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    Somniphobia - 3 Minute Short Film shot on a Samsung Galaxy S9 for a contest.
    Hello, would love some input on my new short film. It had to be shot on a phone and no longer then 3 minutes in length.

    The staircase shot came out a bit too dark and YouTube compression did not help at all. Just looking for feedback in all aspects of the film.

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    Rockin the Boat
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Los Angeles CA
    I might be slow, but personally, I found it confusing. Why is he climbing the stairs if next he finds himself walking outside? I get it that he's "imagining" it, so maybe some kind of laws of dreamworld apply, but what are you trying to achieve? If you want people to know immediately after the typewriter ring that he's entering a dream/imagination world (which by the way, as I watched it, I suspected he did the moment I heard the ring of the typewriter), then I suppose it doesn't matter that he goes up the stairs - though... why? If you didn't want folks to cotton on immediately that he's in a dream state (although people totally suspect it right off the bat) than why have that odd sequence "upstairs to outside". Just confusing. It's like you were going for some kind of effect on the viewer, and at least in my case, only achieved confusion. The light after 1:52 when the hand appears, I find jarring, in that I expected a much warmer light based on seeing it from afar. But anyway after 1:52 everything is just one big confusion (to me).

    I get it only because I immediately suspected - as anyone would - where you were going with this. Yes, he's in a dream state and sees "himself" - but I only know that because I thought you wanted that... it doesn't come from the way it was shot, I had to sort of guess at your intent. It just doesn't work for me purely technically. You need to give context so one can understand what you're seeing. The easiest of course is to have both figures in the frame - but you may not want it, because you want to stick to the guy's point of view. In that case, you need to find another way - for example, you need to show him looking at a specific place on his other self, so that you can then cut to that place on the other self, that way showing that one self is looking at the other self. Otherwise it looks like the guy isn't seeing any other version of himself, it's just another shot of himself suddenly in a different place. However you do it, you must make it clear. Right now, it isn't. Hence the confusion. Also, toward the end, why on earth does the guy have a scar on his side? It just makes zero sense (to me). I mean, yeah, yeah, I get it - it's the same place where he stabbed himself with the giant shears. But then why is there a scar, rather than blood? Has it healed? If it's healed, that means he's at that moment months if not years after the stabbing? And if not, then WTF? Just generally a confusing thing. And also at the end, what is he looking for - what is he anticipating after that door(?) squeak? Some person/ghost? We saw someone flash across the same place in the distance earlier, but how is that in any way connected - I guess it's his other self? But why now? Man, just a mess (to me). The whole thing left me scratching my head. When I read Truffaut's Hitchcock interviews, I was always struck by the extreme measures Hitchcock would go to make things CLEAR to the audience, often seemingly overkill - except, the more I watch well made movies, versus non-pro pieces, I appreciate just how hard it is to make stuff clear. It's really the same even at the writing stage - I have a friend read my screenplay and he's confused by stuff that seems obvious to me. Clearly, it's very, very easy to be unclear - because stuff is clear in your head, you know the thing inside out. What you are not taking account of is that people are NOT in your head, they DON'T know the material, and it's super, super, super easy to be unclear.

    Regardless, congrats on finishing a piece - always an achievement. All IMHO of course, and YMMV. Best of luck!

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    Thanks for the detailed reply. So yes it is a dream. I can see some of the points but my favorite type of films are ambiguous and cause the viewer to think and come a conclusion that they create even though there are specific points. He is following himself to the shed. I think the duality in terms of cutting from both versions of one self works fine because you can clearly get a visual representation of where they are to each other, one is in the shed and one is standing right outside the shed. In my opinion that is enough to correlate that he is looking at himself along with the fact that both versions have a distinct different emotional look to them. The point of the scar was to show that this was a past trauma he experienced, he is afraid of it happening again hence why he thinks if he sleeps he dies. The door creaking at the end is essentially him about to relive this moment again and again. I wanted to leave the audience with some ambiguity.

    I can see how it can be confusing but I guess I hope that people can analyze things to an extend to gather something from it. I hoped with showing the typing of "If I sleep I die" that would set the stage for the fact he is afraid to fall asleep in fear he may die. He falls asleep, he wakes up and is lured out to the shed where he experiences a past trauma he went through, he wakes up revealing the scar in place "to show this happened at some point in the past". The door then creaks and the moment is about to start over.

    I do not think though that the "Why now" matters, I am a firm believer that you not everything needs context, visual storytelling is what I love and this was a test to see if I could do it with a complex idea, which I know not everyone will get but it was a good experiment.

    In the end I appreciate the feedback and I completely understand some points of your argument
    Last edited by peter917; 03-22-2019 at 07:12 AM.

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