Thread: "Dead Drop"

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    Senior Member seanmcleod's Avatar
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    Hey Doug, just rewatched for the second time... gotta say it's a very cool, slick and well done short. Very nice flow to the writing, and I like that the film has a beginning, middle, and end. Even though it does feel like it could be a scene from a longer film, but it doesn't feel like it SHOULD be, like some. Not a ton of films this fest felt like complete films in and of themselves. It doesn't need the rest of a feature film to help understand whats happening, and that's a tribute to good writing. We don't know why he has his girl, but we don't really need to, what we need to know is that he does, and the other guy wants her back.

    My only negative comment would be that I think it would help to have a good 1st AC on set with you, as you dip in and out of focus a couple times. I think with the advent of DSLR a lot of guys are having to deal with this issue that they didn't have to with a a prosumer cam, or at least to this degree. So at least for me when I see it I dont think it's a stylistic choice, I think it's a mistake in the focus pull.

    Other than that, great rewatchability factor and your definitely in my top 2, not sure if you're one yet, gotta rewatch another, but you're fighting for it for sure!


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    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougspice View Post
    The mic noise on clothes I was pretty sure we got rid of all of that. His feet do scrape on the gravel, which sounds similar.
    The mic noise is definitely there but I think it would only be picked up while using headphones. Same with some of the wind rumble. It's there, but I doubt most would catch it as is.

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    Senior Member Tim Joy's Avatar
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    I caught it right away. I think a little 'gust of wind' noise over it would mask it a little. I do listen on studio monitors though, not to mention being a soundman 1st, filmmaker second.

    I'm guessing it was by necessity rather than choice, but it seemed like they were mic'd with the lav's even in CU? It comes out a little dull as a result. Not enough to hurt the performances though. Sometimes it is hard to match a wide lav sound with a CU boom mic sound, so I can understand why you might do that.


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    The actors pulled me into this paced their dialog very well. I kind of liked the hi-contrast, but kept noticing it, as it is a short and the audience has only so much time to get accustomed to the texture of the look. Still, it was good. And the framing and pacing just whipped it along right to the finish. Great. Just Great!


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    Senior Member dougspice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanmcleod View Post
    Hey Doug, just rewatched for the second time... gotta say it's a very cool, slick and well done short. Very nice flow to the writing, and I like that the film has a beginning, middle, and end. Even though it does feel like it could be a scene from a longer film, but it doesn't feel like it SHOULD be, like some. Not a ton of films this fest felt like complete films in and of themselves. It doesn't need the rest of a feature film to help understand whats happening, and that's a tribute to good writing. We don't know why he has his girl, but we don't really need to, what we need to know is that he does, and the other guy wants her back.

    My only negative comment would be that I think it would help to have a good 1st AC on set with you, as you dip in and out of focus a couple times. I think with the advent of DSLR a lot of guys are having to deal with this issue that they didn't have to with a a prosumer cam, or at least to this degree. So at least for me when I see it I dont think it's a stylistic choice, I think it's a mistake in the focus pull.

    Other than that, great rewatchability factor and your definitely in my top 2, not sure if you're one yet, gotta rewatch another, but you're fighting for it for sure!

    Thanks for checking it out again, Sean. It was definitely an effort to get the story simple enough to be complete, but suggest additional optional complexity. I'm really glad it seems to have worked for people.

    The focus issue is actually somewhere in between necessity and stylistic choice. Sometimes necessity is a stylistic choice! One of my favorite shows is Friday Night Lights, and that show is out of focus all the time. But it doesn't bother me, it's part of their look... so likewise when I knew we were occasionally going to lose focus here it didn't bother me either.

    Unfortunately, I guess it does bother some other people, and if it's taking them out of the story for even a moment (or, worse, dropping the movie from #1 to #2! ) then it's something I probably need to be better on top of in the future.

    Commercial and Creative Director at Psychic Bunny, a hybrid media studio in sunny Los Angeles, California.

    Producer, Cement Suitcase ( feature film )
    Writer/Director/Producer, Dead Drop ( BetrayalFest finalist ) "A very cool, slick and well done short."
    Producer, The Echo Game ( feature film ) - "There is never a dull moment..."
    Ex. Producer, Coma, Period. ( web series ) - "...few things in web video are done as well as they are in Coma, Period."

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    Senior Member dougspice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Joy View Post
    I caught it right away. I think a little 'gust of wind' noise over it would mask it a little. I do listen on studio monitors though, not to mention being a soundman 1st, filmmaker second.

    I'm guessing it was by necessity rather than choice, but it seemed like they were mic'd with the lav's even in CU? It comes out a little dull as a result. Not enough to hurt the performances though. Sometimes it is hard to match a wide lav sound with a CU boom mic sound, so I can understand why you might do that.
    Another reason would be that we didn't have a boom at all! Even if we had, I think it might have been pretty useless without the world's best zeppelin. It was pretty windy (worse: gusty) all day. I dunno... one of you guys would probably know better than me.

    Commercial and Creative Director at Psychic Bunny, a hybrid media studio in sunny Los Angeles, California.

    Producer, Cement Suitcase ( feature film )
    Writer/Director/Producer, Dead Drop ( BetrayalFest finalist ) "A very cool, slick and well done short."
    Producer, The Echo Game ( feature film ) - "There is never a dull moment..."
    Ex. Producer, Coma, Period. ( web series ) - "...few things in web video are done as well as they are in Coma, Period."

    @TheSpiceEffect on Twitter IMDb



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    Senior Member seanmcleod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougspice View Post
    Thanks for checking it out again, Sean. It was definitely an effort to get the story simple enough to be complete, but suggest additional optional complexity. I'm really glad it seems to have worked for people.

    The focus issue is actually somewhere in between necessity and stylistic choice. Sometimes necessity is a stylistic choice! One of my favorite shows is Friday Night Lights, and that show is out of focus all the time. But it doesn't bother me, it's part of their look... so likewise when I knew we were occasionally going to lose focus here it didn't bother me either.

    Unfortunately, I guess it does bother some other people, and if it's taking them out of the story for even a moment (or, worse, dropping the movie from #1 to #2! ) then it's something I probably need to be better on top of in the future.
    It's okay, I would imagine it's only some people. I was tired of that look when the original Friday Night Lights film came out. I think in that it looked way too forced, haven't seen the show. And I think in reference to Dead Drop if it only happens when a focus pull WOULD be necessary then it looks like you just didn't pull off the pull, you know? But like you said, it may work for some people, but I don't like it even in mainstream hollywood films so I'm probably just more tough on that. And I wouldn't say THAT is the reason it would drop from 1 to 2, its just up against another really great film is all!


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    Senior Member dougspice's Avatar
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    Sorry Michael, I missed your re-review.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Anthony Horrigan View Post
    My secondary review....

    The opening shot is actually pretty unimpressive, especially when compared to the rest of the film. Seems a little muddy and almost out of focus. I'm also torn about the VO as well.
    While I like it, it sounds like he's questioning the name when he says... "Call Maddame Lazarouth?" Yet he shouldn't be, should he?
    No, and he's not. He's waiting to confirm that someone else is getting it down right. I don't feel like this is unusual.

    Agreed that the shot is probably the weakest one in the movie. In the new edit we won't be opening on it.

    The music is good and I like the shots that follow the opening quite a bit. Shots definitely get a bit blurry during the closeups of the meeting. Especially as the young guy moves around.
    The conversation is good and the actors seem alright, mostly the older one though. I'm not quite buying the younger guys performance. Especially considering the position he's in.
    He's holding zero cards here yet he comes off far too confident for me. I know he's a soldier type as he said, but still.
    This is a character choice that we put a lot of work and study into, and it's 100% sensible to me, at least. Granted, I have a lot more exposure to the material than you or anyone else does. At the most basic level it can be boiled down to this: you've never gotten angry at someone you shouldn't have? You've never had a shouting match with a boss or someone you knew had the upper hand on you? I sure have.

    This is two smart, strong, type A guys going head-on. Even if one of them holds all the cards, human emotion is human emotion.

    Another part I don't get. When he pulls up his car to drop off the USB key at the end, she should be making as much noise as possible but we don't hear BOO from her.
    Now I know that you want him to drop off the key first before the explosion but it doesn't make any sense to me. She would have heard the car pull up. Her hands are bound in front of her, hands clearly exposed.
    It would have been VERY easy for her to tear the tape off her mouth and warn him as to what would happen after opening the trunk. I would have been screaming my bloody head off!
    This is an interesting comment. I think you'll notice that you don't hear the cries from the trunk until he's basically touching the car... but we certainly could play this up better, fade it in a little more.

    The explosion at the end is great. The only thing I would add is a little movement to the car beside it when it blows. Maybe have the car alarm go off as well.
    The foreground car does actually move. It does not have a car alarm.

    Thanks for taking another look at it.

    Commercial and Creative Director at Psychic Bunny, a hybrid media studio in sunny Los Angeles, California.

    Producer, Cement Suitcase ( feature film )
    Writer/Director/Producer, Dead Drop ( BetrayalFest finalist ) "A very cool, slick and well done short."
    Producer, The Echo Game ( feature film ) - "There is never a dull moment..."
    Ex. Producer, Coma, Period. ( web series ) - "...few things in web video are done as well as they are in Coma, Period."

    @TheSpiceEffect on Twitter IMDb



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    Senior Member Knoxworth's Avatar
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    Fun movie. Gripping for a short, you get right to the meat of it.


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    Senior Member dougspice's Avatar
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    It's been a while, but I finally got around to finishing the full cut of this film. It clocks in at 9 minutes, recently premiered at the DVX WestFest LA Screening, and now you can watch it online!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emybHoVQoUM

    or

    http://vimeo.com/13769668

    or

    hopefully soon, a film festival near you!

    Commercial and Creative Director at Psychic Bunny, a hybrid media studio in sunny Los Angeles, California.

    Producer, Cement Suitcase ( feature film )
    Writer/Director/Producer, Dead Drop ( BetrayalFest finalist ) "A very cool, slick and well done short."
    Producer, The Echo Game ( feature film ) - "There is never a dull moment..."
    Ex. Producer, Coma, Period. ( web series ) - "...few things in web video are done as well as they are in Coma, Period."

    @TheSpiceEffect on Twitter IMDb



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