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    The Waiver by TheYankee/Jeremy Ordan
    #1
    Moderator Jeremy Ordan's Avatar
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    Hey everyone. Well whatever could go wrong on this project did go wrong. We lost actors, locations, and we pretty much rewrote the entire script on the spot each time we got a chance to shoot. I've already gone through and ripped this project apart, but please feel free to jump on the bang wagon.

    Also, in case you're interested here are the BTS bloopers: http://www.stffilms.com/Movies/TheWaiverBlooper.mov

    OK, well let's have it.
    Last edited by Jeremy Ordan; 02-17-2006 at 05:05 AM.
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    Moderator Jeremy Ordan's Avatar
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    Well I figured I would start ripping our film...

    Sound: The bathroom scene has level issues that I failed to completely adjust in post. The rest of the sound I'm fairly happy with although during the 'travel' scene it gets a little redundant. My voice work as the tech also sucks, but that's why some people just should never be in front of the camera or allowed to talk. It was a pick up and I was available (obviously).

    Lighting: You can see the halos of light in the bedroom scene. First of all the composition in this scene sucks, but beside that, you can see the halos of light around the corner during any of the full shots in the bedroom. The second one is the nurse in the chamber sequence. Yet another scene that I'm not happy with the lighting. I was trying to have her lit by the chamber, but without a master shot (which is impossible in this scene) it just wasn't going to happen. I wasn't happy with how this came off.

    Editing: It's far from quick and flashy, but with the footage we had I'm reasonably happy with how this aspect came together. I think I still relied too heavily on MB for my final look on the project and it just reeks of MB's slightly adjusted presets. This isn't an awful thing, but reinforces that it doesn't have the finished crispness. The color correction in the chamber makes me happy though, considering what we were working with.

    Music: It gets redundant during the bedroom scene. With that exception I like the music. It's far from the electronic stuff I normally use and it just had a nice flow and helps carry the film through some of the slower moments.

    Acting: And this is my opinion, given what they had to work with, better than expected. To run through it, Heather did a great job as she always does (I cast her in a lot of stuff). I think that she is very talented and enjoyable to watch. Given the fact that we were rewriting the script in between every take I thought that she did a great job. Christian - Once again, given that we were constantly rewriting the script and that he actually pissed for the camera, what more can you ask from a guy. Caroline - She was a joy to work with and I thought that for someone as young and she is she did a great job pulling off that character and really adding some depth to a couple of lines on the page. Randy (the Doctor), that's my father. He had no interest in doing it, and you can tell. Big deal, I needed someone and he lives five miles away and was available. Jessica - Only NBC can relate to why I cast her. I was happy with how she did though.

    SFX: Well there are only three that I can really think of in the project, and none of them are special. I like that lot's of Heather stuff and thought that came off really well at the end. Then there is the car scene. Originally it was completely different, but like I said, we rewrote on the spot and just made due with what we had. I am not crazy about how this came off and think it looks a bit cheesy. Plus with the velocity envelope I applied to her fall I think it looks a bit cheesy.

    Shot Selection: I didn't storyboard much and it showed when we were on location with this shoot. There are just a couple of pans, still no dolly shots (because I couldn't fit my dolly in my rental car and no one would drive to my house to give me a hand), and I really think that the bathroom scene with the nurse and Julia the handheld I did just isn't effective. This is the biggest area of improvement. The stagnant nature of the camera I think works well in the chamber scene, but there should be more movement in the other sequences. I also completely did not plan the car scene correctly and wish that I had done more with this. I think that incident could have been longer but with more variety in shots and making it more jumbled. If there was a time to shoot handheld for effect this would have been the spot, rather than the bathroom scene.

    Story: Well this is where I think our film suffers a blow that cannot be recovered from. The haunting of the memory was never effectively conveyed visually, although Heather's performance makes it seem more effective than it was. There are tons of third act problems ultimately come down to me not filming enough stuff of her running around within her memory. That is my fault. There also isn't that resolution which I tried to pull off with the last little voice over, but it just doesn't hold water ultimately. Stories are the reasons films work and don't work, and I'm under the opinion that this is what hurts this film the most. The bedroom scene also went on a little too long and the sex scene starting the film is gratuitous and serves no purpose for helping the story move forward.

    Costume: Well they were clothed, weren't they?

    We are all our own harshest critics, but that is my honest review of this project, and since it's mine, I can do that.

    C'mon people, get in on the ripping of it.
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    Senior Member Jared Meyer's Avatar
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    I think you pretty much covered all your bases there....I agree about the sex scene being unnecessary. I think if you had started the film just post-sex and pre-flashback, you could have given people more of an idea of what to expect. As it was, I really expected the dude to factor into it more.

    Since you showed us their bedroom and bathroom, subconsiously, I felt kind of cheated that I never got to see the office/ lab machine in a wider shot.

    You had some awesome images....my favorites being the woman throwing up in the stall, and later the car coming down the road and driving through her...Very cool in terms of framing and color.

    And finally, I was a bit confused by the last couple shots: In the second or third to last shot where the "figment" or whatever approaches the other girl on the bed, she screams in horror...but then she says something about how nice it is to have someone to talk to and you see them all watching TV. Did I just miss something? I only watched it once.

    There's my two cents. For what they're worth. Which is not much. Especially if you've watched my entry


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    Senior Member Dahopafilms's Avatar
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    Yankee,

    OK, so I started reading your own comments and expected absolute s*%te and - no way!

    First, this short held my attention right the way through to the end. And I liked it (is that a criticism - of me?).

    Second, the opening. Gratuitous? Maybe. But it had a real impact on me. Or least it did when my wife walked in and whacked me in the head - hard - with Lonely Planet's most recent guide to Thailand ("Really Honey! It's a Sci-Fest entry! Really! ...").

    I think the story has been done before, but so what? It held my attention.

    Perhaps for the collision scene ("girl meets car"), I would have applied some effects to take away from transparency of the combining of the two elements. But that's just me.

    And I wonder what ever happened to the guy at the end? Hmmm.

    I enjoyed the acting. Heather is clearly talented. And regardless of your comment above, I really enjoyed your Dad as the doctor - reminded me of my own doctor. I'll bet dollars to donuts that one day in the future you'll go back and watch his scene over and over. Trust me - he was good and delivered what the role needed (IMHO). And anyway, directors don't burn their cast after the fact.

    Glad you made it. Glad I saw it.

    Now go hug yer dad.
    God: Every time I try to talk to someone it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy"... (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)


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    Mr. Hollywood Blaine's Avatar
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    Okay, Yankee. I really wish you hadn't dumped on yourself so much. We are our own worse critic. Show it and let it stand on its own. Let me decide if it's good or bad. I think a lot more of it than you do. This is one of those stories where you wonder what's real. I like that. I remember reading your posts leading up to the fest and I know you had your issues with how rushed you were. I'm looking where this places in my "first round" and I think it matches up well. I think you'd be surprised at some of the shorts I place it ahead of. IMHO there are about 10 outstanding pieces, another 12-15 good shorts. I normally don't read the creators' posts before watching their work but dammit I read yours first...I wished I hadn't.

    I WILL say the intro with its music wasn't the best part. ;) I had to back way down on the speakers for that. But once you got into the meat of the story, I liked it a lot. I'd really like to see something you're happy with. I'll bet that would be spectacular.


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    Moderator Jeremy Ordan's Avatar
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    Well thank you for the feedback. I know we are all our harshest critics, but with this project because I know what I had in mind when we started and where we ended up, those are my opinions. I think it is actually reasonably watchable and in contrast to my zombie entry, I don't think this lags in many spots (my zombie film did).

    I appreciate everyone's feedback so far and hope for more.
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    Senior Member CallaghanFilms's Avatar
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    Are you being way too hard on yourself? Damn skippy you are!
    My man...what sub par film were you reviewing above? Because
    I quite enjoyed watching The Waiver.

    For me you really had an Outer Limits-anthology series vibe happening...
    which, coming from me, is a big compliment, and should be taken as such.
    I think you really molded and shaped a strong sci-fi concept, and ran with
    it.

    The edit is tight, and the cinematography respectable. I really liked the
    "waiver" scene itself ("sign here and here and here...and initial here...").
    The pacing was appropriate, and the fx shots succeeded in keeping the
    anthology television spirit alive.

    I do agree that there were a few plot holes. I also feel the payoff coulda
    been stronger/longer. I also don't get the relevance of the sex scene at all.
    I am not crazy about comments within review that start with "What I would
    have done differently would have been...", but what I would have done
    differently would have been to jump right in to the story with the bad dreams,
    perhaps having the female lead stirred out restless sleep.

    Overall I liked it, and would like to see it expanded on.

    Cheers


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    #8
    Moderator Jeremy Ordan's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone who has so far commented on the film. Obviously my feelings on it are quite clear because I know what I had in mind when we got started, but our problems sort of altered what the initial vision was going to be.

    I really appreciate the encouragement and that some people have enjoyed watching this film. It is comments like these that make you want to run out and shoot something else.

    I want to make a comment on why I did the sex scene. It was on our last day of shooting and I knew that we had vered off track from what the original vision of the project was. I had been cutting each days of shooting footage as we progressed and I wasn't sold on the whole project personally. I thought it lagged in spots and just wasn't what I had originally hoped it to be. I put the sex scene in the beginning to simply go ahead and grab people's interest from the get go. Cheesy, tactless, and high risk of turning people off, but at the same time, I think that if it is done right it can go ahead and grab people and make them keep watching after the titles start. Did it work? I don't know, some people have said yes, some people have said no.

    I do agree on the pay off at the end. The original cut didn't even have the voice over from Heather or my great acting with the 'Nurse, Doctor, we're losing her'. That is sort of cheesy, but originally it made even less sense

    Regardless, I just want to thank everyone for their comments. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Jeremy
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    Senior Member wcs's Avatar
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    I think a lot's been covered already. I'd just like to agree with Dahopafilms. I thought the doctor/your father was a great moment.

    I'll skip the list of quibbles, and just say that you told your story well, even if there were technical issues, etc. The story itself could use some work, but you told it pretty cleary, so kudos.
    -william


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    #10
    Script Wrangler Norm Sanders's Avatar
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    Hey Jeremy, I'll post first, then go back & read your comments & others.

    Just watched it, and LOVED some of the shots/framing/CC, etc. For example, my favorite is when she runs into the road with the car coming, etc. ... for me, for some reason, that was magic hour. I also really enjoyed the ending with the multiples of herself, and thought that was VERY well done. Lastly, some of the shots of her in the hospital bed (or where ever that was) were great, and when she bucked right as she time travels (or again, whatever she was doing) and then faded to white ... perfect.

    The bedroom scene was the most lacking, in my opinion. Flat, and just no depth with regards to a head rail, anything on the way, some different angles to give it character, etc. Just felt dull & lifeless.

    The sex scene was extremely gratuitis, as it had nothing to do with the story or the character, from what I could tell, other than it says she can get the freak on, or is a nymph, and it's part of the story/character back story, etc. BTW, she had a Jennifer Love Hewitt thing going on, which was cool.

    Now, for story. I didn't really get it. Did she really time travel, or just imagine it all because she's nuts anyway? Or did she time travel, run into her self, mess herself up, and THAT'S why she's nuts now? Is any of this even real?

    Some strong points, and some weaker ones ... the weakest, I believe, being in the story/structure. Write a great script next time, stick to it no matter what, and I'm sure with some of the skill sets you've displayed here, the next one will be REALLY great!
    Norm Sanders
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