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View Full Version : "Without Provocation" - a Norm Sanders (Envision) film



Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 01:07 PM
Scroll down to view Q&A (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=962732&postcount=2), BTS (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=962735&postcount=3), etc (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=962736&postcount=4).


"It was a simple plan ...
then people were thrown into the equation."

http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/graphics/wp-poster.jpg

CAST
Robin ................. Rebecca L. Dunn (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=19547)
Linden ................ Anita Lugliani (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1800502/)
Carter ................. Shawn Nelson (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=14217)
Seller .................. Norm Sanders (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=3632)
Wife ................... Alecia Grant
Child .................. Elijah Nelson
Voice of SWAT ..... Matthew Merz


CREW
Norm Sanders (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=3632) ...... Writer / Editor / Producer / Director
Patrick LaValley (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=2116) .... Director of Photography (http://www.patricklavalley.com/)
Herman Witkam (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=12897) ... Composer / Sound Designer (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2079846/)
Ken Kupelian (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=23477) ........ Sound / Boom Operator
Claudine Ebel ....... Hair & Makeup Artist (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2646553/)
Steve Armenakis (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/member.php?u=13838) .. Post Visual Effects Artist
Jeffrey R. Hawley .. Script Consultant / Editor
Matthew Merz ....... Production Assistant


VENDORS
Nelson Entertainment
[SWAT Gear & On Set Armory]


SPECIAL THANKS
Varizoom, Inc.
David Dunn & Family
Shahna Sanders & Family
Annette Nelson
DVXuser

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 01:07 PM
Why did you make a film like WITHOUT PROCATION?
I've had some peers repeatedly say here on DVXuser that I'm a 'safe filmmaker', and generally afraid of taking risks. Though I wouldn't necessarily always agree, looking back I can see that I tend to play things on the safer side, sticking with what I know I can pull off and avoiding things I'm not as confident about and/or typically want to avoid in a film, some of which are just personal taste reasons. This film gave me an opportunity to try and push every boundary within reason on a short time frame, with a small cast & crew, and with a very low budget. A perfect opportunity for an exercise of trial & error to see what works and what doesn't. In the end, I'm fairly happy with the results, and believe most others will be as well.

The color correction choice is pretty radical; what made you choose this for your final look?
Again, it goes with polarizing the audience. With the SpyFest genre, there are likely to be MANY films that have similar themes, and beyond that even more may have very similar looks. With the storyline hopefully being different than many of the other films, I wanted to take it a step further and ensure that the film would more than likely have a different look visually than any other film in the festival. I've also always been intrigued by the film SCANNER DARKLY, and their cell processing of the film ... though I knew I couldn't duplicate that with my present abilities/equipment, I wanted to give a look that was at least inspired by it.

How did you achieve the final post production look?
I first applied a color correction to the film that I wanted for the 'live action' version, which will also be on the Cast & Crew DVD. Then I exported out over 8,600 images as a PNG sequence from Vegas (the NLE I cut on), and then processed them all through an automated script I created in Photoshop CS. Next, I took that entire PNG image sequence and imported it back into Vegas, and created a composite track with the setting to 'darken', laying over the original import. From there I applied additional CC to taste, along with Gaussian blurs, etc. Once you get the automation & steps down, the entire process shouldn't take much more than about 24 hours.

What else makes this film different than all the rest you've done?
Oh geez, aside from the extreme final post production look, camera work is a definite stand-out. I'd say the majority of my films in the past have had someone at the helm who was probably more traditional & structured in shots by nature. This has usually been Ryan Walters (235 Studios), and on the last film (Where Silence Falls (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=76839)) it was Dan Ayers, both of which are pros. So for WITHOUT PROVOCATION, I asked Patrick LaValley if he would be the Director of Photography. Not that Patrick isn't a pro, but his personality by nature is for more extreme & unique shots. I mean, this is a guy that will take his DVX100, strap it to his handle bars & then proceed to jump logs or whatever else he can find on trails with his mountain bike! So I knew someone with that kind of personality & edge would help give the film that extra difference as well, and get us in the face of the action with a more hand held look. Speaking of which, we never had a single locked down shot. Everything was shot using the Varizoom unit we acquired from the DVXuser DramaFest, with the exception of one hand held shot because there wasn't enough room for anything but the camera.

Next, we have the language. In comparison to any of my past films, this is a cuss-fest. No prior films have ever had a single swear word. Not one.

Drug use. Not that the story revolves around it, but I wanted to quickly explore the use of it, and the impact it may have on certain individuals within the group, both from the standpoint of those using them and those that have to deal with the users.

Editing. This is by FAR the most difficult thing I've ever edited. Ever. With the slower, more structured pace of past films the edits were usually quite simple with locked down shots, longer holds on each character, etc. This was a FAST & frenzied, kinetic approach I wanted to take with this film, which included the editing. If we hung on one character for more than a few seconds, I wanted something interesting to happen visually, whether it was a quick drop in from from panning in post, to a sudden pop in zoom, to a slight blur, etc. ... all of which I have to give props to Jack Daniel Stanley for with his inspirations in BONE HAND (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=59937). Thanks, Jack. Anyway, with all of the extra cuts & angles that had to be applied, this edit took much longer than I expected for me to do. Did I mention it was the most difficult thing I've ever edited?!

Skin. Though I DO raise my shirt in this one too, I decided to spare the DVXuser crowd of having to see me again (it's framed out - there's a reason to vote for this film right there, lol!!) ... instead, they get to see some more of RebeccaD. This too, could be considered an opposite from the previous film(s). :grin:

What are some pros & cons that you see with a film like this?
Since it's a completely different film than anything I've ever done in the past, which again has typically towed a middle line to draw as broad an audience as possible, this film will be more of a polarizer. Folks will likely love it or hate it, but I don't believe there will be too many left inbetween. This can be seen as both a pro and a con. A definite pro would be that it's pushed my boundries as a filmmaker, which will only help to improve the next endeavor, whatever that may be. A con is the fact that I can't show it to my kids due to the content ... something that I make sure I address with the next project.

Both the banner & poster are stating this is an R-rating ... what makes it so?
Just as the graphic states; pervasive languate (swearing), drug use & violence.

What happened to BERLIN, and where did this film come from, since we never heard about it before?
BERLIN (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=89647) truly was postponed for creative purposes, as stated in that thread (lack of convincing German soldiers at the time). I expect to be able to pick that film up & resume development/pre-production eventually. However, I very quickly was chomping at the bit to at least get something into the festival, and came up with an idea I believed could be executed in a short period of time. I won't, at this point, state how long the film has been planned, nor how long the entire development through to final post production took, as I don't want opinions being formed on the film based on how long we did or didn't have. Some folks could hear that we had a solid 2 months, and may think we could have done something differently, or others could hear that we made this in a matter of 3 days from start to finish, and would then pre-judge the film on that.

In a nutshell, you've not heard of WITHOUT PROVOCATION until now because I wanted to take a different approach than BERLIN (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=89647). Everything about this film is different, so I thought I'd let that carry over to the marketing, or lack thereof as well. :)

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 01:08 PM
http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/graphics/wp-btspics.jpg

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 01:09 PM
Press the below links to view various BTS clips from WITHOUT PROVOCATION!
Humorous "I SQUISH YOU! (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-hand.wmv)" clip
[The following is a clip taken at around midnight (after approx 15-16 hours onset) that shows about the extent of the stress I allowed to show through. I have a rule that if the Director freaks out & shows a lot of stress, it can do nothing but pull down the rest of the cast & crew, so why bother? It's better to just channel it & have some fun. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that I normally never swear onset, but since I'd been playing a character throughout the day that was using some pretty extreme language, it would just more naturally come out between takes as well, as was the case for I think everyone; even little Elijah (man that kid can cuss like a sailor - JUST KIDDING!).

Rebecca is who I was talking to, directly across from me, as the camera was over her shoulder.]

Norm's Stress Level clip
(http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-normstress.wmv)

PDX_DVX
06-02-2007, 01:17 PM
Nice, good work!

Ken K
06-02-2007, 01:21 PM
Looks great, Norm! Can't wait to check this one out! :thumbsup:

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-02-2007, 01:22 PM
Yeah! We made it in time!

PDX_DVX
06-02-2007, 01:23 PM
Note- black visqueen will not stick to cement siding with gaff tape in a wind storm. That is one of a select few things that gaff tape is not good for.

Beat Takeshi
06-02-2007, 01:25 PM
Cool, you pulled one together. I always enjoy your films. Good Luck!

abalex
06-02-2007, 01:33 PM
Never heard of this short before. What happened with berlin?

g.

cinealma
06-02-2007, 02:24 PM
Whhaaaattttt? Awesome Norm! Way to come through in the clutch! Can't wait to see it.

arielman
06-02-2007, 02:59 PM
Glad to see your in Norm .
Ian

500Cuts
06-02-2007, 03:12 PM
Good job, Norm. Looking forward to seeing it.

Co.

Edgen
06-02-2007, 03:15 PM
wew hew! COngrats on the entry Norm. You pulled through like a slick willy in a peep hole. Looking forward to seeing your film

cheers!
/j

bosindy
06-02-2007, 03:19 PM
good stuff Norm. Congrats on getting one in.

Michael_Petro
06-02-2007, 03:23 PM
man i was just blind sided....... good show Norm

Brandon Rice
06-02-2007, 03:24 PM
Wow Norm!! You got one in! Never fails! haha! :)

Dahopafilms
06-02-2007, 04:08 PM
Oh boy.

Yippee.

Goody.

Another tedious film from Norm. Something involving the fascinating life of your hamster no doubt.

Oh. WAITJUSTASECONDHERE! I see that Rebecca's in this one!

Weeelllll OK then! Why didn't you say so?

You've got my vote.

Unless you take your shirt off again. In which case you don't.

Unless .... (WHOA! Not going there ....)

Seriously - cheers, bud. Aren't ya glad?:beer:

Ben Sliker
06-02-2007, 04:11 PM
wow, it's almost like i didn't see this coming. lol.

Congrats on getting an entry in Norm!

AmyO
06-02-2007, 05:09 PM
Yay! I was bummed when Berlin was postponed, so this was a great surprise. I like the stylization you chose for your final CC (thanks for showing the process, BTW). Looking forward to this.

Brandon Rice
06-02-2007, 05:23 PM
The BTS rocks Norm, cool look too!

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 05:56 PM
Nice, good work!

No, YOU'RE the one who did the nice work, Patrick! After the fest is done, I'll post the regular CC'd version as well, which should show off your camera & lighting work even more.


Looks great, Norm! Can't wait to check this one out! :thumbsup:

Thanks, Ken! You, in combination with Shawn's gear got some of the best & 'hottest' sound I've ever had to work with. Great work my friend!


Yeah! We made it in time!

Yeah, you ain't kidding! Whew!! Thanks for texting me yesterday to update when it was finally up. While we were on travel to Cabo for my wife's company trip, I could only hope & pray everything worked out for Steve Armenakis (Steve_Arm) and Herman Witkam to get it finished & uploaded.


Note- black visqueen will not stick to cement siding with gaff tape in a wind storm. That is one of a select few things that gaff tape is not good for.

True dat! What Patrick is referring to is the fact that this entire film is supposed to take place in real time at night. Since we were shooting throughout the daylight, I had to purchase 2,000 square feet of 6mill black plastic wrap & litterally wrap Rebecca's house to cover all the windows they have (they have a lot of windows to see the incredible view they have from their home). The stuff actually held in place amazingly well with Gaffer tape until we got extreme winds & rain up there. After a while the tape just gave out, and then the house was too wet to get any new tape to stick. I can share what we had to do to think quick on our feet later. :grin:


Cool, you pulled one together. I always enjoy your films. Good Luck!

Thanks, Aram. Looking forward to your thoughts on this one!


Never heard of this short before. What happened with berlin?

g.

Hi abelex. Look on the first page at the Q&A section ... you'll see a link to BERLIN which explains it all there.


Whhaaaattttt? Awesome Norm! Way to come through in the clutch! Can't wait to see it.

Thanks, John! We thought this may come in as a bit of a surprise, lol.


Glad to see your in Norm .
Ian

Thanks, Ian. Looking forward to seeing yours as well with Raptor365!


Good job, Norm. Looking forward to seeing it.

Co.

Thanks, and a local guy to us as well! Whoot!


wew hew! COngrats on the entry Norm. You pulled through like a slick willy in a peep hole. Looking forward to seeing your film

cheers!
/j

Lol, thanks Justin!


good stuff Norm. Congrats on getting one in.

Thanks, Jim! I thought you'd be happy to see this, especially after the cancellation of BERLIN. Hope we don't disappoint, though it's a COMPLETELY different film than BERLIN was/is going to be.


man i was just blind sided....... good show Norm

Ahh, good! That was the intent. Thanks, Michael.


Wow Norm!! You got one in! Never fails! haha! :)

I'm an addict, what else can I say? I need help, lol. Thanks, Brandon.


Oh boy.

Yippee.

Goody.

Another tedious film from Norm. Something involving the fascinating life of your hamster no doubt.

Oh. WAITJUSTASECONDHERE! I see that Rebecca's in this one!

Weeelllll OK then! Why didn't you say so?

You've got my vote.

Unless you take your shirt off again. In which case you don't.

Unless .... (WHOA! Not going there ....)

Seriously - cheers, bud. Aren't ya glad?:beer:

Yes, yes, Brian, I'm glad. There, are you happy now?! :)


wow, it's almost like i didn't see this coming. lol.

Congrats on getting an entry in Norm!

Thanks, Ben. You knew I probably couldn't stay out!


Yay! I was bummed when Berlin was postponed, so this was a great surprise. I like the stylization you chose for your final CC (thanks for showing the process, BTW). Looking forward to this.

Thanks, Amy! Hopefully the stylized process sells just as well when it's in full motion as well.


The BTS rocks Norm, cool look too!

Thanks again, Brandon. More BTS to come, including clips, fully edited video, etc. as the days go on and I'm able to get them up. Just got back from vacation late last night, so I'm going to take a break now to spend time with the kids now that I've gotten this thread up & semi caught up!!

Charli
06-02-2007, 06:40 PM
I told someone not too long ago that you'd do this, just like this, yep, I was right.

PDX_DVX
06-02-2007, 06:44 PM
run silent, run deep.

Tom Marshall
06-02-2007, 08:07 PM
Norm, Norm, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can! :beer:

Glad to see you're putting something together for the fest buddy! :) I haven't been able to keep up with spyfest at all due to my much hated job, but I'm sorry to see that Berlin never materialized - can't say that I blame you for cutting that one loose at this time. I'm a perfectionist too and I can see why you would want nothing but the best in the end.

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 09:56 PM
I told someone not too long ago that you'd do this, just like this, yep, I was right.

Hee-hee, thanks Charli! I'll take that as a compliment, I think? :beer:


Norm, Norm, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can! :beer:

Glad to see you're putting something together for the fest buddy! :) I haven't been able to keep up with spyfest at all due to my much hated job, but I'm sorry to see that Berlin never materialized - can't say that I blame you for cutting that one loose at this time. I'm a perfectionist too and I can see why you would want nothing but the best in the end.

I've always appreciated your support, Tim, thanks! There was concern for a bit that this one may not have made the deadline, but thankfully it all came together, thanks in a LARGE part to the continued efforts of Herman and Steve. Thanks guys!

JOE BLO
06-02-2007, 10:27 PM
Norm,

I like the screen grabs with your stylized CC. I can't wait to see your film.

Just so you know, you spelled "Silence" wrong on your poster.

Thought you might like to know.

Norm Sanders
06-02-2007, 10:37 PM
Thanks, Joe! Actually that spelling error was brought to my attention really quickly after opening the thread by Ken (chazmo), so I fixed it immediately. I think if you hit 'refresh' on your system, it should fix itself ... not to mention reduce the size of the poster dramatically ... it was just too obnoxiously large, lol.

deedive
06-03-2007, 02:36 AM
pushin boundries is great. This film looks really cool. Waiting to see the movies are driving me crazy.

chris f
06-03-2007, 10:11 AM
glad to see you made it in norm, looking forward to it

Jazz Dog
06-03-2007, 12:07 PM
Looks cool Norm. Looking forward to checking out your film and all the other ones. I am always looking for cools ways to use the line art filter so I can't wait to see what you have come up with there. My film below is on hold for now but I am real happy with it. Just waiting for my actor to get back on board....

Norm Sanders
06-03-2007, 01:17 PM
Thanks Dale, Chris, and Greg! Greg, sorry to hear that your film won't be making it in, but looking forward to seeing yours once you're able to get back on track with your actor! :thumbsup:

Here's a funny clip I just discovered of what I believe was Shawn Nelson trying to do the "I squish you!" trick with the camera ... it was LATE at night, so you'll hear that our DP had possibly dozed off as well, lol.

CLIP (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-hand.wmv)

Norm Sanders
06-03-2007, 06:47 PM
Updated the 'clip' onto the front page of BTS material, and just realized it might be interesting to reflect the following: Our script was 12 pages long, and there was nothing I had to cut out to make the movie fit within 6 minutes.

EVERY single person that read the script questioned how the heck we were going to get it to fit in 6 minutes ... shoot, I know the rules; 1 page typically equals a minute of film. But I'm pretty detailed in the actions that I write, and I also knew this was going to be a pretty fast paced film, and very kinetic (if that's the correct word) in feel.

So when the final edit was done, the actual film came in at JUST under 5 minutes. We inserted 15 seconds in front for titles, and a nice 45 second scroll on the back end for Herman to do some cool score work over the credits.

Anyway, just never thought I'd say it ... 12 pages can equal 5 minutes of film. Once the films are officially up & available, I'll post the script for viewing as well.

MojoTrancer
06-03-2007, 07:50 PM
Very groovy grabs, Norm. I like the camera angles a lot. I'm excited to see this one.

-zach-
06-03-2007, 08:52 PM
Norm -

I love the style of this one. The grabs definitely evoke the same feeling as Scanner Darkly, but are new and fresh in their own way. It's an inspiration to hear that you're "pushing the boundaries". Taking chances is what it's all about. To make a very long speech short, I'm really looking forward to this one. I'll leave a full review as soon as I see it!

I find myself looking at the stills over and over again. The effect really enhances the shots and even the expressions on the face. I felt the need to edit this post that's how good the CC looks.

mentatDUKE
06-03-2007, 09:45 PM
Wow. This looks really interesting. Thanks for taking us through your thought process. It's cool to see how your style has evolved over the course of several projects. Can't wait to see this. Good luck.

Norm Sanders
06-03-2007, 10:55 PM
Thanks Mojo, the credit for the angles mostly all goes to Patrick LaValley. I think I'd suggest perhaps one or two things, or state if I wanted something different, but he would otherwise open my eyes to all kind of possibilities with things he was doing. I'd just sit back and say "cool, let's do it".

Zack, that's incredibly motivating to hear someone compare the look of this to SCANNER DARKLY, but then say it has it's own new & fresh look. Much appreciated. I CAN say that once you see the images moving it'll have more grit than what you see, since the CC/FX is grabbing onto different grains it may pick up, etc. I'd be REALLY curious to try this again some day using a HD camera to see how much the look would differ and/or improve.

Glad that the still keep pulling you back. Hearing this from you & others makes me feel more & more that I made the right last minute choice to go this direction. We'll soon find out how that pays off once viewing & voting begins. Hopefully the story, performances, editing & everything else holds up just as well.

mentatDUKE, thanks & you're welcome! I thought it'd be of interest to jot down some thoughts, and I enjoyed doing it. I even thought about doing a full on Producer/Director's Journal, but that'd give away how much or little time we had to do this in, and I don't want on anything to skew perception of the film in advance, as mentioned in the Q&A section.

I wouldn't exactly say my style has evolved over the course of several projects, more than it's hopefully simply improved. At my heart, I'm probably still more bent towards structured emotional/dramatic stuff ... but this film was about seeing how versatile I could be in a variety of ways from producing, directing, editing, writing, etc. Just basically trying to step outside of the comfort zone all the way around. It's nice to know I can do this, but I can't really say I'm itching to do something like it right away again, lol.

In a nutshell, I want to be versatile, but with quality & commercial viability. If I enter the next festival, I don't care what genre it is ... I'm doing a comedy ... something that'll make my kids laugh, as well as adults hopefully.

Matt Harris
06-04-2007, 12:39 AM
wow where did this come from? i thought you were a goner when you dropped BERLIN.

the process you did influenced by SCANNER DARKLY (one of my fav films of 06) is great because youre thinking outside the box. smart move. cant wait.

Keystoned
06-04-2007, 01:50 AM
Cool to hear that you are flying without a net on this one!

Interested to see the photoshop effect. I had tried an experiment like that before.

Looking forward to it :beer:

Texture
06-04-2007, 05:48 AM
Congrats to the entire Envision crew for getting a film into the fest and giving us all a good surprise to boot!

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-04-2007, 07:30 AM
This looks really interesting! Can't wait to check it out.

PS- How do you export a scene and apply an effect like this to each frame in Photoshop? If that's how you did it...


Cheers,

Mike

Ted Arabian
06-04-2007, 10:20 AM
WHOA!! WHAT????? Norm!! WOW!!!!! Good for you! (you sneaky Ba$tard!)

Congrats guys! Good luck! I am delighted that there is a Norm/Rebecca flick in the fest after all! RIght on!

Very interesting grabs... looking forward to it! :thumbsup:

Ted Arabian
06-04-2007, 10:24 AM
Here's a funny clip I just discovered of what I believe was Shawn Nelson trying to do the "I squish you!" trick with the camera ... it was LATE at night, so you'll hear that our DP had possibly dozed off as well, lol.

CLIP (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-hand.wmv)
Bwaaahhhhahahahhaahahhaahaaahaaa haaa haaaaa

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-04-2007, 10:55 AM
I liked it!

I found the "Look" a little distracting at times. Everyone seemed to look old due to the lines it created on their faces. It was still cool though, it looked great with the SWAT team.

I won't give away anything but I did like the reveal even though I saw it coming.

Great music as well!

I'll post more when I watch it again.

Very enjoyable!

On to Cristo....

smashedburrito
06-04-2007, 11:14 AM
Hey I really enjoyed the look. It was certainly different from anything else I've seen and I think it really stood out. Also your sound choices were excellent, it really set the mood for the whole movie and kept me interested. The "reveal" was very well done but I also saw it coming. My only gripe is that the acting was really off and on. Sometimes I found it believable and other times it seemed pretty bad. But it was edited well enough that I was interested the entire time.

Great job and keep up the good work.

Brandon Rice
06-04-2007, 11:40 AM
Hey Norm, some words about your film. Yours was the one I wanted to see first, and did. I also watched it several times, so as to try to judge it objectively as possible.

A few positives:

Pacing. The pacing of the film was great. The editing was very random, and it worked well for this kind of a film.

Look. Though I thought the look bordered on trying to hard, I felt for this kind of film, it worked. I think the lighting was even better than it looked on the final product, because of the visual effects overlay. The framing choices were also very good, and the camera had a visceral feel.

Story. I thought though the story was simple, it worked. I liked the reveal as well, and thought it had overall a good progression.

Music. Fantastic score, really drew me in!

A few negatives:

Acting. I think most of the acting was pretty good, but I hate to say it, but I didn't buy the lead (Seller). I felt he was out of place. I am trying to be completely objective in my judgement of the acting, and this is what I felt.

Script. Different from the story, I felt the dialogue was forced. Some of this was the delivery, but overall, I feel like you forced more "harsh and hard" dialogue into the script, that just was unnecessary and took me out of the moment at times.


So overall, while I think it's a step forward in many ways, I feel you missed the mark on the dialogue and some of the acting, which really brought me out of the film.

I salute the effort for getting something done (as I failed to do) and I think you've got skills to be sure. I just didn't feel this film. Thanks for the opportunity to check it out!

Norm Sanders
06-04-2007, 12:27 PM
wow where did this come from? i thought you were a goner when you dropped BERLIN.

the process you did influenced by SCANNER DARKLY (one of my fav films of 06) is great because youre thinking outside the box. smart move. cant wait.

Thanks, Defcon ... we thought we were gonners too, then decided to put this together instead ... just didn't market it in advance.


Cool to hear that you are flying without a net on this one!

Thanks, Keystoned, it'll be interesting to see how that choice works out for this one.


Congrats to the entire Envision crew for getting a film into the fest and giving us all a good surprise to boot!

We aim to please, Eric, lol. Thanks for the congrats & hope you enjoy the film.


This looks really interesting! Can't wait to check it out.

PS- How do you export a scene and apply an effect like this to each frame in Photoshop? If that's how you did it...

Thanks, Mike, look forward to your thoughts. I used a script to export a series of PNG images from Sony's Vegas, the NLE I cut on. Then I created a script in Photoshop to automatically open & process each of the 8,600+ frames. After it did all that (8-10 hours), I then brought the entire sequence back into Vegas & cotinued to process the look with track compositing, additional level adjustments, guassian blur, etc.


WHOA!! WHAT????? Norm!! WOW!!!!! Good for you! (you sneaky Ba$tard!)

Congrats guys! Good luck! I am delighted that there is a Norm/Rebecca flick in the fest after all! RIght on!

Very interesting grabs... looking forward to it! :thumbsup:

Thanks, Ted, and we'll be looking forward to your thoughts. SPYMASTER is up on my list to view here shortly & looking forward to it as well!

Kyser (Mike), smashedburrito, and Brandon ... thanks for the input!! I agree that the look does enhance everyone's lines in their faces, giving them an older look at times. Pros & cons of the filtering process. So far at least the look has paid off for the most part, in that it's helped it to stand out visually.

On the reveal, can you explain anything that made you feel you saw it was coming? If it's the frame grabs I have on the first page that subliminally planted something in your heads, I want to fix that ASAP, lol! Otherwise, anything in the film that told you what you were going to see?

For the acting, if you could point out any specific strengths or weeknesses, it'd be great. I.E. a particular moment where it was really on and/or really off with a delivery, etc. This is the only way a talent will know where they hit the mark for the audience and/or missed it altogether.

Same goes for the dialogue/script (Brandon), if you've got specifics it would be great, as time allows.

Thanks again, everyone, for watching & taking the time to comment! Much appreciated!

Mark Harris
06-04-2007, 12:28 PM
At 3:18, Norm wins. Hands down. :)

Though I kept having this nagging desire to call Charles Schwab...:beer:

I'll come back later.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-04-2007, 12:35 PM
1. Thanks, Mike, look forward to your thoughts. I used a script to export a series of PNG images from Sony's Vegas, the NLE I cut on. Then I created a script in Photoshop to automatically open & process each of the 8,600+ frames. After it did all that (8-10 hours), I then brought the entire sequence back into Vegas & cotinued to process the look with track compositing, additional level adjustments, guassian blur, etc.


2. On the reveal, can you explain anything that made you feel you saw it was coming? If it's the frame grabs I have on the first page that subliminally planted something in your heads, I want to fix that ASAP, lol! Otherwise, anything in the film that told you what you were going to see?



1. Thanks for that! I'll have to figure out how to try that with Premiere Pro. :)

2. I think it was the dialogue/editing, not the shots. We knew that the cops were tipped off, we saw that the boy was in the house and worried about his mother. I just guessed that he would have tried to do something.

I'll have to watch it again to be sure though.

BTW, the boys acting was really great!

Overall, the movie still played out very well.

Mike

-zach-
06-04-2007, 12:48 PM
Norm & crew,

I started the film with high expectations. The first couple shots were close ups, really showing the visual style. What jumped out at me was there was no tape sound when she ripped the tape off the hostage's mouth. The shaky cinematography was really great and as the movie unfolded it TOTALLY BLEW AWAY my expectations! Just great. Everybody gets real intense real soon, and Norm got a really badass line. The style is so great especially for the material. It's really short and it works that way. It doesn't need to be any longer because it does what it wants to do in 5 minutes. The heroine scene was very well put together and fit perfectly in with Rebecca's question. I went back to watch that over and over. Coming back to the kid at the end and he's the bug, that was pretty great. To quote Seller "You're just full of great ideas."

Really strong all around.
Zach.

I'd love to hear you elaborate on the pro's and cons of shooting a short in one day (even if it is just one location)?

Norm Sanders
06-04-2007, 12:48 PM
At 3:18, Norm wins. Hands down. :)

Thanks, Mark, I knew that'd get your vote, lol. :grin:


BTW, the boys acting was really great!

Overall, the movie still played out very well.

Thanks again for the additional feedback, and Shawn's family as well as Elijah will be glad to hear that! That's Shawn's little brother (one of many - all of whom seem to be in acting), and he was extremely professional onset, and easy to work with. I was very impressed with him, indeed.

Brandon Rice
06-04-2007, 01:04 PM
For the acting, if you could point out any specific strengths or weeknesses, it'd be great. I.E. a particular moment where it was really on and/or really off with a delivery, etc. This is the only way a talent will know where they hit the mark for the audience and/or missed it altogether.


Norm, I'll be honest, it was your part that really took me out of it. You didn't come across as genuine. I think that your casts have gotten better and better, and your acting level has stayed the same (I hope that makes sense). This is a compliment to your casting abilities. I hope this comment isn't taken the wrong way, but really that's what took me out of it.

On the other hand, I thought the little boy was genius! Though, I know his role was minimal, he was totally believable.



Same goes for the dialogue/script (Brandon), if you've got specifics it would be great, as time allows.


Norm. I felt you tried too hard with the dialogue. You forced a lot of swearing into this. I am not opposed to strong language when it's needed or appropriate, but it felt really forced in this, and it was so prevalent that the impact of this kind of strong language was lost... I see this a lot in the indie film crowd, and I was sad to see your dialogue go that path... use strong language, but use it so it truly has an impact on the audience.

Norm Sanders
06-04-2007, 01:04 PM
Norm & crew,

I started the film with high expectations. The first couple shots were close ups, really showing the visual style. What jumped out at me was there was no tape sound when she ripped the tape off the hostage's mouth. The shaky cinematography was really great and as the movie unfolded it TOTALLY BLEW AWAY my expectations! Just great. Everybody gets real intense real soon, and Norm got a really badass line. The style is so great especially for the material. It's really short and it works that way. It doesn't need to be any longer because it does what it wants to do in 5 minutes. The heroine scene was very well put together and fit perfectly in with Rebecca's question. I went back to watch that over and over. Coming back to the kid at the end and he's the bug, that was pretty great. To quote Seller "You're just full of great ideas."

Really strong all around.
Zach.

I'd love to hear you elaborate on the pro's and cons of shooting a short in one day (even if it is just one location)?

AUGH! The tape sound!! Nice catch, Zach, and perhaps that's something Herman can put in as we're still working out some adjustments for the final (not a longer cut, just perfected audio things, better visual render, etc.). Funny, the way you opened your post I kept expecting to hear where it went down hill for you (guess I had some anxiety), but glad to hear it delivered for you all the way through!

Ahem, Zach, what makes you think we shot this in one day and not over the course of several? :undecided :)


...I think that your casts have gotten better and better, and your acting level has stayed the same ...

Thanks for the compliment on the casting, and I respect your opinion on my particular performance. Thanks, Brandon.


On the other hand, I thought the little boy was genius! Though, I know his role was minimal, he was totally believable

Yeah, Elijah's got chops, especially for such a young age!


Norm. I felt you tried too hard with the dialogue. You forced a lot of swearing into this. I am not opposed to strong language when it's needed or appropriate, but it felt really forced in this, and it was so prevalent that the impact of this kind of strong language was lost... I see this a lot in the indie film crowd, and I was sad to see your dialogue go that path... use strong language, but use it so it truly has an impact on the audience.

I see what you're saying, but what about those folks Brandon that simply swear for the sake of swearing? You know, the ones that throw the F-bomb into every other word in their sentence, or use it as a part of every adjective? These folks are not the cream of the crop of life, and then find themselves in a stressful situation ... so I thought it was appropriate that they may be swearing as much as they did, but I could be wrong.

Again, thanks for the detailed input!!!

Dahopafilms
06-04-2007, 01:54 PM
Hey Norm (and Rebecca),

I'm watching the films in reverse alphabetical order and so this is the first one I've seen. So far, it's clearly the best.

Comments. Stuff I liked:

I really liked the visual effect you pulled off. Very comic book (I do wonder whether the story itself lends itself to a comic book presentation, though)
The acting. Yep, Rebecca is great as usual (as are your newer finds) but let me clearly state this - I liked your performance too. Highly strung. Focused. To me, at least, you sold it. And you know I'd tell you if I didn't think you pulled it off.
Wardrobe. Perfect. The SWAT guys gave it that element of realism. Nice job. Not sure about the hostage's red polka dot pants, but the SWAT uniforms sold me (wouldn't their goggles have been down throughout the op if they were using flash-bangs? Just wondering).
Music. Nice. I liked it. Didn't love it. But I liked it.
The edit. Yup. I liked it. Moved the story along. And it didn't seem as long as it was.


Stuff I didn't like:

I honestly had to look for the "spy" element. I know it was the kid, but is that a spy? I guess so. Maybe would have written it a little stronger about him creeping around and watching them perhaps. But that's just me.
I really am getting tired of the references to you taking your shirt off. I appreciated you not showing us the full monte this time, but can't you find a new gig? Please?:Drogar-Love(DBG):

So - very nice job, bud. And isn't it going to be a little weird for Dave and Rebecca to be watching this short in their home theatre while the action is taking place in the home theatre while they're watching in their home theatre while ... anyway, you get the idea.

:thumbup:

-zach-
06-04-2007, 02:00 PM
Funny, the way you opened your post I kept expecting to hear where it went down hill for you (guess I had some anxiety), but glad to hear it delivered for you all the way through!
This is what was intended, because I wanted to be able to say that it TOTALLY ROCKED THE HOUSE in caps.


Ahem, Zach, what makes you think we shot this in one day and not over the course of several?

Well, if you’re not joking, then THIS:
http://www.isarapix.com/pix32/1180986488.jpg

If you are joking, tee hee.


Norm, I'll be honest, it was your part that really took me out of it. You didn't come across as genuine.

I only half-agree – some of it was contrived, but was totally forgotten when he said, “Will someone answer the GOD DAMN PHONE!!1!” So it redeemed itself, IMO.

There was some great delivery, my personal favorite being, “Unless they’ve been listening this whole time.” That drags you in, it’s such a good trailer line, especially how it’s delivered.


You forced a lot of swearing into this. I am not opposed to strong language when it's needed or appropriate, but it felt really forced in this, and it was so prevalent that the impact of this kind of strong language was lost... I see this a lot in the indie film crowd, and I was sad to see your dialogue go that path... use strong language, but use it so it truly has an impact on the audience.

I have to disagree here as well. The only character who swears from the get-go is “Linden”. Everyone else has motivation for such language. Norm is shooting up, and is about to turn on his own team. Being high makes his actions completely unpredictable and therefore I believe strong language is justified. Rebecca only swears after she’s been called the B-word by Norm, and it’s during the most intense moment – the climax.

Especially in times of stress, people use this language as either a coping mechanism or a signal to others that they are stressed. The swearing wasn’t what I felt was contrived, the teddy bear was what I really felt was forced down my throat.

Zach

Norm Sanders
06-04-2007, 02:04 PM
Thanks for watching, Brian, and the detailed feedback! Thanks to Shawn Nelson (Nelson Entertainment, also played the role of Carter) for the SWAT gear. He's put a lot of money into that stuff, and it was a great asset to have available for us. Anyone notice that there aren't additional credits for the SWAT folks? :) You're correct about the masks being down. They always would have, not even just for the flash-bangs, but for the fact that if they're standing by the corner of a wall, for example, and a shot was fired at them & hit the wall by their face, they need to have the goggles down to protect their eyes from secondary missles (shrapnel/debris, etc.). That said, they kept fogging up on everyone, so we opted to leave them up.

I can't state for sure that the subject matter calls for the comic book look, or supports it as much as some other subjects would, but glad it's at least not detracting or conflicting with it.

The kid as the spy element. Yep, this will be among the many others where it's possibly more of a stretch for the 'spy' genre, but since they opened the definition as they did it allowed for more variety in the fest. Already I'm seeing there is less traditional spy films in this fest than I expected. We could have spent more time on the kid, but I was afraid that would detract more from the reveal we had at the end with the cell phone.

Funny! Yes, you're right, that will be odd to be watching it in that theater room ... kind of like one of those reflections of a mirror within a mirror within a mirror ... :grin:


Well, if you’re not joking, then THIS:
http://www.isarapix.com/pix32/1180986488.jpg

If you are joking, tee hee.

LOL! I completely forgot I stuck that in there! I'll spill the beans to you in a few days, Zach, to let you know how long this actually took us or not.

Also, thanks for the additional thoughts! As for the teddybear, that's an interesting insight/perspective, and one I certainly can't disagree with. We needed a stuffed animal, as the script called for, so we chose that one from Pierce's room (Rebecca's son), because I fell in love with it, as the picture below shows ...

http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/misc/teddy.jpg

RebeccaD
06-04-2007, 03:41 PM
Lol! Nice Teddy squeeze, Norm. I hadn't seen that one. Thanks all for the feedback. We really had a blast filming this, even with the rain & windstorm from.....you get the idea. Norm really held himself together through some adversity throughout the shoot. Norm, you are a class act, and always a pleasure to work with. I appreciated the opportunity to step out of the box as well. Shawn, thanks for the SWAT gear too! I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion from wearing it for so long! Whew!

Edgen
06-04-2007, 03:48 PM
For a second there, i thought you were making fun of yourself by lifting your shirt for the wire. :)

Nice film Norm! I have to say the visual style was very distracting and I would honestly liked to have seen the film without the filter. I know you were going for another style of film and right off the bat a filter such as this screams a cop to cover up a poorly shot/lit film. Which.... from the screen grabs on the BTS, doesn't seem to be the case at all. It seems like some shots had more of the filter than others which made it inconsistent. I felty scanner darkly for a bit and then straight to poor photoshop/graphic design skills.

Overall, I think the action and energy kept the movie driving all the way to the end. I really dug the score and the reveal with bear was superb. That totally caught me off guard. Acting was OK, but the visuals just made it hard to really tell what was going on.

kudos for a quick turn around and entry into the fest :)

(nice teddy squeeze)

cheers!
/j

Dahopafilms
06-04-2007, 03:51 PM
... I fell in love with it, as the picture below shows ...

http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/misc/teddy.jpg

Is it just me, or does that bear look very, very uncomfortable?

wesley
06-04-2007, 04:30 PM
man on bear action always gets my vote even if it's a stuffed animal.

Thought the film was pretty cool, good pacing. the linklater effect worked cause it was only a short film. would've liked to see how it looks without though, just curious :D

Norm Sanders
06-04-2007, 04:34 PM
Lol! Nice Teddy squeeze, Norm. I hadn't seen that one. Thanks all for the feedback. We really had a blast filming this, even with the rain & windstorm from.....you get the idea. Norm really held himself together through some adversity throughout the shoot. Norm, you are a class act, and always a pleasure to work with. I appreciated the opportunity to step out of the box as well. Shawn, thanks for the SWAT gear too! I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion from wearing it for so long! Whew!

Thanks, Rebecca, for the kind words. I'll have all the pics (there weren't very many) up for the cast & crew soon ... got some hum-dingers of you. :grin:

Commenting on the stress levels of the day, I've got a clip that shows about the extent of the stress I allowed to show on set. I have a rule that if the Director freaks out & shows a lot of stress, it can do nothing but pull down the rest of the cast & crew, so why bother? It's better to just channel it & have some fun. That said, here's the clip ... please keep in mind that I normally never swear onset, but since I'd been playing a character throughout the day that was using some pretty extreme language, it would just more naturally come out between takes as well, as was the case for I think everyone; even little Elijah (man that kid can cuss like a sailor - JUST KIDDING!).

Here's the clip (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-normstress.wmv)

Rebecca is who I was talking to, directly across from me, as the camera was over her shoulder.


Nice film Norm! I have to say the visual style was very distracting and I would honestly liked to have seen the film without the filter. I know you were going for another style of film and right off the bat a filter such as this screams a cop to cover up a poorly shot/lit film. Which.... from the screen grabs on the BTS, doesn't seem to be the case at all. It seems like some shots had more of the filter than others which made it inconsistent. I felty scanner darkly for a bit and then straight to poor photoshop/graphic design skills.

...Overall, I think the action and energy kept the movie driving all the way to the end. I really dug the score and the reveal with bear was superb. That totally caught me off guard. Acting was OK, but the visuals just made it hard to really tell what was going on....

Thanks for the feedback, Justin! I'll look forward to having you see the non-animated look once the fest is completed for your thoughts! :) For the filter, it's not that any more or less was applied to some shots, but that the wide shots (probably the parts you're speaking of), didn't have the same lighting as the CU's, so it came out looking a little darker & probably a little more muddy. Also, I'm convinced that if this were shot HD, the filter would look even more different/better in many respects. I'd be curious to try it on something else in the future, if even just a smal 30 second test.


Is it just me, or does that bear look very, very uncomfortable?

LOL, man you always catch the subtlties! It does look uncomfortable, lol.


man on bear action always gets my vote even if it's a stuffed animal.

Thought the film was pretty cool, good pacing. the linklater effect worked cause it was only a short film. would've liked to see how it looks without though, just curious :D

Lol. Thanks, Wesley, glad you enjoyed it & thanks for watching. Again, I'll have a non-filtered version up next week.

Weston
06-04-2007, 04:48 PM
hey norm...

I dug this quite a bit.

The shot choices and editing were very good. Better I think than anything youve done in the past. The style really fit the situation. I think the best part was that nothing was noticable. What I mean is there were no shots that say "look at me...i'm an awesome shot..." and I think thats great. Sometimes fancy shots get in the way of story telling and you didnt let that happen here.

Sometimes I liked the effect...(the linklater effect) and sometimes i didnt. I enjoyed it more when it looked smooth. Whenever it got really dark and there was more noise (from the effect) I dont think it worked as well.

The acting was good. I thought Rebecca D did especially well in this, my favorite line being "dont be and idiot!". I think the kid did nice job too.

The music was very good and I think it worked together with the sounds of thunder for a sort of creepy feel.

The story was alright..... (POSSIBLE SPOILER) I liked how you once again used misunderstanding and paranoia ...this time with drugs.

Overall I can't think of much to complain about. I dont think it was as good as your last film...but its pretty close.

nice job.

David Jimerson
06-04-2007, 04:59 PM
I liked the look of it (though it kinda broke down in a couple of spots) -- and the handheld shots actually WORKED, and I don't like shaky-cam very much, so that's saying something.

Music was good, audio was good, nice play with the bear and the cell phone -- you took me in on the first go-around. I thought the editing was well-done, and it's probably the best-paced of your films so far.

Story-wise, well, it was all a bunch of yelling over something that . . . well, we don't know what, and that's a problem. I don't think it's enough that we know they're trapped in the house with paramilitary cops surrounding the place. We don't know a thing about these characters by the end, what they're after, and why they're falling apart now.

And . . . it wasn't really a spy movie.

-zach-
06-04-2007, 05:03 PM
Here's the clip (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-normstress.wmv)


I don't know if this makes me a bad person but I laughed at "Can you open her mouth?"

Maybe because I can relate to that situation. Has there ever been a higher level of stress on your sets or is this pretty much the most? Just trying to judge if I'm stressing myself out too much or if I'm okay.

Charli
06-04-2007, 05:19 PM
The Scanner Darkly look to me was a distraction, I understand why you
did it, it was to make up for lack of content. Here's my gripe: the film starts
after 30 seconds of intro credits, it ends with 50 seconds of credit, good Lord man, it's
only a 6 minute film.

Though I did like some of the composites, the acting, particularly by you, was over
the top. I can't believe you made Rebecca semi-undress, when the others didn't.
I also think you totally miss the mark of the 'spy' genre. This felt more like
action flick than espionage.

Next time, try to use the entire 6 minute with content.

chris f
06-04-2007, 05:19 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: Very cool, seemed like an intense scene from a larger story, makes me want to know why they were in that situation. Cinematography was good. Really liked the reveal when the kid is on the cell phone. The score and sound fx really build the tension.

Not as Good: For about 5 seconds it seems like the layered effect wasn't on (1:24-1:28). Some of the dialogue seemed a little cliche, seemed like I had heard parts of it in other movies before. And to echo what Charli said (although I didn't mind watching it at all) singling out Rebecca with the undressing seemed a little too much of "let's show the audience how hot this chick is and then we'll get back to the story" (although there was a reason for it with the wire tap paranoia, but perhaps everyone should have had to unbutton their shirts?)

cinealma
06-04-2007, 06:04 PM
Norm! Argh! Ok, one of those films that drives me crazy as a filmmaker. Because I really liked it. I love the tension. I think the "shaky camera work", which some alluded to but didn't feel to shaky to me, worked well. Acting was great. Definitely kept me riveted to my seat (especially when you've got a mother and her kid involved in a horrible situation).

Here's my two criticisms:

First, the "look" you applied killed the visuals for me. It also seemed like the the filtering effect also filtered a lot of grain, but maybe that's just how some of the scenery came out. I really would like to see this without the visual effect.

Second, the story. I was mad at you at the end of watching this because there was no payoff at the end. It just kind of ends. I wish there would have been a major turn near the end. You got me all wound up and then kind of left me there, and I felt like I was duped.

I hope I don't come off to harsh, because I really, REALLY did like this one. The score was fantastic and really heightened the suspense.

Good job. Thanks for screening.

Ben Sliker
06-04-2007, 06:47 PM
Norm, it's great to see what you can do now in just one day.

I'm going to put my .02 in by saying that the look was distracting to me, especially after seeing the BTS clip. I liked it that way.

The acting was up and down, I think you are at your best when you have the loud voice on and are yelling at everyone. But way to be courageous with your content and pulling something together in such a short time.

-zach-
06-04-2007, 06:51 PM
Umm, I still like the look. It's really cool and I don't think it's distracting... I think it adds to the movie. I'm not just saying that.

Ted Arabian
06-04-2007, 07:28 PM
Wow Norm! I am so impressed with what you "threw" together for this fest. And that you shot that all in one day... even more impressed!

I really love the direction and the editing of this film. I thought that there was great tension and intrigue happening here. I really liked the camera work. The music is simply amazing! Herman... you are a god! And you have got the very best actress here on dvxuser in your films! Rebecca... your performance is flawless and filled with heat... both physically and in energy. Damn, I want to direct you in something!

The applied look to the film is not my favorite. I liked the effect on non-material items... walls, furniture, etc. but not on people. I thought that at times people looked like witches. I am sure that you only have so much control on whatever you did... and bravo to you for attempting and achieving such a look. It's just not my cup of tea.

I would liked to have seen a more exhilarating end. Something more between you and Rebecca... some twist, some dagger. Not you both just blowing up. Again... just me.

Overall, wow! What a great peice of work in such a short time. You should all be very proud!

Oh... two more things... first, how dare you speak to Rebecca like that! :) Secondly, shame on you for not lifting your shirt. You've got the body... show it off. (You made Rebecca do it! :) )

Great work!

-Ted

Matt Harris
06-04-2007, 07:31 PM
Norm i really really liked it. it was intense, it was claustrophobic (although i would have liked to see a few wide shots or establishing shots) and i thought it was flat out acted well by you and everyone. Was there a grenade thrown at the end that blew you to smithereens? I like that, but wanted to hear a sound effect. Overall great job.

Mark Harris
06-04-2007, 07:36 PM
Hey Norm, I thought this was all right. I thought the look was distracting only inasmuch as I didn't see any point for it. I thought it was a clever way to get around not having a lot of time for prod design or whatever, but storywise, I didn't see what it added. And for the same reason I thought it was distracting in Scanner Darkly. It removes the audience one more degree away from the actors. And these kinds of high-tension scenes really only work in my eyes when the acting is spot on and really accessible. It's what I'm working on in my new short as well. Anyway, I felt like the look handicapped the performances a little.

I think if you make another movie in a day, one thing that would really shore it up would be to take a little more time to really focus the story down to razor-sharp. Trim out all unnecessary beats and make sure they are super clear.

ripupthehwy
06-04-2007, 07:59 PM
Nice film Norm. It had ALOT of energy and suspense. Didn't drag on and on as some films tend to. The visual effect was cool, but I too didn't see the need for it.

Cool!

JOE BLO
06-04-2007, 11:10 PM
Gret energy in your film. The look was really cool. I loved the shot when you came back to the kid with the Teddy bear to discover he is on the phone. I really liked it. Congrats!

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 12:04 AM
........Sometimes I liked the effect...(the linklater effect) and sometimes i didnt. I enjoyed it more when it looked smooth. Whenever it got really dark and there was more noise (from the effect) I dont think it worked as well.

.............

The story was alright..... (POSSIBLE SPOILER) I liked how you once again used misunderstanding and paranoia ...this time with drugs.

Hey Weston, thanks for all the kudos!!! I wanted to address just a couple of specifics on what you said. I think for the filter, the biggest thing I learned (if I were to every do it again) is to process different angles differently, due to the lighting. The wide shots, for example, really needed to be processed with different settings. Instead, I simply blanketed one look/setting for the entire film, which I believe is why it's working in some spots & not others. My mistake, but with the time constraints I didn't have any other choice than to not do it at all (honestly didn't even think about doing different settings until writing tis), but I'm glad I did it, just to have a different look if nothing else. After all, this film was about pushing limits for us, and doing things outside of the normal box we may typically work within, whether it was me, the DP, the talent, etc.

It was a completely rewarding experience & I'm glad we did it, as I think everyone else that was involved is as well. Anyway, thanks for helping me realize I should have done different settings! :beer: I'm also convinced that with less noise (i.e. shooting HD), this could have even more potential!

As for the misunderstanding/paranoia, I wonder if that's a deep seated interest I have, because I didn't really even connect it with WSF, but you just did. Man, you make me think! :)



Story-wise, well, it was all a bunch of yelling over something that . . . well, we don't know what, and that's a problem. I don't think it's enough that we know they're trapped in the house with paramilitary cops surrounding the place. We don't know a thing about these characters by the end, what they're after, and why they're falling apart now.

And . . . it wasn't really a spy movie.

David, thanks for watching & taking the time to comment! Appreciate the kudos on the camera work, and especially the editing ... since you're kind of a guru with Vegas, I take that as a high compliment!

For the story, I'll agree that it's more of a slice of a larger part, which I was concerned about early on. I knew it wasn't a complete book-end piece as WSF was, which not to toot a horn, but I'm not sure that Rebecca & I could have really picked anything else that so completely started & ended as well as that one did within the 6 minutes. But, this was a totally different idea, and we still felt that there was a core story in here.

Essentially, a group of people are robbing a house, looking for bonds. But, the wife is still there when she wasn't ... and she's saying the bonds are already gone! What's going on? Now all of the sudden SWAT's outside? Have they been set up? Drugged up Seller is convinced one of them is a snitch & must be wired, so as the group begins to implode (with Seller's maniacal paranoia as a catalyst) we see there's also a child in the house ... whom the mother's been trying to protect by saying he's gone. She simply wants these folks out of the house! They retreat downstairs as the phone begins to ring again (last minute-on-theset script change that I'll explain in detail why later), Seller's pissed at the woman fighting him & pursues to hit the woman once downstairs. Carter tries to intervene, and Seller nails him, convinced he's a rat. Linden is sarcastic in her remark "So now what ... ?", and Seller sees that as a great idea. As all hell breaks loose we break away in slow motion to see SWAT is now inside the house, rescueing the boy, and we flash back to see that they boy has been helping them via a cell phone. He had been 'spying' at the railing much of the time, listening without their knowing. When Linden is shot by Seller we speed back to real time (this SFX will be heard from the SWAT's perspective ... somehow got deleted in the final mix, will be back in for the final web/DVD versions), and come back to Seller & Robin having their stand off. However, before they can decide what they're going to do with each other, the Flash/Bang comes rolling down the stairs, ending a plan that had gone bad from the get-go.

Not that you asked for a full story, play by play, but hopefully you or others will see what we intended to do with it. Thankfully the spy definition/genre was opened up, so we've got some diversity in the fest. But I agree it's not a true spy film as you & I would normally think of.


Maybe because I can relate to that situation. Has there ever been a higher level of stress on your sets or is this pretty much the most? Just trying to judge if I'm stressing myself out too much or if I'm okay.

Referring to that clip, yes I've had equal levels of stress on the set, but can't say that I've really had more. What essentially happened is that this film was supposed to take place at night time, yet we were shooting in the middle of the day. And since I was a moron & wanted to keep secret how long the production was, yet PUT IT IN THE STINKING CREDITS, I'll spill the beans: It was supposed to be a 12 hour day (8am to 8pm), but turned into a near 17 hour day as most of us didn't leave till 1am or later.

Back to shooting in the middle of the day ... we couldn't afford to let the sunlight through, not to mention the constant color temprature change as the sun moved, so I wrapped the house with 2,000 square feet of plastic to block the sunlight from coming in all of Rebecca's beautiful windows, which they have in place for an amazing view. Severe wind & rain storms kicked in, and that gaffer tape did an AMAZING job for holding the plastic in place as long as it did, but finally gave out with about 2-3 hours left to shoot & we couldn't get it back up. Since the siding is cement board, we also couldn't use anything else (nails bent like toothpics) to secure it. So now we're stuck with only have our CU's done, and still the end scene to shoot! We opted at the last minute (much of which was credited to Shawn & Rebecca for thinking of it) to 'retreat to the basement', which took us into the theater room.

We had to block it all last minute, figure out new lines to say, etc. Once we shot ALL of that, then we still had to get back up stairs (now that it was dark), and shoot the remaining CU's, and some additional voice work. Since I was the last CU to be done, that clip you saw was probably around midnight, and I was just spent. The previous clip with "I squish you" was also late at night, with us all learning that Patrick could fall asleep standing up, lol!

I think every film will have different levels of stress or unforseen events, and you've just got to role with it & think fast on your feet. Anything else will just add tension to the group, which is typically only unproductive.


The Scanner Darkly look to me was a distraction, I understand why you
did it, it was to make up for lack of content. .....

Charli, I can't argue with your opinion that you felt the film lacked content. That's the beauty of this fest is that everyone can have an opinion & freely voice it. I'll try not to defend myself in this thread, but instead simply explain a choice or reason I did something & leave it at that. I DO appreciate you watching the film, and taking the time to comment.

That said, I don't believe you're qualified to know why I chose to use the filter, and please don't insinuate that I personally believed the story lacked content so therefore tried to distract from it with the filter. I simply applied the look to the poster & then thought it'd be cool to do it to the entire film. That's it.


I can't believe you made Rebecca semi-undress, when the others didn't. ............

I'm confused now. :huh: I never heard a complaint when you posted in WSF for the DramaFest, and I was the only one that revealed skin then. Also, as you can see below from your quote in our BERLIN thread (before we had to cancel production) that having a particular person show some skin wasn't an issue for you then either. So what gives now?


Norm, speaking from a girl's point of view, would you by chance, be taking off your shirt again... ha ha, bet you never thought you'd hear that in this male driven site, huh? ......




And to echo what Charli said (although I didn't mind watching it at all) singling out Rebecca with the undressing seemed a little too much of "let's show the audience how hot this chick is and then we'll get back to the story" (although there was a reason for it with the wire tap paranoia, but perhaps everyone should have had to unbutton their shirts?)

Chris, before I answer, I wanted to say thank you for the kudos, and yes, Herman really knocked the ball outof the park with both the score AND the sound design. There are a few tweaks we'll have with the audio, that I believe will even add a little more, but I'm extremely pleased with what he did for the festival version. :)

With regards to Rebecca's character, she wasn't the only one to reveal skin. Both my character and Anita's (Linden) did, but just wasn't shown in the particular angles I had to chose from in editing. We purposely had Robin wear a button up shirt as well, because we wanted there to be a moment between her & Seller where she threw daggers at him with her eyes as she unbuttoned each one. As the unspoken leader of the group (the calmer one, calling some of the shots), she was being forced to unbutton for this paranoid drug user with a gun on her. So that angle was of more importance than focusing on the others. Carter never got a chance to because the phone rings again.

And actually, if you read the script once it's available, you'll see that Linden was supposed to reveal AFTER Robin, but we were running behind, thing were hectic, etc. and she kept doing it at about the same time ... so we never got to focus on Linden separately after the fact.


.....First, the "look" you applied killed the visuals for me. It also seemed like the the filtering effect also filtered a lot of grain, but maybe that's just how some of the scenery came out. I really would like to see this without the visual effect.

Second, the story. I was mad at you at the end of watching this because there was no payoff at the end. It just kind of ends. I wish there would have been a major turn near the end. You got me all wound up and then kind of left me there, and I felt like I was duped.

John, thanks for the compliments you gave, and no you're not too harsh in the critiques! For the 'look', I'll look forward to having you view the non-filtered version. Should be up by Monday, after judging has closed ... I don't think I'd be allowed to put it up prior to that, but I'll check.

For the story, I THINK that once we hear a real 'boom' at the end, and a ringing noise (like one's ears would be doing after being in a room with a flash/bang, it MAY explain things better? That, or we could always add VO of SWAT coming into the room, showing they're not dead but only stunned, and it's all over? That was originally in the script, but Jeffrey Hawley (a writer I greatly admire the opinion of) thought it would be stronger to simply have the film end on the sudden impact theory. Again, I'm hoping the final sound design may help, not sure.


I think you are at your best when you have the loud voice on and are yelling at everyone. But way to be courageous with your content and pulling something together in such a short time.

Thanks, Ben! Lol, you know, I think I've heard that before ... that I'm a good yeller. Oddly enough, I do feel best in my performance when I've cranked it up into some intense emotion. Hmm, got to work on the diversity!


how dare you speak to Rebecca like that!

Ted, thanks for all the compliments & feedback!! One of the things I enjoyed about this was that the characters were in stark contrast to what Rebecca and I did in WSF. There, we were this loving husband & wife, seeking the greater good of locating our missing son. Here, we're a couple of crooks, looking for bonds, near hell bent on killing each other by the end, and cussing each other out!

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 12:05 AM
Norm i really really liked it. it was intense, it was claustrophobic (although i would have liked to see a few wide shots or establishing shots) and i thought it was flat out acted well by you and everyone. Was there a grenade thrown at the end that blew you to smithereens? I like that, but wanted to hear a sound effect. Overall great job.

Matt, this is a huge compliment from you, considering I was GREATLY impressed with your film. I've yet to comment on any yet, because I'm still trying to watch them all (making comments in a Word file), but will get to your soon. Thanks for watching.

As for the grenade SFX, they're not blown to smithereens, but simply stunned by a Flash/Bang. SWAT don't kill unless they have to, so on entry they'll use a stun device, then come in with guns drawn, shooting at center mass of subject(s) only if necessary. That said, the SFX we had also ended up missing, something else that will be fixed in the final. There was a problem with the SFX file I uploaded for Herman, so he did the best he could but didn't know where I had everything at, and I was out of the country for about 5 days during the submission deadline. Again, it'll be fixed ... thanks for catching that!


Hey Norm, I thought this was all right. I thought the look was distracting only inasmuch as I didn't see any point for it. I thought it was a clever way to get around not having a lot of time for prod design or whatever, but storywise, I didn't see what it added. And for the same reason I thought it was distracting in Scanner Darkly. It removes the audience one more degree away from the actors. And these kinds of high-tension scenes really only work in my eyes when the acting is spot on and really accessible. It's what I'm working on in my new short as well. Anyway, I felt like the look handicapped the performances a little.

I think if you make another movie in a day, one thing that would really shore it up would be to take a little more time to really focus the story down to razor-sharp. Trim out all unnecessary beats and make sure they are super clear.

Mark, thanks for the feedback! As stated before, the filter was not an attempt to distract or get around anything. I simply liked the look, and believed it would help it to stand out visually from the rest of the entries. I'll look forward to having you & others watch the non-filtered version soon!

Also, good point on the story. That should probably always be the case anyway, whether shooting in one day or 10.


Nice film Norm. It had ALOT of energy and suspense. Didn't drag on and on as some films tend to. The visual effect was cool, but I too didn't see the need for it.

Cool!

Thanks! Again, look out for the non-filtered version soon.


Gret energy in your film. The look was really cool. I loved the shot when you came back to the kid with the Teddy bear to discover he is on the phone. I really liked it. Congrats!

Okay, Joe, where do you and Zach want me to send the money for saying you loved the look?! Lol, seriously though, I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for watching!

Paul Coleman
06-05-2007, 01:27 AM
Really liked it, Norm. Liked the frames, the edit, the look. (You already mentioned varying the look for medium shot vs. close-up.) Great work on the quick heroin sequence. And Rebecca's acting is bolted down. :beer:

Herman Witkam
06-05-2007, 01:58 AM
I really love the direction and the editing of this film. I thought that there was great tension and intrigue happening here. I really liked the camera work. The music is simply amazing! Herman... you are a god!

Thanks man - I'm looking forward to seeing Spy Master :)



Music. Fantastic score, really drew me in!

Thanks man :)

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 02:03 AM
Thanks, Paul, for watching & glad you liked it!

Ha, there's more props to you Herman than what you've just referenced above ... but I understand ... too many people singing your praises to be able to keep up with it all! :grin:

Thanks for being a part of this one!

Ted Arabian
06-05-2007, 05:30 AM
Thanks man - I'm looking forward to seeing Spy Master :)

Well, don't cringe too much! :)

Ted Arabian
06-05-2007, 05:32 AM
Ted, thanks for all the compliments & feedback!! One of the things I enjoyed about this was that the characters were in stark contrast to what Rebecca and I did in WSF. There, we were this loving husband & wife, seeking the greater good of locating our missing son. Here, we're a couple of crooks, looking for bonds, near hell bent on killing each other by the end, and cussing each other out!
Yeah, I thought that was smart of you to not fall into a "type cast" mold. I was only kidding about you cursing out Rebecca! :)

Charli
06-05-2007, 09:39 AM
Rebecca was the only one who showed skin, your shirt lift showed nothing.
Your acting on Daph's film was spot on, funny, light, right on the money. Here
you tried so hard to get it right, that it didn't work at all. If I didn't know better,
I'd say it was two different people acting on those two shorts.

Hootzie
06-05-2007, 09:51 AM
I enjoyed this film. Liked the filter technique quite a bit...I think it definitely was an asset to the vibe of the movie. Acting was ok, but the dialogue and lines were really out of place sometimes. I enjoyed watching this movie quite a bit though!

Brandon Rice
06-05-2007, 10:26 AM
Rebecca was the only one who showed skin, your shirt lift showed nothing.
Your acting on Daph's film was spot on, funny, light, right on the money. Here
you tried so hard to get it right, that it didn't work at all. If I didn't know better,
I'd say it was two different people acting on those two shorts.

You cannot compare ones acting in a comedy versus a drama... if anything, it's good you thought it was two different people, because that means Norm did a good job morphing himself into a comedy actor, and drama actor respectively.

Charli
06-05-2007, 10:40 AM
I disagree, Brandon. I knew someone mistake that as a good comment. Norm
overacted in his short. He acted in Daph's short. The difference being is that he
was relaxed and in good form in one, he was uptight and over-the-top in another.

Brandon Rice
06-05-2007, 10:54 AM
I disagree, Brandon. I knew someone mistake that as a good comment. Norm
overacted in his short. He acted in Daph's short. The difference being is that he
was relaxed and in good form in one, he was uptight and over-the-top in another.

Actually, the times that Norm was the MOST uptight in "Without Provocation" I felt were his best times of acting....

Eh, it's all subjective.. no sense arguing the point... Sometimes what I think is a well acted film, others think I'm crazy, AND vice-versa.... The beauty of art :)

Dahopafilms
06-05-2007, 11:36 AM
... Your acting on Daph's film was spot on, funny, light, right on the money. Here you tried so hard to get it right, that it didn't work at all ...

Gee, maybe it was the director ...:Drogar-Love(DBG):

Nawwwwww.


... Actually, the times that Norm was the MOST uptight in "Without Provocation" I felt were his best times of acting....

Uh oh. Finding myself agreeing with Brandon here. Must revisit and try and change my mind.


... The difference being is that he was relaxed and in good form in one, he was uptight and over-the-top in another.

Hey, if you want to see Norm uptight and over-the-top, you really see him in a bar at last call. He actually turns quite neanderthal.:beer:

Brandon Rice
06-05-2007, 11:38 AM
Oh, and Daph.... don't get me wrong! I think Norm was GREAT in Spies Girls as well! But, I don't think he was horrible in WP... I think he was just different... and when he got more tense in WP, he was better, because that is what WP called for...

RebeccaD
06-05-2007, 12:27 PM
I did enjoy Norm's intensity in WP. When he yells, "Now!" at me, my reaction was real. He scared me. Lol. I also loved him in Spies Girls. It was freakin hilarious. Brian kept putting this gold reflector on him to make him look orange and I about died from laughing. It was hard to get through the scene on the first couple of takes.

Thanks all for the feedback. Herman, I love the score, man! You rock! Way to come up with something so stellar under pressure! :beer:

AmyO
06-05-2007, 12:47 PM
Norm, great film. I just read through the other reviews to make sure I didn't just add more of the same, and I'm glad I did. I feel you and your cast and crew should hear some dissenting opinion.

1. I absolutely love that you went out on a limb and applied the line art look. Does it work for the film? Does the story call for it? I don't know, but I can say I think that the story doesn't NOT call for it. I didn't find it distracting. Actually, I thought it helped with the chaos. Details were washed out, while others where highlighted. I would be interested to see the "normal" version to see if it creates a different atmosphere.

2. I really don't care if those four were there to rob the place or for a poker game. It's a short film, you have to jump in on the action and can't wait for Seller and Robin to slow down and go over the details of their "mission". I got their purpose soon enough when they started freaking about the missing bonds. I think you hinted at it earlier with your play by play, but this is really a slice of life. Like we just walked into a conversation in the middle and have to play catch up. But, that's a good thing. Feature films are for backstory and exposition. This short was about how these people responded to the situation. (Disclaimer - I come to film by way of theater. Acting and directing exercises are littered with scenes that have generic dialogue or are very mundane. The challenge comes in making them about something. I am accustomed to jumping in the middle of a conversation type scenes.)

3. Maybe I'm too used to language, but I didn't feel it was over the top. In fact, I hardly noticed it. I also didn't think the acting was over the top, either. This is an intense, fast paced film. Yeah, the characters are gonna get intense. They aren't arguing about who was supposed to bring the chips to the poker game. I will say that sometimes I couldn't follow what was being said. It bothered me a little, but overall added to the anxiety.

4. I will agree that the ending kinda fizzled for me. The editing throughout was tight, fast (with a nice breath-catching slowdown with the boy). There was such a great buildup, all that tension and then if felt like it just went limp. I was worried about the mother - did she make it? I didn't know what it was that the SWAT team threw downstairs. Perhaps more back and forth between rescuing the boy and catching the bad guys?

Overall, a solid entry. It's definitely made my finalists list for re-watching and voting.

Geoff_R
06-05-2007, 01:32 PM
I like the visual look...it was weird for the first 30 seconds but then I was digging it. Honestly, this is probably my favorite film from you. Conceptually, it works for me...a paranoid guy going after members in his own team while a SWAT team closes in on them.

You did a really good job with your performance...in fact, I liked all of the performances but yours and Rebecca's stood out the most. Rebecca totally reminded me of Trinity from the Matrix in a lot of scenes :)

'You're just full of good ideas." BAM!! That part rocked! The visuals, the music, the look...it all added up to a great moment in the film!

The music rocked! Herman did an awesome job on the score!

Definitely one of my favorite films from the festival!

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 03:03 PM
Rebecca was the only one who showed skin, your shirt lift showed nothing.

Charli, as you can see in the film, three of our characters did reveals, which you can tell; just the angles don't show anywhere near as much skin as Rebecca's character, if any at all. Again, for the characters and/or backstory, Rebecca and I both felt the focus on her character at that moment & how she was being forced (as mentioned in this post: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=965253&postcount=75) was appropriate. Her character clearly hated having to do it. So I still don't see what you're trying to get at? :undecided:


I enjoyed this film. Liked the filter technique quite a bit...I think it definitely was an asset to the vibe of the movie. Acting was ok, but the dialogue and lines were really out of place sometimes. I enjoyed watching this movie quite a bit though!

Thanks, Hootzie, and glad you enjoyed it! If you've got specifics on a particular line of dialogue that didn't work and/or delivery, it'd be beneficial for the talent/writer to hear! Regardless, thanks again for watching & commenting!


When he yells, "Now!" at me, my reaction was real. He scared me. Lol.

Yeah, that was fun. Though we get along exceptionally well, and are good friends, I think we both felt a certain sense of satisfaction of being able to just cut loose on each other as well, in the realm of those characters. :grin:


Brian kept putting this gold reflector on him to make him look orange and I about died from laughing. It was hard to get through the scene on the first couple of takes.

I was SOO afraid he'd make me look like an orange Oompa-Loompa from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, lol! Thankfully he CC'd it enough to correct it ... I'm sure he'll have some fun with the BTS, however, on the DVD.


Herman, I love the score, man! You rock! Way to come up with something so stellar under pressure! :beer:

I second that. Cheers, Herman! To everyone else, this score is 100% Herman, with zero input from me. Typically I've always had 2-3+ drafts of a score, trying to tweak certain areas, etc. but since I was leaving the country during the week of the submission deadline, I just had to trust that our previous communications & brainstorming were enough to have us on the same page. He then got the final mix to Steve_Arm who rendered & submitted while I was out. Nice to know you've got professionals to work with & who will always look out for the greater good of the project!

Also, huge kudos to Steve_Arm for his VFX work on the gun/brain blast. Nice job, Steve, it'll be fun to show everyone the non-filtered version of that as well!


Norm, great film. ..... I absolutely love that you went out on a limb and applied the line art look. ...... Overall, a solid entry. It's definitely made my finalists list for re-watching and voting.[/quote]

Amy, I'm so pleased that it worked for you. Thanks for watching and even more for the detailed responses, some of which I want to touch on below ...


I will say that sometimes I couldn't follow what was being said. It bothered me a little, but overall added to the anxiety.

What was it in particular that made some parts difficult to understand? Was the dialogue delivered too quickly, or a SFX that got in the way, or were the levels off & the dialogue perhaps needed to be bumped up or music/SFX brought down?


I will agree that the ending kinda fizzled for me. The editing throughout was tight, fast (with a nice breath-catching slowdown with the boy). There was such a great buildup, all that tension and then if felt like it just went limp. I was worried about the mother - did she make it? I didn't know what it was that the SWAT team threw downstairs. Perhaps more back and forth between rescuing the boy and catching the bad guys?

Since I'm hearing this more & more, I'm questioning having the film end with the bang & a ringing tone. Unfortunately, since those aren't in place now, I don't really know if that would have helped or not. But since you DO bring up concerns about wanting to know what happened to the mother, I may introduce a final clip that we had ... a CU of the mother's tape being pulled away by a gloved hand ... she asks weakly "My son?", and we hear the SWAT VO saying "He's alright ma'am". This would likely go at the end of the credits (which would speed up to accomodate), and we'd hear some intermittant gun fire perhaps & SWAT entering the room ... so we HEAR the finishes of a show-down, so to speak, or at least the SWAT capturing Seller and Robin ... then ending on the mother.

Anyone who reads the above, and thinks it would work better for the ending, please feel free to chime in!


I like the visual look...it was weird for the first 30 seconds but then I was digging it. Honestly, this is probably my favorite film from you. Conceptually, it works for me...a paranoid guy going after members in his own team while a SWAT team closes in on them.

You did a really good job with your performance...in fact, I liked all of the performances but yours and Rebecca's stood out the most. Rebecca totally reminded me of Trinity from the Matrix in a lot of scenes :)

'You're just full of good ideas." BAM!! That part rocked! The visuals, the music, the look...it all added up to a great moment in the film!

The music rocked! Herman did an awesome job on the score!

Definitely one of my favorite films from the festival!


Wow, thanks Geoff!! Coming from the reigning king of the last fest, I really REALLY appreciate that it worked for you so much!

Mike@AF
06-05-2007, 03:56 PM
Good film overall. I thought the story was pretty good and the scenes had good energy. I felt the actors played off each other pretty well. I really liked the reveal at the end.

I may be one of the lone few here, but I didn't like the visual look. It seems you were going for the "A Scanner Darkly" look and I just don't see the point. In "A Scanner Darkly" the effect they did to get this kind of look had a reason behind it because certain parts of the movie wouldn't have worked right or been possible without it (like the cloak suit). In this film I was distracted by the effect from the beginning and think it really takes away from the drama and intensity of the scenes. It would be interesting to watch this without that look and just some good ole' edgy color correction to see how it works that way.

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 04:08 PM
Hi Mike, thanks for watching! If you look back, you're not alone on your feeling about the 'look' at all. I'd say it's maybe a 60/40 or 70/30 split (without actually counting) with more liking it than not, but there's still a strong voice that would rather see it without the extreme filter.

When it is up (by next week), it'll have the CC that is shown in the middle of the frames on the first page ... just enough to make things pop more (playing with levels), and just a HINT of a sickly yellow. I wanted to stay away from the traditional blue/green that tends to hit that genre, and it's a color tone that Patrick & I both felt would be different & still look good.

bosindy
06-05-2007, 04:31 PM
I wanted to watch this a few times before I commented. I think the affect distracted me the first time around. it works on the inanimate objects in an amazing way. The affect on the faces, I wasn't as crazy about. To many specs and lines for my taste.

I liked this film a lot. I think it builds tension in an affective way. The acting is good and that is tough in a 4 person scene like that. Kudos to your cast. Herman's score is spot on and it really adds to it. I wanted a little more at the end, but you mentioned in a post, you are adding a flash, I think that will add to it. Congrats on putting this together, especially with limited time. Good job.

jamesh
06-05-2007, 04:32 PM
Sorry, i thought the line effect was very naff. made your footage look dirty and cheap. Did you use this tutorial by any chance. http://www.toolfarm.com/tutorials/wakinglife.html

I love the look of waking life & a scanner darkly as much as the next man, but thats made with teams of artists carefully hand drawing lines and filling colours for every frame, i don't think by simply applying a few photoshop filters you can get anywhere near the beauty of what those guys do, so why try. I think i would have enjoyed your film much more if it didnt have the effect. Sorry if i don't agree with what others think, i understand if you were experimenting, but for me it didn't work.

Overall i did like the story and the acting.
thanks.

RebeccaD
06-05-2007, 06:22 PM
And you have got the very best actress here on dvxuser in your films! Rebecca... your performance is flawless and filled with heat... both physically and in energy. Damn, I want to direct you in something!

Oh... two more things... first, how dare you speak to Rebecca like that! :) Secondly, shame on you for not lifting your shirt. You've got the body... show it off. (You made Rebecca do it! :) )

Great work!

-Ted

Thanks, Ted! I would love to work with you as well! What are you doing in say, July? heh heh. The cursing was funny for both of us, actually. It was definitely a real shift from our previous roles, so we cut loose. :)

Kholi
06-05-2007, 06:42 PM
Guess who's coming to visit PROVOCATION next? :DDDD And, guess what you can expect after I watch it three times?

:DDDD

AmyO
06-05-2007, 06:52 PM
What was it in particular that made some parts difficult to understand? Was the dialogue delivered too quickly, or a SFX that got in the way, or were the levels off & the dialogue perhaps needed to be bumped up or music/SFX brought down?
You know, after I posted that, I thought you might ask for specifics. Teach me not to be able to back up my criticisms. :embarasse I do plan on answering your follow up question after I watch the film again. I'm going to watch my personal top ten again to narrow down my top three, so I'll be able to let you know after that, perhaps not until tomorrow though.

500Cuts
06-05-2007, 08:30 PM
Hey Norm... Oh the controversy! It's funny how a few of the members here seem to single you out for criticism. Many of the comments about your entry are founded, but the arrogance with which they are expressed kinda takes the fun out of it. But if it makes you feel any better, the same users employ the same attitude toward other people's projects.

Apart from that, you obviously already know what you could have done to make it better. But consider the obstacles: Shot in a day, script revisions on the fly, four speaking parts in one room, no significant rehearsals, wind storms, soggy gaff tape... I mean, it's a wonder you didn't pull the plug a dozen times.

Personally, I think your movie turned out well. I'm not a fan of the graphical treatment, but I think it rocks that you liked it enough to go ahead and do it. You know? For crying out loud, is the idea that all the films ultimately look exactly alike?

But anyway, hang in there. I'm a fan.

Co.

RebeccaD
06-05-2007, 09:37 PM
You did a really good job with your performance...in fact, I liked all of the performances but yours and Rebecca's stood out the most. Rebecca totally reminded me of Trinity from the Matrix in a lot of scenes :)


Sweet! Thanks Geoff! That means a lot coming from you. I appreciate the feedback. :)

Geoff_R
06-05-2007, 10:02 PM
Sweet! Thanks Geoff! That means a lot coming from you. I appreciate the feedback. :)

If I can ever make a big action movie in the future, I'd want to put you and Norm in the cast :)

RebeccaD
06-05-2007, 10:04 PM
Thanks, Geoff. We aren't too far away to make it happen. :)

Norm Sanders
06-05-2007, 10:21 PM
I love the diversity in here! Some people hated our acting, others loved it. Scratch that ... some people hated MY acting, everyone loved Rebecca's, as well as most of the rest of the cast's, lol. :beer:

Seriously, Geoff, thanks for the kind words! I just saw you have an extended cut of Project 47!! I just downloaded the 720P version of it, and can't wait to watch it ... I remember LOVING what you did with that one from the HorrorFest.

Geoff_R
06-05-2007, 10:33 PM
Norm, first off...I think it'd be really difficult to direct yourself in a scene. You've got no one there giving you an objective point of view and saying, 'no that didn't work, let's try something different'. Sure, you can watch playback but you're always going to be subjectively analyzing yourself.

I've seen you act in your previous films and I'll admit that I think you were 'okay' in those, not bad or anything, just 'okay'. But in this one, you were a lot better, noticeably better. Not sure why that is or what you did different, but I didn't feel like 'here I am watching Norm'...I felt like you were a character in this fabricated world.

The biggest thing I notice is improvement...you're getting better with each film, both on and off the screen. Same with Rebecca, she gave a really raw and visceral performance this time around; it wasn't carried with her dialogue but more so the facial expressions and body language.

So yea...long rant but I'm in favor of your acting :)

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-06-2007, 01:10 AM
A quote I discovered tonight, it may or may not be pertinent :thumbsup:

"Sometimes hysteria in production problems can be communicated successfully as energy up on the screen."
-Alexander Mackendrick

chris f
06-06-2007, 05:54 AM
norm, just my 2 cents on your acting..... i thought you did well (much better than i could do, and much braver putting yourself on screen) and maybe it's just because I've seen your face on here a lot and know that you're a filmmaker, but i think it comes through in your acting that you're also the director. all the other actors get the luxury of just focusing on their character, but you have to juggle that with all the other responsibilities of the film and i think it shows in your acting. i get the feeling that your acting would be great if you did a film where you just acted for a director that you feel confident and comfortable with. i also get the feeling that you might view your part in acting as "filling the role" for the film as opposed to really diving into your character and making it 3 dimensional. all that being said i think you did a good job and are improving, and you seem to be a guy with a good honest outlook that is always looking to improve so i just wanted to help out if i could

Chris Messineo
06-06-2007, 06:27 AM
First, I have to say, I have so much respect for you taking a risk like you did and going for such a unique look. That takes guts.

Having said that, I loved everything about this film, except for the look. In fact, I hadn't read the threads before watching these films and when yours first came up, I thought it was a compression error.

However, everything else was wonderful. I loved the story, the acting, the pacing, the energy of it, and I especially liked Herman's score. Overall, I really enjoyed this film.

Steve_Arm
06-06-2007, 08:45 AM
I must admit that when Norm send me the film to compress it I was like wtf? I didn't understand that he will be submitting the tweak version. After a while I got used to it and it looked rather cool, meaning I like the fillm that way.
My objection is all that fuzz about the look. He liked it, he subitted it like that, big deal. All this situation reminds me of looking the finger instead of where it points to.

Kyle Stebbins
06-06-2007, 09:28 AM
Holy Shit


this movie was phenomenal.
absolutely blew me away.

by far the coolest looking one i've seen yet.
bravo, guys. really.

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-06-2007, 09:46 AM
The Scanner Darkly look to me was a distraction, I understand why you
did it, it was to make up for lack of content. ...

Next time, try to use the entire 6 minute with content.
Wow Charli.

Just wow.

Can you hear yourself?

You need a rewrite.

There's a way to give negative feedback that's within the constructive spirit of this community and that's not it.

EDIT: Self moderated.

Brandon Rice
06-06-2007, 09:52 AM
Just to springboard off of Jack's comment...

There's a difference between constructive comments, and rash, disrespectful comments.

And, keep in mind... films are art... and it's all subjective... your ideal film may not be mine, or vice-versa...

:)

-zach-
06-06-2007, 09:56 AM
Norm,

The needle scene is phenominal.

I've been thinking about it this morning and just had to go watch it again.

It's like, reinventing the flashback. It feels like I've seen it before, but I can't put a finger on it. Awesome.

I might not even want to watch the unfiltered version, I don't want it to ruin what I already have seen. The effect definitely works. I can't imagine it without the filter.

Alright enough rambling.

zach

Larry Rutledge
06-06-2007, 10:02 AM
I agree zach...I too was very impressed with that scene. It works beautifully, and I think it does so because of the "filter". I'm not sure, though I could be wrong, that it would work as well without the filter ... although I want to see it unfiltered so I can get a better idea how this was shot.

Matt Sconce
06-06-2007, 10:04 AM
Yep, I must echo the amazing moment that scene was. I remember thinking...Holy crap...that rocked! Good job to all of you!

500Cuts
06-06-2007, 10:09 AM
Wow Charli.

Most people are too afraid of confrontation to call you out on it and I guess I have been one of them "Every one has a bad day ... it's just that one comment" but it's not just that one comment.

Please try to have a little more respect for us. You haven't really ever done anything to warrant your tactless arrogance, and yet we all continue to treat you with more respect than you show us. Not anymore. At least for me.

Amen, brother.

Dahopafilms
06-06-2007, 10:10 AM
Hmmm.

I flipped into this thread seeing that Jack had posted and was hoping for some of his usually incredibly valuable comments on Norm's film.

Suffice to say I was disappointed.

And I think Norm demonstrates very well how to accept and handle criticism regardless of whether or not it is fair, over-the-top or entirely off-base. And he is well-equipped to defend himself.

I didn't see anything in Charli's post which attacked Norm personally.

I can't say that in relation to your post, Jack - laterally attacking a fellow member expressing her views. And I find that rather sad.

Perhaps we are all destined to become what we most fear and dislike.

And now I'm going back to work.

500Cuts
06-06-2007, 10:26 AM
Hmmm.

I didn't see anything in Charli's post which attacked Norm personally.

Perhaps we are all destined to become what we most fear and dislike.



Have you read through Charli's thread? I think she and Norm have a history.

You honestly don't think Charli's comment was out of the spirit of the fest?

insanityfw
06-06-2007, 10:33 AM
Hey Norm. I haven't had a chance to read through all 12 pages of posts...only skimming.

Seems to be some back and forth on the look, etc., but I'm wondering if you're going to do an unfiltered version? I tried to get through it, but it was just too distracting.

I'm really a fan after your dramafest entry so I was really hoping just to sit back and watch you and your cast do your thing.

I'd really love to see it in it's natural state. Seemed to be some good tension, shot selection, etc.

Sorry, not to come on with a lot of positive feedback.

Best,

Jason

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-06-2007, 10:37 AM
I'm actually shocked that the majority of comments/reviews on this site are VERY positive. (I'm talking about every entry for SpyFest, not just this one.)

It seems that there is a strong sense of family and people do get offended easily when someone speaks their opinion. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It's funny though, everyone complained that "On the Lot" needed a "Simon" type judge. When Michael Bay filled that role everyone was thrilled.

Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way when delivering a harsh review. Unfortunately, this is the Internet and things can be taken worse than intended.

Constructive criticism is welcome, but there is a fine line.

Now I'm going to get a flood of harsh reviews for my entry. :huh:

Brandon Rice
06-06-2007, 10:46 AM
Hey dude... if you'll go back a few pages, you'll see my HONEST review of Norm's film. Norm is a friend of mine, but at the same time, if friends are real friends, they'll be honest with each other. There's a way to criticize though...

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-06-2007, 10:50 AM
Hi Brandon, I wasn't saying that your review wasn't honest.

Just pointing out, as you said, this is an art. Some people will hate it, some will love it. There just seems to be a lot of love in every thread. Again, as I pointed out... nothing really wrong with that.

There is a right and wrong way to to criticize, as I stated.

It's Mike, BTW.

Cheers,

Brandon Rice
06-06-2007, 10:53 AM
Cool Mike... Love is good :) But, honesty is also good, and the two can be mixed. IMHO.

AmyO
06-06-2007, 10:53 AM
Well, I said I'd give her another go through and pick out the spots where the dialogue was confusing. I think the bond issue might have been missed by some because the first three times the word is said, it gets muffled or is difficult to understand. The first time is when Carter says it and a thunder crack (or something that sounds like it) happens at the same time. The next two times are when Linden says it. She has a lovely accent, but she doesn't quite get the "d" out at the end. The second time she says it, it almost sounds like "bombs". Yikes!

The next moment where I couldn't make everything out was when they were moving the wife downstairs. There we have the music cues, the wife's muffled yells, and multiple voices. I admit, upon second listening, I heard everything. It's just everything was so new the first time through and I was trying to process a lot, so I think my brain just couldn't follow. Plus, in any situation, I'm just the kind of person who can understand what is being said better if I can see the mouth of the person talking. That's just a me thing. I wouldn't change anything about the stair scene based on my comments.

Again, great film.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
06-06-2007, 10:54 AM
Cool Mike... Love is good :) But, honesty is also good, and the two can be mixed. IMHO.

I agree 100%

:beer:

Brandon Rice
06-06-2007, 10:56 AM
I agree 100%

:beer:

Cool. :thumbsup:

Mike Insane
06-06-2007, 01:01 PM
Okay I'm facinated by the final post look!!! I've been trying to get a look like that for about a year. I'm throughly impressed.

The script is wonderful. The acting is great.

Good Job

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-06-2007, 02:17 PM
Hmmm.
...
I can't say that in relation to your post, Jack - laterally attacking a fellow member expressing her views. And I find that rather sad.

Perhaps we are all destined to become what we most fear and dislike.

And now I'm going back to work.
First let me say to you sir, I have a mountain ... make that two mountains of respect for you sir.

2nd. Anyone is free to tell anyone else on this site that their film is not up to snuff all the live long day.

I AM NOT attacking someone for expressing their opinion. I am attacking them for HOW they express their opinion. Without tact or respect.

Not even any respect for the people who run the contest who are apparantly WRONG in the criterion they set for their own flippin' contest.

Her comments are unecessaeily blunt and rude about other people's films. My comments which were definately personal are about how the person herself is conducting herself. That is VASTLY different from being personal about one's film.

BOY WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP FILM! unecesseraly spiteful and personal (not that she's ever said that)

YOU ARE ACTING LIKE A PIECE OF CRAP ... personal ... well because know we are talking about the person. VERY different. One is direct and honest, and maybe unpleasent. The other is unpleasant and unsolicited.

You do have a point however (two mountains rememember) and I have sense edited my post to reflect the same sentiment, but perhapsa a little less personally.

I will also tell you that in the last 3 hours I already have 6 PM's thanking me for my post.

Finally, and I hope you will have a chuckle at this your self, you have now personally attacked someone, for personally attacking someone, for personally attacking someone :)


Perhaps we are all destined to become what we most fear and dislike.
Although I don't think that is exactly what was going on with Charli's post - personal attacking, it is just unnecessarily rude and blunt.

I felt the need to defend Norm, the Mods who run the contest that are apparently too stupid to know what their own contest criteria are, all the filmmakers whom Charli has told don't meet her imaginary singular criterion of what a SpyFest movie should be, the Director of Black Angel, and so on ...

You felt the need to defend Charli.

I did it with a bit more English perhaps. Maybe too much and I am sorry for that and as I said I have edited my post.

You have also come to my rescue in the past.

Sorry if I have disappointed you as I said I have nothing but respect for you.

That's all I will say about it here to give Norm back his thread.

Maybe I didn't handle it well, but I'd had enough. Sorry.

PDX_DVX
06-06-2007, 02:31 PM
Norm,

The needle scene is phenominal.

I've been thinking about it this morning and just had to go watch it again.

It's like, reinventing the flashback. It feels like I've seen it before, but I can't put a finger on it. Awesome.

I might not even want to watch the unfiltered version, I don't want it to ruin what I already have seen. The effect definitely works. I can't imagine it without the filter.

Alright enough rambling.

zach

A note about that scene- we were in a small small bathroom, I guess you would call it a half bath, and I was on an apple box, with the sound guy behind me, definitely cramped quarters. Norm really did a good job with the editing on that scene. He relayed to me basically what he wanted to do in post, and I tried my best to pick up the shots that he wanted. Bravo Norm!

-zach-
06-06-2007, 02:39 PM
http://www.isarapix.com/pix5/1181162287.jpg

This is a great frame - and I don't see how anyone could say that the effect doesn't enhance this.

http://www.isarapix.com/pix84/1181162354.jpg

Norm actually put a needle in his arm. Look at it. (I'm kidding, but look at the bump).

P.S. sorry for taking frames from your movie for the benefit of my post, lol.

Charli
06-06-2007, 04:18 PM
Did you guys not see, "Where Silence Falls?" Why am I asking you that? Because I, for one, after having seen, "Where..." after having commented to Norm on his work, on Becca's acting, EXPECT more from Norm than this story. You are only as good as your last film? Norm's last film was better than this, better acting, better content, better everything in my opinion. I am betting Berlin was probably a much tighter, better crafted story than this, I am betting.

Jack - really, relax.

500 - Norm and I do not have a history, I apparently expect him to be more brilliant than you do when it comes to writing and acting, imo.

Norm - what you did you do that I didn't do? You got a story out. I have a thread with a story unfinished. I think that speaks for itself, don't you?

Herman Witkam
06-06-2007, 05:03 PM
The music rocked! Herman did an awesome job on the score!

Thanks Geoff :beer:



I loved the story, the acting, the pacing, the energy of it, and I especially liked Herman's score.

Thanks Chris! Looking forward to any possible future collaborations.

Brandon Rice
06-06-2007, 05:09 PM
You are only as good as your last film?


Are you asking a question? If so... I disagree...

500Cuts
06-06-2007, 05:33 PM
500 - Norm and I do not have a history, I apparently expect him to be more brilliant than you do when it comes to writing and acting, imo.


Expectation and encouragement needn't be separate concepts. I've seen Norm's previous work and yet I don't feel the need to tell him his recent work has no substance.

The history I refer to goes back to a post in your thread where Norm made an attempt to encourage and assist you on your script, and instead of saying "Thanks" or politely declining, you felt the need to point out your credentials (400 out of 4000?) and suggest to him in no uncertain terms that he didn't know what he was talking about. If you expect him to be more brilliant, then you might listen to him occasionally.

I'm sure you feel like you're under attack to some degree which is why you often come across defensive, but if you embraced the group instead of giving the impression that we should be priviledged to be acquainted with you, people might take you more seriously. Things like offering a one time screenplay "event" offered by "the screenwriter" can rub people the wrong way. You're the screenwriter, right? Why not say, "Hey, check out my script. I'm only putting it up for a day so I can count the hits. But you can also read it on my site." et cetera. Much less pretentious. You know?

Jack has valid points even if he was on edge when he wrote them. If you really wanted to make amends, you'd say, "Sorry I come across that way" and not just dismiss him. But you didn't. Now people will take everything you say with a mouthful of salt.

Just thinking out loud, I guess. You seem very interested in becoming a writer. If you want to do it for a job someday, my advice to you is that a little modesty goes a long way.

Co.

Charli
06-06-2007, 06:21 PM
500 - my one time event in reading my script hosted almost 300 hits. It's a MARKETING ploy to get you there and to those who it rubs the wrong way, need not look, but I betcha you they did out of curiousity. How you want to encourage/expect from others is up to your personality, I on the otherhand, have always given it straight.

When I can generate 300 hits in one day, I think that speaks for itself that the community embraces me. As far asmodesty is concerned, I'm one of very few women on these boards and will be one of very few women in Hollywood, I don't have time to be meek or to hide in fear of offending. This is a fierce industry and I don't think there is one here who believes I'll be eaten by the sharks. If you wish to continue this exchange, do so please privately as Norm's thread has been derailed enough.

Norm, all I have ever said is that I think you can do better, how I go about saying that is in my own way, rather though that I believe you can do better than to feel this is as good as it gets with you. Sorry for the tangent on your thread.

Weston
06-06-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm one of very few women on these boards and will be one of very few women in Hollywood, I don't have time to be meek or to hide in fear of offending. This is a fierce industry and I don't think there is one here who believes I'll be eaten by the sharks.

Offending everyone in your path won't get you there any faster.

Dahopafilms
06-06-2007, 06:39 PM
Er ...

So Norm.

How's Berlin coming along?

Barry_Green
06-06-2007, 06:52 PM
This is a fierce industry .

No, this is DVXUser. This is a community. This is not an industry, and it's certainly not fierce.

All would be well advised to treat each other here with consideration. In fact, it's not really an advisement, it's a requirement. Anyone who can't fit in will sooner or later find themselves being shown to the exit.

bosindy
06-06-2007, 07:00 PM
I think it's ironic that Norm's film is called "Without Provocation."

Tom Marshall
06-06-2007, 07:05 PM
no kidding...

Paul Coleman
06-06-2007, 07:58 PM
I'm one of very few women on these boards and will be one of very few women in Hollywood, I don't have time to be meek or to hide in fear of offending.

Charli, I just want to defuse things a bit. First, I think you are a good person; you are motivated, energetic, and you are a networker. You have definitely helped people in this community. There is nothing wrong with being honest, even "brutally" honest. But adding a bit of diplomacy to your reviews can be a way of making sure you don't de-motivate a fellow indie.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=964398&postcount=52

Being diplomatic will not cause people here to view you as "weak". And I don't think anyone here considers you less of a peer because you are female. You are already well liked in this community. :beer:

-zach-
06-06-2007, 08:46 PM
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=964398&postcount=52

Paul, I think Brandon sets the perfect example for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.


If you wish to continue this exchange, do so please privately as Norm's thread has been derailed enough.
I think this is the only fair thing you've said all day. I've tried to hold off on this subject, even edited my posts, because I still feel like I'm new and don't fit in that well. But it's getting ridiculous on other people's threads. If you guys want to continue the personal attacks (such as comparing brilliance), do it in PMs.


I was coming to this thread to thank Norm and all the positive contributors because I was just thinking, wow, I REALLY learned alot today, from a website. It's real world information with real people, and I'm learning it. I feel priveleged to be on here, I'd hate to see such rich content like this be soiled by bad attitudes.

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-06-2007, 09:13 PM
Paul, I think Brandon sets the perfect example for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.
I think that's exactly why he was citing it.


... wow, I REALLY learned alot today, from a website. It's real world information with real people, and I'm learning it. I feel priveleged to be on here, I'd hate to see such rich content like this be soiled by bad attitudes.
I agree. And sorry for any sullying of that on my part. I care about this web site a great deal and how people are treated here. Sorry if I wasn't the best example today. But I care damnit :) My custom username says it all.

Similarly, I think everyone here came from passionate places with some merit and no one was being malicious for the sake of being malicious.

I think though, after Paul's great comments and your's Zach that there's not much more that could be said on this matter.

To sum both of you up to a degree:

"Charli is not a bad person. And we would all like the site to be as positive as possible because it is a great resource."

I think we can all agree on those two things and hopefully, finally give Norm, whose patience has surpassed us all, his thread back.

Barry_Green
06-06-2007, 10:08 PM
Please do. Any further comments I find on this unrelated topic will find themselves mysteriously disappearing. :evil:

Norm Sanders
06-06-2007, 10:53 PM
Holy cow I've got some catching up to do! I've been peeking in on the comments from time to time today, seeing them go all over from the film, to people's character, to how to take/handle critiques, etc. Now that it's calmed down & all seem to be taking a breath, I'll squeeze in some thoughts.


Norm, first off...I think it'd be really difficult to direct yourself in a scene. You've got no one there giving you an objective point of view and saying, 'no that didn't work, let's try something different'. Sure, you can watch playback but you're always going to be subjectively analyzing yourself.

Thanks for understanding how difficult it could/can be, Geoff. Shawn's convinced that you can't do both, at least not well. I disagre that you can't do both well, but I DO agree that you can't give both 100%. I choose to, however, continue to strive to do better in both areas with each film, since I rarely get opportunities to be in others'. That said, BERLIN, for example, I had cast someone else as the male lead, because I wanted to be able to focus more on the directorial side ... and was going to take a smaller bit part. Just depends on each case.

However, I will say that I do have an objective point of view; I've got it in Rebecca. If you look at the "Norm's Stress" clip, you'll see me talking to Rebecca to make sure she's watching me. I completely & without a doubt trust her judgement, and know she'll also give it to me straight. If she weren't around to work with, I know I'd not do as well on the acting side, that's for sure. She's also just great to act against/across from. The others were great as well (Shawn, Anita, Alecia, etc.), I just depended on Rebecca more for her feedback, as I did also on WSF.


The biggest thing I notice is improvement...you're getting better with each film, both on and off the screen. Same with Rebecca, she gave a really raw and visceral performance this time around; it wasn't carried with her dialogue but more so the facial expressions and body language.

So yea...long rant but I'm in favor of your acting :)

Thanks again, Geoff. Improvement is what it's all about! I don't believe in things being stagnent or nuetral, since most of life seems to always involve somekind of uphill battle ... you're either improving by pushing onward & upward, or you're rolling backwards. I'm glad you can see the impovement. Though others feel I was better in WSF, I personally feel best about my performance in this one.


A quote I discovered tonight, it may or may not be pertinent :thumbsup:

"Sometimes hysteria in production problems can be communicated successfully as energy up on the screen."
-Alexander Mackendrick

Word. :grin:


norm, just my 2 cents on your acting..... i thought you did well (much better than i could do, and much braver putting yourself on screen) and maybe it's just because I've seen your face on here a lot and know that you're a filmmaker, but i think it comes through in your acting that you're also the director. all the other actors get the luxury of just focusing on their character, but you have to juggle that with all the other responsibilities of the film and i think it shows in your acting. i get the feeling that your acting would be great if you did a film where you just acted for a director that you feel confident and comfortable with. i also get the feeling that you might view your part in acting as "filling the role" for the film as opposed to really diving into your character and making it 3 dimensional. all that being said i think you did a good job and are improving, and you seem to be a guy with a good honest outlook that is always looking to improve so i just wanted to help out if i could

Chris, you also kind of voiced what Geoff did, but expanded. While I don't THINK I saw myself as just filling a role, I also know that I can't just completely let go, as I've got the director AND producer side of me working at the same time. "How is everyone else doing in THEIR roles, where are we at for schedule, is the craft services table out of water or peanut M&M?!" These are all things I'm thinking of at the same time. Not to mention, I'm calling action and then BAM, I've got to be in the role. But, others have done it, and done it quite well. Mel Gibson is someone I admire as a director, and is at the same time an incredible actor in his own films. Am I comparing myself to him, or even hinting that I could ever attain that level? Of course not ... but is it something I can strive for? Absolutely. We should all set our sites on something high, and just go for it, hoping (and or believing) that we CAN attain it ... just can't ever give up ... no matter what.


First, I have to say, I have so much respect for you taking a risk like you did and going for such a unique look. That takes guts.

Having said that, I loved everything about this film, except for the look. In fact, I hadn't read the threads before watching these films and when yours first came up, I thought it was a compression error.

However, everything else was wonderful. I loved the story, the acting, the pacing, the energy of it, and I especially liked Herman's score. Overall, I really enjoyed this film.

Lol! Alecia (the Wife) had her husband watch, and he thought it was a compression error too at first! Glad you enjoyed the film, Chris, other than the look ... and we look forward to having you see it next week without the filter (I'll have both versions available).


I must admit that when Norm send me the film to compress it I was like wtf? I didn't understand that he will be submitting the tweak version. After a while I got used to it and it looked rather cool, meaning I like the fillm that way.
My objection is all that fuzz about the look. He liked it, he subitted it like that, big deal. All this situation reminds me of looking the finger instead of where it points to.

Yes, both Steve AND Herman weren't too keen or sure about what I was wanting to do when I first told them. They both probably thought I was nuts. It was really rewarding when both of them changed their minds and said they loved it. They'll also have both versions available on their cast & crew DVD!

I don't object to all the 'fuzz' about the look. I knew it would be a polarizer with the audience. Some would love it, others would hate it ... with probably not a lot of middle ground. Such has seemed to be the case, but thankfully I THINK the larger majority liked it, or liked aspects of it. So for that, it was a success. Eitherway, this film was all about doing things unconventionally & taking risks, and we all learned a lot through doing it. So in that regards, that's the greatest success any of us should be concerned about, IMO.


Holy shi*


this movie was phenomenal.
absolutely blew me away.

by far the coolest looking one i've seen yet.
bravo, guys. really.

WOW, Kyle, THANKS!!! If I do quotes in the sig, can I quote you on that?! Seriously, thank you.


Norm,

The needle scene is phenominal.

I've been thinking about it this morning and just had to go watch it again.

It's like, reinventing the flashback. It feels like I've seen it before, but I can't put a finger on it. Awesome.

Thanks again, Zach, I'm glad this film is working so well for you, and that you especially dug that scene. No worries at all for pulling frame grabs either, BTW, as I loved seeing that still shot of the spoon.

Oh, and for the record, I honestly DID consider sticking that freakin' needle into my arm, if you can believe it! Rebecca can attest to the fact that I'm a method actor, so I like to have things are real as possible ... but I decided to draw the line there, lol.

Oh, and to Larry R and msconce (Matt) who both posted similar sentiments just below Zach's, a hearty thank you to you too ... glad it worked for you so well!



I'm wondering if you're going to do an unfiltered version? I tried to get through it, but it was just too distracting.

I'm really a fan after your dramafest entry so I was really hoping just to sit back and watch you and your cast do your thing.

Sorry, not to come on with a lot of positive feedback.

No worries, Jason, and thanks for watching it! Sorry you had a hard time getting through it with the 'look' I applied, but you'll be glad to know that we WILL be posting a non-filtered version ... after the results are announced Sunday night. I can't say whether you'll like it less, as much, or more than WHERE SILENCE FALLS, but I'll look forward to your thoughts!


I think the bond issue might have been missed by some because the first three times the word is said, it gets muffled or is difficult to understand. The first time is when Carter says it and a thunder crack (or something that sounds like it) happens at the same time. The next two times are when Linden says it. She has a lovely accent, but she doesn't quite get the "d" out at the end. The second time she says it, it almost sounds like "bombs". Yikes!

AMY!!! Thanks for coming back with the details, you ROCK!!! Herman, let's discuss some of this before the final mix of the DVD. Hopefully you read this & can remind me, lol!

You know, my mother (who I've not seen in over a year) came by to visit this weekend with a friend, and I showed them the film. Needless to say, she was left a little speachless after hearing her good church boy cuss up a storm, lol. But aside from that, they were confused greatly. First, the fast editing was simply not their style & tough to keep up with ... I'm guessing that would be true for most of the older crowd that is (65+ in age). Second, however, is that they ALSO thought the word 'bombs' was said vs. 'bonds'.

So, it's a little late now to try & fix Anita's accent (which I loved for this film & character, just helped with the diversity that much more), but we CAN maybe move that thunder clap, so it's not competing with Shawn's line. Thanks again for that.

For the stairway stuff you mentioned, but then ended with suggesting we don't change it ... we could still look at the audio levels there, but that portion really is more for background vs. essential information, as we're more focused on who's POV are we looking from ... then we see it's the boy's. So while it's not a huge concern/focus for me, we can still see if some levels need to be addressed. Herman has remixed a little since, which will be heard on the filtered & non-filtered versions Sunday night and after ... so perhaps it's already a moot point, I'm not sure.


Okay I'm facinated by the final post look!!! I've been trying to get a look like that for about a year. I'm throughly impressed.

The script is wonderful. The acting is great.

Good Job

Mike, thank you so much. Again, another quotable post, lol! Regarding that PM you sent me for specific instructions. Once the mods can verify for me that you voted our film as #1, I'll give you the details on Monday. KIDDING! I've already sent you back via PM the detailed methods I used for this film, as well as some things to try differently (i.e. different settings for different shots/angles), and hope that it helps your music video achieve the look you're wanting!


A note about that scene- we were in a small small bathroom, I guess you would call it a half bath, and I was on an apple box, with the sound guy behind me, definitely cramped quarters. Norm really did a good job with the editing on that scene. He relayed to me basically what he wanted to do in post, and I tried my best to pick up the shots that he wanted. Bravo Norm!

Thanks, Patrick. It was one of those things I had in my head and HOPED (believed) I could make it turn out a certain way, and was just asking everyone to go along with it. It was cozy ... just the three of us guys ... in that small bathroom. Ahem, moving on ....


I think it's ironic that Norm's film is called "Without Provocation."

LOL!


I was coming to this thread to thank Norm and all the positive contributors because I was just thinking, wow, I REALLY learned alot today, from a website. It's real world information with real people, and I'm learning it. I feel priveleged to be on here, I'd hate to see such rich content like this be soiled by bad attitudes.

Thanks, Zach, I'm honored to hear you're learning things in this thread. I'll be the FIRST to say that their are other users on here that give a WEALTH of knowledge in their film's respective threads that I can't even begin to touch upon. One such person that comes to mind is Ryan Watlers (235 Studios) the documentation and care that guy gives to his threads (TONS of camera knowledge, settings, shot lists, and the list goes on) as well as actual productions is remarkable.

While I'm not as left brained/detail oriented as some of those folks, I do try to bring things of interest to the table, whatever they may be worth.

And, as you stated, it's real world information with REAL people. So it's inevitable that feelings will get hurt at times, people misunderstood, others coming to defense and/or opposition, etc. Just like family, lol.

Norm Sanders
06-06-2007, 10:54 PM
To everyone on here who got their blood boiling at one point or another, hopefully it's out of our systems. I appreciate those who felt that they needed to come to a defense for me, or on the behalf of others, but I think I handled my responses fairly well in that they were not continually rebutted. Meaning, I think they were fair, as well as received well, and did not warrant further conversation.

And not to pick on a particular post, but instead to use it as a spring board to show my appreciation for my team; those I've been blessed to work with ...

It was stated that an individual is well embraced by the community because their thread rec'd 300 'hits' in one day...

I believe my team is well embraced by the community because this thread has rec'd over an average of 600 'hits' per day, since it's opening at around noon on this past Saturday. Noon, today, would mark 4 complete days it's been open for comments, and it's already at approx 2,700 'hits'.

It's not me that's the draw to this thread. It's other fine users such as RebeccaD, PDX_DVX, shawneous, chazmo, Herman Witkam, Steve_Arm, and the rest of the cast & crew that may not be members of DVXuser ... they are as much of the draw to this thread, if not more.

Visually, if it weren't for Patrick, we wouldn't have had the cool angles, movement, and lighting that we have. The others for their performances, chazmo for pulling really hot audio from the set, Herman for the incredible music, Steve for that incredibly cool brain splatter, and the list goes on.

What did I do?? Suffice it to say, not much. I just pulled together a really good team to work with! :thumbsup:

Seriously, if it weren't for each & everyone of them, this film would suck, plain & simple. But BECAUSE of them, we've rec'd a lot of interest, views, and feedback, mixed with both positive & critical reviews. If we don't place in this fest, would I change anything about the production & end results? Not a whole heck of a lot, if anything at all.

Thanks guys, for making this film, and thread, what it is today!!

Beat Takeshi
06-06-2007, 11:25 PM
The thing that makes it really digging is when someone says "next time do this" like they know what you want to do or accomplish in your work and that they are the mighty final word of the bestist of the bestist. We got one of those "next time do this" posts on our thread. Reminds me of the guy from On the Lot.

Norm, I liked that you tried something new and put it out there like that. Maybe it was distracting a little but people just have to learn that its an asthetic thats not cartoon and not live action (it is but it isn't) and to sit back and pretend that thats the way that little world is like. Maybe my little mind lets go faster than others and I am the only one that can fake myself out like that. The only thing I thought technically when I was watching was that if I were to try this also would I want to try testing lighting along with the look to see what I could get.
As far as the story goes, I thought it was a cool. I liked the skip jumps in the editing and the pacing of the edits. The music fit well. Some of the acting was over the top but not in many spots so it didn't kill it for me. I totally watched it like I was watching hand drawn cartoon and had no problem with it.
I likey.

Aaron Marshall
06-07-2007, 01:23 AM
Norm, good job on the film. It had a different feel from your other work. I felt you were sticking your neck out and trying new things. I liked so many things about the film. Great job on the score Herman!

I did not like the PS filters on the film. It bugged me from the first frame. Let me tell you why instead of just saying "I didn't like it". I thought, "A Scanner Darkly" but not approached or crafted at the same level. Certain effects like CC, desaturation, that go on almost transparently -- I mean you know they're there but you don't know how they are there exactly in the scene -- but the PS filter was heavy handed and you knew it was absolutely present at all times, unwavering. What made A Scanner Darkly neat was how each frame had a human touch. It was pseudo animated with the source as reference frames.

Ok, enough about that. I don't like how my post looks because the complaint paragraph is so much bigger than the praise. The praise I want to give the film is far greater than the complaint. I just wanted to elaborate instead of giving you hollow feedback. I think you took some brave steps forward. Even though I did not like the PS automated fx, I still admire that you would try something such as this. I need to keep in mind this is small budget stuff too. It's not like you had 50 million $$$. On this level I guess it could be considered pretty nifty.

MsManhattan
06-07-2007, 01:41 AM
I liked the story in this film; it had lots of backstory that you conveyed really efficiently, and it had great tension and build-up (wonderful use of the bear -- that was an interesting detail). The editing was really excellent, and the performances were strong. I get the impression it was also well shot, but as others have said, I found the filter very distracting and would love to see the film without it. Other than that, this was one of my favorites. And I absolutely admire that you shot it in one day! How'd you ever manage that? (You have probably posted BTS details in the thread so I apologize as I am trying to watch all the films and haven't spent as much time as I should perusing the threads.)

Hermn8r
06-07-2007, 03:04 AM
Wanted to comment on THE FILM in your thread, since it seems like a lot of other crazy stuff has been going on in he-ah!!

So, I like the substance of the film in general. As said by a lot of people, the filter you put on does take a little away for me. The reason being is, there are certainly some shots that look A LOT better under the filter than others, but some shots that just look bad for whatever reason. I think it would have been really effective had the use of it been limited (perhaps flashbacks and/or POV of the crazy stoners (i.e. you) :Drogar-Smoke(DBG): <---- (although there was no smoking, this is the only druggie smiley I can find... Wonder if somebody could make a smiley doing blow?)

I digress.


That all being said, however, I wonder if the shots that didn't look so good would have worked a lot better had you had better software? Obviously since this is all low budget, we're not blessed with million $$ stuff, so I definitely gotta cut you some slack here. But better software plus using the filter sparingly would have helped dramatically for me. I think of a similar look in "Sin City", for example. Nonetheless, it was a total risk, and you should be proud of that.

I'm looking forward to seeing the unfiltered short, and can hopefully make some more comments then.

Way to go!

Darkline
06-07-2007, 04:29 AM
Hey Norm,

you always get the most fun threads :-)

Onto the film - I dont normally read a thread more than a few pages back; but I felt I had to after I saw the look of this film.

So negative out of the way first as you've heard this a lot already... I didnt like the look I thought it was distracting, infact I had to rewind the film as a few of my friends starting talking through it saying 'whats going on, is that deliberate?'. I read that you were trying to create something like a scanner darkly - that I understand. But its painstaking work to get a look like that and if you fall short I think it can look wrong. This to me (tho I could be wrong) looked like you'd applied a generic 'find edges' filter.... I actually thought it was a rendering error during the quicktime conversion or something. Just my opinion, but for a look like this to work it has to be made convincing at the highest level (like a scanner darkly), almost frame to frame to be convincing..... its a shame because...

I really like the way you directed this. It had a claustrophobic feel and you handled the blocking really well. Established the space well and I thought the acting worked too. Multiple character scenes are hard to do and it seemed effortless here. Ive never tackled multiple character scenes myself and I was impressed with how it worked.

I like Norm that you are a reg part of these fests. No matter what happens you get something done and I always look forward to seeing your entries.

Despite my comment earlier, it was bold to try something new. Very different form any of your other entries and I think its important for a director to push himself into new styles/genres.

Finally I will say that the look did work well for the flashback. Maybe because it was fleeting and a little halucinagenic. Before you had time to register it, it was gone and just left you with a feeling. It was my fave part. Perhaps if that look was only on the flashback it would give that scene even more impact?

but well done, I enjoyed this one and despite the controversy here I hope you're in the next fest too

Dahopafilms
06-07-2007, 08:55 AM
... Finally I will say that the look did work well for the flashback. Maybe because it was fleeting and a little halucinagenic. Before you had time to register it, it was gone and just left you with a feeling. It was my fave part. Perhaps if that look was only on the flashback it would give that scene even more impact? ...
What a "bang-on" perception.

A truly "ah-ha" moment and I think Darkline has nailed what might be a perfect "solution" ("enhancement"?) to this great film.

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-07-2007, 11:09 AM
Ughh.

Norm I just wrote for over a 1/2 hour about your FILM. Hit post reply only to discover that the site had logged me out, and I lost everything I typed when it automatically took me to the log in page.
:badputer:



Too ticked off to write it again now, this evening probably.

Aaron Marshall
06-07-2007, 11:35 AM
So, I like the substance of the film in general. As said by a lot of people, the filter you put on does take a little away for me. The reason being is, there are certainly some shots that look A LOT better under the filter than others, but some shots that just look bad for whatever reason. I think it would have been really effective had the use of it been limited (perhaps flashbacks and/or POV of the crazy stoners (i.e. you)

Very well said


Ughh.

Norm I just wrote for over a 1/2 hour about your FILM. Hit post reply only to discover that the site had logged me out, and I lost everything I typed when it automatically took me to the log in page.
:badputer:


Too ticked off to write it again now, this evening probably.

I hate when this happens. It pisses me off to no end. I usually try to check the "remember me?" box when I log-in.

Michael_Petro
06-07-2007, 11:45 AM
I thought it was pretty cool, but i would like to see a higher rez version to compare them.. I know my flick is a little washed out compared to a higher rez version...

Barry_Green
06-07-2007, 12:11 PM
By the way, I"ve learned the hard way that whenever I go typing up something that I wouldn't want to have to type again, I always copy it to the clipboard first. On Windows, I do a "control-A" for "select all" followed by a "control-C" for "copy". With those two keystrokes I preserve the whole memo, so if the board crashes or IE pukes or whatever, all I have to do is go in and "paste" and it's all back. A highly recommended technique for those of us as wordy as I am... :thumbsup:

Brandon Rice
06-07-2007, 12:13 PM
Yeah, I do the same a lot of times :)

Norm Sanders
06-07-2007, 12:59 PM
Yep, even though I've always logged in with the 'remember me' switch, I've still began to get in the habit of doing what Barry does, as you just want to put your fist through the screen after losing a lot of well thought out words ... it's happened in PM's as well (issues with I.E., quirk with the forum, etc.).


Norm, I liked that you tried something new and put it out there like that. Maybe it was distracting a little but people just have to learn that its an asthetic thats not cartoon and not live action (it is but it isn't) and to sit back and pretend that thats the way that little world is like. Maybe my little mind lets go faster than others and I am the only one that can fake myself out like that. The only thing I thought technically when I was watching was that if I were to try this also would I want to try testing lighting along with the look to see what I could get.
As far as the story goes, I thought it was a cool. I liked the skip jumps in the editing and the pacing of the edits. The music fit well. Some of the acting was over the top but not in many spots so it didn't kill it for me. I totally watched it like I was watching hand drawn cartoon and had no problem with it.
I likey.

Thanks, Aram, glad to hear that it worked for you in general overall. I agree 100% about testing lighting & the effect in advance. However, we had zero prep time for this (no rehearsals, no prior blocking until at that moment on set, no camera/lighting tests, etc.), and the effect itself was actually a VERY last minute decision before submission. I'll go into detailed explainations about all this, as I think I'll put together a Director/Producer journal on the front page soon, that'll document the process from conception to completion. I'll also take whatever interesting clips I can find & peper them throughout the journal, as the journal will give backstory to what the viewer can watch as well, etc.


Norm, good job on the film. It had a different feel from your other work. I felt you were sticking your neck out and trying new.

.....................

Even though I did not like the PS automated fx, I still admire that you would try something such as this. I need to keep in mind this is small budget stuff too. It's not like you had 50 million $$$. On this level I guess it could be considered pretty nifty.

Thanks, Aaron! Sticking our neck out was what much of this film was about, for all of us. It was something different, and risky, and fun to do. And the fact that it had a different feel from past works was a goal well achieved then, as I didn't want this to be able to really fit in with anything from the past.


I liked the story in this film; it had lots of backstory that you conveyed really efficiently, and it had great tension and build-up (wonderful use of the bear -- that was an interesting detail). The editing was really excellent, and the performances were strong. I get the impression it was also well shot, but as others have said, I found the filter very distracting and would love to see the film without it. Other than that, this was one of my favorites.

EXCELLENT, MsManhattan! Although I respect when the story/script doesn't work for someone (I don't think there's ever been a story, script, film that has pleased 100% of the viewers), I'm SO excited when it DOES!

I'll make both the original script and then the 'altered on the fly' script (really more of a transcript in some ways, as it's after the fact) available later today on the front page, for those who are interested in seeing how 12 pages ended up being a 5 minute film.


And I absolutely admire that you shot it in one day! How'd you ever manage that?

Three words: Seventeen Hour Shoot


So, I like the substance of the film in general. As said by a lot of people, the filter you put on does take a little away for me. The reason being is, there are certainly some shots that look A LOT better under the filter than others, but some shots that just look bad for whatever reason. I think it would have been really effective had the use of it been limited (perhaps flashbacks and/or POV of the crazy stoners (i.e. you).

That all being said, however, I wonder if the shots that didn't look so good would have worked a lot better had you had better software? Obviously since this is all low budget, we're not blessed with million $$ stuff, so I definitely gotta cut you some slack here. But better software plus using the filter sparingly would have helped dramatically for me. I think of a similar look in "Sin City", for example. Nonetheless, it was a total risk, and you should be proud of that.

I'm looking forward to seeing the unfiltered short, and can hopefully make some more comments then.

Way to go!

Thanks, Hermn8r, you've got some great ideas there. I may test out the drug scene only with the filter for the DVD version, which you touched on & then someone else gets specific about. It'll be interesting to see how that blends together with the rest of the non-filtered film. I'd probably first post it (after the contest) for feedback before making it final. Otherwise, yep, look for the non-filtered version by Sunday night.


Hey Norm,

..... I didnt like the look I thought it was distracting, infact I had to rewind the film as a few of my friends starting talking through it saying 'whats going on, is that deliberate?'.

..... its a shame because...

I really like the way you directed this. It had a claustrophobic feel and you handled the blocking really well. Established the space well and I thought the acting worked too. Multiple character scenes are hard to do and it seemed effortless here. Ive never tackled multiple character scenes myself and I was impressed with how it worked.

I like Norm that you are a reg part of these fests. No matter what happens you get something done and I always look forward to seeing your entries.

Despite my comment earlier, it was bold to try something new. Very different form any of your other entries and I think its important for a director to push himself into new styles/genres.

Finally I will say that the look did work well for the flashback. Maybe because it was fleeting and a little halucinagenic. Before you had time to register it, it was gone and just left you with a feeling. It was my fave part. Perhaps if that look was only on the flashback it would give that scene even more impact?

but well done, I enjoyed this one and despite the controversy here I hope you're in the next fest too

Thanks, Darkline! The controversy certainly won't keep me out of the next fest ... the only thing that could probably do that would be scheduling issues. Oh, and thanks for all the kind words.

Folks are right that there's probably better ways to do the filter process, some of which I'd already realized pretty quickly on after the final render. But we all learn from the process, right?! :) More expensive software could likely have done some improvements, shooting the material in HD vs. SD would have improved the grain issues, testing lighting, and finally applying the look at varying levels to different shots/clips vs. a blanket effect. All of these things would have improved the look that much more, I believe to the point where those who don't like it now may actually love it at that point. While it may never achieve the full SCANNER DARKLY effect/look, I don't believe that every frame would need to be addressed to still get a completely killer & clean look out of it, if more care & time was taken than what I had at the time of doing this.

Oh, and as Brian noted, bang-on idea that Hermn8r touched on & you got specific with ... I'll have to see about testing that out with the drug flash/back only scene.

Also, a side note. I've never watched SCANNER DARKLY ... still need to. I've only seen the trailers & that in itself was cool enough for me to want to try the effect (or something similar/inspired) for this film. Someone also asked me several pages back if I had seen a certain tutorial/film that also did something similar. Nope, never heard of it before. In fact, I had to PM Steve_Arm to ask him how to even create an automated script in Photoshop, lol!

Thanks also for the kudos on the directing. I'd never even given it a second thought about multiple characters in a scene being more difficult than single/two characters, but I'm glad it worked out well. I'm actually glad I HADN'T thought about it being difficult in advance. Ignorance can be bliss, at times, lol.


Ughh.

Norm I just wrote for over a 1/2 hour about your FILM. Hit post reply only to discover that the site had logged me out, and I lost everything I typed when it automatically took me to the log in page.
:badputer:



Too ticked off to write it again now, this evening probably.


Man, that stinks! As stated at the top of this post, been there, hated it! Look forward to your thoughts, Jack, and thanks for taking the time (x2) to comment!

RebeccaD
06-07-2007, 04:10 PM
Wow! I missed a lot since I was here last..... :huh: Thanks for all the feedback. I think it will be very interesting for people to view the other version when it is up on Sunday night. Of course, I get to view it whenever I want, cuz I have the hookup. Heh Heh. :) Norm knew that by doing this effect on the film that people would be polarized. I really appreciate the detailed reviews from everyone. Thank you for that!

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-07-2007, 09:39 PM
Norm, congratulations on pulling together a really good movie! The production was tough, but I can without a doubt say I am glad and proud to be a part of it. As for everyone's comments, I'm glad no one has said that Carter character stank the piece up! :-)

Steve_Arm
06-07-2007, 10:02 PM
so if the board crashes or IE pukes or whatever, all I have to do is go in and "paste" and it's all back. A highly recommended technique for those of us as wordy as I am... :thumbsup:

Classic techinque, I invented it... :Drogar-Love(DBG):

I like to add that the drug flashback with the effect, as many have written it is absolutely stunning.

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-07-2007, 11:34 PM
After seeing 'On the Lot', Norm, you sorta remind me of Michael Bay

aravance
06-08-2007, 02:34 AM
First off, I want to say that your story was really engrossing for me. I was completely into the story. I love the way the viewer is just thrown into the situation and doesn't really know who to trust and begins to put pieces together as it progresses. I thought it was an extremely effective method that complemented the tension and anxiety that is so rampant in your film. I also thought the "flashbacks" were also very effective. Loved the frantic pacing of everything.

Secondly, I very much enjoyed the acting. I had no idea that you were the director until after seeing the film, so I think that I'm about as unbiased as they come. I thought you were great. I've read some people thought it was over the top...but I thought it was perfect for the role. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I felt like I could actually see the fear in your eyes as you were yelling, which really sold it for me. I believed that this is how the character would respond to a situation gone wrong. Maybe some people think that your acting in other movies is better, but having not seen your other films, I thought this was a solid performance. Maybe people didn't like it because you were the bad guy, in which case they are supposed to hate you. hahaha.

RebeccaD - I loved your performance. You completely sold it as well. Man, I would love to use you and Norm sometime down the line. You guys are extremely talented.

I thought the rest of the cast was wonderful too.

About the "look", I can see how other people felt it was distracting. I sorta felt that way as well, but then again I don't think it would have been the same without it. It gave your film a certain edge. I guess some of the 'bumps' in the footage was the most distracting. I think if you were a lot more subtle with the effect, like took it down to where it was barely noticeable...just enough to know that it is there....then that would be the best of both worlds. Try it and let me know.

The line where you say, "you are just full of good ideas" was a little hard to make out over the music. I had to rewatch it like three times before I could actually understand what you said.

When the movie ended...I was like.....NOOOOOOOOOOO! That can't be the end!
I wanted more! I wanted to see whether Seller bit the dust and have the pleasure of watching him die (no offense...haha). I wish the ending would've had a bit more resolution in that regard, but it works as is.

Definitely a favorite entry of mine and in my top three. It was consistent and solid and very effective. I loved everything about it. Would love it even more if the rotoscoping effect was toned down.

Great job in the time-crunch you were on and thanks for sharing.

-----
I had to read through the entire thread to figure out what all this talk of "controversy" was about.....not sure if I really gained anything from it....

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-08-2007, 10:16 AM
... Norm knew that by doing this effect on the film that people would be posterized ...
heheh :evil:

Norm Sanders
06-08-2007, 10:31 AM
Norm, congratulations on pulling together a really good movie! The production was tough, but I can without a doubt say I am glad and proud to be a part of it. As for everyone's comments, I'm glad no one has said that Carter character stank the piece up! :-)

Thanks, Shawn! I know we already discussed how tough the production was, and that we'd not want to do that again anytime soon (if ever), but in the end it appears to have at least been worth it. This certainly has been a polarizing film to the point where I've rec'd PM's from people with huge raves & kudos, to others who have been gravely disappointed, as they expected something different/more since WHERE SILENCE FALLS.

I pretty much expected it, however. I don't think I can say it enough, that this film was about experimentation on so many different levels. Better to do it here, than to experiment with a feature & a lot of money on the line, IMO.


I like to add that the drug flashback with the effect, as many have written it is absolutely stunning.

Thank you, Steve, glad you liked it soo much as well, especially you being a VFX guru!


After seeing 'On the Lot', Norm, you sorta remind me of Michael Bay

Huh? :undecided: I'm trying to figure out of this is a good or bad thing, lol!


First off, I want to say that your story was really engrossing for me. I was completely into the story. I love the way the viewer is just thrown into the situation and doesn't really know who to trust and begins to put pieces together as it progresses. I thought it was an extremely effective method that complemented the tension and anxiety that is so rampant in your film. I also thought the "flashbacks" were also very effective. Loved the frantic pacing of everything.

Wow! First, aravance, let me say that this is huge coming from someone who's made one of MY favorite films in this festival. You did a REALLY solid job with your film, and it's a serious contender for this fest. I'm ALMOST done viewing all the films, and will be putting up my reviews in everyone's thread when I do, including yours.

I'm glad that the story & tension worked for you, along with the pacing!


Secondly, I very much enjoyed the acting. I had no idea that you were the director until after seeing the film, so I think that I'm about as unbiased as they come. I thought you were great. I've read some people thought it was over the top...but I thought it was perfect for the role. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I felt like I could actually see the fear in your eyes as you were yelling, which really sold it for me. I believed that this is how the character would respond to a situation gone wrong. Maybe some people think that your acting in other movies is better, but having not seen your other films, I thought this was a solid performance. Maybe people didn't like it because you were the bad guy, in which case they are supposed to hate you. hahaha.

RebeccaD - I loved your performance. You completely sold it as well. Man, I would love to use you and Norm sometime down the line. You guys are extremely talented.

I thought the rest of the cast was wonderful too.

All of the cast are thanking you for that. I know Rebecca was also extremely impressed by your film, so she'll be incredibly pleased to hear you loved her performance so much, as she respects how you directed your talent, etc. K, I'll let her speak for herself, lol. I do thank you, and am thrilled you didn't know I was the director ... I do wonder, sometimes, how many people have a preconcieved perception of a talent, when they also know they directed/produced the thing as well. If they're more harsh/critical, not allowing them to let go as much, or are comparing against other past roles ... which again, may not allow them to mentally let go as much in the moment as they watch.

Regardless, I respect & value everyone's opinion that's been stated in this thread, and appreciate your kind words & enthusiasm for the performances!


About the "look", I can see how other people felt it was distracting. I sorta felt that way as well, but then again I don't think it would have been the same without it. It gave your film a certain edge. I guess some of the 'bumps' in the footage was the most distracting. I think if you were a lot more subtle with the effect, like took it down to where it was barely noticeable...just enough to know that it is there....then that would be the best of both worlds. Try it and let me know.

The line where you say, "you are just full of good ideas" was a little hard to make out over the music. I had to rewatch it like three times before I could actually understand what you said.

When the movie ended...I was like.....NOOOOOOOOOOO! That can't be the end!
I wanted more! I wanted to see whether Seller bit the dust and have the pleasure of watching him die (no offense...haha). I wish the ending would've had a bit more resolution in that regard, but it works as is.

Definitely a favorite entry of mine and in my top three. It was consistent and solid and very effective. I loved everything about it. Would love it even more if the rotoscoping effect was toned down.

Great job in the time-crunch you were on and thanks for sharing.

-----
I had to read through the entire thread to figure out what all this talk of "controversy" was about.....not sure if I really gained anything from it....

Three key things to address here, after I first say THANK YOU for putting us in your top three! :grin:

Okay, the look ... you bring up an interesting point about perhaps just adding enough to where it's barely noticeable, but there's something different about this film ... and perhaps not even having the viewer really know what it was, visually.

When I first started testing the look on some grabs, I had Shawn look at them, and we wondered on a few if it was really even noticeable. Then others were questioned as possibly too much? I wonder how it would have turned out had I not done the extra work to really separate it out, but what's done is done. Since I did kind of want a polarizing effect with regards to the look & how the audience rec'd it, I don't have any regrets ... though I am curiuos to know how it would have been rec'd in the way you're suggesting as well.

Next, on the audio "You're just full of great ideas.", thanks for bringing that to my attention. I had wondered that as well, but never really put it into a specific thought, until you said this. I've brought it up to Herman, and will be addressed in the final mix before we put this to DVD for the cast/crew & final online version(s).

Lastly, on the ending, again I wonder if it would be better rec'd if we had VO and SFX of SWAT entering the room, a final conflict, and then hearing/seeing the Wife at the end asking about her son? This would bring complete resolution, but I wonder if it would also take away from the impact we wanted to have from the sudden ending? In the revised mix, you'll hear more of a boom & ringing tone before the music cues in, so it SHOULD help to tell you that they're stunned & that's the SWAT coming for them ... at least, that was my original goal.

Oh, and as far as learning a lot from the controversy stuff? There's usually not a lot to learn when people mention that, because it typically involves folks going back & forth about the same issue, many times letting a lot of emotion/passion show through. Though it can make for an interesting read, lol.

Thanks again for watching, and for all the detailed commments!

Blake Balu
06-08-2007, 10:37 AM
Cool visual effect. Sounds great, Herman Kicks butt on this. You kept me watching. Loved the story. If you're ever in New Orleans filming hit a brotha up.

RebeccaD
06-08-2007, 02:08 PM
heheh :evil:

Jack, you are silly!


Aravance, thank you so much for the nice comments on the film and my acting. It was definitely a very different role for me, but I enjoyed the challenge. I am very impressed with "Imprint" as well! Nice work! :beer:

Norm Sanders
06-08-2007, 03:52 PM
Cool visual effect. Sounds great, Herman Kicks butt on this. You kept me watching. Loved the story. If you're ever in New Orleans filming hit a brotha up.

Yes, Herman totally takes the film to another level with is score & sound design! Glad it worked for you, Blake, and I've been VERY impressed with your acting as well. You were GREAT in SCHITTEKATTER!!

Herman Witkam
06-08-2007, 06:02 PM
Cool visual effect. Sounds great, Herman Kicks butt on this. You kept me watching. Loved the story. If you're ever in New Orleans filming hit a brotha up.

Thanks Blake - You were great in Schittekatter!

arielman
06-08-2007, 07:06 PM
Norm, man this completely different for you.
The cartoon(OK that's what I call it) look had the effect of nothing here was real .just somebody’s wild thoughts.
Maybe the coke effect?
Not sure if that what was what you were going for or not.
The story itself was good, fast paced etc.
Suspicion of their partners and all along it was the child.
Very good Norm
Although I would like to see this without the cartoon look just to see if it has the same impact.
Ian

Norm Sanders
06-09-2007, 12:44 AM
Thanks, Ian, that was the intention ... to be completely different from anything done in the past. Glad you liked the story & pacing, and you'll be able to see the non-filtered (cartoon) look by Sunday night! :beer:

Norm Sanders
06-09-2007, 06:29 PM
Yowza this thread has come to a screeching halt, lol!

I thought I'd at least for now post the original script, for anyone who's interested. Eventually, I'll get this link as well as a link to the altered script (last minute, on the set changes) onto the front page ... probably sprinkled throughout a Director/Producer Journal, which I'd still like to record.

For now, feel free to check out the following ... the most interesting of which is this 12 page script pacing out to 5 minutes, once completed in post: www.eefilm.com/scripts/withoutprovocation.pdf (http://www.eefilm.com/scripts/withoutprovocation.pdf)

Danielleus
06-09-2007, 07:34 PM
Just caught the piece man. I thought it was good, but coulda been great. I thought the whole thing seemed long. I thought the paranoia stuff worked, and absolutely loved the editng. But the stylistic use of trhe "cartoony" look was a bit much. Loved the gun shot, as well as some of the acting. Really liked the story, it just seemed long to me. But overall, it was fun.

On another note, I absolutely LOVED yours and Rebecca's cameo's in Spies Girls. Absolutely brilliant. Best part of that film by far.

Hope you and Rebecca keep up the good work. I'm always excited to see your next project.

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-09-2007, 07:45 PM
I'm just waiting for you to release that behind the scenes clip of you going punk-drunk at the 16th hour and doing streaking laps around the set. It was so awkward, but I bet it'd be funny now...
...
...
... ;-)

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-09-2007, 10:36 PM
Ok buddy, finally brought myself to basically recreating the tome that the forum ate the other day when I tried to post it. Sorry it took me a while. :beer:



Great pacing, the editing and visceral camera work really served the tension and kept me hooked.

The story is barebones, but worked well enough and I really liked the reveal.

Your getting more and more impressive with your work with actors and your casting. I thought Rebecca was good as always, and the man and woman with accents were particularly believable and grounded.

I hate to say it but I think you were the weakest link in the acting department. I think you have some talent here, but you need an outside eye on the set to critique your performance especially when you are wearing so many production hats. The "what do you think we should do. Kill her" (words roughly to that effect) just seemed so unmotivated and like you were almost bored ... maybe you were playing stoned. But when I saw the BTS of that moment, you looked like you were about at your wit's end. If it wasn't noise outside, someone would flub their line, or something else wouldn't be ready and your reading belied Norm the filmmaker's subtext, "oh god please let's somehow get through this." Not the criminal's subtext which could have been any of a myriad interesting choices ... to scare this victim into talking, to show the rest of the gang I mean business, to intimidate the hell out of everyone, etc.

But back to the objective outside eye. You and Rebecca are close and work well together and she has acting training ... so I would recommend when you are acting that you appoint her as your coach, and I would also just not act in your own stuff period if you do not have time to review the takes on the monitor. Just don't do it. You would not work with another actor who due to some supernatural curse, their performance was invisible until you got the tape into the editing room. So if you are gonna keep doing the Orson Wells thing, invite someone to coach you ... it won't be weird that an actor is directing you if you ask for it "Come on Rebecca whaddaya got for me?" and just don't act if t he schedule will not permit you to review your takes on set before you move on. Your work is too strong otherwise to not demand the same quality in your own performance. I think you have to respect how hard it is to act .. I mean to REALLY do it well. I told you how Denzel Washington would not speak to anyone on set, and would just sit quietly between takes. A friend of mine worked on a Stephen Carell movie and said the same thing. Between takes Carell would fold his hands on his lap and look down and close his eyes. Part of the reason for this is doing take after take can be exhausting especially over the course of nine months. But the point is, here are two respected actors, a dramatic megastar and a comedian who have been doing this much longer than you and they deem it as so demanding that they try to marshal all their energy into only the takes they are doing. You have much less experience and are trying to direct a guerilla shoot and somehow pull it together to act in the scene as well. OK. point made. I think you can do it, but you have to take extra measures to set yourself up for success. From what I see on the BTS tapes I think you are setting yourself with too many obstacles to success.

As for the look. Pushed me out. Did not pull me in. I think it's important to note in WAKING LIFE and SCANNER DARKLY that the look is tied directly to the central theme of the movies. WAKING LIFE: Is this a dream or is this reality and which has more meaning? SCANNER DARKLY: Is this reality or my altered perception of reality and if I can't tell the difference, how do I know who to trust? But here it had nothing to do with the narrative or theme or anything other than coolness for coolness sake. And great discovery never lies down that path. So it just seemed laid on to me and irrelevant, and it was a barrier that kept me from empathizing with the characters. Also Linklater has a team of people working on this stuff and finessing it with proprietary software so that the faces retain some humanity and accessibility. I felt people looked old or funny and that the look was a real barrier.

In general the cursing was not a problem for me. But it was a problem for your big swear line where you call someone a biotch. Just seemed so not you. Partially because it was so sudden in the delivery and partially because it just seemed odd on you. Remember in theatre we can get away with casting folks who are a little off type but have mad acting skills. In film, due to the whole film is truth at 24fps thing, we have to cast people that not only have mad acting skills but who are also dead on for type. All acting ability aside. I would be the right type for that part, as blowing my stack with a stream of sailor talk is something I can do in my sleep :)


Ok so because I went into detail on the stuff that didn't work for me and as your friend offered some suggestions on why I thought it went astray and what you might do about it next time, it makes it seem like I really didn't like it maybe.

But that's not the case. I had a great time. You are very talented and are taking some kind of filmmaking super-spinach that grows only in the rainforest in Washington I think. So because you really have the goods I really go into detail in my criticisms.

My last note would have to do with finding your own voice. There is no question that you can put pretty much anything you want to in front of the camera at this point. I think it is important that you look for subject matter that really matters to you. That connects with your heart in some deep way. Shed, ODD Squad, and Bonehand all deal with the theme of adult sacrifice for the sake of a child. I did not realize this until I was midway through filming Bonehand, but clearly as the child of divorced parents I was following something that was close to me. I'm not saying filmmaking should be therapy, and I'm not saying my voice is fully realized, I'm struggling with it. But I think it is worth looking into. This was clearly something you wanted to try but also, clearly, you had no deep personal connection with this material. I think with your ever increasing technical skills, once you start working with material that really resonates for you on a deep level, you will start walking away with 1,2 or 3 every time in these contests.

There's a cool book I've just discovered called
Directing Film Techniques and Aesthetics (http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/0240805178/ref=s9_asin_image_1-1966_g1/002-1549538-4616030?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0CKMTHMXKGNW819AT7KK&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=278240701&pf_rd_i=507846) by Michael Rabiger. It is a great book that covers everything from blocking, to creating a shot list, to finding style through storytelling, and to the point of this discussion, developing your unique voice as a director. I'm about a 1/3 of the way into it's 1100 pages, but it is an interesting book and worth checking out I think.

Anyway back to the film .. it was a lot of fun. An adrenaline fueled thrill ride with a sweet twist.

Thanks so much for screening it. :thumbup:

RebeccaD
06-10-2007, 11:05 AM
Wow, Jack! Thank you so much for the detailed review. That was very informative and I know Norm will appreciate it very much. He respects your work greatly, and I know will take your suggestions to heart.

On another note, my acting training was years ago, but I am glad you feel I am equipped to help Norm. This was a very different role for me as well and I did coach Norm to some extent. I felt like he did do a good job in this film, especially considering all he had on his plate that day, lol.

Anyway, thank you so much again!

RebeccaD
06-10-2007, 02:52 PM
So, Norm, what time can we expect the original film version tonight?

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 02:59 PM
After 3pm PST, as that's when the voting closes ... so it should be fair for me to post at that point. I've got one last film to comment on, then I'll get back here to address Jack's unnecessarily rough critique on the film, that dirty rotten @#$@#%!!!

KIDDING, Jack! Thanks for the detailed thoughts, as I truly appreciate them, and get back to you in a bit with feedback. :)

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 04:20 PM
I thought it was good, but coulda been great. I thought the whole thing seemed long. I thought the paranoia stuff worked, and absolutely loved the editng. But the stylistic use of trhe "cartoony" look was a bit much. Loved the gun shot, as well as some of the acting. Really liked the story, it just seemed long to me. But overall, it was fun.
................
Hope you and Rebecca keep up the good work. I'm always excited to see your next project.

Thanks, Danielleus, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I understand the look not working for you, as much as it has some others, as it's a common response I've been getting ... some love it, some not so much, while others have hated it. Normal, non filtered version going up shortly.

Again, thanks for the kind words.


Great pacing, the editing and visceral camera work really served the tension and kept me hooked.

The story is barebones, but worked well enough and I really liked the reveal.

Your getting more and more impressive with your work with actors and your casting. I thought Rebecca was good as always, and the man and woman with accents were particularly believable and grounded.

Jack, I'm glad to hear it worked for you, and that you liked everyone's performances except ... well, I'll get to that one in a second, lol. Thanks for the kudos, and thanks especially for taking the time to write ANOTHER detailed review, especially since the last one got mysteriously eaten as you tried to post it!


I hate to say it but I think you were the weakest link in the acting department. I think you have some talent here, but you need an outside eye on the set to critique your performance especially when you are wearing so many production hats. The "what do you think we should do. Kill her" (words roughly to that effect) just seemed so unmotivated and like you were almost bored ... maybe you were playing stoned. But when I saw the BTS of that moment, you looked like you were about at your wit's end. If it wasn't noise outside, someone would flub their line, or something else wouldn't be ready and your reading belied Norm the filmmaker's subtext, "oh god please let's somehow get through this." Not the criminal's subtext which could have been any of a myriad interesting choices ... to scare this victim into talking, to show the rest of the gang I mean business, to intimidate the hell out of everyone, etc.

But back to the objective outside eye. You and Rebecca are close and work well together and she has acting training ... so I would recommend when you are acting that you appoint her as your coach, and I would also just not act in your own stuff period if you do not have time to review the takes on the monitor. Just don't do it. You would not work with another actor who due to some supernatural curse, their performance was invisible until you got the tape into the editing room. So if you are gonna keep doing the Orson Wells thing, invite someone to coach you ... it won't be weird that an actor is directing you if you ask for it "Come on Rebecca whaddaya got for me?" and just don't act if t he schedule will not permit you to review your takes on set before you move on. Your work is too strong otherwise to not demand the same quality in your own performance. I think you have to respect how hard it is to act .. I mean to REALLY do it well. I told you how Denzel Washington would not speak to anyone on set, and would just sit quietly between takes. A friend of mine worked on a Stephen Carell movie and said the same thing. Between takes Carell would fold his hands on his lap and look down and close his eyes. Part of the reason for this is doing take after take can be exhausting especially over the course of nine months. But the point is, here are two respected actors, a dramatic megastar and a comedian who have been doing this much longer than you and they deem it as so demanding that they try to marshal all their energy into only the takes they are doing. You have much less experience and are trying to direct a guerilla shoot and somehow pull it together to act in the scene as well. OK. point made. I think you can do it, but you have to take extra measures to set yourself up for success. From what I see on the BTS tapes I think you are setting yourself with too many obstacles to success.
..............

In general the cursing was not a problem for me. But it was a problem for your big swear line where you call someone a biotch. Just seemed so not you. Partially because it was so sudden in the delivery and partially because it just seemed odd on you. Remember in theatre we can get away with casting folks who are a little off type but have mad acting skills. In film, due to the whole film is truth at 24fps thing, we have to cast people that not only have mad acting skills but who are also dead on for type. All acting ability aside. I would be the right type for that part, as blowing my stack with a stream of sailor talk is something I can do in my sleep :)

Yeah, so I can't say I ENJOY this part of your review, but I respect & appreciate it all the same. I think you do an outstanding job getting what you want from your talent, so who am I to question it? I do wonder, however, if you would have viewed the performance a little differently had you not seen the BTS, or if you believed that I had a lot of extra crew to watch all the particulars, etc. Not sure. I also believe that the line you're speaking of in particular may not fair as well compared to the rest, as I'm thinking it's a fairly common voice that says I'm best at my game when it comes to being extreme in the emotion department (i.e. rage, etc.) ... so again, I can see why it may have stood out to you. That, and it's also the same line that's shown in the BTS section where I'm at my highest visible sign of stress for the night.

On the swearing part, I thought it was pretty real, lol. I get the feeling that you may see me as usually this very clean white collar guy that never swears and always lets others in front of me while driving in traffic, etc. :) While I firmly believe in treating others the way you'd want to be treated, that they'll remember how you make them feel, etc ... believe me, I've got my moments! What made it more unbelievable ... how I looked on screen (i.e. maybe I needed to come across as darker/trashier with appearance), or how you percieve me in real life? Then again, if I was TRULY convincing, I would have completely taken you into the performance to where you forgot it was me playing it ... so I am confident that there's something that was missing on my end.

For Rebecca, yes, I value her opinion greatly ... as you can see in the BTS video as I asked (okay, at that point probably more 'told' - could have asked more nicely, lol) her to watch me. I wasn't aware of any formal training of hers, as I don't believe she's done anything since some plays in HS. Meaning, she's just pure, raw talent, with no where to go but up. With people like her, I'm cautious about recommending who they should go to for coaching, as some poor coaches could actually derail them from doing what already works so well, try to get them to think that there's only one school of thought on how a performance should be, etc. Don't get me wrong, I think a GOOD coach is invaluable to anyone ... just don't know who the really good ones are here in the Portland area.

I degress ... if I have someone coach while on set, if it's not Rebecca (when off screen), then I'd have it be a 1st AD I trusted ... in WSF it was Stefen (scharky). So I agree with really having someone to watch & critique ... especially in a situation like this where we simply had no time to stop & review the tape, simply to watch my performance. Doing so also make me concerned with looking like more of a Diva, or that this is the Norm show, since I've already placed myself in a key role ... but you're right, the project & everyone else that is investing their time into this, deserves to have me make sure that my performance is up to par with everything else as well.

All that said, I honestly believe this was probably my strongest performance yet ... maybe I just love the raw emotional stuff the most, which I'm confident is the case.


As for the look. Pushed me out. Did not pull me in. I think it's important to note in WAKING LIFE and SCANNER DARKLY that the look is tied directly to the central theme of the movies. WAKING LIFE: Is this a dream or is this reality and which has more meaning? SCANNER DARKLY: Is this reality or my altered perception of reality and if I can't tell the difference, how do I know who to trust? But here it had nothing to do with the narrative or theme or anything other than coolness for coolness sake. And great discovery never lies down that path. So it just seemed laid on to me and irrelevant, and it was a barrier that kept me from empathizing with the characters. Also Linklater has a team of people working on this stuff and finessing it with proprietary software so that the faces retain some humanity and accessibility. I felt people looked old or funny and that the look was a real barrier.

Check. Understood. Look forward to you being able to watch the non filtered version, which will be up soon ... to see if it helps anything else in the film for you!


Ok so because I went into detail on the stuff that didn't work for me and as your friend offered some suggestions on why I thought it went astray and what you might do about it next time, it makes it seem like I really didn't like it maybe.

But that's not the case. I had a great time. You are very talented and are taking some kind of filmmaking super-spinach that grows only in the rainforest in Washington I think. So because you really have the goods I really go into detail in my criticisms.

My last note would have to do with finding your own voice. There is no question that you can put pretty much anything you want to in front of the camera at this point. I think it is important that you look for subject matter that really matters to you. That connects with your heart in some deep way. Shed, ODD Squad, and Bonehand all deal with the theme of adult sacrifice for the sake of a child. I did not realize this until I was midway through filming Bonehand, but clearly as the child of divorced parents I was following something that was close to me. I'm not saying filmmaking should be therapy, and I'm not saying my voice is fully realized, I'm struggling with it. But I think it is worth looking into. This was clearly something you wanted to try but also, clearly, you had no deep personal connection with this material. I think with your ever increasing technical skills, once you start working with material that really resonates for you on a deep level, you will start walking away with 1,2 or 3 every time in these contests.

There's a cool book I've just discovered called
Directing Film Techniques and Aesthetics (http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/0240805178/ref=s9_asin_image_1-1966_g1/002-1549538-4616030?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0CKMTHMXKGNW819AT7KK&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=278240701&pf_rd_i=507846) by Michael Rabiger. It is a great book that covers everything from blocking, to creating a shot list, to finding style through storytelling, and to the point of this discussion, developing your unique voice as a director. I'm about a 1/3 of the way into it's 1100 pages, but it is an interesting book and worth checking out I think.

Anyway back to the film .. it was a lot of fun. An adrenaline fueled thrill ride with a sweet twist.

Thanks so much for screening it. :thumbup:

Thanks so much again for the detailed thoughts, as well as the recommendation for the book. I'll have to check it out soon.

As for finding my 'voice', I think you're dead on about that. While this wasn't a subject matter I was passionate about, it was something I thought would be fun to do ... and it was. I have zero regrets on anything about this, from start to finish. That said, I do believe that when someone is truly passionate about something, it shows through.

I don't know what my theme is, per se, but I can tell you that I'm most drawn to things that have raw, visceral emotion to them. Whether it be making the person come to tears of joy & wanting to jump out of their seat to chear, or make you want to cry out of saddness .... or build up a rage in you to where you want nothing more than to see the person on the screen 'get theirs' & die. This is probably why everything I've done has usually strayed towards darker tones. I'd like to see if there's a way to find that 'voice' while still doing something comedic, as I just HAVE to do the next short as a comedy. I desperately need something I can feel good about showing my kids, and can make them laugh.

From there, the features I want to do I think do more clearly voice my passions, with regards to exploring emotion ... which is probably my biggest drive in filmmaking ... to explore emotion & passion in life. Above that, I may have a deeper theme wanting to get out, but I just don't know what it is yet. Someone made a connection between WSF and WP, both dealing with paranoia, jumping to conclusions, etc. ... but I think that has more to do with being able to have a twist in a 6 minute short film, more than it does a deep theme that interests me.

Thanks again, Jack, for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate & respect what you've had to say.

bosindy
06-10-2007, 04:45 PM
Norm, when I click on the link I just get the Dvxuser page.

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 04:51 PM
As it's now past 3pm PST, and voting has closed for SpyFest, I think it's safe to go ahead & post the original non filtered version, or those who want to see it:


ORIGINAL NON FILTERED FILM (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/film/wp-normal-lg.mov)


FILTERED / ANIMATED LOOK (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/film/wp-filter-lg.mov)


Both films have revised audio as well, where I wanted to have the dialogue work as a panning stereo track. Though completely unconventional, this film was all about taking risks & doing things differently, AND because we've got so much CU's we're dealing with in one room and a number of cast, I though the stereo dialogue may help to place the characters in the room, when heard OS, etc.

If you feel the panning dialogue is distracting, please let me know! Also, if you dig it, please let me know. Before we go to the final 5.1 mix within the next week or so, I'd like to have a final decision on this as to whether we leave it or force all the dialogue down the center channel, which is more industry standard.

Look forward to your thoughts! And to those of you who were bothered by the filtered/animated look, I'd look forward to your thought especially to see if the original look works better for you, and what you think of the performances now. :)

I'll see about rendering out a version soon that has the filtered look on just the drug use scene only, to see how it flows.

bosindy
06-10-2007, 05:07 PM
Norm, I think it is a much better film without the affect you applied in post. Film acting is obviously about nuance and you lose the smaller facial expressions with the affect applied. Everyones performance improved in my view and the tension increased. I think the affect created an artificial barrier that derailed that part of it. Nice film!

gabrielflorit
06-10-2007, 06:02 PM
Norm, I really liked this one, except I'm not too sure about the effect. Did you intend to go for a Waking Life type of feel? It just looked odd, and kept me from being completely immersed. That said, I'm impressed with your acting skills, very solid. This was enjoyable, and it certainly felt like a big production, with the SWAT gear and all. And the confrontation with Robin was well done too, lots of tension.

Nice work man! Thanks for a good time.

-zach-
06-10-2007, 06:05 PM
Bosindy, I still like the filtered version.

The good part about the unfiltered version is that you can see the makeup on Rebecca.

I'm anxious to see the other reviews!

When are the winners gonna be posted... jeez.

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 09:49 PM
Jim (bosindy), thanks for the additional feedback after watching the non filtered version. So while the film improved for you, in the more normal state, did the story, script and performances actually WORK for you? No worries if not, just wanting to guage what the definition of improvement was.

gabrielflorit, I didn't intend to go for a WAKING LIFE feel, as I've not seen it (never even heard of it before). I DID want to do something inspired by SCANNER DARKLY (though I've only seen trailers of it). Thanks for the kudos, and feel free to check out the non-filtered version (link above) to see if anything improved for you, or is at least less distracting.

Zach, the good part is you can see Rebecca's makeup? C'mon, lol. :happy:

BTW, for anyone interested, I've put together a quick (1 minute) BTS clip of the building of our Flash Bang, which I had to create the night before, since we couldn't find a military surplus store that had anything other than fragmentation grenades ...

BTS - MAKING OF THE FLASH BANG (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-bts-flashbang.wmv)

-zach-
06-10-2007, 09:52 PM
Zach, the good part is you can see Rebecca's makeup? C'mon, lol. :happy:

Unless the scar is real I meant that it was a good makeup job. Which you couldn't see in the filtered version.

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 09:58 PM
Just kidding, Zach! I meant there are folks on here (*coughs* mark harris!) that would like the non filtered version for other reasons, lol.

Though I'm pretty sure the scar shows in the filtered version as well, you're right in that it does show up MUCH better in the non-filtered version. Claudine did an EXCELLENT job with the scar, as well as makeup in general (bruising on the Wife, etc.).

Texture
06-10-2007, 09:59 PM
Whoa! Good luck in the votes guys, you've got a strong contender!

-zach-
06-10-2007, 10:05 PM
Norm -

You're right, in certain shots like this it does show up, but I guess since it wasn't as solid as in the other one I was subconciously dismissing it as hair.
http://www.isarapix.com/pix44/1181534620.jpg

However it stands the test of no filter up close and still looks eerily real. Nice job.
http://www.isarapix.com/pix51/1181534733.jpg

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-10-2007, 10:08 PM
it certainly felt like a big production, with the SWAT gear and all.

Thanks! Those were my creation :-). I designed and assembled those.

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-10-2007, 10:14 PM
You can see a video I did with those outfits here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt0ZoS4pMus

bosindy
06-10-2007, 10:21 PM
Jim (bosindy), thanks for the additional feedback after watching the non filtered version. So while the film improved for you, in the more normal state, did the story, script and performances actually WORK for you? No worries if not, just wanting to gage what the definition of improvement was.
BTS - MAKING OF THE FLASH BANG (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/wp-bts-flashbang.wmv)


The film as a whole worked for me (it worked for me with the affect but at a lesser level)

The performances were really strong. The women were great and this version improves them for me. (particularly Rebecca's performance now that I can see her eyes.) I thought you were good overall, especially as stated, when you come to a higher level of emotion. There was brief moments when your performance seemed slightly off (which the affect highlighted more), the deliver of the first line "the boy ..." but you also were really present at other times. (when you ask Rebecca if she just mentioned your name) I have a lot of respect for people who direct and act and I am impressed overall.

The story is made to be a thriller and it delivers on that. Especially without the distraction of the affect. It has good tension throughout. The music really serves the piece adding to the tension. The cinematography really comes through for me now and the framing of the close ups were spot on.

The face off between you and Rebecca pointing guns at each other is a bit derivative but it works well for where the story ends. The gun shot looks a bit fake now that you removed the post, so maybe you can do something more with it. Overall I would give it a big thumbs up. I think you were going for a departure and theme wise this seems to be; from what I know of your work. I enjoy this and am looking forward to more films from you; and discussion about filmmaking in general.

Norm Sanders
06-10-2007, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the added notes, Jim, much apprecaited! I've got a version that I just rendered out to an uncompressed AVI, that mixes the filtered with the non-filtered version, to see what people think. Basically, the first time we see it is the drug scene ... then it blends back in on the low 'whoosh' SFX as I pick up the picture frame coming back to the group. Then, as I pull the trigger, we degress back to the filtered look, which will take care of the blood/FX concern. We come back to the real, non filtered look again when we leave slow motion/surreal at the sound of the gun blast, outside the room with the SWAT team. Finally, we make one last transition to the filtered look as we go back to slow motion, during the CU of Rebecca's face, as you can see her mouth the F-Bomb.

We'll see how people like it ... I've got to render it to a QT7 file now, which will take at least an hour or more that I'll be off line.

Shawn, that UTube video has some INCREDIBLY funny moments, thanks for sharing!!

Norm Sanders
06-11-2007, 01:13 PM
Okay, taking suggestion by those who thought it could be good to blend the filtered with the non-filtered version, I give you the following mixed version. :)

Still looking for feedback as well about the audio (specifically the panning/stereo dialogue), but look forward to your thoughts on the visual, to see if this should be our final (should we want to submit to another festival, etc.).

MIXED VERSION (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/film/wp-mix-lg.mov)

Matt Harris
06-11-2007, 02:42 PM
Norm! Yes! Im just checking out this version, i didnt see the last version but wow, i really think this short is gripping and dramatic, it was one of my favorites of the fest. And i love all the acting from all the actors. No problems there. Your surround mix sounds great on my mackie HR824's. Great job with the panning of the voices, it really added another level to the sound design.

Here are some nitpicks that are minor and more of a personal preference, but it would make the world of difference to me:

1. the gunshot at the end, when you kill your partner, its soft. If you listen to the gunshots in THE DEPARTED of JACKIE BROWN they are crazy loud, powerful and disturbing. Its more effective that way. Either jack up the volume or i'll email you a gunshot from the George Lucas fx library.

2. speaking of the end... there needs to be some deliniation of sound to create more impact from where the movie ends and the credits begin. As is, the music comes on too strong on the credits and you missed a key sound design element that would add weight to the grenade exploding: the music should build and build to the climax and "boom!', huge grenade sound which cuts off the music. As the grenade sound fades out the credits are silent. Thats a finale, thats impact. Anyway just an idea.

3. early on in the short, when they peak through the blinds, i would love to see a few SWAT guys scurrying around to surround the house. I feel like this shot is missing, but would add a lot to drive the motivation for paranoia.

4. If you want to stick the filter back in on certain scenes there needs to be a reason for it. Putting the filter on the heroin usage scene is brilliant, in addition you should put the filter on the quick cut of the guy snorting blow.

or

just use the filter on any scene with the child, just so theres cohesiveness with the visuals. (i prefer you keep the filter on the drug scenes because it makes more sense).

My point is, I would remove the filter from the end, like you have it, and only use it for specific scenes, to enhance the scene for a reason. like the drugs. sorry, if im being repetitive.

Lastly, the scene where you show the view from the child in the crib (i think thats what you were doing?)... the camera lingers a touch too long.

These are minor! I love what you did and how quick you did it.
Mucho props.
-Matt

Neil Rowe
06-11-2007, 08:41 PM
very well done. great job on this norm. i had you in my top 3. it was just plain memorably entertaining. and thats what its all about.

idesofmerz
06-11-2007, 10:13 PM
Well, well, well...so I finally made it to dvxuser.com

Norm-

I think that out of your three shorts I have seen, this one was, by far, the strongest; no stilted performances, good vision, excellent editing.

I prefer the non-filtered version for a few reasons. 1.) It allows the viewer to get swept into the story easier, 2.) I was more visually engrossed in the film, and 3.) I personally think that the filtered effect is a bit of a cheap gimmick used to help carry a film when the story is lacking (ie-Scanner Darkly). While I like the effect when used sparingly, I just don't think we needed it...

Now for some constructive criticism...

I think that you are a good actor, a tremendous editor and an unbelievable producer. Some advice from a directing standpoint: Learn more about camera angles and how they can affect the audience. There are a few shots that could have helped you tell the story even better.

For example, choosing to show Rebecca's breasts in the frame without her face was a poor choice. She is being degraded by your character at that moment and we, as viewers, should be forced to choose between looking at her face or looking at her breasts. Rather than leaving that choice up to your audience, you made the decision for them.

There are a couple other techniques that would have helped give more power to Seller and more sexuality to Anita's character, but I won't go into that here.

All in all, I thought it was great. I've watched about half the other shorts in the festival and only saw one that I enjoyed more than Without Provocation, so kudos to you.

I can't wait for the next project!! It was a pleasure working with you and I hope that the future holds much more for us. I'll talk to you later.

-Matthew Merz

Jack Daniel Stanley
06-12-2007, 01:06 AM
Norm. After seeing the unfiltered cut, I take back most of what I said about your performance. I think you were a little low energy in the opening scene compared to the other actors who were much more keyed up throughout and I think the filtering just swallowed your performance in this earlier part of the short. That filter is such a barrier to the actors, IMO, without the proprietary software and team of VFX guys to make sure the nuances come through.

Mike@AF
06-12-2007, 05:06 PM
I think the unfiltered version is a huge imporovement. I can actually tell what's happening now, what the room looks like, what the movements are, etc. I think the acting seems better in this version as well, now that I'm not so distracted by the filter. I thought your acting was better as the film progressed.

I noticed the jump cuts and was wondering what the point of that was. I found that to be additionally distracting.

I think the film could be improved with some additional color correcting. Maybe adding a gritty look to it with more contrast. Just a recommendation.

There's also an insert shot looking the railing of the stairs. The shot is held for a long time and seems to have no purpose except for the dialogue that's over it. That sort of pulls me out of the action that's going on, especially with how long it's held.

Lastly, the phone continues to ring while the SWAT team is in the middle of their raid and already in the house. I would think the police wouldn't be calling still if they were busy raiding the house. Just a thought.

Norm Sanders
06-12-2007, 07:56 PM
Norm! Yes! Im just checking out this version, i didnt see the last version but wow, i really think this short is gripping and dramatic, it was one of my favorites of the fest. And i love all the acting from all the actors. No problems there. Your surround mix sounds great on my mackie HR824's. Great job with the panning of the voices, it really added another level to the sound design.

Thaks, Matt (defcon), really glad this worked for you as well as it did! Also thanks for the feedback on the dialogue. Totaly against the rule of thumb, but this was about doing things differently.


Here are some nitpicks that are minor and more of a personal preference, but it would make the world of difference to me:

1. the gunshot at the end, when you kill your partner, its soft. If you listen to the gunshots in THE DEPARTED of JACKIE BROWN they are crazy loud, powerful and disturbing. Its more effective that way. Either jack up the volume or i'll email you a gunshot from the George Lucas fx library.

Feel free to e-mail away! :) norm at eefilm dot com

Steve_Arm, you had mentioned the same thing a while back. If you've got a particular gun SFX you love, feel free to forward it ... I'll take a listen to anything that comes in & use the best sounding one (forwarding on to Herman, of course, who's doing the final 5.1 mix as well).


2. speaking of the end... there needs to be some deliniation of sound to create more impact from where the movie ends and the credits begin. As is, the music comes on too strong on the credits and you missed a key sound design element that would add weight to the grenade exploding: the music should build and build to the climax and "boom!', huge grenade sound which cuts off the music. As the grenade sound fades out the credits are silent. Thats a finale, thats impact. Anyway just an idea.

You're right, and it's a good idea. Originally, I had the vision that we'd just hear this deaf ring for a while as it died out ... but I also knew I wanted some score in there, and don't believe I effectively communicated with Herman in advance. Then with my leaving & him only being able to give this a one draft go (he may have done more on his end, but wasn't able to run anything past me prior to festival submission), it's what we have. When I finally did hear it, I was so in love with his music that I completely forgot I DID want more of a sickly silence (or deaf ring) before the music began to come back in.

Without having to have him rework that section too much, I might be able to simply slow the credits down by 5-10 seconds, which will allow him to simply push the music back some before coming in.

Again, thanks for that.


3. early on in the short, when they peak through the blinds, i would love to see a few SWAT guys scurrying around to surround the house. I feel like this shot is missing, but would add a lot to drive the motivation for paranoia.

Um, yeah ... too late. Next. :)


4. If you want to stick the filter back in on certain scenes there needs to be a reason for it. Putting the filter on the heroin usage scene is brilliant, in addition you should put the filter on the quick cut of the guy snorting blow.

or

just use the filter on any scene with the child, just so theres cohesiveness with the visuals. (i prefer you keep the filter on the drug scenes because it makes more sense).

My point is, I would remove the filter from the end, like you have it, and only use it for specific scenes, to enhance the scene for a reason. like the drugs. sorry, if im being repetitive.

Lastly, the scene where you show the view from the child in the crib (i think thats what you were doing?)... the camera lingers a touch too long.

These are minor! I love what you did and how quick you did it.
Mucho props.
-Matt

Good idea on the filter ... I'm still trying to figure out exactly where to have it. Since I've heard from several parties that they PREFER the gun/blood FX with the filter, I decided to add it at the slow motion effect ... like things weren't as real at that moment (or all hell has broken loose ... much like during the drug flashback). I'll likely kill it from the end, but at this point, I'm thinking of leaving it at the drug flash back, and for the slow motion effect with the blood/gun FX, SWAT, etc. Thoughts? Otherwise, I'll just have it at the drug flash back only, as I think it'd be too quick & ood to throw it on Carter when he snorts his coke.

I didn't know what you meant by about the kid in the crib, but I think you meant when we were looking through the railings. I agree, a tad too long, but if I make adjustments there, it adjusts quite a bit from that point forward with regards to score, blah, blah, blah. After a fest like this, I've got to look at ROI (return on investment) for my time. I could always tweak or try to improve things, but it comes a time when you've just got to put a project to bed & move on. Be proud of the accomplishment(s), learn from mistakes, and apply those things to the next project.

Some of the EASY & quick stuff you mentioned above, no problem. Not so sure about the cut ... I'll check with Herman, however.

Thanks again, Matt! Great feedback & ideas!


very well done. great job on this norm. i had you in my top 3. it was just plain memorably entertaining. and thats what its all about.

Neil, as someone who's on the same page as I am (through our PM discussions), as well as someone who's turned out some incredibly cool work (i.e. your DramaFest entry had some INSANE visuals & shots), this really means a lot to me. Thank you. :)


Norm-

I think that out of your three shorts I have seen, this one was, by far, the strongest; no stilted performances, good vision, excellent editing.

.....

All in all, I thought it was great. I've watched about half the other shorts in the festival and only saw one that I enjoyed more than Without Provocation, so kudos to you.

I can't wait for the next project!! It was a pleasure working with you and I hope that the future holds much more for us. I'll talk to you later.

-Matthew Merz

Thanks, Matt (idesofmerz)! Though you didn't make it over here to see the editing, you didn't miss much ... just me pulling my hair out as I was trying to do a style I'd not tackled before. Glad it worked for so many people.


I prefer the non-filtered version for a few reasons. 1.) It allows the viewer to get swept into the story easier, 2.) I was more visually engrossed in the film, and 3.) I personally think that the filtered effect is a bit of a cheap gimmick used to help carry a film when the story is lacking (ie-Scanner Darkly). While I like the effect when used sparingly, I just don't think we needed it...

Points taken. Thankfully you'll have both versions available on your cast & crew DVD. :grin:



Now for some constructive criticism...

I think that you are a good actor, a tremendous editor and an unbelievable producer. Some advice from a directing standpoint: Learn more about camera angles and how they can affect the audience. There are a few shots that could have helped you tell the story even better.

For example, choosing to show Rebecca's breasts in the frame without her face was a poor choice. She is being degraded by your character at that moment and we, as viewers, should be forced to choose between looking at her face or looking at her breasts. Rather than leaving that choice up to your audience, you made the decision for them.

There are a couple other techniques that would have helped give more power to Seller and more sexuality to Anita's character, but I won't go into that here.

Thanks again for the kudos on the acting/editing/producing. As far as directing, and learning more about camera angles, I agree it could/would be helpful, and it's on my to-do list. From a story telling stand point, absolutely. Otherwise, I defer a LOT to the DP's I work with, as I HAVE to trust their judgement on what will look great, as well as tell a good story. If I don't trust them, why have them?

As far as focusing on Rebecca's breasts, we're litterally off her face for about 2 seconds or less, the cut right back to a wide shot. What I had WANTED to do was get a shot/angle of SELLER looking down at ROBIN's breasts ... however, by the time we got to my close ups, it was late, and I was fried ... I forgot to give the same somewhat snearing/sexual stare that I had been doing when we were doing Rebecca's close ups. So moving down her open shirt (from her face) was supposed to be more of SELLER's POV. Unfortunately I didn't have that take/angle to work with ...

But ... I didn't want the CU to go to waste either. And, I don't want anyone to think for a minute that I enjoyed editing that in my office ... frame by frame ... on my 36 inch widescreen HD monitor.

Feel free to post other ideas on what you feel would have brought SELLER's character more power, or LINDEN's more sexuality. We're all here to learn, and are open to ideas, myself especially. But, it's difficult to tell a director that a choice of their was a 'bad choice'. It is art, it is subjective, and there are reasons behind every decision. Some will love them, some won't. So it's a choice, but not necessarily a bad one.


Norm. After seeing the unfiltered cut, I take back most of what I said about your performance. I think you were a little low energy in the opening scene compared to the other actors who were much more keyed up throughout and I think the filtering just swallowed your performance in this earlier part of the short.

Yay!! Maybe others won't think my acting sucked as bad either now, lol! :) Seriously, thanks for taking the time to watch it again, Jack, and I'm glad the performance improved for you.


I think the unfiltered version is a huge imporovement. I can actually tell what's happening now, what the room looks like, what the movements are, etc. I think the acting seems better in this version as well, now that I'm not so distracted by the filter. I thought your acting was better as the film progressed.

I noticed the jump cuts and was wondering what the point of that was. I found that to be additionally distracting.

I think the film could be improved with some additional color correcting. Maybe adding a gritty look to it with more contrast. Just a recommendation.

There's also an insert shot looking the railing of the stairs. The shot is held for a long time and seems to have no purpose except for the dialogue that's over it. That sort of pulls me out of the action that's going on, especially with how long it's held.

Lastly, the phone continues to ring while the SWAT team is in the middle of their raid and already in the house. I would think the police wouldn't be calling still if they were busy raiding the house. Just a thought.

Hey flmmkr, thanks for the feedback! Also, great job with SORRY ... very well done & entertaining! Glad you guys placed!

For the stairs, yep ... too long. I can see about making an adjustment, but see above on my concerns about ROI.

The jump cuts are to keep the flow, really. Since the cuts are so frequent from character to character, I felt the need to give a little pop or some kind of camera action/movement if we stayed on a character for any length of time ... just to keep the pace & sense of movement going. I would NEVER do that in a film like WHERE SILENCE FALLS, for example. I also wanted to add that slight sense of being in the room with them, or documentary style, where the camera is adjusting as we move along in real time.

Good idea on the additional contrast ... I'll do some tests to see how it works out.

For the continued ringing phone, when SWAT breaches a location, their main purpose at that point is to prevent injury/death to themselves and/or any potential hostages/innocents. The phone would be a distraction to them vs. cluing them in that they may be trying to come in after them, etc. Same thing with a flash-bang ... it's to catch them off guard (stunning them), so they can apprehend them, if at all possible without fatality. So that's why we had the phone continue to ring.

Norm Sanders
06-12-2007, 08:10 PM
I'm rounding up more & more of these, but until we get our edit/modify abilities back for our posts, I can't do the big Director/Producer journal I want to do for this production on the front page ... which will be peppered with little videos throughout.

In the MEANTIME, I want to give a quick backstory to what you're about to see. Matt (posted on this thread as idesofmerz) kind of grew up in my youthgroup, back when I was a Youth Pastor/Director for several years at a local church. So you can understand why I was a LITTLE hestitant about having him join the set as a PA, because it just felt odd making this kind of movie with him there.

That said, he was eager, very eager to come on set & see what goes on with a narrative production. So I said, sure, come on board.

Now those who know me, know I'm kind of what I'd call a 'community director' (see WHERE SILENCE FALLS behind the scenes at www.eefilm.com/silence (http://www.eefilm.com/silence)) , and I always welcome people's input & suggestions while on set ... to a point. But I've never had anyone actually try to stand over my shoulder and direct me, lol. So there was a point that a question as to the motivation of my character (SELLER) came up, and Matt very passionately offered what he felt my character should be like, and why. And then he proceeded to bring the script over & go through it with me, litterally taking on the role of director at that point with me.

Eh, perhaps a tad farther than I'd usually like in the 'community' approach. No harm, Matt. Don't do it again. :evil:

Anyway, after this, we were doing a wide shot, and we wanted the picture frame I was holding to be in view. Matt jumps in, and, well ... you can watch the video. (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation/clips/finger.wmv)

Hope you don't mind, Matt, and it truly was great having you on set. But when I found this in the footage, I just had to share it as I kept laughing outloud to myself, watching it! :)

Mike@AF
06-12-2007, 08:53 PM
Hey flmmkr, thanks for the feedback! Also, great job with SORRY ... very well done & entertaining! Glad you guys placed!

For the stairs, yep ... too long. I can see about making an adjustment, but see above on my concerns about ROI.

The jump cuts are to keep the flow, really. Since the cuts are so frequent from character to character, I felt the need to give a little pop or some kind of camera action/movement if we stayed on a character for any length of time ... just to keep the pace & sense of movement going. I would NEVER do that in a film like WHERE SILENCE FALLS, for example. I also wanted to add that slight sense of being in the room with them, or documentary style, where the camera is adjusting as we move along in real time.

Good idea on the additional contrast ... I'll do some tests to see how it works out.

For the continued ringing phone, when SWAT breaches a location, their main purpose at that point is to prevent injury/death to themselves and/or any potential hostages/innocents. The phone would be a distraction to them vs. cluing them in that they may be trying to come in after them, etc. Same thing with a flash-bang ... it's to catch them off guard (stunning them), so they can apprehend them, if at all possible without fatality. So that's why we had the phone continue to ring.

Hey Norm, I'm glad you like Sorry. It was a lot of fun to work on.

I understand why you have the jump cuts there, but I don't think they are effective enough. It's not enough of a jump. Meaning, you should start from a medium or wide shot even, then jump to more of a closeup. You seem to be jumping from a medium shot to a medium shot that's only slightly zoomed in or a cu to a cu that is only slightly zoomed in more. It looks more like a glitch to me and makes me question what just happened while I'm watching it. It's another distraction.

Now I'm not a cop or SWAT officer or anything, but I've seen a lot of movies with cops and SWAT teams and they do try to mimic actual protocols whenever possible. I've never seen a scenario where they continuously call in to the suspects while raiding. I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, but I do question if it's realistic since I've never seen it. I admit I haven't seen every movie out there either, so I could be wrong. It just doesn't make sense to me.

As far as the shot through the railing goes, give this a shot. I've done it before and it worked great.... Try removing the shot, replacing it, or shortening, whatever you need to do. Cut out the music at that very moment as well, but have the music track with no gap. Add a +3db crossover audio transition filter. Adjust the length of the transition to 2 frames, 4 frames, 6 frames, etc until you find the right legth so everything matches. If you end up with some wierd sound you can slide the cut + or - a frame or to and see if it fixes. You can also try a +0db crossover and add a sound effect right at that moment to cover up the cut/break/change in the music. This would be an easy way, a compromise, to fix the problem. The best way of course would be to have your composer remix the music to match.

For the color correction, when you add the contrast to the picture, try some different color tones as well. I suspect a very slight bluish tone would work well since it seems to be night outside, but red could work as well.

Anyways, hope my suggestions help you out with making your film even better.

Shawn Philip Nelson
06-12-2007, 09:10 PM
Actually they would continue to call in whilst raiding the house.

First off, SWAT members are the entry guys. The person making the call would be the negotiator. A girl I knew in college, her dad was a negotiator, and his job was to get called to such situations to negotiate. I believe he was skilled in not only police matters, but also psychology.

If negotiations fail, and it is decided that they must rush in due to gunshots being heard, it is very likely they would want the negotiator to continue to call so as to provide further distraction. You would not want the silence and lack of ringing to indicate an impending raid.

idesofmerz
06-13-2007, 01:38 AM
Norm-

In regards to the angles that could have been used:
It's a bit hard to explain this technique that would have given Seller more power, but I'll try.... In reference to just before he pulls his gun out and takes total control from the rest of his group: Seller walks towards the kitchen with his back to his team. Place the camera in the kitchen so that he walks into the foreground, facing the camera, with his back to the group. Cut to a shot from Rebecca's POV, facing Seller's back. When Seller turns around and looks into the camera he is subconsciously telling the viewer that no matter where you run to, I'm looking right at you, I'm in control. This strips everyone of their power, including Rebecca's character, who is desperately trying to maintain some measure of control.

In regards to Anita's sexuality: Take a few more frames to let the shot linger on her. Add shots of her body in profile; her graceful movements as she stands; her tummy as she exposes her mid-drift. As an actor in that role, her sexuality, over her gun, can be her fiercest weapon. That same sensuality turns into fierceness when she tells Carter not to make himself "a liability".
I realize you were tring to give the film a frenetic feeling, but let the viewer see the difference between the characters. This is just as much the director's responsibility as it is the actor's.

As you said, "It is art, it is subjective, and there are reasons behind every decision." There is, however, a difference between a subjective shot and an objective shot. For example, ET is mostly subjective from the POV of a child. Angles are specifically chosen to enhance that point of view. Seeing an adult from the waist down is a child's POV. On the other hand, a film like Reservoir Dogs is mostly objective. I hate using Dogs as an example of this, but I'm guessing most people have seen both these movies and can relive them easily in their heads.

A good way to learn more about composition is to watch some of your favorite films on mute. This will not only help you focus on the artistic choices made, but show you the differecne between a good filmmaker and a great filmmaker. Do you still know the story, even though you can't hear the spoken words?? That's a great filmmaker. Afterall, look at Chaplin...

Sorry if I overstepped my boundries on the set, Norm. I saw two performances that were going a direction they wouldn't go in reality. You had a heroin addict acting like a cokehead and a cokehead acting like he was riding the H-Train. There's a big difference between those drugs and their affects on people. Researching your topics can help when it comes to things that are foreign to you. I wouldn't write a script on the plight of Native Americans in modern society without making a trip to the rez first, ya' know??

Also, I know that time was of the essence on this set and that you literally had a million things on your mind. Just thought I would add my two cents from outside of the chaos that was in your head for those 16 hours. Something about "best intentions"....Hope I didn't offend too bad:)

Well, I think that's about it. I've given my two cents and am expecting change.:grin:

By the way, you're the only youth pastor to ever give me the finger (though I probably deserved it years ago).

Take care, good night, and stay classy San Francisco,

-Matt.

Norm Sanders
06-17-2007, 06:05 PM
Matt, good suggestions about SELLER's character, but you'll also recall that we didn't have blinds on two of those large windows directly behind us, which at that point were acting like mirrors ... so we were also quite limited on the angles we could choose, etc. The fact that we only got to block the shots & rehearse as we got there that day, didn't help matters any either. That said, good thoughts, and had we had more time and/or not had the window/mirror issue, I'm sure there are things that would have turned out a little differently.

Regarding Anita's sexuality, this really wasn't in my original vision anyway. I think you personally saw her as a more sexual character than I did. For example, when you kept suggesting how she should stand, I didn't fight it because I didn't see how it could hurt, but it wasn't a focal opint for me either. I usually won't fight opinions/suggesions on set, unless they're going against a vision I had.

While you may have good points on the drug facts & how they would cause people to react, I'll simply take your word for it. The script was only officially written 4-5 days before we shot, so I couldn't take the time to research all of the drug facts on how they would impact people, etc. Since I guessed that the majority of our audience wouldn't have the in-depth drug knowledge that others may, I wasn't too concerned about the minority that said "Hey, that's now how he should act on heroin!". :Drogar-KnockedOut(D:Drogar-Thinking(DBG

No, you didn't offend me too badly. :)

idesofmerz
06-18-2007, 02:48 AM
Note: I have never taken heroin.

Glad I didn't offend too badly.:D

-Matt.

dangal
06-18-2007, 08:25 AM
I had problems with the coloring of the comicslike effect
Why did you mutilate yourt film like that
I'm sorry but I couldn't watch it with that effect
I think your movie would look great without it from what I did see.
It seemed like very solid acting/directing
maybe consider taking it off?

preston
06-18-2007, 10:57 AM
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=971621&postcount=181



I had problems with the coloring of the comicslike effect
Why did you mutilate yourt film like that
I'm sorry but I couldn't watch it with that effect
I think your movie would look great without it from what I did see.
It seemed like very solid acting/directing
maybe consider taking it off?

dangal
06-18-2007, 03:56 PM
ok
Just watched the version without the comics effect
No doubt about it this is the best film made in the fest.
great directing and acting
The only problem was too many close ups
What happend to the medium shot? full shots? Other shots?
anyway the problem was with the editing in my opinion

RebeccaD
06-18-2007, 05:11 PM
Norm's intention with this film was actually to have a claustrophobic, in your face approach. It was shot with the close ups for that very reason in mind. Glad you thought highly of it. There were a lot of mixed feelings about the "cartoon" effect, so you are not alone in that. Thanks for checking out the film & giving feedback!

dangal
06-19-2007, 01:05 AM
clastrophbic was nice thinking but it was a bit too obvious and caused me to feel the manipulation
I think it could use some re editing

Norm Sanders
06-19-2007, 12:09 PM
Thanks, dangal, but there really aren't any other shots available. We shot the wide master, and the CU's ... that's it. Little to no mids. So it's not an editing thing, so much as it was the choices we made at the time for the actual camera angles. Also, the time limitation (having shot this all in one day) did not allow us further shots/angles.

idesofmerz
06-26-2007, 12:59 AM
What's next for Norm Sanders??

Norm Sanders
08-12-2007, 05:11 PM
What's next for Norm Sanders??

BERLIN ... bring it back from the temporary shelf it was on, to shoot this October. Lots to get ready for!

In an effort to get all of the WITHOUT PROVOCATION stuff archived & off my system, I've completed a simple HTML page for it, that's also linked from MySpace, etc.

www.eefilm.com/provocation (http://www.eefilm.com/provocation)

Norm Sanders
10-24-2007, 02:34 PM
A new official thread has been opened for BERLIN: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=113648

First weekend of principle photography wrapped this past Sunday, and we'll finish shooting this 20 minute short film this coming weekend. I think you'll be blown away at the production value that has come together for this film, all in thanks to the amazing cast & crew that has come aboard to make it.

For those of you who were following it for DVXuser's SpyFest, up to the point that production was cancelled, now is your chance to catch up & see how the film is shaping up in comparison to expectations you may have had. :)

Check it out ...

Norm Sanders
06-01-2009, 06:29 PM
Just submitted this to the Action On Film Festival (1 of 4 submissions to them today in the "short shorts" category.

Web page for viewing this film at www.eefilm.com/provocation

Norm Sanders
07-16-2009, 03:27 PM
For anyone attending the Action On Film Festival, in Pasadena, CA: Where Silence Falls will be screening on Monday, July 27th in the 2pm block, at Academy 4.

Herman Witkam
07-20-2009, 05:37 AM
and Without Provocation is now on IMDb :-)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1474283/

Norm Sanders
07-21-2009, 11:16 AM
Geez, Herman, THAT was quick! When did you submit that? I've got an invite code through WAB to get this & some others up on IMDB, and was going to this week. :) THANKS! :beer:

Herman Witkam
07-24-2009, 04:14 PM
It took about 4-5 days to go online. Apparently IMDb really loves the AOFFest :D Cause for some films playing at other festivals it has taken far longer than that to appear online.