View Full Version : PurpleMacaroni Productions presents "Girl vs. Boy"

04-02-2007, 11:00 PM
Well, I've sat on the sidelines for the past few fests. Unfortunately, I'm more of a lurker than a poster, so my post count isn't high enough to vote for all the great films I've seen (I plan on changing that for this fest though :) ). When I heard the theme for the new fest, I just had to come up with something. So, I'm officially announcing my entry into the fest.


Susana Margarita
Kevin Alexander

I have been so impressed with everyone's production threads, and a little intimidated as well. But, I just have to keep telling myself that it's all for fun and to learn something about filmmaking. I only aim to be better than my last film, not anyone else's.

Good shooting to you all!

04-02-2007, 11:01 PM
5.31.07 (well, in Hawaii, maybe...)
Forgive the textspeak, but - OMG! After processing Quicktime after Quicktime I finally got my flick under 50mb. Wow. I'm really glad I got it done at all, but I had to make a few sacrifices. I think I'll go back and do a "director's cut" or more like a remaster as the cut itself is fine. It just needs a bit of TLC in the color and sound departments. But, I owe it to the kids to submit a version since they were very patient with me in the production of this.

I'm loving the new Final Cut Studio, but the FX are taking longer than I hoped. I think I've got it down, but I'll be cutting it close to the deadline, and that's something I hoped to avoid.

We wrapped filming last night! w00t! Again, it took me longer to set up than to actually shoot, but we managed to get everything done before my stars had to get to bed, being a school night and all.

Now comes the part I'm better at - editing! I like making short films and all, but the filming is kind of a chore sometimes, all just leading up to the time where I can sit down at the computer and put all the pieces together.

Oh, and there's a random screen grab on Page 4.

We had a family trip planned since January, and I thought it would be fun to shoot some of the movie out on the beach. Kevin was a trooper and did his one stunt over and over, allowing me to get it from a few different angles. (You may recognize the "I do my own stunts" t-shirt in the poster. It's a very appropriate shirt for him.) Ana persevered through the cool late afternoon air so we could get in our last few shots. I finally looked through the footage today and I think we're 90% of the way there. I at least have enough to start a rough cut. Check out the screen grab on page 3!

Agent Robyn has received her mission!

We shot the first couple of scenes yesterday. My star was quite the trooper and didn't complain as we did take after take. Every now and then she'd want to know how much we had left, and she really wanted to know when we were going to use the Palm pilot in a shot! She sailed through the two hour shoot like a pro and we got some great footage. I might have to redo a couple of shots because of technical issues I didn't catch on set, but I'll play around with the footage and see what I can do with what I already have.

A couple of shots are on page 2, post #19.


Instead of working on taxes, I opted to do a little green screen shoot. Just a warm up for our first actual scenes next weekend. More details with pictures on Page 2!

04-02-2007, 11:47 PM
Haha nice. Welcome.

And your poster looks great. Cool vintage feel to it.

Have you seen Robert Rodriguez's "Bed Head"? His production company Los Hooligans is named after a comic strip he used to do at the University of Texas. The comic strip was about young kids, his neices and nephews, getting into trouble. Anyway he has a great student film in the tradition of his comic strip called "Bed Head" that is a brother vs. sister kind of thing. This seems to have that kind of vibe to it. Looking forward to it.

EDIT: great tag line too.

04-03-2007, 08:25 AM
Thanks for the welcome, Keystoned.

I have seen "Bedhead". It was a bonus feature on El Mariachi, I believe. I totally forgot about that though. I think the tone of my film will be different, but I am definitely taking a page out of his book and "employing" family! Since my kids are always around, it's easy enough to rope them into acting in my projects. In fact, Kevin wrote a story that he wants me to turn into a short film. I think we'll do it after SpyFest.

Look forward to your film (even if I can't pronounce it ;) )!

John LaBonney
04-03-2007, 10:42 AM

Get right in there. It is a little bit intimidating, but I've found this site to be so full of help and support when you need it. Everyone is competing in this contest, but they're also cheering each other on at the same time. Sounds a bit mushy, but true.

Good luck with the film!

DJ Lewis
04-03-2007, 04:27 PM
Love it! Can't wait to see this one... You'll have to share any funny rants you have about working with child actors. :)

04-03-2007, 04:39 PM
Amy - you go girl. Don't be afraid to ask for help and bring it! Good luck.

04-03-2007, 05:51 PM
I actually like the title "GIRL VS BOY" in anything. =PPP

DJ Lewis
04-03-2007, 06:24 PM
I actually like the title "GIRL VS BOY" in anything. =PPP


04-03-2007, 06:40 PM
I actually like the title "GIRL VS BOY" in anything. =PPP
Hmmm, I hadn't thought of it quite that way . . . :)

Thanks for the encouraging words everyone. Our main shoot isn't until the end of the month when we go on vacation/location, but I've got some scenes planned for around the house I can shoot before then. I hope to have some production diary notes and BTS shots in a couple of weeks.

04-03-2007, 06:53 PM
I've been a lurker and sitting on the sidelines for awhile myself. I'm planning to jump into SpyFest too. I've got two boys one of which (at least) will make an appearance in my as yet untitled piece. It's fun to get the kids involved, but at 7 and 10 mine can only take so many takes (no pun intended) until they have to go run around awhile.

Good luck! Looking forward to "Girl vs. Boy"!:)

04-15-2007, 09:26 PM
Well, I shot some of my special effects footage today. Took me all morning to set up lights (that's what I get for being a one girl band!). The actual shoot lasted only an hour, but all three kids had to get in on the action even though I will probably only need the footage of Kevin. Cheyenne kept playing with the camera and bumped the scene file switch a couple of times. I caught it the first few times, but not when it really counted. I shot everything in 24P "normal" rather than 24Pa! UGH! So, now I have to try to get the interlaced frames out, or I might be looking at a reshoot. I haven't given up on it though.

Next weekend marks the official start of production. I suppose that means I should lock my script and finish my gadgets! :)

Here are some pics from this afternoon's shoot. Enjoy.

Cheyenne checking out the camera. She is facinated by every photographic device I own.

Lighting set-up and testing (it can be kinda boring...)

When you don't have a garage, a playroom must make due.
I should point out that the lights are not mine. I borrowed them from the Northwest Film Center.

Agent Robin spotted at Mount St. Helens.
(A quick and dirty key test to see if my footage is salvageable.)

Mark T. Aro
04-15-2007, 11:23 PM
Amy... Welcome aboard! I filmed a short last year, that still has yet to be edited and I used my children. WOW! what a tiring yet fulfilling experience. My kids have been helping with Mine and Matt's film SLEEPER and it is a blast. They love being on the set. Train them early and show them how fun it is and you will most likely find, like I have, that you care make film and spend time with your family all at the same time!!! You don't have to sacrifice time with the family to follow your dream!

On a side note... What are you using to key with? I would be glad to share a few tips with you are on keying if you need help!

Best of luck and again... welcome aboard!

04-16-2007, 07:34 AM
Thanks Mark.
I pulled a still into After Effects and used Keylight. I only played with it for five minutes. I also have Conduit by the Pixel Corps, which is a plug in for Motion, but I didn't want to start testing it last night. If I get stuck, I'll be sure to send you a message.

That's great that you can get your kids involved in your project. I hope they have fun.

04-17-2007, 06:47 PM
Gotta say I'm jealous of your light kit. I'm still working on saving up for stands for my home depot utility lights. I'd love to pull a key off something other than my 5.99 green party tablecloth. The thing is built for generating lightspill. I'm sure your DP has it all covered!

04-17-2007, 09:11 PM
Kurtmo - don't be too jealous. I borrowed the lights from work - the Northwest Film Center (http:///www.nwfilm.org/education/index.php). Just one of the perks! My greenscreen is just a $25 roll of Tech Green paper from B&H Photo. Not too pricey an upgrade from your tablecloth.

And, the good news is I figured out where my "assistant DP" flipped the scene switch, so I was able to split the clip and remove the pulldown. Yay!

04-21-2007, 10:39 PM
So, I got a new Letus35a adapter (for my DVX) and I decided I should test it out before the big first day shoot tomorrow. :) I popped on a 50mm 1.8 Canon FD and shot some footage during dinner prep. The whole backwards and upside down thing is a bit tricky, but I started to get the hang of it. Luckilly, most of the shots tomorrow are tripod based.

Here's a screen grab for those who care about such things (with a touch of Magic Bullet Max Contrast added):

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow, but it's exciting to actually get into it.

04-21-2007, 11:27 PM
good luck on the shoot, love the grab

04-23-2007, 09:50 PM
A couple of pics from our first offical day of shooting (production diary entry on page one):

A gold star if you can identify the book she's reading . . .

Blowing off some steam in between takes toward the end of the afternoon.

Next shoot isn't until next Monday when we take a short trip to the coast.

04-26-2007, 08:35 AM
What do you intend to do with the greenscreen monitor? I've got some "monitor" type of work to do in TCD and I'm trying to decide weather I use a DVD player or Composite the video in post. At this point, I'm planning the post composite route.

BTW, nice reaction by your lead. I hope things go as well with my younger crew members!

Beat Takeshi
04-26-2007, 11:24 AM
Welcome Amy. I love the premise of your story and I too am a bring-your-kids-to-the-party kind of person. I think my girls have been in most of our stuff in these fests.
I notice some vertical banding in 2 of your shots, are you using after effects on those? I find after effects does that for some reason. You can see it on some of my stuff also, especially on the zombie film Red Meat.

Good luck with it and can't wait to see some more grabs!

04-26-2007, 02:23 PM
Kurtmo: I'm planning on putting in the computer screen in during post. I thought about trying to to the iChat conversation in real time, but my actress isn't that fast a typist and I'd have to reset for each take. In post, I can control continuity better as well. If I played a full screen video or something like that, I'd have to re-queue it each time. Also, the iBook in use is broken, so I couldn't play a video on it if I wanted to :)

Aram: The vertical banding is a result of trying to key from a DV source with Keylight in AE. The edges are too blocky. I have since been playing with DVMatte Blast in Motion and it does a much nicer job. It essentially creates two keys at once, the traditional chroma key and then one using lumanence to soften the edges.

Thanks everyone for your interest in the progress of the film. I can't wait to watch all the films in this fest as well.

Happy shooting!

04-26-2007, 07:23 PM
Have you tried a composite test witha 3D layer to rotate and get the right angle perspective yet? That's my plan, but no time to do a good test yet.

Good luck on the keying, too!

04-26-2007, 08:27 PM
I haven't played with the computer screen footage yet. I'm still in filming mode. I've done a similar effect on another project, so I don't think it will be that difficult.

And Apple could be a total angel and send my Final Cut Studio 2 upgrade in early May. Motion 3 (http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/motion/) looks SWEEEEET.

05-01-2007, 05:23 AM
How is filming coming along?

05-03-2007, 09:17 AM
How is filming coming along?
Thanks for asking.
We just got back from a four day trip to the coast. I took advantage of the new location to shoot a few scenes for the film as well. I haven't had a chance to look at the footage, and I'm a little nervous that I didn't get the complete coverage I needed, but I'm sure I can work some magic on it in post. Just have to shoot the final scene and redo a few shots from my first day of shooting (I had technical issues that I didn't notice until I reviewed the footage) and that will wrap filming. I probably won't get to that until the weekend, though.

05-03-2007, 12:51 PM
Great! Nice to close in on the end of filming. Hope you don't have to work too hard to clean up things in post. That's always my time sink!

05-05-2007, 01:49 PM
Here's the villain, Blue Hawk, caught on film finally:

You can't see the color of his trademark hairstyle in the grab, but I thought he looked the most menacing. Production diary updates on page 1.

Ted Arabian
05-15-2007, 06:26 AM
Hi AmyO!

I love your thread. Reminds me so much of my horrorfest thread ("I.D.")

Good luck with everything. I bet that you are learning a TON!!!

Your grabs look good!


05-15-2007, 08:41 AM
Thanks Ted. We are all having a lot of fun with this one. We've had to reschedule our final shoot and we are on track to wrap up this week (I hope). I'm also getting some ideas from reading the other threads here (yours included) and seeing how others go about things. I'm glad I jumped into this fest.

Ted Arabian
05-15-2007, 08:45 AM
Good for you! I am glad that you are having fun... it should be!

I see that you are in Oregon! Lovely country... I miss it. (I live there for 4 years... a LONG time ago! :grin: 1980 - 1984!) I plan on taking my wife for a visit this July.

Best to you. If you need any help or have any questions, please ask!


05-15-2007, 04:19 PM
Love the hair on the villain. Got enough gel on him? This should be a cute flick.

05-15-2007, 07:39 PM
Thanks Charli. Yeah, Kev's hair is pretty thick and I think he's about due for a haircut, so he probably had extra gel that day. Plus blue hairspray, which doesn't show up that well in this angle.

05-15-2007, 09:03 PM
Here's the villain, Blue Hawk, caught on film finally:

You can't see the color of his trademark hairstyle in the grab, but I thought he looked the most menacing. Production diary updates on page 1.

one word -> Awesome..

05-16-2007, 12:00 AM
bwahaha that kid is awesome. :grin:


05-16-2007, 08:01 AM
Thanks guys. I think so, too, but then I'm a bit biased ;)

05-17-2007, 09:13 AM
We wrapped filming last night. Yay. See page 1 for an updated production diary entry.
We only did a couple of short scenes and part of a reshoot, so there isn't too much in the way of exciting footage. But, here is a random screen grab that resulted from me being a bit silly and managed to work its way into a shot:

Batsignal??? I thought this was Spyfest not Herofest???

Ted Arabian
05-17-2007, 09:57 AM
Congrats on the wrap!!! Woo Hoo!!!

05-19-2007, 04:25 PM
Way to go on the end of filming. I thought I was done, but I keep re-shooting bits. I'm down to a one dub session with 2 lines (didn't have the record button on the first time).

Looking forward to seeing the kids in action. Your villian has the look!

05-19-2007, 05:47 PM
Way to go, Amy! Good luck with post. :)

05-19-2007, 06:49 PM
Thanks guys. I'm getting a rough edit done this weekend so I can see just where my FX need to be. I could have done even more reshoots, but I limited myself to only doing the shots that were technically unusable (didn't zoom in far enough with my 35mm adapter - d'oh!).

05-21-2007, 07:23 PM
If you don't mind me asking...exactly how big is your poster. I never quite got around to making one yet and I'm not a photoshop expert to say the least.

05-21-2007, 08:31 PM
The original of the poster is 13"x17" at 300dpi so I could print it out when this is all done. For posting purposes, I resized it to about 520 pixels wide at 72dpi then used Save For Web to generate the JPEG file to make it a web-friendly file size. You probably don't have to start out that big, though. I find starting at least 2 - 3 times larger than what I want to end up with helps as it gives me more room to breathe. You can always go smaller, but making it bigger is harder.

05-22-2007, 04:09 AM
Thanks for the stats. Tonite may be poster night. I took a few photo's of my principles that i hope to use if I can pull a decent key.

05-27-2007, 06:41 PM
How many days left? I'm running a little behind in the FX department, mostly because I was going into it without a solid plan. I just made a list and hopefully will have a more productive night. I was really hoping to be further along than this.

On the bright side, my rough cut is clocking in at 5:49, so I have some room to breathe and maybe have a few credits that are longer than a blink.

Oh, and the new Motion upgrade rocks the casbah.

05-29-2007, 12:33 PM
How goes the battle? Hope you're getting close!

05-29-2007, 10:42 PM
Thanks for asking. As of 10:38 PM I am calling my SFX done. I may go back in a tweak for my own DVD release, but I can't spend any more time on it now. I haven't even started sound and music :shocked: And, I don't even want to think about the CC - - I'm not throwing in the towel, but I don't know what shape this is going to be in Thursday night.

Glad you got yours uploaded, though. Good work! :)

06-01-2007, 02:09 AM
And she slides under the rapidly closing gate to turn in her entry.

Whew. I didn't think I was going to be done at all. I bit off more than I could chew with my VFX, and as such, I had to do quick and dirty color correction (God bless Magic Bullet) and fire up SonicFire Pro to score the flick. I felt like I needed to get it in some sort of acceptable and submittable shape since my family has done so much to support this project, and to give up at the last minute wouldn't be fair.

So, there you have it. I'll be glad to hear what you all think. I plan on going back to it and polishing it up, maybe enlisting a composer. But, I wouldn't be this far along with it if it weren't for this fest, so thanks to all those who put it together!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone elses films! Have a good weekend!

06-01-2007, 02:30 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone elses films! Have a good weekend!

me 2, this is so exciting. it my first fest. hope they post them for voting soon.

06-01-2007, 05:27 AM
Glad you made it! Looking forward to seeing your creation!

Norm Sanders
06-03-2007, 05:32 PM
Congrats on making it in, Amy! Look forward to giving you some comments on the film soon.

06-03-2007, 10:26 PM
Thanks guys.

Glad I have tomorrow off and all my Monday shows are in reruns now. I know what I'll be watching tomorrow - 3 and 1/2 hours of Spyfest goodness! :)

06-03-2007, 10:28 PM
Yeah I have always thought this looked like a lot of fun, and I like the grab of the kid in shades.

06-04-2007, 01:20 PM
Very cute movie kids took direction really well... good job..

I tried to hear what was said at the very end but i could not make it out... I did try :(

06-04-2007, 01:25 PM
A nice little film. I'll have to show this one to my kids and get their feedback on it. I too was amiss as to what was said at the end. I think it said that the conduit was Blue Hawk's mother?

I like the technology stuff and the scene at the beach. Not sure about the "don't engage him in open spaces" thing, but maybe because he could move fast?

The photography was top notch in my book. Loved the look. Very cool, pastel. Perfect for a spy movie starring a couple of kids.

Thanks for screening.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-04-2007, 01:36 PM
Nice work, I'm sure the kids had a blast!

I'm also unclear as to the ending line.
Nice composition as well.



06-04-2007, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Since I know what is going on in that final scene, I guess I just took for granted what was said. Also, it goes along with what he is reading, which isn't as clear as it could be. I'll keep your feedback in mind for when I polish this piece up, maybe reshoot the CU and dialogue so it is more clear.

06-04-2007, 02:47 PM
So... from start to finish:

The laptop was really funny! Her typing was great. I found myself smiling alot.

I also loved the featuring of iChat in the movie, rock on.
The "GIRL" special report was very cool. I loved all the gadgets and especially the dialogue! Very spyish and cool.

Although the delivery had some slip ups, it ended up just being fun to watch.

There's a really great shot when "GIRL" walks into frame, her expression is just really cool. Alot of fun to watch and the end where it's like the parents don't know they're spies...

YARp dis ones goooood.....

chris f
06-04-2007, 04:23 PM
Standard Disclaimer: I've watched half of the films so far and have yet to see a bad film. Congratulations to every film maker, everyone did a great job. All my comments and criticisms are meant to be constructive and helpful and in no way am I trying to take anything away from what you accomplished.

Good: I hate to sound like a 45 year old mom (especially since I'm a 23 year old dude), but this film was very cute. I got a kick out of seeing these little actors in action. For a small film like this, I'm sure there's no need to worry about copyrights and name brands, that being said, good use of available technology to adapt spying to the kids (ichat, ipod, google map, flash drive, etc.) If you added some split screens in there I'd think it was 24 doing a spin off on Jack and Chloe when they were kids. The agent blue hawk profile cracked me up, very cool.

Not as Good: Maybe add a little bit more back story as to what's on the flash drive that she must recover and why she needs to recover it.

David Jimerson
06-04-2007, 04:29 PM
I'm a 35 year-old guy, no kids, and I'm not ashamed to say it was cute. Very creative, tons of compositing work, very humorous premise. The kind of thing where you'll think about it later and appreciate the situational humor more and more. No awards for acting, but that's just fine -- very nice work.

06-04-2007, 05:02 PM
I just got finished watching this. I really enjoyed it. I felt a Robert Rodriguez touch in there, as it reminded me of 'the misbehaviors' and obviously 'Spykids'.
You handled their acting great, which I'm sure is no easy task when dealing with little ones. I especially enjoyed their line readings with that cute baby inflection.

06-05-2007, 06:37 AM
Hey Amy, nicely done. I really enjoyed the music. I also enjoyed the beach running shots. The laptop sfx worked out well.

The one downer was the last line. I had to listen several times and still didn't quite catch it all.

Overall I enjoyed it. I bet the kids really had a great time.

BTW, I'm on vacation in Portland this week (lucky to have stole someones wireless last night to download). I saw the portland lighting credit. Is that where you live?

06-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you all enjoyed it. I think one of these days I need to work with grown up actors and tell a more serious story, but for now, I like doing light, somewhat silly stuff. My kids are nowhere near being professional actors, although I wish they wouldn't get so stiff on camera sometimes. They aren't like that in real life. My daughter is actually pretty dramatic!

I am so kicking myself for that last line. Honestly, it all makes sense to me, and I didn't take the time to step back and look at it objectively. If this helps clarify:

BLUE HAWK: (reading a page he managed to download from the Diary) They found the cartridge? J.D. huh?

It is basically a set up for a sequel, because all good spy movies need a sequel. :)

Chris, I'm sorry it wasn't clear to you about the flash drive. In my mind, it made sense that a Girl's diary is something she'd want to retrieve from a Boy, and in this case I hoped to imply that it was the Diary for the Girl agency that the Boy agency stole.

Kurt, yeah I'm in Portland (PDX is the airport code). Welcome to town. Hope you enjoy your stay. I loved your film, but will reserve comment for your thread. All I can say is I'm going to be exaggerating my long vowel sounds for a while. Thanks! ;)

06-05-2007, 06:55 PM
Wow! THis was a delight! Very clever use of props. The script kept me guessing until the end. And not showing us the diary's contents because of a "malfunction code" is classic, very well done.

The beach shots were beautiful, did you do any CC? I also enjoyed the music. Despite what others might say, the vignetting on some of the beach scenes was cool. And the confrontation, with the VO ("Do not engage"), also clever.

This short has what a lot of other ones out there don't - it kept me guessing. The script was engaging, and I wanted to see what happened. Fabulous job!

06-05-2007, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it. At the end of the day, technical issues aside, that's really what this film is all about. Fun.

I did a little bit of CC on the beach scenes. The footage was pretty nice already, but the blacks were a little flat, so I bumped up the contrast and did a bit of a blue gradient to bring out the sky, which was originally typical Oregon Coast overcast grey. The beach scene is my favorite look-wise.

Thanks again. :)

06-05-2007, 08:57 PM
Nice job, Amy. I liked the kids and the beach scene and agree that the film kept me guessing until the end. I just now realized you live in Portland. We are just across the river in Camas, WA.

06-05-2007, 09:42 PM
Thanks, Rebecca. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I thought your performance in Without Provocation was spot on.

I'm so happy to see so many NW filmmakers in this fest (I counted 4, and out of 35, that's pretty good).

06-05-2007, 09:56 PM

cute kids in this. I think working with kids can be fun, I got a much smaller taste of this on my film. I had to have a kit kat at the ready.

I liked the cu's on the beach. The beach stuff in general had a nice look to it. Congrats on the film.


Ralph Oshiro
06-06-2007, 12:34 AM

Just kidding! AmyO—I LOVED this one! You definitely win the "cute" award. I must've been smiling the whole time I was watching it! Nice filmic technique—yours? I noticed you have a 35mm adapter of some sort—those things really do help pump up the production value don't they? LOVED the computer screen stuff, and especially all the "secret agent" texting going on! Wittily written and very funny! And again, sorry to keep using this word, incredibly cute! Not always easy to pull off computer screen texting without it looking dead and boring, but I think you were incredibly successful with this gag. And the "3D boy" computer video—PRICELESS! Also loved your ultra-cool props and iPod VFX! The chase scene even got me going, too! All you needed were a few dolly shots and a Steadicam shot here and there, and you would've had something pretty darned exciting! Again, really loved this one. And loved that it was done by a . . . GIRL!!! Super job, AmyO!

06-06-2007, 09:04 AM
Jim - Thanks for your feedback. Kids can be fun and challenging to work will all at the same time. I had the luxury of 24/7 access to my actors, so if a scene started going downhill we could wrap for the day and try again. Luckilly, that didn't happen. The only pick-ups needed were because of my mistakes, not theirs.

Ralph - I'm so glad you liked it. I don't mind my film being called cute. It could be called a lot worse! :) Seriously though, thanks for commenting on the VFX. I'm glad you feel I was able to use the iChat effectively.

I must be crazy, but I did everything on this film except act (take that back, I have an off-camera line). I used a Letus35a adapter on a DVX100a with Canon lenses. I totally agree that about the Steadycam and dolly comments. I didn't have access to either, really, but would have loved to get some CUs of the kids running with the camera moving along side them. I tried to use as much pan/tilt camera movement as possible to break up the static shots. This was my first time using the Letus in a production, and probably should have gotten a follow focus. That would have made me more comfortable doing some tracking shots. I kinda just locked focus most of the time, with only a couple of small rack focus shots.

Thanks again guys!

06-06-2007, 09:30 AM
Not to double post, but, Ralph, your opening comment (and I know it was said in fun and taken that way) made me think about something. Am I only one of two female filmmakers in this fest? I have to say, part of the reason I was disappointed that Birds of Prey fell victim to setbacks was that it was helmed by a sister filmmaker, Charli. The absolutely haunting "Check" was produced by MsManhattan. I'm pretty sure the rest of the films were at least submitted by guys. But, if anyone stumbles into this thread knows of any of the films that were produced, written or directed by women other than mine and "Check," let me know. I'm curious.

And that's not to take anything away from all the wonderful films in this fest that were created by men. I won't knock a film for the gender of it's director. This is more of a wondering out loud post than anything.

06-07-2007, 01:15 AM
Amy, I believe you are right -- you and I are the only two women with SpyFest entries. It seems that way in most of these fests, but I suppose when you look at the ratio of active female DVXuser filmmakers to DVXuser dudes, it comes out about the same as the ratio of female Hollywood filmmakers to Hollywood dudes. Anyway, I had come to your thread to say how glad I was to see another Wo-man in the fest. I like that you went in an unexpected direction by using kids and you did a great job on the computer screens. I would have liked more out of the final confrontation between the boy and the girl -- I kind of got the impression that you maybe ran out of time to keep it under 6 minutes (if you have already addressed this in your thread, I apologize, but I'm still struggling to get through all the films and haven't been as diligent about reading peoples' posts). Also, I know it can be hard to get what you want out of kid actors -- Aram and I have worked with a lot of them. Anyway, welcome to the fest and I hope to see more from you in future fests. Congrats!

ADDENDUM: You know, I was trying to be so PC and not say that I thought this film was just super cute... But a quick read through of earlier posts and I see everyone else has said the same. And it truly was cute in the best way -- amusing, fun, witty. And again, I'm really glad you went with kids because it was a refreshing departure for this fest. Oh, and thanks for your kind words about "Check" -- really appreciate it!

06-07-2007, 09:20 AM
MsManhattan -
Thanks for your comments on my film. I really don't mind the "cute" label. I knew going into this with the script as it was that it would be viewed that way, which is fine. Perhaps the next fest will inspire me to do something a bit more "grown up".

I agree with you that the confrontation seems a bit lacking. Had I the opportunity to shoot it again, I'd take a DP with me (I shot this myself), a Steadycam of some sort, and get a follow focus unit. There are many other angles I had in my head that were not possible from a tripod or without a follow-focus control on the 35mm adapter. I think in shooting it with just the two shot and CUs, it lacked tension. But, the scene was shot as written as I didn't want to include any violence (not even wrestling - we're working hard with my son to control his anger outburst, so why encourage it on camera?). Also, I had to limit the amount of time the kids were on camera together as they got each other all wound up. The outtakes from the two shot are full of giggles. If I'd been recording sound, you'd hear me getting a bit frustrated with them :) . All in all, I learned a lot from producing this, and even more from the comments people have given in this thread.

Thanks again.

Mark Harris
06-07-2007, 10:15 AM
Well, this is the second film in the fest that actually and really had me wanting to know what happens next. A MAJOR accomplishment and pretty much what Storytelling is all about.

This film is awesome, no two ways about it.

I think you can help yourself a little by getting more creative with the editing. that will help you pick up the pace in some spots. Like for instance when BLUE HAWK is just getting the diary, I might have tried some jump cuts there to step it up a little. I think you can find a lot of places throughout to tweak the pacing in that way, and I wouldn't be afraid of the jump-cut if you don't have coverage to cut to.

Also, no offense to the kids, but when they talk they have some issues. If it were me, I might cut around the parts where they talk and give them some internal V/O, even if it's adult voices.

Man, I nearly shot coffee out my nose when she is looking at the video of BLUE HAWK, because every time he would spin around, he would take a little peak right into the camera.

Also, when you cut to the shot on the beach, when she first finds the transmitter he removed. You cut to where she's looking and he's standing there, very bad-ass:


I died. :)

Anyway, as I said, I think you can do a lot in post if you want to change things. If you did shoot this again, can the adapter. It's just a hindrance and has absolutely no affect on this story at all. You would be better off putting your time and energy into helping the kids than screwing around with one of those beasts again.

GREAT, GREAT short!!! :beer:

06-07-2007, 10:33 AM
Thanks for your comments, Mark. They are appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I disagree with you about the adapter, but would concede that I don't need to be messing with it. I like the look it created, and will stand by my decision to use it on this film. If I could go back and shoot this, I'd get a camera op instead. Let THAT person mess with the adapter so I could focus on the actors.

Yes, my kids have difficulty with delivery. It's why they had so few lines to begin with. And why I relied on iChat for the conversation with HQ. I think adult VO's would have taken away from the charm others seem to have found in this film. In the end, because this was more about the process for me than the product, I got the best performance I could from them and accepted it.

As for your editing suggestions, I will take them under consideration. I never thought of cutting in that manner, but it does seem a valid option to pick up the pace a bit. Thanks.

06-07-2007, 03:38 PM
Thanks, Rebecca. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I thought your performance in Without Provocation was spot on.

I'm so happy to see so many NW filmmakers in this fest (I counted 4, and out of 35, that's pretty good).

Thanks, Amy! 4 Northwest filmmakers is indeed cool. :) Kudos to you to being one of 2 women entering as well. :beer:

06-07-2007, 05:34 PM

Payed off big time.

Lots of fun.

Well put together.

Thanks for entering it :thumbsup:

06-07-2007, 09:13 PM
Thanks, Taylor. I loved your film, BTW. :)

Ted Arabian
06-08-2007, 10:31 AM
AmyO, That was wonderfully charming! I smiled throughout!

I thought that your editing was very nice! I loved the diagonal sweeping transition, too! I would liked to have seen a couple of insert shots (like C/U on the boy plugging in the iPod) or even a rack focus there. But I enjoyed this none-the-less!

Actors were superb! Great VFX work!

Hats off to you!!!

Nice job!


06-08-2007, 12:14 PM
Thanks Ted. I'm glad you liked the transition. It was inspired by the poster graphic, and I hope to create a brief title sequence to tie it in even further.

I think I might have that CU you mentioned, but if memory serves, I shot it from an angle that didn't cut well with the wider shot. I'll give it another look-see, though.

Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Beat Takeshi
06-08-2007, 04:46 PM
That was great. I bet it was fun to shoot with them. I thought the use of the ipod, computer and usb drive was cool and finally a chase scene, on the beach even! The beach shots were so surreal feeling. What adapter are you using? It gave a great look to those shots.

06-08-2007, 05:16 PM
Aram, thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the film.

I used a Letus 35a (non-flip) adapter and Canon FD lenses. I think for the beach scene I used a 28-85mm zoom, so I don't know exactly what mm setting I used. The beach scene is my favorite, I really love how it turned out. Although, I'm still finding sand in the corners of my camera bag :shocked:

Beat Takeshi
06-08-2007, 05:47 PM
I still have sand in my bag from my Zombie fest entry from the very first fest. :P
Yeah I totally love the look on the whole beach scene. Very smooth in a poetic way.

06-08-2007, 06:26 PM
Amy, I enjoyed the running scenes on the sand. It looked like the kids got into their characters when they were outside where kids love to be. I really liked it when they took off running down the beach.

06-08-2007, 08:28 PM
Thanks, Aram.
And thanks, Kurt. I wrote that scene to play to Kevin's strength - running. That guy is fast, not too far off from the Blue Hawk profile. Just not all the athletic accolades - yet. :)

06-08-2007, 08:31 PM
On my third viewing I picked up on the credits going by during the blue hawk profile. I liked the "kid" were a nice touch.

06-08-2007, 08:42 PM

I really liked this one. I thought you did a good job with the child actors. I didn't think they were completely believable, but still very good. I'm sorry, but I don't like the poster for this film. But I thought the production value of the film, the visual effcts, the music and the angles were all very good. Loved that. Nice entry. Good luck.

Norm Sanders
06-09-2007, 11:23 AM
Amy, first off this was a very cute, family friendly concept, ala SpyKids. Visual FX could have been composited a little better, and though the story concept was GOOD, I felt the script still came out a little rough and there's room for improvement. However, since I don't really consider myself a writer, I'm at a loss to offer specific ideas on what could have been improved ... just felt there was something.

I can't really critique you on performances, because they're kids & that in itself is typically enough of a challenge to work with anyway. For what there was, their performances were cute & enjoyable. Not everyone is going to be a Dakota Fanning, so it's unfair to compare most child actors to that kind of prodigy level, lol. So good job in working with the talent.

My biggest kudos to you on this is for making something everyone in your group likely enjoyed making & will watch over and OVER again in the years to come. I'm envious ... because I need to make something that MY kids are in, and can feel good about. That's why I've sworn that the next one I make is a kid friendly comedy. You've helped concrete that for me. :)

06-09-2007, 05:07 PM
This is obviously a movie that everyone had a good time making. That alone is better than any Varizoom or Kessler Crane! =) I really enjoyed watching Girl VS Boy. I think the computer graphics were well done and looked real. (Obviously, some were really OS X of course). The story was cute and there were a lot of neat gadgets at the kids' disposal. As it was said before, working with kids can be hell, but you seemed to have done a pretty good job. There was one little directorial touch in this movie that I loved, and that was when the girl is at the beach about to use the stationary binoculars. I thought it was funny (that for a spy themed movie) that she couldn't quite reach them.

The only things I didn't really care for was the ending. Aside from that, this was a very good movie. I enjoyed it all the way through! Thanks for reminding us all how much fun we can have making a movie with our family.

06-10-2007, 09:55 AM
Daniellus, thanks for your comments. Sorry the poster didn't grab you. It really was just a quick graphic, but I kinda like it's simplicity.

Norm, thanks to you, too. I'm glad you liked it. Funny thing, watching all these films has made me want to try something that maybe my kids shouldn't watch! :) But, if you'd like to pick my brain about the ups and downs of working with kids - especially your own - give me a buzz. This really was fun. You can't tell by their somewhat stiff performances, but the kids had a good time, especially at the beach. Kevin had to do his "stunt" at least ten times (falling down). We all got worn down by some of the multiple takes, but who doesn't?

Karl151k, I'm glad you enjoyed the film. Yeah, I went the indie gorrilla route and used screencasts for some of my VFX, which was the plan ever since I wrote the IM scenes. It really helped though in the end as I started running out of time for post. And the binoculars you mentioned was one of those happy accidents. The scene was written to take place with real binoculars on the deck of the house we were renting (which I'd seen only in pictures prior to our trip). But, when we got to the house, I realized the deck didn't overlook a sandy beach, but a rocky tidepool! I originally wanted to shoot below the deck, but that was ruled out, and we had to go down the beach a ways. When I saw those metered binoculars there, I knew I had to use them. I loved how they emphasized that these are kids "playing spy" in a grown-up world. And I'm all for adding touches of humor to my work. Thank my April 1st birthday for that one.

Aye, the ending is difficult, and I think it what makes it more so is most people can't understand Blue Hawk's last lines. I plan to insert a tighter CU of the paper (inspired by "Don't Look") and maybe do another ADR of the lines. Hopefully this will clarify that the last scene is a set up for another movie. 'Cause, like I've said before, every spy movie needs a set up for a sequel.

06-10-2007, 10:36 AM
My Thoughts:

I'm glad someone used kids as their main actors. Huge FX undertaking and the boy has blue hair!!