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Interested in feedback for my first attempt at a short film project..


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#1 Stephen Balsley

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:13 PM

I know this project isn't perfect. But I was genuinely surprised to not be accepted to any film festival, out of around a dozen submissions- local in LA and elsewhere.

 

Kind of frustrating, actually. My submission budget ended up being double the production cost itself.

I did all of the DP, Editing, Casting, Props, etc. and loved every minute of it, but felt like i really let the actors down in the end, as no one was able to view the finished piece. Any thoughts for next time?

 

Thanks!

 

 


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#2 tom lombard

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:44 PM

Might there be some non-competitive film festivals in your area?


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#3 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:54 PM

Probably got rejected because of the audio.


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#4 Giacomo Girolamo

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:27 PM

I'm gonna watch it all and later give you an honest response, but let me tell you that the audio in the first shot (the first 2 seconds in fact) is really a problem. Is below an acceptable audio, way below.

I really don't understand what you talking about spending the double of the budget in submission, when you can rental a normal and generic audio system for a couple of bucks. I also don't get how you don't have people, friends, somebody in the industry, saying to you "nice man, but the audio is awful, don't bother in submits this". Let me finish the short and I'll continue with the review.

 

Well, let's start.

 

 

First the good parts.

 

I like the lights and colors of the film. Like the place too, maybe you can squeeze it a little more the location, because the shots are very classic, but that's ok. After all is just an esthetic choose.

The actors are good too, specially the maitre and the guy.

 

 

Now let's go with the ugly but necessary criticism. I'm going to divide this in 2 part, the red flags, the critical ones, and later thinks that I don't like but they are fine, or at least, easy to fix.

 

First of all and probably (because I don't read minds, but is really the reason) you don't get your short in any festivals, is THE SOUND. Maybe you already read about this, but sound is 50% of the movie. It's clear isnt's for you. You can tell because you say:

 

did all of the DP, Editing, Casting, Props, etc.

and don't even mention sound. Well, that's you mayor problem and what makes (sorry for that but is the true) a really pain in the ass watch the whole thing. Again, I really can't believe that nobody tell you this and you keep spending money in something that was already a dead corpse  from the start. Probably they told you but you don't listing because well, who cares about sound? The answer: everyone, even whom really don't know anything about cinema.

 

The second mayor problem is the handheld shots. Let me be clear about this. The problem is not the esthetic decision about use a tripod or handheld (too me, is a tripod anyways in this kind of story), but the problem is that you go handheld and in some moments (like 06:20 for example) you cut the head of your actor. If I stand (endure maybe is the proper word) the bad sound, and I saw a cut head because the handheld, I'm not going to keep watching, I'm going to reject your short, even if the lights and color grading are fine (they aren't a masterpiece though, they are just fine).

 

The third mayor problem is rhythm. The short is unnecessary long. Raymond Chandler (the writer) has a phrase about revising his own word. He said that he just cut the boring parts. This is difficult in writing because you are all alone (Hemingway talks about killing your love ones) but it should be easy in cinema because is a collaborative art. If you can't do it, then the problem has an easy solution. Get an editor the next time (after get some sound engineer for the photography and the post production, PLEASE) who could kill your pretty love ones for you.

 

 

Finally, I'm going to talk about some minors problems; all of them have an easy solutions and probably you catch some of them already (why you cut them in the edition, who knows).

 

In 00:52 and 03:05, just to give you some examples, you have focus problems. I don't know if you are using an autofocus camera, or just mess it, but have a focus puller if you can control the focus of the camera, because is an easy way to take the audience out of the story you are trying to build.

In the 01:10 the actress looks off to me, I don't like her performance in that moment and in general in the short. We can blame the actress but who cast her? who directs her? Yeah, to me is still your fault.

In 01:20 the handheld is really distracting, still don't get why you choose filming that way.

Later, when the couple is in the table, I don't like the POV to the menu, because you can't visually understand that the menu is expensive, so why put that POV. You can't cut a LOT of boring and unnecessary parts like that, and get a more shorter and nice looking short.

03:25 The "hurry" part sound force to me. Who goes to a fancy restaurant in a date to be hurry. I don't like it and I don't buy it. The story start to sinking in that moment.

04:00 By the 4th minute the music starts to be really repetitive. In fact, I believe that the sound being so awful actually helps the music, because is so bad that you can stand (again, endure?) the music longer. The sound have a lot of problems too, the foley part. I mean some foley are too repetitive, an almost all of them has problems with intensity. They are not mix right.

05:10 The music here is, excuse my expression, bull%$&$ . Is completely over-dramatic and doesn't have anything to do with the story, but at this point I believe your audience (what's left of them) doesn't care anymore. But is really off, and I don't like it. Again, I don't buy it.

 

 

Well, that's all.

 

Nice try, good lighting and nice place, but I hope you learn from your mistake. The first one, SOUND. The second one, you are so close to your short that you only see a tree, maybe a leaf, and can't see the forest. The next time don't be so close, get an editor that cut the bad parts, work with sound engineer and please, spend money in new material or equipment, not in try to sell something that is unsellable from the second 1.

 

 

Bye


Edited by Giacomo Girolamo, 06 December 2017 - 05:36 PM.

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#5 Samuel Berger

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:36 PM

I just think the sound is hard to understand and the camerawork is unnecessarily shaky, and the cameraman seems to keep shifting constantly. And for what it is, it might be about 3 minutes too long.

Edited by Samuel Berger, 06 December 2017 - 05:37 PM.

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#6 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:13 PM

The story is good, but as others have said: The audio is really not acceptable. The reality is, in many cases, the audio is far more important than what it looks like, and even if the story is good. If people can't hear something, or it sounds like its recorded in a tin can, they simply won't watch - period - good or bad. 

If I may ask, how did you record audio? I use a Rode NTG-3 and Tascam DR60D II, which I think is the bare minimum for dialogue work like this. 


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#7 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:34 PM

ADR is a cheaper gear solution if the actors are showing up for free/cheap. Requires a lot more brain power though.


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