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New short I've just finished, please let me know what you think


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#1 James Mansell

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 06:55 AM

I've just finished shooting this short, shot on the 5D, please let me know what you think, thank you!


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#2 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 04:40 PM

I quite enjoyed watching that. I'll let the others critique the photography.

As a piece of film making. They are quite big ideas in there, free will vs determinism, the implications on the emotional and psychological state of someone who is about to kill, the ambiguous identity of the messenger. But all that internal idea and emotion is not visually expressed. Imagine for example that the girls ideas are not spoken as dialogue and the visuals attempt to show the internal emtional states.

It would be interesting to see the extreme emotions, or an explosion of images that expressed the ideas. Does time have to be so linear and metronomic. Can't it be fractured? Maybe the girl didn't open the door untill the end. Maybe the killing had already happened, but we didn't know that untill the end.

Cheers
Gregg
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#3 James Mansell

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 04:18 AM

Hey Gregg, thanks for watching. That's a really interesting point, I'd never considered that it had actually already happened, and when he goes up stairs he's already done it, that'd put a very interesting spin on the conversation he has with the girl.

The main critiscm I have recieved is that it isn't clear enough what he is feeling, and people have struggled to understand what they just saw when the end titles appear, but you seem to have totally grasped the concept. But I like your idea of showing more of the story through emotions, and less through an almost lecture type monologue from the girl at the door.

I do with think with a rather complicated story as it is, playing with a non-linear timeline may have been too confusing, the actual point of the story may have been lost. I'm sure David Lynch would think otherwise though!

Cheers though Gregg, I appreciate your comments.


James
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#4 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for your short. I won't comb the whole way through this, but here's my 1-10, starting at the beginning, covering both larger issues and small points.

1. His finger nails should be longer and cleaner despite his unkempt appearance.
2. Second shot is too long (I'd delete it and cut straight to the window shot).
3. Shouldn't we see what he was looking at, either before or after he looks out of the window?
4. When she's at the door some shots should be closer. Let's see those eyes and get more personal!
5. Her acting was okay (confident, photogenic)
6. (poor) editing
7. (incorrect) shots
8. (poor) acting (him)
9. (no) makeup
10. (awful) dialogue/storyline

Good luck :)
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#5 James Mansell

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:53 AM

Hey Robert,

Thanks for your thoughts, could you go into a little more detail about the editing and shot choices etc?

I agree about the acting on his behalf, what didn't you like about the storyline? I'd love to get some constructive critism regarding these points.

Cheers!
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#6 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 08:10 PM

James, I just think there are a lot of subtle things you may consider. E.g, When he's sat in the chair... didn't work for me. It's boring. No feeling, what's the mood? When he's at the window, looks like a 'fly' on the back of his shirt. Was it a crease in his shirt? When he looks over his shoulder and down, looks like he's unusually tall. Deliberate? When he looks out of the window, I wanna see what he's looking at. Why deny me that? You might have made more of the clock ticking. As she appeared at the door, I realised that both characters lacked image, personality. Costume, makeup?? Dialogue not convincing, he never made even slight eye contact with the bag, which didn't work for me. I liked her acting, but sorry, he's no actor. Storyline.... hmmmm. Re-start with storyline and writing perhaps? In any case, all best with your project :)
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#7 James Mansell

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:01 AM

Hey Robert,

Thanks so much for your feedback, all very interesting points, lots to work on for the next film!

In your opinion, how would you create mood in the opening scene of him sat in the chair in the living room? He is lost in thought, but we are unaware of why until we actually reach the end of the film.

Thanks again, James
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#8 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:17 PM

James, why not get a writer, sit down and change the storyline? When you have a clear and easy to understand story that makes sense, then choose your actors and show them the script and get their take on your story. Your actors need to like the story and be comfortable in expediting their part. Location, costume and make-up (for all actors) and lighting would come after that, by which time I feel that the appropriate mood would have manifested itself.
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#9 James Mansell

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:05 PM

I agree with everything you said, completely sgree, apart from the 'clear and easy to understand story that makes sense' part.

I do agree that my narrative could have been clearer in areas, but the idea was to create a very ambigious story that was complex and required concentration, that was the point. Many short films and features employ narratives like this, I don't think you HAVE to have a story that is clear and easy to understand, just as long as the audience can take something from it, and aren't completely lost.

Did you feel my short didn't make sense?

Cheers though Robert, I do appreciate your feedback.
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#10 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:56 AM

You write, "just as long as the audience can take something from it..." No. This sounds like a marketing seminar. Forget it. Tell the story and keep it simple.

Now James, let me give you one last piece of good advice, if I may.

Watch an old movie (not too old, something between 1960-1985, as an example) and copy the style of filming. Try it. Straight forward and absolutely steady shots only. These days I find that film producers seek a sophistication for the sake of being sophisticated. Avoid that.

Finally, even abstract needs to make sense somehow and don't let IT get in the way of the story. In your case your story didn't build up to him reaching for a pistol, so much so that it was a surprise when he did.
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#11 Archie Campbell

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:24 PM

Hey James,

The only thing that I was going to add is that when they are talking at the door and you go in for a close up of the girl I think the camera should be closer to the guy. Perhaps even getting him in the left of the frame.

As it is her eyeline is too far off the screen to match the shot from before and instead of looking just to the side of the camera it looks likes she's looking miles off!
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#12 Rex Orwell

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:01 AM

Being a compulsive realist and also having a background in sales makes me a bad audience for this I'm afraid.

But good effort.
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