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Piano Man - shot film


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#1 Andrew Wilding

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:55 PM



I shot and directed this about a year ago -

It was my first time either directing or DPing and I learned a tremendous amount, but there is so much I would have done differently now. Its amazing how much you can learn in a year. Though Im a little worried that If I had known all I know then that I know now I would have made the thing too slick for its own good. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy watching it half as much as I enjoyed shooting it.

Criticism is welcomed, but not nearly as welcome as gushing praise and general smoke blowing ; )
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 02:12 PM

Andrew, I think you hit it on the head with your assessment of your work on the picture, which says a lot about how you are able to learn and grow from each experience!

It does have a bit too much in the "slick" factor which feels atonal to the story. It comes down to the lighting, I think. Everything is a bit too bright, and while you have a fairly shallow depth of focus, the film still feels rather flat because everything has a very even feel to it. I wanted to see more shadows, more areas without detail, to build that sense of dread.

Also, I think a more varied use of color would have worked better. You did an excellent job handling the quality of the light, so it never looked "lit" like so many amateurish productions I've seen, but the lighting was all of a rather uniform quality...it was very white and neutral, which kind of felt out of place. I would have favored more localized lighting, to allow pools of light amid patches of darkness, and employed color gels to give a variety of tones.

Still the camera work was excellent, and it's clear by your post that you've already decided what you would do differently if you could do it again. So I would call your film a resounding success in that respect. You've grown from the experience, and are a better DP because of it. The only failed efforts are the ones we refuse to learn from!

BR
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 12:03 PM

Excellent work, should do very well for you in festivals.

R,
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 01:18 PM

Most impressive, it makes a change to see something really good.
Stephen
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#5 Andrew Wilding

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:17 PM

Most impressive, it makes a change to see something really good.
Stephen


Thanks guys - Im very pleased that you took the time to watch my short - That you enjoyed it is even better. Unfortunately, It hasnt fared too well in festivals but that might partially be my own lack of festival know how. Its impossible to get accepted into these things!


Thanks again, guys.

By the way, Stephen - Im an admirer of your work!
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:31 PM

Unfortunately, It hasnt fared too well in festivals but that might partially be my own lack of festival know how. Its impossible to get accepted into these things!


It's far better than 90% of the crap I have seen at film festivals.

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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:34 PM

A lot depends on where you're submitting it. A little homework into what the fest has programmed before is quite helpful, so I'm told.
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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:32 PM

Andrew I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. Having been through the festival wringer myself, I believe they are a lot like the lottery: they dangle the promise of notoriety, distribution, money, gladly take your money, and then send you a rejection letter. Actually they're worse than the lottery, because while in the lotto everyone has the same odds, in film festivals, there's layer upon layer of intrigue, politics, connections that all interplay to create this weird force that is God-like in its mysterious ways.

My first documentary to do the festival thing got rejected by twenty of them...including my home town fest, and even my Alma Mater, where I had friends who helped select the films...they didn't even send me a note, just the usual form letter, sent several weeks after the fact.

I got some good advice, from a fellow filmmaker who went through the gauntlet, and who is now a fairly significant up and comer...he said simply to keep making films. Don't invest all your hopes in one film, because they will probably be dashed. Keep working on more films, because that's how you'll make it, realistically. Only a few hit it big thanks to one film in a festival. Most make it through years and years of work, building a reputation and a name built on respect that's been earned, not given because they got lucky and made it to Sundance. And really, how many films can you name that played at Sundance last year? Two years? Five? Ten? Compare to guys like John Ford, or Alfred Hitchcock. They made it by being incredibly prolific, honing their craft, and they were ready to create a string of masterpieces because of it.

Another option is try for TV. There could be some opportunities there, to get your film out on various public or cable channels that occasionally screen short programmes. And your film shown on TV will be seen by MANY more people than at just about any ole festival.

I just finished writing a doc, which'll air on PBS sometime late this year, or early 2011. And knowing that it'll be seen by more people than any of the films at my college's pissant festival is a pretty nice consolation for their rejection!

Stay strong and stay committed! And keep making your films!

BR
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:50 PM

gladly take your money, and then send you a rejection letter.


Yep!

R,
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#10 Andrew Wilding

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:29 PM

I got some good advice, from a fellow filmmaker who went through the gauntlet, and who is now a fairly significant up and comer...he said simply to keep making films.


I couldn't agree more - frankly one has to just stay focused on making the films and put the festivals out of ones mind entirely, I think. I found the whole process fairly fatiguing, and worse, distracting. Time (not to mention money) that I should have devoted into new projects, I instead spent on "the festival circuit." I certainly had a naive belief that one can be "discovered" through a festival, and set ones self up for feature funding. I expected that Sundance would throw confetti over my head, parade me in a town car like some shiny trophy, and throw a six figure plus budget at my feet for any project that I've desired. Obviously, that is not how it works! I've had more people see my work through places like vimeo, and made more connections through the web then I have through festivals. And all for free.

I've also found, and I hope this isnt mere bitterness on my part, that there is a certain type of film that is more "festival appropriate." These tend to be social lessons regarding racism, sexism, ageism, the upper class vs the lower class, etc. These themes of course all have there place, but unfortunately for me and festivals, they dont have a place in my work at the moment. Not explicitly at least. That being said, I'm very grateful to Fantastic Fest, which not only accepted my film but invited my film.

I guess I've learned that the path to "film making success" isnt as easy as I'd imagined. There is no quick scheme to recognition and funding. Luckily, the journey there is paved with making films. Hard to complain. One simply has to keep the nose to the grind stone and making films.

Again, thanks everyone for watching. I really appreciate it.
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#11 Vvek Suvarna

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 02:01 AM



I shot and directed this about a year ago -

It was my first time either directing or DPing and I learned a tremendous amount, but there is so much I would have done differently now. Its amazing how much you can learn in a year. Though Im a little worried that If I had known all I know then that I know now I would have made the thing too slick for its own good. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy watching it half as much as I enjoyed shooting it.

Criticism is welcomed, but not nearly as welcome as gushing praise and general smoke blowing ; )


That was a great film, Thats quite an achievement you have for a 1st project,

My only humble critique would be to, go through the film and look at the composition in some of the scenes, they tended to be flat and parallel with the objects within the depth of field, an angle always gives more dynamism and appeal to a shot, than flat in the face.

However, the shot before the Pianist takes a break, and you see the keys through his broken shades, was one of the most beautiful compositions I have come across.

Thanks for sharing, and Good luck
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Metropolis Post

Visual Products

CineTape

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera