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View Full Version : My Granddad Is A Hitman - by Jamesh & JoshP



jamesh
05-08-2007, 04:50 AM
MY GRANDDAD IS A HITMAN
'Behind every good Granddad, there's a good Granny'

Written & Directed by James Hutchings & Josh Penk
Editing, Camera, Sound, VFX By James Hutchings
Music by Herman Witkam

http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/hitman_poster.jpg

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My first entry into a DVXUser comp. It's nothing serious, just a little film i made with my cousin for his A-Level film project & we thought we'd gear it for Spyfest too. We used family members as the cast & our village & homes for locations, didn't spend a penny on this movie. Shot on standard PAL DVX in 25P, no adapter. Lighting consisted of 2 Arri lights & some worklights for the night shots. Written & shot over a couple of weeks. My family had great fun making and watching this, it's a little silly but hopefully there is enough irony & satire to keep you entertained for a few mins.

Herman Witkam (http://www.herman-witkam.com/) very kindly offered to compose a soundtrack for me so thanks to him!

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CC'd Stills
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http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame1.jpg
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame7.jpg
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame2.jpg
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame8.jpg
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame15c.jpg
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/frame4.jpg

jamesh
05-08-2007, 04:53 AM
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Behind The Scenes
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http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/MyGrandad026large.gif http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/My-Grandad-060large.gif
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/DSC04744large.gifhttp://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/My-Grandad-052large.gif
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/My-Grandad-058large.gifhttp://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/MyGrandad001large.gif
http://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/My-Grandad-049large.gifhttp://www.magicmothfilms.co.uk/images/My-Grandad-063large.gif

kurtmo
05-08-2007, 05:09 AM
Welcome aboard. Nice shots and a fun setting! I really like the shot down into the floor!

tmnt
05-08-2007, 06:03 AM
This looks like a lotta fun. Really like the first and third pics. Good luck mate.

Ted Arabian
05-08-2007, 06:11 AM
Well, for such a humble intro to your thread, your stuff looks great!!!

Welcome aboard. Looks and sounds like fun!

Best!

-Ted

btw, one of the premises I had during the brainstorming sessions was a guy who discovers that his Grandfather is a hitman! Looking forward to your entry.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-08-2007, 06:15 AM
Looks awesome! Can't wait to see it...

Mike

Keystoned
05-08-2007, 06:44 AM
Well, for such a humble intro to your thread, your stuff looks great!!!


haha, yeah, I think he is under selling us a little :)

Nice lighting and comps, really looking forward to it now.

and BTW ... this is what it's all about IMHO
http://www.dvxuser6.com/uploaded/24956/1178631707.jpg
Shelf-pile of books and other stuff-skateboard dolly :beer:
Bet the shot looks great too.

Dahopafilms
05-08-2007, 07:07 AM
Welcome James.

As Keystoned already said, the use of the skateboard dolly is terrific.

But your use of your Arri's is even better. Looks great. I like the look of this one.

Cheers.

jamesh
05-08-2007, 07:09 AM
Haha, Doh! You got me keystoned!!

I wanted a slow push-in shot for the opening scene so a little on-set creativeness was needed. A skateboard, with some wooden palettes placed on top, with books as height adjustment for the camera to sit on with a card board base! I call it the skate-box-book dolly!!! not to be confused with my other dolly creation, 'the Barrow-Cam', aka, man in wheel-barrow holding camera being pushing along by other man!!!! genious i tell thee. :)

It was a little shaky but i think we just about got away with it as the shot was so short. We also did the reverse of that shot and simply rolled the skateboard with camera down the table towards the subject which looked incredibly smooth & professional.

Thanks for the encouragement folks but really don't expect much from this film. It was just for fun, the storyline is paper thin. It was more of a spoof of 24 or something. Some of your films look & sound like multi-million dollar hollywood productions, we didnt even try to compete with you guys, we simply wanted to have fun & learn a bit more.

Looking forward to watching all your entries too!

Charli
05-08-2007, 08:23 AM
Shakey is good, don't worry 'bout it. Funny premise, good luck.

AmyO
05-08-2007, 11:04 AM
I love that even though we're all given the same genre - the Spy Movie - and everyone has a different take on it. This is going to be a fun fest. Welcome aboard James :)

cinealma
05-08-2007, 01:00 PM
This looks awesome! I like the premise the title leads to. Looking forward to it.

Beat Takeshi
05-08-2007, 10:23 PM
I like the name of this and the shots look good.
Good luck!

Ki-Ki
05-09-2007, 06:04 AM
Man, fantastic title. Looking forward to it.
All the best

jamesh
05-31-2007, 12:31 PM
I'm safely uploaded. Herman Witkam made me a lovely little score though i feel i've let down the film with my crappy vfx in after effects. I had a bash at them ages ago and kept telling myself i was gonna redo them better but never quite got around to it. Nevermind, it's all a bit of fun.

Herman Witkam
05-31-2007, 01:10 PM
Looking forward to seeing the final version!

gabrielflorit
05-31-2007, 01:23 PM
This one looks like a lot of fun. There's a line in Robert McKee's Story that I'd like to appropriate, something about only doing what is fun. Your movie sure looks like that.

Gosh I cannot wait to get my HVX.

arielman
06-02-2007, 02:19 PM
Love the title.

On my list as one of the first to watch.
Ian

Norm Sanders
06-03-2007, 04:21 PM
Now THIS sounds like a fun one to watch ... love the title, and I love seeing older folks playing in the films as well, vs. just a bunch of our friends who are in their teens to early 20's much of the time!

Michael_Petro
06-03-2007, 04:50 PM
I just love the idea of this.. wish i would have thought of it... My granddad was kick ass. he loved gadgets(tech) and stood about 6'2.and loved beer .. back in the 70's when I was a wee lad he brought home this remote control TV it was small and had the old style turn knob.. the remote was two buttons one to turn the knob one way and the other button to go the other way... scared the crap out of me and my brother cuz we had not seen a tv change channels by itself b4... He is one of the reasons I am in the technology filed today.. I am ready to watch some grandpa kick it!

Keystoned
06-03-2007, 11:11 PM
Still laffin' on the concept an diggin' the shot through the dirty glass.
Looking forward to it mińana :beer:

jamesh
06-04-2007, 03:34 AM
Your Granddad sounded like one cool old dude Michael. The Granddad in the film is actually my step granddad, he loves gadgets too. He's always on his computer & he just bought a 42" plasma screen for his front room which we filmed the dinner shots in. Damn, i dont think it's gonna live up to your expectations now, theres not much action to be fair, it's just meant to be a charming comedy.

Michael_Petro
06-04-2007, 04:48 AM
Damn, i dont think it's gonna live up to your expectations now, theres not much action to be fair, it's just meant to be a charming comedy.

The only expectation I have , is to one day film Carrot Top and Rosie O'donnel in a romantic comedy:beer: so as you can tell you flick will be just fine :)

smashedburrito
06-04-2007, 10:08 AM
Hey I watched your movie first and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was a simple story done well. It was well shot, well acted, and really enjoyable. My only gripe is that your tagline gave it away. Otherwise great job and keep up the good work.

Michael_Petro
06-04-2007, 11:06 AM
dude that was pretty damn cool. I liked it alot.... like smash said the tagline was a dead givaway.

Grannys got a gun. BLAM :beer: the end made me laugh... i'm sick that way

oo and just loved your intro

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-04-2007, 11:26 AM
I loved all the subtle effects and use of props in this one. You can tell that you really thought it out.

The film looked great as well.
Very nice work!

Good acting as well.

Mike

jamesh
06-04-2007, 05:12 PM
Sorry about the tagline guys. It's actually not meant to be there. I did write a nice little synopsis but the guys uploading the films must have gotten a little confused. I've asked if it can be changed.

ripupthehwy
06-04-2007, 07:06 PM
I really really really liked this one. One of my favorites. Nice Job

rich nation

http://www.dvxuser6.com/uploaded/9387/1173983779.jpg

chris f
06-04-2007, 08:18 PM
Standard Disclaimer: I've yet to see a bad film so far in this fest. 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: Great job, excellent production quality. Can I steal your DOP? Very original story as well. Loved the grandma with the shotgun. Computer graphics were top notch. Definitely one of the best films I've watched so far.

Not as Good: The film kind of sent mixed signals, I couldn't decide if I should take the film serious (opening scene, computer mission, etc.) or if I should sit back, relax, and enjoy the irony of the story (the light hearted score, the grandma at the end, etc.). Also, I was very surprised at how fake the gun shot at the end was, everything else up until that point was perfect (well except the voices seemed odd in the garage and the guy that got shot looks way younger than his voice sounded)

jamesh
06-05-2007, 09:46 AM
I agree with your criticisms.

Yes the headshot at the end looks bad. I did it myself and i'm rubbish at vfx, i wish i had gotten someone who does stuff like that todo it now. And yes the voice dubbing is a bit distracting in places, i didnt really have any other choice though, all the actors are my family and my best friend plays the baddy and he couldn't sound at all convincing, so i had to dub him, maybe i over did it, but he looks pretty mean at least i think.

Regarding the mixed seriousness with comedy: we were actually trying to mix it up a little. Wanted the audience to think at the start that they were watching a serious spy thriller, then blow their expectations apart by intoducing our eldery heroes in a light hearted way.

Hopefully people pick up on the age issue, the fact that the eldery can overcome youth and they are not all useless, wrinkly, moaning killjoys.

Thanks for watching.

cinealma
06-05-2007, 03:18 PM
I really like this one. The "old" spy really fit the part. One of those films where the age of the actors who played the "bad guys" didn't quite work for me.

Awesome visuals! The VFX were a little cheap, but you've explained it in a previous post, so it is what it is. I think that if you went back and fixed the dubbed audio and the VFX, this would be a clever little film.

Good job and thanks for screening.

JOE BLO
06-05-2007, 03:27 PM
I thought your computer graphics were some of the best in the fest. Good job!

Charli
06-05-2007, 03:30 PM
I hesitated watching this because of the title, but I went ahead anyhow. You
showed many scenes to show the dynamics of this man, liked that. I liked
the twist.

gabrielflorit
06-05-2007, 03:58 PM
There are so many things I liked about this one... let's enumerate:

- the lighting in the intro scene, looks very professional, great contrast.
- in the intro scene, the way you framed his reflected head inside the SYN spinning logo

- the opening titles! sets the tone very well - how did you come up with those?
- the montage where we get a glimpse of grandpa's daily life was very well done - the girl smiling back, the appropriate car for a senior, the quiet and content dinner scene, even the way grandpa uses his cutlery, it all fitted.
- i guess what i'm trying to say here is that i instantly became endeared with the main character. empathy in films is tough to accomplish, but you definitely have it in this one.

- i'm not so sure about the later scenes, they didn't feel as polished, especially the audio in the garage. and of course the exploding effect vx is cheesy beyong measure. i'll assume you didn't have time to finish it.
- i wish there would have been a little bit more talking - i actually can't remember grandpa ever saying something. maybe that's more effective.

in conclusion, a fantastic effort.

aravance
06-05-2007, 10:57 PM
Great looking film and humorous premise.

I dug some of the sound effects in the beginning and the VFX, though by the end of the film both of those things seemed to be less polished. The audio as well.

I thought the music that sort of plays as the Granddad's theme was pretty awesome.
It fit perfectly.

I did feel however that there didn't need to be as much music as there was. I think it would've been okay without it for some scenes.

I feel that it started off pretty tight but by the end of the film things sort of unraveled in this slapstick sort of way. I think even though the premise is quite humorous, part of the humor for me was how serious that premise was taken. It felt that way in the beginning, but by the end that tone seemed to be gone. I would have preferred seeing that tone throughout.

But anyway, a good entry none-the-less!

Thanks for sharing!

aFox
06-06-2007, 12:23 AM
Great premise for a comedy and i think the main character was interesting. The ending was also spot on, very funny !! :)

Steve_Arm
06-06-2007, 09:13 AM
Nice movie.
One complain, why doesn't grandpa say even a line?

gabrielflorit
06-07-2007, 11:40 AM
Nice movie.
One complain, why doesn't grandpa say even a line?

I think it's because then we would notice the lack of acting skills. I've seen a lot of that in this fest, actors not talking at all. Not sure if it's because the script calls for that, or because most of us have a hard time giving a convincing line delivery. In this case it worked - almost. Like you, by the end I wanted to hear him say something. Anything!

jamesh
06-07-2007, 02:57 PM
It was a concious decision from the start to have the cental character not say a word. A) because he is my granddad who has never acted before in his life & he found it difficult enough to just take physical direction, and B)we thought it might be quite fun if he was like the silent, stealthy ice-cool hitman type character who doesn't even need to say anything. The main lack of dialogue in the film as a whole is mostly down to the fact my family didn't sound convincing enough delivering lines so I tried to tell the story as visually as i could.

I'll agree and say yes the ending maybe does fall away into slapstick but that was also kind of intentional. We wanted the film to start really serious and get more surreal & satirical as it went on. The original music we used for the introduction of the granny with the shotgun was a heavy rock track which helped enforce the comical irony of the ending, but Herman's score was great also.


part of the humor for me was how serious that premise was taken. It felt that way in the beginning, but by the end that tone seemed to be gone. I would have preferred seeing that tone throughout.
yes! aravance, i think you're right. we were aiming for that but my longing to put a head explosion shot in there maybe spoilt that. I'll blame Andrew Kramers wicked headshot tutorial for that! And yes, i should have spent more time making it look better.

The audio in the garage was difficult, we were using a crappy mic & boom that we hired from the college, and the the kid holding it was one of my cousin's friends who just happened to be hanging around, and he had never done it in his life, and i had too much on my plate to keep making sure he was getting good clean audio. Most of the audio was foley done by me in post, sfx, ambience etc, we just recorded the voices & garage scene, but even alot of that i made myself, and by the time i got round to that scene i think i was sick of doing sound work, which is probably why it sounds rougher than the earlier scenes, maybe i should have off-loaded that job to someone who knew what they were doing.

The young age of the bad guy actors was also kind of intentional to push this concept of youth vs elderly, and also due to the fact i had no-one else!

I'm not trying to make excuses here. I know the faults with it and i accept them. I'm just telling it like it is.

Thanks for all your feedback, both postive & negative. Because at the end of the day, we're all just learning here.

arielman
06-07-2007, 04:27 PM
Well I wasn’t disappointed at all .Loved it!

I enjoyed the end when Grandma comes in to save “Silverfox” lmao .

This was a nice piece of work. Congrats .
I watched 3 times and still enjoy it !
Ian

Herman Witkam
06-07-2007, 05:19 PM
I thought the music that sort of plays as the Granddad's theme was pretty awesome.
It fit perfectly.

I did feel however that there didn't need to be as much music as there was. I think it would've been okay without it for some scenes.

Thanks - I agree that the piece could've done well with less music, but the way the first half was approached called for using a lot of music throughout the whole film. There's one scene in the middle without music though, which (I think) strengthens the music in the scene after it.

kurtmo
06-08-2007, 09:26 AM
I enjoyed this one. I thought it was well filmed and cut. I especially like the subtle dolly shots. Liked the computer shot fx. One thing I didn't get was when we were looking through the night scope the final time the visual dropped out of IR green to your cool CC look. Was that on purpose?

I would agree with others about the cheesy gun shot in the end. With a big gun like that, you should have a more manly firing and skip the blood...or at least desaturate it to match the scene. This fx test shot (http://jewellhome.net/fx/movies/RobGunFun_3.mov)of my 7 yo gun freak is kinda what I'm thinking.

All in all, great film.

jamesh
06-08-2007, 02:14 PM
One thing I didn't get was when we were looking through the night scope the final time the visual dropped out of IR green to your cool CC look. Was that on purpose?

yes kurtmo, it was on purpose. If you notice carefully the effect doesnt just cut but it distorts out, as if he was turning the nightvision off. This was meant to show that his reconissance was over and that he was about to move in for the kill.

Thanks for watching

Mark Harris
06-08-2007, 03:07 PM
Amazing film. You are clearly a very professional filmmaker. But unlike some others with a pro touch, this one was fun and entertaining. I got caught up in it right away.

And I did not see it coming. For the first time in any fest, I scream-laughed :"Oh my God!" WAY out loud. NICE. :):)

If I had one critique, I would do away with the effect in that spot. Only because in a film so perfectly crafted, it stands out as not quite looking right.

But great, great work.

Mark Harris
06-08-2007, 03:12 PM
And though he's done some amazing stuff for my films and many others, this is far and away Herman's best film score, I think. Really, so perfectly suited to the piece, as well as very cinematic. Just great work, Herman. Which reminds me, I need to call you about a project before another fest gears up :)

Mark Harris
06-08-2007, 03:12 PM
filmmakers. Sorry I cannot seem to edit posts.

jamesh
06-08-2007, 04:35 PM
Cheers Mark, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll probably end up doing another cut of it with a tidier ending, seeing as how many people have brought it up.

Yes. Herman's score is great. The guy is a diamond. Cheers Herman.

Herman Witkam
06-08-2007, 04:38 PM
And though he's done some amazing stuff for my films and many others, this is far and away Herman's best film score, I think. Really, so perfectly suited to the piece, as well as very cinematic. Just great work, Herman. Which reminds me, I need to call you about a project before another fest gears up :)

Thanks Mark - Looking forward to the collaboration :beer:

Keystoned
06-08-2007, 04:58 PM
Very well put together.

I'm afraid the cinematography may go unnoticed or un-lauded because the content of the piece is so light. But it was really really well done. Especially the first spy at his computer. I also love the shots through the dingy Plexiglas of him preparing the gun.

My only ding is that I expected the fact that he was a granddad to play a bigger role. He could have been anything, a dad, a single guy ... I expected a bit more satire ... I dunno, like a rocket shooting walker or something, or having to deal with the grand kids in the middle of a mission. But like I said I liked it a great deal nonetheless, that was just an expectation that I felt which wasn't wholly met.

Agree the music was perfect for the piece.

Great job to you and your team!

Thanks for screening it for us :beer:

Dahopafilms
06-08-2007, 07:12 PM
Behind the eight-ball and still trying to watch entries. I am so glad I watched this one.

I must say, this whole thing impressed me. You guys have talent. I seem to recall from early posts that you were approaching this as a bit of a lark, but the end result came out as far from that, in my opinion. It was really beautifully shot. Loved your work with colour and the wide array of shots. I thought the story was great too (and I hadn't read the tagline and was pleasantly surprised).

As far as gripes, there really aren't any except (1) your two balaclava'd guys in the garage were just telegraphing the fact that they were about 11 years old; and (2) the final shotgun shot should be redone so it matches the calibre ("caliber", get it?) of the rest of this fine film (12 gauge shotguns are rather nasty tools at close range).

Without getting maudlin, I note the use of the "Grandad" and "Granny" and that they are related to you. May I just say that thirty years from now you are going to view this little gem in an entirely different light - it will be absolute gold. And they were great in their roles.

This was to me a beautifully crafted, good-natured piece. Loved the music. Loved the pacing. Loved the short. You have demonstrable talent. I will watch with interest to see what you produce for the next fest.

Well done.

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-08-2007, 08:38 PM
Lol, love it!! Hats off to you folks, this was a gem.

Norm Sanders
06-09-2007, 04:59 PM
I expected more of a comedy by the title, though I wasn't in th least disappointed by the turnout, as the production was more professional than I expected as well (again, I made presemptions due to the title - which could be a lesson to the filmmakers with regards to marketing ... ensuring the title conveys what you want to the target audience).

Opening titles were EXTREMELY cool and professional. Loved them. Some nice cinematic shots, though there were a couple of spots where I felt the handheld was in appropriate and/or distracting (one point in specific is when we're on the other side of the bushes from the Granddad as he approaches the hideout - I felt we were looking through someone else's POV that was about to attack him). Music was great (nice job, Herman!), and the edits and angles for the most part were well done also. One spot, in specific, where I felt the pace dragged was how long we looked at the gun via close up, as he looked down the barrel. Though it wasn't LONG, move on already! :) I feally liked the overall feel of this, and feel it was quite well done.

However, from a believability stand point, I have some frusterations, all of which could be moot if this was INTENDED to be corny and/or unrealistic in the following: I assume (until the end, which left me confused about this) that his being a hitman is a secret from his wife ... as such, he wouldn't have the speakers playing loud on the laptop for just anyone to hear. Also, wouldn't he notice the guy speaking to him as a HUGE gash on his forehead & is bleeding? If he's a pro, he'd suspsect a setup ... not to mention the curtain/cloth that clearly shows up behind him, screaming of some kind of terrorist/hostage forced camera thing.

Next, we have the two bad guys in the barn ... when the door opens, no one in their right mind will stand in the VERY center of the door like that. Who ever WAS outside would have ample time to blow their legs ou from under them, shoot them in the gut, etc., long beore the door would be all the way up to see who's out there. Anyway, once they DID get outside, it was cool to see their legs shot up, as the door was closing again.

Cool to see the Grandmother show up, but I don't know if that was plannedor a surprise to the Granddad. It should be explained, as that tells a lot of backstory in its own way as well, IMO. All the nit-picks aside, GREAT JOB!

jamesh
06-09-2007, 06:50 PM
Thanks for taking the time to really get stuck in there Norm!


wouldn't he notice the guy speaking to him as a HUGE gash on his forehead & is bleeding? If he's a pro, he'd suspsect a setup ... not to mention the curtain/cloth that clearly shows up behind him, screaming of some kind of terrorist/hostage forced camera thing.

You're also right about the fact that Robin might have guessed he was being setup from the gash on his handler's head and the crappy blue cloth behind him. The Robin character was meant to be a bit dopey, after all it's supposed to be a dark comedy. We felt that watching the handler on the tiny window on the laptop wouldn't look obvious to Robin that he was being setup, but then the scene where the camera pulls out after te conference to reveal the gun at his head would show the audience the truth. Also the blue sheet was meant to convey a neutral background that maybe they are used to having their conversations against.


I assume (until the end, which left me confused about this) that his being a hitman is a secret from his wife ... as such, he wouldn't have the speakers playing loud on the laptop for just anyone to hear.

Yes, he was keeping the fact that he was an agent from his wife (but she knew anyway) maybe this wasn't clear enough because i had planned to do a close-up of the grandmother twitching in her sleep when we're in the zipping up scene in the bedroom, i never got around to doing the pickups though.


Next, we have the two bad guys in the barn ... when the door opens, no one in their right mind will stand in the VERY center of the door like that.

We were trying to make fun of the stereotypical dumb henchman found in generic action movies which is why they get fooled so easily by Robin. I also had that cool opening scene from Leon in my head whe we were doing this bit.


I don't know if that was planned or a surprise to the Granddad

The grandmother showing up wasn't planned, the granddad was meant to be in total shock, hence his rather confused turn & look just before the credits roll.

Thanks for watching and thanks for your feedback.

deedive
06-10-2007, 07:23 AM
Really enjoyed your film. It was shot very well. Had a good story, and a beginning middle and end. One thing I really really liked is how the movies fell changes mid short. It gets u feeling comfortable and pleasant and switches very smoothly.

Edgen
06-10-2007, 11:05 AM
My Thoughts:

I really liked this movie up until the thugs in the garage. Bad audio or what.. they were just bad actors. I was a little let down in the end by granny's performance, but regardless, I think it was well done and I applaud your grandparents for being such great sports. Makes me wish I still had mine.

cheers!
/j