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Harsh Critiques Wanted


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#1 Paul Tackett

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:15 PM

If you think it sucks let me know, but let me know why please.


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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:48 PM

It didn't such that bad. I didn't hate it that much. Watch your head room. You have a pretty decent eye for a student.. In some of the shots you could have left a little more head room. I like better tighter than loser, though. Your reel didn't such as bad as a lot of these I've seen on here. Everyone can do day exterior so work on lighting.
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#3 Paul Tackett

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:07 PM

Thanks, I especially like your comment about working on lighting because obviously day ext are pretty easy but shooting day int at night is another story.
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#4 Barry Wilson

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:07 PM

Hi

I am learning cinematography so I have no specific notes about that. I am an actor, writer and directed stage shows. It looks excellent. Except a couple of seconds at about the 28 second mark where the sun is blinding for 2 seconds. But maybe that's okay. It just seemed to take me out of the video.

I was going to go into a critique of the story and writing, then I noticed on Vimeo that you were the cinematographer. I am hoping to make a short film and would be very lucky to have you in that capacity. I have to learn it from the internet.

Since you don't need any critique about the actual film, Good Job
Barry
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#5 Paul Tackett

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:31 PM

Hi

I am learning cinematography so I have no specific notes about that. I am an actor, writer and directed stage shows. It looks excellent. Except a couple of seconds at about the 28 second mark where the sun is blinding for 2 seconds. But maybe that's okay. It just seemed to take me out of the video.

I was going to go into a critique of the story and writing, then I noticed on Vimeo that you were the cinematographer. I am hoping to make a short film and would be very lucky to have you in that capacity. I have to learn it from the internet.

Since you don't need any critique about the actual film, Good Job
Barry



Thank you I really appreciate your input, i also helped write it as well so if you do have comments on that I'd definitely appreciate that as well. I'm a student learning all the aspects of film, so I'd love to improve in those areas. Thanks again for the complements.
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#6 Barry Wilson

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:47 AM

It's great that you want feedback. It's how we learn. I will start working on my thoughts throughout the day about the content.

I'm sure you know this but for the record, one person's opinion, especially on a message board is not neccessacarily correct, but hopefully there will be something in there that you can find useful.

I will get back to you, as I enjoy giving advice.
Barry
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#7 Barry Wilson

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:01 PM

Hi Paul

I am a professional actor(not that much work but I am in the union) I have done a small amount of freelance TV writing. A few sketches for the Canadian Broadcast Company. I created very succesful stage shows and am a professional Improviser (all that means is I do corporate parties for a lot of money from time to time. I am also a highly regarded improv teacher, I think that when I really started deconstructing stories. In all genres and media. My mind can't stop being analytical of what and how something worked and spotting the flaws when watching movies.

Of course all the comments are from my perspective but I do try to be objective based on what I have seen work and what I have seen fail. But these comments are from my way of thinking so use anything that makes sense and disregard if you think its ridiculous. I will be honest but don't want to be harsh just constructive even if I think something is just wrong.
My main aptitude is comedy.

It goes without saying all the lighting and cinematography is excellent so I won't comment on that.

Based on the last frame promoting the Baseball thing, I guess this was supposed to be a way to interest people.

Of course you have to engage people immediately especially in short films.

This is I assume a parody of Field of Dreams. So I think your goal was to be funny. Funny is hard. I have done it for years in a ton of situations. I know.

It's important to like the main character and in this form start out positive as I think that makes the audience wonder what he did?

All my line and scene suggestions are being thought of on the spot, so they may not be hilarious but I hope it's giving you something to think about on where to go in creating something. As you know rewriting is writing.

"I just created something totally illogical" isn't funny and takes away from his achievement"

Having the hero looking over the field without the audience knowing what he is looking at would be a good opening shot.
He says enthusiastically "I have done something totally awesome. But it almost drove me crazy" So the audience wants to know what is so great and why did it drive him mad.

The sidekick could then come in with something a little funny.
"That's what I like about you, you've always been one strike away from going nuts"

Whether that's funny or not, it is good to throw in references to the main theme. Baseball in this.

I think the caption "First Came the Voice" is not needed as obviously the audience will hear the voice. When they hear it they will automatically make the Field of Dreams connections.

Perhaps " Two days earlier" or whatever amount of time makes sense. That signifies the start of the journey.

I just had this idea when watching him in bed. He is asleep and the voice says "If you build it they will come" But since he's asleep he doesn't hear it. So the voice gets louder maybe just a touch irritated. "IF you build it they will come" The hero turns over still asleep

Now the voice is pissed off. It shouts "IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME!!"
He then bolts up and looks around.

When you do parody, look for ways to play with and exaggerate the original material. The voice might say other things as well. But we can get to that.

The Scene on the Bench. I don't know your time or budget but a static shot is less compelling than going from the opening to another angle. I don't know what your actor's range is but acting is reacting and he doesn't react. He's a little confused but just accepting an unknown voice is talking is not enough. Instead of acceptance, showing an emotion is better. He is scared or angry or frustrated as he doesn't know where it's coming from.
He could really look around and if you are restricted to that angle he could look under the bench look across the street, the hero is often the audiences surrogate. What would any normal person do is something to think about as that can often be funny. Or take it to exaggeration.

With no concerns for budget, He could stand up look around, if there is a sewer drain in front of the sidewalk, look there. He could look across the street intently, then you can cut to a close up of a dog tilting his head.

Be careful what you write on things the audience can see. In this instance, above what he is writing it says " What Field? What goes in the field?"
The voice nor anyone else has mentioned a field so that is giving something away. This is a parody so maybe he's not building a field at this point it could be anything.
The line"I don't like grass. It's itchy" is funny but those lines give too much away.

An idea, "What am I supposed to build" is already there along with various possibilities.

A water slide
A really big sandwich
A statue of James Brown and so on.
He could add to that list.

In the next scene we finally know our hero's name Seth. Unless I missed it before. It's easier to identify and root for a hero if we at least know his name.

The sidekick could have used it in the first scene. "that's what I like about you, Seth"

But now he's using the line. It breaks the rules the film has established. Isn't that frustrating especially in horror flicks. First the monster is afraid of water then he attacks someone in the shower or whatever.
So if a rule is broken then it should be noted.
Sidekick says "Build it Seth, they will come"

The voice says "Hey shades, that MY line and you can't even get it right. It's IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME, Back Off Mr Mysterious voice wannabee."

That's 1,000 words. I have no idea if they are helpful. I tried to say why I thought something didn't work.

If you want me to continue on let me know. If you do get something useful out of this I would like to ask you a question about lighting and cinematography.

Take care
Barry
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#8 Paul Tackett

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:07 AM

Hey wow that was awesome! Thank you for taking so much time and effort to answer my questions. That was some much needed help. Any questions you may have shoot away and I will try my best to answer accordingly.
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#9 Barry Wilson

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

Hi Paul,

I am glad you thought it was helpful. I have found that one has to create a mindset, a way of approaching something that after time becomes second nature. But still are open to feedback. In comedy or suspense action drama, I stay away from films that reviews say are touching or emotionally powerful or where anyone is dying in it. If I need to feel despair and unhappiness I can just go home. The great thing about the first Diehard was the humanity and flaws that John Maclean had.

One has to look at the idea and find the twist. Learn from what works and then use that as an inspiration to replicate the feeling but in a new way. That is how I have evolved. Plus reading and listening. You are an educated man but it's great to acquaint oneself with subjects you have no interest in. Have at least a superficial understanding across a spectrum of subjects. You never know what you can draw upon. That's why I like the idea of experimental film and theatre. They may not always be enjoyable but out of it may come one or two ideas that can be transferred to more mainstream formats.

So here is my question, which is probably a dumb one and simple for real cinematographers such as yourself.
I want to shoot a short film based on the script I am writing. I want to finish the first draft so I can start rewriting.

But as for the technical side I have been reading online as much as I can. But there is one thing that is at the top of my list of worries.

When you shoot a scene, you can do the master and then all the coverage. I plan on doing plenty of coverage.

I understand continuity for the actors and props and stuff.
But how do you make it all look seamless when cutting from one shot to another.
I could go from a two shot to an over the shoulder shot to a closeup. This involves camera movement and lighting changes. For budgetary reasons I want to do most things outdoors.
I want to understand when you go from a medium to a close up or whatever how to make the subject has the same look. I think I mean what do I do with lights or reflectors to make sure the actor has the same light on his face or body that corresponds to previous angles.

And one would be doing this over a couple of hours I guess.

I hope you understand the question. I want the film to be lighted very mainstream, Characters well lit and look like they are in the same movie. I was watching the recent True Grit as I am doing a western, with no budget. But I found a way to get around that.
and the look especially noticeable during daytime whether indoors or out was the same.

I have wandered from my initial question. How do you keep the lighting on the character(s) the same from one angle to the next?

The best I can do camera wise is a Panasonic HDC TM900 with a Letus adapter to get a shallow and more film like depth of field. As for lighting, I have no idea what I need.

Boy can I write long messages. If you ever need any other feedback let me know as I enjoy helping out people who have talent.

Barry
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#10 Paul Tackett

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:45 AM

I will answer this question the best I can. I am still learning, but I also will state that I will always be learning. So this is how I am taught to look at lighting:

You are lighting a scene, not the actors. Start with your master. Light the scene how you see fit.

When you go into tighter shots use your master as a reference and light it accordingly.

The more control you have, the better your film will look.

For exteriors this is the same, the more control you have the better.

There are different views and styles of how to light day exteriors, but this is how I do it: backlight everything. Shoot your wide backlit. Get a shallow depth of field on your closeups so that you can move your actors to be backlit. This will keep everything consistent and keeps everything under control. Shoot at times that are good for lighting such as before 10 am and after say 3 or so pm. Backlight looks good as well.

There are some people who disagree with this style, they want only naturally motivated lighting. But it looks good and your audience wont notice unless they are trained to notice.

I hope I answered your question, if you would like me to elaborate on anything or if I missed something just let me know.
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#11 Barry Wilson

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:21 PM

Thank you so very much Paul,

While I have a hundred questions, This is fantastic. It also gives me something concrete to do. Back light everything. When learning something blanket statements are great. I'm sure professionals have many nuances but if everything has the same lighting that that shows all the detail that's what I want. Plus making sure I have that Shallow DOF.

I just hope that when I finish a shooting script I can get some help behind the camera. I know enough professional actors. I don't know anyone interested in the other side. But maybe somebody will know somebody.

Take care and I as well would be happy to give you feedback on anything you wish.

Here is an email that I have that I don't mind if other see. though I doubt anyone in these forums are trolling for emails to send spam to.

jumpmuffin(at)gmail.com

All the best
Barry
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#12 Paul Tackett

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:07 PM

Hope all goes well, and perhaps we can stay in touch.
Paul Tackett
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