want to say which actor(s) you didn't like, just tell me the ones you did like.

And I'll put a stop payment on the cheques of the actors you don't mention.

Oh. Wait. I didn't pay them. Except for the little girl (child labour laws and all that).

You didn't hate the little girl, did you? She'd cry if you did. Especially after I cancel her cheque.

Thanks for the comments and for the time you took to watch it.

Cheers.

(you did hate the little girl, didn't you!)


yes i did hate the little girl! she sucked!! worst acting ever! holy poo poo what the hell were you thinking!??!? :mad: :confused: :angry:














LOL JK. i didn't hate the little girl don't worry. i'm going to go back and rewatch it here tomorrow... so many movies all of them are getting jumbled in my mind.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 11:06 PM
Good, but not great.

I found the opening sequence to be weak. I was a little confused what was going on.

It was all veyr well shot, but once I have to confessthat I did guess it was about the child from the get go. By the time we go to the trial I was almsot thrown off by the desciion to have the moss coment, to me at least it was almost obvious it was the child by this point.

Ligthing was great,a nd teh SFX worked in very well too. I love the guy smoking as he went down! Cool!

The judge was a great character, very well played. :)

Overall I liked it, but I think I was a little lost on the story.

- Mikko

Mikko, thanks for the excellent comments. I want to go back and review the opening scene. I'm kinda warming up to the idea of tuning it up in a re-edit.

Funny about the comments about figuring out about the little girl early on. The few people I tested it on didn't get it at all and were mystified (confused?) right up to the end. I guess I need smarter friends. Or maybe I should serve the wine after the showing ...

Thanks for the lighting comment. I was very concerned about it - because I had a real agenda for the lighting of the interior scene and the exterior lighting was changing by the minute.

More on the smoking man in later posts. And I have already publicly voiced my admiration for our judge.

I'm interested in your further comments (if you have the time) on losing you on the story. You seemed to have figured it out early, so what part(s) are you confused about? Happy to try and tell you exactly what I was going for if you let me in on what you missed.

Thanks again for your comments.

Cheers.

Norm Sanders
02-16-2006, 11:15 PM
Dahopa, this was cool. The ending had such a Twilight Zone/Outer Limits feel to it. Great job. I had to go back and see what the FUNGUS was about they were referring to in the end, then realized, oh yeah, they were collecting moss at the river ... never even noticed what they were doing ... because ...

Yes, I was distracted by the ADR. :( I wouldn't have noticed it so quickly, expect you'd mentioned it in my thread before I watched your film. Then, when I saw the river, I thought "Oh, that'll be tough to control sound on ... oh wait, maybe this is where he did the ADR?" ... and unfortunately, I found myself distracted by that going forward.

LOVED ship landing at the beginning. Great effect/camera work. Really, the camera work throughout the whole thing was top notch.

The text/font at the beginning could have had a different choice, but that's nit pick.

The lasershot/flash/smoke was AWESOME. The lasershot not as much as the rest, but the smoke that billowed & hung around his head/face as he fell was incredible ... just gave that feeling of his whole insides cooking from the shot. I'm sure falling on the rock sucked ... props to the actor for his own stunt work.

Solid acting performances throughout, I felt.

Overall, it rates among the highest so far, and I've not been lenient in my scoring/judging for the most part. Great job, and thanks for sharing your work ... I'll certainly watch it again.

mikkowilson
02-16-2006, 11:24 PM
Yeah I do contradict myself don't I?

I knew it was about the girl. Two parents with a child in a world where something is forbidden. It's the child. It has to be. It's the only thing dramatic enough. Dead givaway to me, sorry.

However, who are the parents? By the end (in court) I figured they where the property of the other race. (nice destinction with cotumes by the way, in deed made them look pimitive) I think I must have just got mixed up in the names of the races which left me a little high and dry on that part (but I SUCK at names anyway) and having allready figured out the "punchline" the buildup was lost.

I also loved the gathering of the moss to show how really insignificant the people where. I mean, they were gathering moss for pete's sake (pun intended). To me that whole idea reminded me of the "mud gathering" in Monty Python's Grail Quest. That's a good thing, it really made them the pesants and "scum of the earth".

On furthur reflection, I did like the piece over all. Just the weak start (graphics/text) and guessing the ending spoiled any overall plot development for me.

- Mikko

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 11:25 PM
I liked the intro lights behind the trees...we tried to come up with something similar for ours, but went in another direction and location. Interesting story concept. I didn't follow it so well towards the end, but, overall seemed cool.


The opening shots was great. The EXT shot of the river was beautiful. I really liked the cinematography in this one, mainly the beginning. The acting was pretty good, and I liked the main Leader guy in the end. The story was alright, but I didn't get everything. There were some sound issues here too. At one point it sounded as if you bounced from using ADR to location sound. Also didn't like the soldiers voice change. Took me out of the story. Overall I think this one started with a bang and ended on a lesser note.

One question: When the guy gets shot, how did you do the smoking thing? Looked really good.

OK, so maybe I won't re-edit the opening. Or maybe I will. Who knows. Poll to follow.

Thanks for your kind comments, guys.

The opening scene was the first we shot in November during a period of heavy fog. Of course, just as we were set up to shoot the scene, the fog lifted. And then returned. The footage we used was the very last we shot when the fog returned.

ProfD, if you didn't quite follow the story towards the end, you are either a friend of mine, or drunk (see earlier post). Certainly not the first person to make that comment, for which I thank you.

Slimothy, thank you very much for your comments. The riverbank location was a last minute location decision becuase we couldn't get into the parking lot nearest the location we had scouted. It worked much better in the end.

Sorry - you refer to the "main leader guy" - do you mean the Judge? If so, I totally agree.

Thanks for commenting on the sound issues (dripping with sarcasm - kidding). The sound was the devil in this project for me. No sound talent or experience, and my editor from the last entry deserted me on this project for a better offer (sorry, I'm still too hurt to talk about it). You hit the nail on the head with the ADR/location sound mix. Good call. I liked the change in the Agents' voices, but am very interested in your view. I want to think about that.

I'll post on the guy getting shot in a moment.

Thanks very much for your comments.

Cheers, guys.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 11:37 PM
OK - here's the scoop on the SFX on the guy getting shot (or, as I prefer to say, "lazed").

Craig Webb mixed up a combination of coloured flare powder (think road flare in various colours) with flash powder (think of the puff of magician's smoke when Lance Burton pulled the rabbit from the hat - when he was six). The flare powder created the coloured "burn" - the flash powder created the smoke.

Craig mixed it perfectly. He put the mix into a gel cap (think empty tylenol capsule) affixed to a metal backing plate under Mike's (the actor's) t-shirt. The cap was then ignited by an electric match wired down Mike's pant leg and fired by a 9 volt battery. Craig hid behind the log out of sight and and set it off on cue. We did about six takes and used the best one (determined by a combination of the acting and colour/effect).

The smoke was really great as it just wanted to hang around Mike's head. We have some awesome stills of some of the shots shot on a high speed digital still camera (thanks, Mischa!). I'll post those soemwhere, sometime. The biggest problem we had was trying to get Mike to stop breathing in as he became engulfed in smoke. Apparently it's not "good" smoke.

And, by the way, was Mike nervous about the shot? You BETCHA! Did he complain? Nope!

And we assured him that there would be minimal heat to the burn and that the backing plate was just for "safety". The last shot was really cool, because Mike's t-shirt was nicely alit. We haven't shown Mike that footage yet, but will - just as soon as the statute of limitations runs out.

Thanks for your interest guys.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 11:45 PM
Dahopa, this was cool. The ending had such a Twilight Zone/Outer Limits feel to it. Great job. I had to go back and see what the FUNGUS was about they were referring to in the end, then realized, oh yeah, they were collecting moss at the river ... never even noticed what they were doing ... because ...

Yes, I was distracted by the ADR. :( I wouldn't have noticed it so quickly, expect you'd mentioned it in my thread before I watched your film. Then, when I saw the river, I thought "Oh, that'll be tough to control sound on ... oh wait, maybe this is where he did the ADR?" ... and unfortunately, I found myself distracted by that going forward.

LOVED ship landing at the beginning. Great effect/camera work. Really, the camera work throughout the whole thing was top notch.

The text/font at the beginning could have had a different choice, but that's nit pick.

The lasershot/flash/smoke was AWESOME. The lasershot not as much as the rest, but the smoke that billowed & hung around his head/face as he fell was incredible ... just gave that feeling of his whole insides cooking from the shot. I'm sure falling on the rock sucked ... props to the actor for his own stunt work.

Solid acting performances throughout, I felt.

Overall, it rates among the highest so far, and I've not been lenient in my scoring/judging for the most part. Great job, and thanks for sharing your work ... I'll certainly watch it again.

Hey Norm. Thanks for your comments.

I hear you on the ADR and you are absolutely right. Need to hire an ADR guy next time (or maybe try and acquire some talent, or something).

I was worried about the camera work throughout. The DVX is an awesome camera (and we had two on this shoot for all scenes except the opening), but even a great camera needs a pro to run it. I think I'm finally gaining some confidence in my DP, but I'm still a little nervous ... :D

See previous post on the smoke effect. Thanks.

I have high regard for your praise and criticism, Norm. Thanks for your thoughts and taking the time to comment.

penfever
02-16-2006, 11:45 PM
I thought this film had a well-defined style. Admittedly, not a style I tend to go for gung-ho, but a style, nevertheless. That's a big up.
Another big-up. Costumes. This man paid attention to his costuming. Why, oh why can people not learn this? Costumes are not to think of after the fact. Costumes SELL this film. 100 per cent, baybee. So big ups for that.
Big ups for your female lead, the mother. A simple part, but she played it well, and convincingly.
Not so big ups for your husband and daughter. The husband just didn't seem to serve a purpose. And then he got shot. Proving me right, I guess.
The last scene was so bloody talky, as was that print-heavy introduction. I couldn't understand most of it because after a certain amount of dialogue without visual excitement, my ears glaze. It's a pacing thing, pure and simple - too much needed to be crammed in too quickly in order for this story to make sense. I think a couple of sessions trimming the script's rough edges would have done wonders for this film.
And a hair too long - maybe 30 seconds. But not killer too long.

Dahopafilms
02-16-2006, 11:50 PM
Yeah I do contradict myself don't I?

...

On furthur reflection, I did like the piece over all. Just the weak start (graphics/text) and guessing the ending spoiled any overall plot development for me.

- Mikko

Mikko, no contradictions at all - I appreciate your comments. Mine is not as close to perfect as many other entries here and I really find your comments useful so I can compare to my own views and to previous comments I have received.

I agree on the opening titles and think I'll re-work those for the "final" version - thanks to you for your input.

Cheers. And thanks again for the very constructive and valuable comments.

mikkowilson
02-16-2006, 11:55 PM
Here's my 3rd reponse to eloborate even mroe on what I said a moment ago.

Ok, I watched it again...

It's better.

But I have some bad news for you. Wanna take a guess at what line gave away the plot?


"Every combination of molecules in the galaxy had an owner"
Boom, right there, first damn frame of the movie. "combination of molecules" just screamed "IT'S A PERSON (but we don't want to give that away)" to me.
Maybe the simple word "thing" would have been better.

First time through I must have got hung up on that line as it confused the next set of text. The actual video of the opening looks great!

Then the river. It's great location, but I didn't originally recognize it as that. I've lived for years in Southeast Alaska, so that the setting was like my back yard to me. It was just very normal and didnt' have that "far away place" feel to it like a desert does.

The lazer hit. You beat my speculation with your explanation, but i was goign to go with: Metal plate for safty, flash power, plus something for the red color, ignited with a model rocket ignitor. I love how the smoke lingers. It takes jsut eh rigth conditions for it to do that withou dissapating too fast. The clothes held it in great, and the moit air from the river kept it down a close to him.

As for the actual lazer.. it don't look that great. It's a dotted line! - maybe that's just the speed over framerate and shutter, but i'd expect it to be continious - even if moving.

The plot of the girl was finally confirmed (still ahead of it's time) when the judge said the contraband will be disposed of - and the mother's reaction.

I dind't like how long the girl was in the dark for as she was bought forward. I'd have liked to see her enter the light almost right away as we knew it was her. no need to keep it in the dark anymore as we could still see her right away.

The "mommy" line was good, a little stereotypical, but necesary to show the childs lack of understanding of the situation.

I think with a few different choices of words (not so much hinting/forshadowing) the climax couldhave been built more sucessfully.

But I am liking it more each time I watch it. (as I 'know' the ending properly now) It definatly has good production value, and that counts a lot for me.

- Mikko

Ralph Oshiro
02-17-2006, 03:02 AM
Dahopa:

I really thought your lead actress and the older judge gentleman were really good actors! Great finds! But, why were the two police guys, actually hot chicks?

Dahopafilms
02-17-2006, 12:01 PM
I thought this film had a well-defined style. Admittedly, not a style I tend to go for gung-ho, but a style, nevertheless. That's a big up.
Another big-up. Costumes. This man paid attention to his costuming. Why, oh why can people not learn this? Costumes are not to think of after the fact. Costumes SELL this film. 100 per cent, baybee. So big ups for that.
Big ups for your female lead, the mother. A simple part, but she played it well, and convincingly.
Not so big ups for your husband and daughter. The husband just didn't seem to serve a purpose. And then he got shot. Proving me right, I guess.
The last scene was so bloody talky, as was that print-heavy introduction. I couldn't understand most of it because after a certain amount of dialogue without visual excitement, my ears glaze. It's a pacing thing, pure and simple - too much needed to be crammed in too quickly in order for this story to make sense. I think a couple of sessions trimming the script's rough edges would have done wonders for this film.
And a hair too long - maybe 30 seconds. But not killer too long.

Penfever,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. All appreciated.

I must again give credit to Craig and the actors (especially Charlene) for the costumes. I was more in the background giving a nudge or two on that front.

As for the actors (esp. the husband and daughter) it sounds to me like perhaps you have more of a script issue than an acting issue here (for which I accept all the blame). Simply put, the husband (Mike) was there because (i) we needed a "family" and a husband fits as a component to the stereotypical family; and (ii) I needed to kill someone (kinda like Crewmember #3 in the Star Trek series) and the husband was it. This was Dejeanna's (the daughter's) first real acting job and she was a trooper. And her character's presence was central to the story.

I hear you on the courtroom scene. I'm also a big fan of trimming (holy poo poo, you should have seen the first four versions of the script - or maybe you shouldn't!). It's hard to make a courtroom scene into an action scene (perhaps an intercut car crash?) - and I know that's not what you're saying - , but I hear you on the dialogue - and yes we needed to get through a lot to wrap up the story. Your comment is valid and I thank you for it.

Again, thanks for your comments. Very helpful to me and very thoughtful.

Cheers.

Dahopafilms
02-17-2006, 02:35 PM
Dahopa:

I really thought your lead actress and the older judge gentleman were really good actors! Great finds! But, why were the two police guys, actually hot chicks?

You're the first to ask about the "police guys" (!).

Why cast them? Two words: Wrap Party.

Kidding (well, kinda). I just wanted the surprise when the balaclavas came off (hence the voice change). I also wanted them looking as close to each other as possible, so we went hunting for an actress that looked as close to Kristine as we could find (as she was already cast), and Kristine put us on to Joy (rim shot). They were both very professional and great to work with (Joy for the first time for me).

And if you were genetically designing a race of Agents, would you honestly make them look like Abe Vigoda? Think carefully now ...

And I'm thinking that maybe that wasn't a serious question so I'm kinda embarrassed now and ...

Never mind.

angrynerdrock07
02-17-2006, 04:52 PM
The ending had such a Twilight Zone/Outer Limits feel to it.

Ha! That's exactly how I felt. The whole piece felt like an Outer Limits episode (in a good way). I really enjoyed the acting. This has to be in the top 5 of acting out of the films I've watched so far. Lighting was also very nicely done, especially in the court room scene.

arielman
02-17-2006, 06:50 PM
Enjoyed the opening shot on the river , the dark room (trial) .didn't expect the child to be taken away and disposed of ...felt a chill on that one .
All in all I enjoyed watching this one.
Ian

Dahopafilms
02-17-2006, 08:23 PM
Ha! That's exactly how I felt. The whole piece felt like an Outer Limits episode (in a good way). I really enjoyed the acting. This has to be in the top 5 of acting out of the films I've watched so far. Lighting was also very nicely done, especially in the court room scene.

High praise and I thank you very much for it.

The actors did a great job in spite of the poo poo director. Nice people as well. Kinda Stepford-actors, if you know what I mean. Go figure.

Delighted with your comments on the lighting - thanks. Again I wanted a specific look to the Courtroom scene in general and the lighting in particular. Beyond the concept, my DP and Cody Mcdonald and Craig Webb lit it and did an awesome job. They get the main kudos here.

Thanks again.

Jeremy Ordan
02-18-2006, 12:18 AM
I haven't read what anyone else has posted, but here is my review:

Contraband – I loved the beginning, but had to watch it twice just to get it all. I thought it worked really well, and the yellow type just immediately made me say that I’m in for a good ride. The moment the ship touches down the sound kicks in, and I wasn’t disappointed. The male actor just seemed stiff, while I did enjoy the child and mother character. The court scene though seemed just a bit too synthetic for me. The score was good, and were only topped by the effects (voice effects laser fire). The magistrates or whatever bothered me, they seemed a little stiff. This is an ideal use of effects in my opinion, something simple that doesn’t pull away from the story. Good job finding a nice balance there. The ski mask thing disappointed a bit, I don’t know, maybe some gas masks would have sold it better for me. The contraband vs. herb thing got a little twisted at the end, and the story lost me a bit at that point. Overall I really enjoyed the film and good job on solid sound mixing, score usage, and lighting. Good project.

EditPhish
02-18-2006, 01:46 AM
Funny Yankee, the ski masks bothered me too.

I thought the lighting was excellent, especially in the second half. The UFO at the beginning looked great. Attention to details was excellent... costumes, setting, music, sounds, etc... which is why the ski masks bothered me that much more. They looked so out of place to me.

There were some sound issues with dialogue during the stream scene.

The music was excellent, and the acting was very good... just a little "off" at times, but still overall well done.

The story was an interesting one, and I liked the concept. It held my interest and I liked the little twist at the end, but figuring it all out wasn't exactly easy. I don't like big "read" setups at the beginning of movies either (I commented on that in another review). And unlike Yankee I did NOT like the yellow type... I thought it was one of the only things that looked amateurish.

Great effort, great lighting, good concept and overall a decent watch. Thanks for sharing your film with us!

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 08:39 AM
I haven't read what anyone else has posted, but here is my review:

Contraband Ė I loved the beginning, but had to watch it twice just to get it all. I thought it worked really well, and the yellow type just immediately made me say that Iím in for a good ride. The moment the ship touches down the sound kicks in, and I wasnít disappointed. The male actor just seemed stiff, while I did enjoy the child and mother character. The court scene though seemed just a bit too synthetic for me. The score was good, and were only topped by the effects (voice effects laser fire). The magistrates or whatever bothered me, they seemed a little stiff. This is an ideal use of effects in my opinion, something simple that doesnít pull away from the story. Good job finding a nice balance there. The ski mask thing disappointed a bit, I donít know, maybe some gas masks would have sold it better for me. The contraband vs. herb thing got a little twisted at the end, and the story lost me a bit at that point. Overall I really enjoyed the film and good job on solid sound mixing, score usage, and lighting. Good project.

Yankee,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm starting to buy in on others' comments regarding the opening titles, but I certainly appreciate the fact that you liked them.

I think you're the first to comment on the music - for which I thank you. Worked hard on that (not on composition, but in placement of the score into the piece and trying to get the tone and beats right).

The "stiffness" of the male actors was as a result of the poo poo director - they were just following instructions. And at least as far as the courtroom scene was concerned, have you been to Court lately? Stiff. Stiff. Stiff. Maybe it's good we captured that - maybe not.

I hear you on the balaclavas. I wanted to put the budget into other things and they were a compromise. Originally I was looking at air-brushing and modifying two welding helmets (found the perfect ones, too), but I just couldn't justify the cost (an extra $450) for the improved effect.

Thanks for taking the time to watch and especially to comment - genuinely appreciated.

Jarred Land
02-18-2006, 09:28 AM
The opening shots was great. The EXT shot of the river was beautiful. I really liked the cinematography in this one, mainly the beginning.

Thanks man :)

Z B Brox
02-18-2006, 10:29 AM
I gotta say, I really liked this one. Most of the acting was great, and I really loved the opening saucer-landing type shot. The story was really good, as others have said, in that Outer-Limits tradition.

My few complaints are fairly nitpicky. Like others, I had some issues with the sound mix. The rushing water sound was great, but up a little high, and amongst all the very clear dialogue, one lower-decibal line really stood out. I also had an issue with the ski-masks... The costumes for the most part looked really good, but just ski-masks on their faces gave it a kinda cheaper more student-filmy feel. Nice reveal when they took them off, though.

I liked the court room scene a lot. I didn't mind the more wooden feel to the lawyers, as I doubt space-lawyers emote overmuch. The delivery by the father in the beginning did bother me, it just souds like he had trouble getting into voice-over work. Overall I'm really impressed by the casting, you got genuinely good people who genuinely fit their roles. And you found a very sympathetic cute kid.

Oh, I'm gonna agree that I wasn't huge on the opening text. It just seemed a little too "fonty", if you know what I mean.

But, like I said, most of my problems are minor quibbles, I really enjoyed the film from start to finish.

Z B Brox
02-18-2006, 10:44 AM
Oh, one more thing: Loved the score.

macgregor
02-18-2006, 02:22 PM
The outdoor light and camera framing was very good to me.
But i did not like the props... i think it is better not to show anything, instead of showing Bseries props.

I think i am missing something in the speech since i dont get the story very well.

The blond alients remembered me "dude, where is my car". ;]

Jarred Land
02-18-2006, 02:30 PM
the props where kinda hit and miss.. that blinking thing was a little gay but Brian had a $1.99 props budget and he blew $1.25 on donuts on the way to the set so when he arrived he had a really guilty look as he pulled it out.

I only was there to light and shoot the film.. then I had to go off to LA for the big move.. so i left Brian scratching his head what to do with the sound.. he ADR'd almost the entire thing, and i think that is the biggest hole.. not that he didnt know what he was doing, but considering this was his virgin pretty much everything in post and did it all himself it didnt turn out as bad as i thought it would.

macgregor
02-18-2006, 02:33 PM
Nono, the audio is not the problem. I am the problem, that i did not understand all they say.
I need subtitles ;D

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 03:42 PM
Thanks man :)

LOL!

Did I mention we had to use a lot of footage from the "B" camera because the "A" camera operator ...

Oh, never mind. I can't lie.

OK - And I can now disclose my favourite pretentious line from the shoot utted by - you guessed it - my favourite DP (as he was setting up his DVX at the river):

"Cool. DV tape - haven't seen this in a while ..."

HVX snob, IMHO.:D

(thanks again, bud. awesome job)

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 03:49 PM
I gotta say, I really liked this one.

...

My few complaints are fairly nitpicky. Like others, I had some issues with the sound mix. The rushing water sound was great, but up a little high, ... I also had an issue with the ski-masks ...

... The delivery by the father in the beginning did bother me, it just souds like he had trouble getting into voice-over work. Overall I'm really impressed by the casting, you got genuinely good people who genuinely fit their roles. And you found a very sympathetic cute kid.

Oh, I'm gonna agree that I wasn't huge on the opening text. It just seemed a little too "fonty", if you know what I mean.

But, like I said, most of my problems are minor quibbles, I really enjoyed the film from start to finish.

Z B Brox,

Thanks for your helpful and constructive comments.

The rushing water was used to disguise ... the stuff that wasn't there and the errors I had made in the ADR. Actually, the real river was loud, but I needed it even louder ...

With regard to the delivery by the father on the ADR, I take total blame for that. Mike (the actor) is an awesome guy who did a better job than I have the talent to show. The other actors were great, too - especially Dejianna (the cute kid). The out-takes of her are awesome - she should keep up with her acting lessons and make a go of this! Same goes for her Dad (kidding, Rick).

Thanks for your comments!

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 03:52 PM
the props where kinda hit and miss.. that blinking thing was a little gay but Brian had a $1.99 props budget and he blew $1.25 on donuts on the way to the set so when he arrived he had a really guilty look as he pulled it out.

I only was there to light and shoot the film.. then I had to go off to LA for the big move.. so i left Brian scratching his head what to do with the sound.. he ADR'd almost the entire thing, and i think that is the biggest hole.. not that he didnt know what he was doing, but considering this was his virgin pretty much everything in post and did it all himself it didnt turn out as bad as i thought it would.

This guy kills me. Who are you, anyway?

Jarred Land
02-18-2006, 04:04 PM
This guy kills me. Who are you, anyway?

Hello everyone,

My name is Jarred.

I have been sober for..

wait.. wrong room.

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 04:08 PM
Hello everyone,

My name is Jarred.

I have been sober for..

wait.. wrong room.

Excuse me, sir, but I think you're looking for the thread entitled "Four Minutes".

On pretty much every subject you want to comment on.:eek:

Now, please, stop hijacking this thread.:D

mikkowilson
02-18-2006, 04:37 PM
"Cool. DV tape - haven't seen this in a while ..."

:grin:

Can we get that on a T-shirt?


- Mikko

CallaghanFilms
02-18-2006, 10:02 PM
Dahopafilms,

I've been a fan since first seeing your ZombieFest short.
Needless to say, you didn't disappoint this time around.

I was quite impressed with your narrative.
Yours is definitely a story that would have gotten the nod of
approval from Rod Serling himself.
In fact, I think that I may have seen a specific Twilight Zone
episode influence....
The Obsolete Man (with Burgess Meredith)?
...or not. You may have never caught it.

Technically everything served the story well.

I am impressed, my man.
Cheershttp://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/beer.gifmy man on a nice little film.

Edit: To clarify, I feel your story is totally original. By "Twilight Zone influence" I meant with regards to the cinematography & lighting in the court room finale.

Dahopafilms
02-18-2006, 11:33 PM
Dahopafilms,

I've been a fan since first seeing your ZombieFest short.
Needless to say, you didn't disappoint this time around.

I was quite impressed with your narrative.
Yours is definitely a story that would have gotten the nod of
approval from Rod Serling himself.
In fact, I think that I may have seen a specific Twilight Zone
episode influence....
The Obsolete Man (with Burgess Meredith)?
...or not. You may have never caught it.

Technically everything served the story well.

I am impressed, my man.
Cheershttp://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/smilies/beer.gifmy man on a nice little film.

Edit: To clarify, I feel your story is totally original. By "Twilight Zone influence" I meant with regards to the cinematography & lighting in the court room finale.

Callaghan,

I always consider the source (for praise, criticism and beer) and those comments coming from you really mean a lot to me. Thanks very much.

I'm kinda ticked that you mentioned the Twilight Zone episode, because now I have some homework to do! I don't recall that episode, but was (years ago) a Twilight Zone fan (I used to get too scared as a kid to watch the Outer Limits). I am going to hunt down that episode. Thanks for the suggestion.

To be absolutely honest, the influence for the courtroom scene was a combination of limits on budget (I couldn't pour tons of cash into this) and talent (I knew my DP/editor was going to flee the country and leave me fumbling on my own this time - and I simply knew my limits on anything beyond very basic editing techniques in Vegas). I also liked the blown out whites in the sequence from the first Superman movie (the Marlon Brando scene) and so discussed that with Charlene (regarding costume) and Jarred (regarding lighting) for the courtroom scene. Simple idea - they pulled it off.

Again, thanks very much for your words - they are very encouraging to me (as are the other entires in this Fest which again demonstrate what can be done).

Cheers. You made my night.:)

conrad_johnson
02-19-2006, 12:10 AM
Very good overall. How did you get Dakota Fanning? Outdoor lighting and framing were good. I liked the score - it reminded me of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" - it was kind of like creepy carnival music.

pabloabad
02-19-2006, 04:47 AM
I liked the landing (a bit too long, though), it's very believable.
And it's good to see that you care for costume design.
I have the same problem as Macgregor, english is not my native language, so I'll have to watch again my favourite ones to understand everything (yours is one of them).
I'd also use cleaner text in the opening sequence, it's on black, so you don't need shadows or outstroke.

Very good movie
Pablo

Dahopafilms
02-19-2006, 02:39 PM
Very good overall. How did you get Dakota Fanning? Outdoor lighting and framing were good. I liked the score - it reminded me of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" - it was kind of like creepy carnival music.

Thanks Conrad. We actually did get Dakota, but then decided to go with Dejiana because she only wanted a double-wide trailer. It was the best choice at the end of the day.

Regarding the scoring of the Courtroom scene, I wanted exactly the effect you have perceived. Surreal. Bizarre. Carnival (and yes, clowns are scary). Child-like to set off against the pending fate of the young girl. Thanks for noticing.


I liked the landing (a bit too long, though), it's very believable.
And it's good to see that you care for costume design.
I have the same problem as Macgregor, english is not my native language, so I'll have to watch again my favourite ones to understand everything (yours is one of them).
I'd also use cleaner text in the opening sequence, it's on black, so you don't need shadows or outstroke.

Thanks Pablo. The landing scene was simply a case of the editor falling in love with the shots the cinematographer got. And being too lazy to pay closer attention to that scene.

I'd be delighted to put together a captioned version for you and Macgregor. Let me think about how that might work logistically (maybe put a down-rezzed version up on the Stickypod site). I'm in the midst of putting together a behind-the-scenes extra now, so as soon as I'm through that I'd be happy to slap some subtitles on it.

And I hear you (and others) on the opening text. Thanks for that, and I agree.

Thank you both for taking the time to view and the effort to comment.

chotoboto
02-19-2006, 03:05 PM
Yes you know

thartley
02-19-2006, 09:38 PM
The first thing I noticed that I really liked was the costume design. Sets this one apart in that regard so far. (I still have MANY MANY more films to watch) The cuts were all great, story was well done, and acting was top-notch. The use of dramatic lighting was fantastic in the 'courtroom' scene.

The one thing that kinda stuttered up my viewing experience would be the scrolling backstory at the beginning. It seemed to much thrown in there, but it could be that I am tired and not running on all cylinders myself. :) Its why I only want to watch a few at a time. No burn out allowed this time around! :D

Dahopafilms
02-19-2006, 09:41 PM
Yes you know

Ahhhhh. Finally.

Someone who really gets it.

Life is good.

(Hey ... wait just a minute ... isn't Jarred's middle name "Chotoboto"? Hmmm ...):D

Dahopafilms
02-20-2006, 10:00 AM
The first thing I noticed that I really liked was the costume design. Sets this one apart in that regard so far. (I still have MANY MANY more films to watch) The cuts were all great, story was well done, and acting was top-notch. The use of dramatic lighting was fantastic in the 'courtroom' scene.

The one thing that kinda stuttered up my viewing experience would be the scrolling backstory at the beginning. It seemed to much thrown in there, but it could be that I am tired and not running on all cylinders myself. :) Its why I only want to watch a few at a time. No burn out allowed this time around! :D

Thanks very much for your comments. Very encouraging and much appreciated.

Burned-out, tired or not, you seem to agree with many others on the text intro. I'm wondering at this stage (based on the very inciteful and helpful comments) how the short would play with no text intro at all. I wonder if people would still "get" the story on one viewing without the up-front clues. Just a shorter "landing sequence" to start. I'm too close to it now to be objective, but I find the idea of killing the text in its entirety kinda interesting ...

In any event, thanks again for taking the time to view and comment.

Brandon Rice
02-20-2006, 01:06 PM
This film is still up there in my top ten! Really enjoyed it! Just reiterating my enjoyment of this film! :) Great work.

Dahopafilms
02-20-2006, 10:00 PM
Further to one of my earlier posts, here are some stills of Mike Todd getting "lazed". He keeps his eyes closed, but I think he's still breathing ...

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/5439/img41247ag.jpg (http://imageshack.us) http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/344/img41807sy.jpg (http://imageshack.us) http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/6656/img41817rk.jpg (http://imageshack.us) http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3695/img41835ri.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Ought2bCommitted
02-21-2006, 02:26 PM
Hey!

I don't read other posts on a film until after I've posted, so sorry if I repeat...

I really enjoyed your film. You pulled off the twist nicely. I enjoyed that.

Nice effects work, specifically on the shot.

Good score. Really enjoyed that aspect of your film as well.

My biggest and really only major complaint is the acting. It was very subpar almost across the boards.

Additionally, I didn't like the font for the opening text. I can't really say why, but it just didn't feel right to me.

Great work overall! I really enjoyed how you executed a nice idea. Solid work! Yours is in my top 5.

-Robert

Larry Rutledge
02-22-2006, 11:58 AM
Quick Disclaimer: I am avoiding reading other comments before rating each of the films, so I may repeat comments others have said to death.

I enjoyed this film, good job. In particular I liked the costume design, especially in the "trial" sequence. I have to admit I had a hard time following the opening text, so I wasn't sure what the story was until the end...that may not be a bad thing, but I kept thinking about what I may have missed in the text while watching the remainder of the film.

The effect of the laser blast was pretty cool, I liked that it was a practical effect and the smoke swirled around him.

Good Job.

Larry

Dahopafilms
02-22-2006, 03:10 PM
Hey!

I don't read other posts on a film until after I've posted, so sorry if I repeat...

I really enjoyed your film. You pulled off the twist nicely. I enjoyed that.

Nice effects work, specifically on the shot.

Good score. Really enjoyed that aspect of your film as well.

My biggest and really only major complaint is the acting. It was very subpar almost across the boards.

Additionally, I didn't like the font for the opening text. I can't really say why, but it just didn't feel right to me.

Great work overall! I really enjoyed how you executed a nice idea. Solid work! Yours is in my top 5.

-Robert

Robert,

Thank you for taking the time to watch the short and comment on it. Much appreciated.

I really appreciate your positive comments but, of course, I tend to learn more from thoughtful criticisms. Others have commented on the text opening and so you are in very good company with regard to that issue. Insofar as the acting is concerned, to the extent you had issues with it I believe the blame clearly lies with the poo poo director and the poo poo editor (in this case, both are the same person. "OK - I'm FIRED!"). The actors were all very talented people who cheerfully let me borrow their time, energy and talents for this project. Some of them are pros and the rest were not. They also had some very valuable creative input to the story (all the good suggestions I claim entirely as my own original ideas, of course). None were paid, except for Dejiana who took home $35,000 and 40% of producer's net profits (hehehe - I think I really took her to the cleaners on the last part). To the extent they (or any one of them) failed to shine on screen, then the blame rests squarely with me.

And to the extent that this short is in your top five, that is extraordinary, much appreciated and I can only give credit to the team that put this together. I just really hope that you don't watch film number 6 before the deadline for ballot submissions!:D

Again, thanks for taking the time to watch and comment.

(ps - Colin - who played the civil attorney in the Courtroom scene - is a new dad as of a couple of days ago. His wife, Alison, and the baby are doing well, so big congrats to them)

Dahopafilms
02-23-2006, 11:34 PM
Quick Disclaimer: I am avoiding reading other comments before rating each of the films, so I may repeat comments others have said to death.

I enjoyed this film, good job. In particular I liked the costume design, especially in the "trial" sequence. I have to admit I had a hard time following the opening text, so I wasn't sure what the story was until the end...that may not be a bad thing, but I kept thinking about what I may have missed in the text while watching the remainder of the film.

The effect of the laser blast was pretty cool, I liked that it was a practical effect and the smoke swirled around him.

Good Job.

Larry

Thanks very much Larry. Your comments are appreciated.

Char and Colin get credit for costumes in the courtroom scene. Craig gets credit for the SPFX in the "lazing" scene.

Jared Meyer
02-25-2006, 01:35 PM
I liked this short. Technical issues aside (sound mostly) which have all been dicussed, there were only a couple small elements that brought me out of the film. Warning: these are pretty nitpicky comments.

The two henchman...the fact that they were hot blondes...I don't know. I hear what you're saying about Abe Vigoda, :) but almost everything else in your story felt more autonomous of the usual sci-fi universe cliches.

This is the epitome of nitpickiness, but I really disliked the fact that they were wearing ski masks. I also hated the judge's yellow turtleneck. :)

Anyway, nice job. Your short felt like it had relatively high production values. You successfully incorporated a pretty large cast, and most of them did great jobs with their lines. You had some very cool effects, namely the landing and the laserbeam, and I really liked the "set-less" courtroom taking place in blackness. Good stuff.

I enjoyed this one!

-Jared

iSTy
02-25-2006, 01:43 PM
I liked this one, thought the acting and the music was pretty good and I also liked the fact that it actually had a good storyline to it.

Dahopafilms
02-25-2006, 03:44 PM
I liked this short. Technical issues aside (sound mostly) which have all been dicussed, there were only a couple small elements that brought me out of the film. Warning: these are pretty nitpicky comments.

The two henchman...the fact that they were hot blondes...I don't know. I hear what you're saying about Abe Vigoda, :) but almost everything else in your story felt more autonomous of the usual sci-fi universe cliches.

This is the epitome of nitpickiness, but I really disliked the fact that they were wearing ski masks. I also hated the judge's yellow turtleneck. :)

Anyway, nice job. Your short felt like it had relatively high production values. You successfully incorporated a pretty large cast, and most of them did great jobs with their lines. You had some very cool effects, namely the landing and the laserbeam, and I really liked the "set-less" courtroom taking place in blackness. Good stuff.

I enjoyed this one!
-Jared

Jared,

Thanks for your comments (very original - cool).

Sorry, but the hot blondes stay. Non-negotiable. I claim creative licence on that decision. And if you didn't like them as presented, you would have HATED them in the pink, skin-tight, latex jumpsuits we originally picked out. Or not.

The ski mask thing (I prefer the term "balaclavaaaaah") was a second choice for budget reasons (see earlier post) and I hear you on that.

The Judge's yellow turtle neck? Funny you mentioned that. I wanted to do red. Wal-Mart didn't have red fabric dye on the day of the shoot, so we bought orange and yellow. The orange REALLY sucked, so we went with yellow. He needed to stand out from the others in the scene, and that was the best I could come up with (that, along with the amulet around his neck). So Craig and I were hand dying the turtle-necks the day of the shoot with very little time to spare - that and sewing the shiny silver bags used for gathering the moss at the river. We probably should have captured that on video (by the way, Craig now wears an apron most days around his house - I'm not entirely clear why).

Thanks for taking the time to provide your other positive comments. All very much appreciated. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.

Dahopafilms
02-26-2006, 08:00 AM
I liked this one, thought the acting and the music was pretty good and I also liked the fact that it actually had a good storyline to it.


iSTy,

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment (and watch the short). Much appreciated.

Cheers.

Captain KickAss
02-26-2006, 09:38 AM
I really enjoyed this film, although I did see the ending twist pretty early on.

Visually, this film was absolutely beautiful. I loved your cinematographic style, and the outdoor scenes were incredible...despite the rain and cold. Your trial scenes were also awesome, and your costume design is simply amazing.

My favorite part of this film had to be your laser bolt effect when the husband gets shot. It reminded me of the movie "V" and was really cool. Very nice.

iSTy
02-26-2006, 09:43 AM
Captain KickAss says: "It reminded me of the movie "V" and was really cool."

I liked that series very much.

Sorry, it's not a comment, on the thread, just thought I'd get my pennyworth in re the series. http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/images/icons/icon11.gif

Dahopafilms
02-26-2006, 12:15 PM
I really enjoyed this film, although I did see the ending twist pretty early on.

Visually, this film was absolutely beautiful. I loved your cinematographic style, and the outdoor scenes were incredible...despite the rain and cold. Your trial scenes were also awesome, and your costume design is simply amazing.

My favorite part of this film had to be your laser bolt effect when the husband gets shot. It reminded me of the movie "V" and was really cool. Very nice.

Captain,

Thank you for your great words of encouragement. Sorry I couldn't mask the ending a little better for you.

As for the cinematography, I owe it all to my DP (photo below):
http://img344.imageshack.us/img344/6818/img41694fb.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

(kidding, of course)

As this is likely my last post prior to the close of the contest, let me just briefly add:

my apologies if I didn't get to your short to comment on it (not for lack of effort, I assure you). I will finish viewing all the films and provide a comment as soon as I can next week;
a huge thanks to all who commented on Contraband - especially for all the constructive critiques. I have learned a great deal from all the comments and promise to make the next one much better, in light of your thoughtful criticisms - thanks; and
lastly, this is an amazing event. A huge range of talent, experience and approaches to film making. None more valid (or less valid) than any other. An incredible community. A deep bow to Jarred and Barry - they likely have no comprehension of precisely how much time has been consumed by so many in planning, making and editing the shorts - let alone the time we have taken to watch and comment on the shorts - and we aren't going to cure Cancer here - but it is an unbelievably creative and positive use of time (just look at the news for an idea of what others are spending their time on). Thanks to them for providing the venue for that.

As for the other entries, you all have my respect and thanks for making and presenting your films. Sure, some stand out in my mind more than others, but I can't recall even one short in the event that was a waste of my time. I find that astounding.

cin cin.:thumbsup: