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    #61
    Script Wrangler Norm Sanders's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, Neil! Here are my thoughts/feedback, for what they're worth:

    Overall, cool/unique story, acting, sound design, shots, etc. My first critique, and this is an easy fix, is the 2.35:1 matte you have on there ... a little bit of the original 16:9 is bleeding out on the top/bottom, so you'll want to zoom the matte in just a tad more ... it'll also take care of the very edges on the left/right side, as I thought I saw some spill/bleed there as well.

    At first I was wondering if the entire thing was ADR (only a couple of minor spots where it was somewhat - but not overbearingly - noticeable), until we were in the warehouse. On the WIDE shots, I'm wondering if I would have liked to have heard the voices closer, more consistent, vs. really feeling like I too was clear across the room, not able to hear them as well. I'm torn on that, but just sharing my thoughts as I was thinking them.

    In the beginning, while I think it's good to keep the hand held look consistent between your angles, it wasn't working for me on the wide shot (it DID on the mid & CU, however). It just felt too shakey for me on the wide.

    I thought it an interesting twist when the voice disguise disappeared & we heard it was a woman's voice ... and I'm guessing that was the terrorist's sister?

    Loved the training session, and the cuts therein to show both the training aspects as well as moments of levity the terrorist would have. Nice.

    Great shots in the woods (as well as most of all the film) when they were approaching the crest of the hill to take the last shot.

    I could be wrong, but I THINK this could have made a six minute cut & still retained much of the story/arc, so it's too bad you weren't able to get it entered in time ... it would have been a strong contender!
    Norm Sanders
    Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/Blah Blah Blah


    *click titles to view*
    "Meat Market" - Comedy - (Completed - DVD available)
    "The Indispensable Chaucer" - Comedy - 5 min - FINALIST in DVXuser's BetrayalFest
    "Berlin" - Dramatic Period Thriller - 15 min (WINNER - Best Historical Film at Route 66 FilmFest ... nominated for BEST SCORE, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST ART DIRECTION at AOF Fest)


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    #62
    Rowe Cine LLC
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    hey thanks for checking it out norm. ill have to double check the matte. i nocticed the edge fringe as well, but i think its something from the web compression, because it doesnt show up in the monitor at all, or in the 720p version. As far as the ADR thing, there is no ADR in the film aside from the phone voices, the rest is all actuall location sound. I tweaked the audio to punch it up, but its all from their on-site performances. the shots across the room i left muted because i wanted the gritty sort of feeling of being a fly on the wall where you feel like your actually there and observing as best as you can. i knew i was leaving myself open for interpretation there though because people might think that what they were saying was of some type of actual importance to the story. in reality ..i think the lead was joking about having to stick "the cold steel of a gun down the butt of his pants" for part of it.

    i didnt know what bothered me about the wide shots before, but now that you say that, i completely agree with you on the wide shot handheld look. i didnt bring a tripod for anything, but i couldve kept a steadier hand easily on the wide lense. of course its harder to be steady with a longer lense, but i kept a firmer grip, and actually had to try and shake a bit on the wide shots. ..in the future ill have to just shoot naturally and not try to get a look as much as just let it happen. it should translate better then and the wide shots will be solid and the closeups progressively less stabile.

    yeah, it was originally written for and definitely could have been a 6 minute cut, but it just didnt feel right when i started cutting it down. i thought it just didnt let the characters breath enough, and made it feel too contrived to get into as much. i couldnt quite get into the whole surrealness of it with it being so short. originally the opening scene with the shoot em up outpst had a very matrix like special FX feeling to it where it was fast ans super slow-mo action paced with people diving and bullets hitting everything, but i slowed that down too and kept it simple. it would worked either way but i scripted out all the FX and complex shots for production time sake when i was still planning on having it in the fest. ..oh well.

    glad you appreciated the the few woods walking shots and hill crest. it took about 2 paniful hours to get done because it was at 2 different hill locations, and just getting up to that bluff took a while. it was near the end of the shooting day, and i was wishing my camera package was about 10 lbs lighter half way up. the rest of the shots were pretty easy, but we had to keep on a tight schedule to be in the right places at the right times when the natural light was right for the location and shot angles. we only used a couple lights in the little control room with the 2 guys in it, and i had to cut around when they got into the shot because the room was so small.

    I definitely appreciate the feedback. im glad you thought the story was decent. ill hopefully be working with some of the ideas presented in it within a feature this next year. not the same storyline at all, but some of the same principles and will be worked into a different story, on a larger scale and more produced level.



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    #63
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    SPOILERS AHEAD

    Hey Neil. Gotta say, congrats on sticking through outside of the contest. Not a lot of people would do that, it's commendable indeed. And thanks for putting it up for everyone to watch still.

    I have to admit, as well, that I had a hard time getting into the piece from the beginning. It seemed to start out very slowly, and by the time the flashback cuts out, we've really just kind of gone through a recap of another time and place over a phone conversation that really didn't seem to tell anything about the current situation or the fella on the phone. That's about two minutes of time there that seemed all verbal exposition. Could you have skirted by and simply started off at the meeting? Would it have worked without it at all? I'm not sure and just posing questions here. To me, I didn't see a real reason for the phone conversation to transpire before the flashback, or the flashback to be a flashback at all. Those are just thoughts.

    Just as well, I like the path that you took to show how he's being taught all of these secrets. Showing how he might learn to aim a weapon, how to blend into his surroundings. A large chunk of time was spent on these two characters interacting in this way, and then I only felt that the Terrorist here had the chance to open up and reveal background, characteristics, things that make him human amidst his silent sinister, if that makes any sense at all. I'm not sure if I really felt the character development (which in 12 minutes, there's a decent amount of time to do so) coming out. Much less in the "spy" at that.

    The climax and ending seemed to be rolled into one, not sure if I felt an arc happening here. It all kind of walked a straight line for me up until the death scene, and because I didn't see the Terrorist do much more than kill a bunch of people in the flashback, I couldn't really relate to the need to kill him vengefully. I think, and I am sure I did, I missed some vital information here and I should probably re-watch to find out WHY this guy needed to kill him, personally. There's a line "all the pain you caused" that sings as though the terrorist has done something to him personally. Did I miss something?

    There's a few technical details that I felt a bit off, but not wrong. The camera flash sound in the beginning confused me: it seemed like someone was watching and taking pictures of him, but there's no one. It's just an effect to transition from a wide to a medium. As well, near the end when the Terrorist gets poisoned and we're from a worms-eye view (down below or whatever ya call it. teehee) the screen is blurry. Now, I know what effect you were trying to go after, however, the sell seemed to be off. You were shooting from quarter view instead of Point of View. That's totally your choice, and I'm not trying to re-direct your movie. Just saying it didn't feel "right" to me as the viewer.

    I like the fact that you went handheld with a lot of stuff. It shows that you can be versatile when you need to be. In your other short, you were on dollys, tripods, etc. Here, you're mostly handheld and that's pretty cool. I also thought a lot of framing and blocking was nice. The shot on the staircase was pretty decent. And so throughout the short. Velly nice.

    Another thing that sort of took me out of it was the editing. A larger section or example is when they're in the room and the Terrorist is showing him how to hold a gun. I know what you were going for, or at least I think I do, as you cut between different portions. I think what's jarring is the audio cutting at certain times before he finishes a sentence. Did you need the audio? Could you take it out and those scenes still work the same? Would it work if you snipped the audio at the right times? Those, again, are just questions.

    I think my final gathered thoughts are that it probably is about seven minutes too long. To me, there's not enough story here to fill twelve minutes, and we really don't move anywhere from start to finish.

    Nice camera work, the acting wasn't horrid, solidly produced IMO.

    If anything, perhaps it could benefit from a re-cut? Again, another question.

    Thanks for sharing!
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    #64
    Rowe Cine LLC
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    hey thanks for watching and giving some great feedback for me. i definitely appreciate the input. ill try to give some reasoning for a few of the questions you posed.


    "SPOILERS AHEAD


    "I have to admit, as well, that I had a hard time getting into the piece from the beginning. It seemed to start out very slowly, and by the time the flashback cuts out, we've really just kind of gone through a recap of another time and place over a phone conversation that really didn't seem to tell anything about the current situation or the fella on the phone. That's about two minutes of time there that seemed all verbal exposition. Could you have skirted by and simply started off at the meeting? Would it have worked without it at all? I'm not sure and just posing questions here. To me, I didn't see a real reason for the phone conversation to transpire before the flashback, or the flashback to be a flashback at all. Those are just thoughts."

    ..yep its a slow paced film throughout. after reading this i thought about if it would have worked without the opening phone converstion, and flashback and all, but i think it would loose the twist at the end and the history between the agent and the spy, and why that particular agent wanted to be the one who took him out. i dont know, im certain it could be condensed, but im not sure about removing it entirely.


    "Just as well, I like the path that you took to show how he's being taught all of these secrets. Showing how he might learn to aim a weapon, how to blend into his surroundings. A large chunk of time was spent on these two characters interacting in this way, and then I only felt that the Terrorist here had the chance to open up and reveal background, characteristics, things that make him human amidst his silent sinister, if that makes any sense at all. I'm not sure if I really felt the character development (which in 12 minutes, there's a decent amount of time to do so) coming out. Much less in the "spy" at that."

    ..to me, this scene accomplishes a little of what your lookng for, but i cant say that its going to translate to everyone as well, if at all like it did to the guinies who watched it during edits. but it was a 6 minute story stretched to 12. so there was no additional dialog or story behind the segment to really work with although it will be the main portion of the feature im working on as far as relationship built between characters, and i wouldve loved to do more here as well.

    " The climax and ending seemed to be rolled into one, not sure if I felt an arc happening here. It all kind of walked a straight line for me up until the death scene, and because I didn't see the Terrorist do much more than kill a bunch of people in the flashback, I couldn't really relate to the need to kill him vengefully. I think, and I am sure I did, I missed some vital information here and I should probably re-watch to find out WHY this guy needed to kill him, personally. There's a line "all the pain you caused" that sings as though the terrorist has done something to him personally. Did I miss something? "

    ..you definitely missed alot of stuff here. in the opening flashback and phone call, connected with the later flashback and one way conversation from agent to spy on the gound after he drugs him, theres a fairly complete story of the history between the terrorist and the agency.. particularily the specific agent who kills him. without these things i would think the film would seem rather pointless as there is no reasoning to the story, or the twist.. if any twist at all still exists.

    "There's a few technical details that I felt a bit off, but not wrong. The camera flash sound in the beginning confused me: it seemed like someone was watching and taking pictures of him, but there's no one. It's just an effect to transition from a wide to a medium. As well, near the end when the Terrorist gets poisoned and we're from a worms-eye view (down below or whatever ya call it. teehee) the screen is blurry. Now, I know what effect you were trying to go after, however, the sell seemed to be off. You were shooting from quarter view instead of Point of View. That's totally your choice, and I'm not trying to re-direct your movie. Just saying it didn't feel "right" to me as the viewer."

    ...the shot looking up is from an actual POV from where he was lying, but i didnt have the shots all worked out as the director suggested the idea of the POV after i had the original storyboards done. i liked the idea better than what i had so we went with it, but it could have been planned out better for better shot flow. that sequence there is the one that bothers me the most in the film. not really the shots themselves as much as the flow from shot to shot, and the timing of the scene. i spent some time in editing to do what i could, but when it comes down to it, i shouldve just planned the shots better.

    "I like the fact that you went handheld with a lot of stuff. It shows that you can be versatile when you need to be. In your other short, you were on dollys, tripods, etc. Here, you're mostly handheld and that's pretty cool. I also thought a lot of framing and blocking was nice. The shot on the staircase was pretty decent. And so throughout the short. Velly nice."

    ...thanks. my arms were pretty tired at the end of the day cause it was all handheld. i just wanted a simple gritty feeling to it, and let the characters speak for themselves, as norm pointed out though, it was a little too much "handheld" on the wide shots and i wont be doing that again

    "Another thing that sort of took me out of it was the editing. A larger section or example is when they're in the room and the Terrorist is showing him how to hold a gun. I know what you were going for, or at least I think I do, as you cut between different portions. I think what's jarring is the audio cutting at certain times before he finishes a sentence. Did you need the audio? Could you take it out and those scenes still work the same? Would it work if you snipped the audio at the right times? Those, again, are just questions."

    ..it was just scripted as an interesting montage. cant say much more i guess. i think it translates whats going on well. theres no real dialog written for them there untill the conversation.

    "I think my final gathered thoughts are that it probably is about seven minutes too long. To me, there's not enough story here to fill twelve minutes, and we really don't move anywhere from start to finish."

    ..yeah, the cut is long. i know youve missed alot if not all of the intergral story in the piece, but to your point the cut is a long one either way. it was good to work with more time for me though. its something i felt i had to do in order to learn more about characters coming through on screen instead of simply having ideas come through for time constraint sake. and although i didnt fill the time with much deeper content, i was able to practise letting characters breath, and speak for themsleves which is something i felt i needed to work on. i dont think it really made this a better film at all, but im sure its made me a better filmmaker and future films will be better off. so ill readily admit it couldve been shorter, but i would still do it the same way if i had to do it again.

    thanks again for the feedback. its great to get to know the audience and learn new things about myslef that i can rely on, or improove upon for plans around the bend.



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