Our 2010 Film Challenge Movie

Posted by PhillyFilmmaker 
Our 2010 Film Challenge Movie
October 26, 2010 10:45AM
Hello all!

It's that second time of the year again!
A short picture made in 72 hours.
Standard Vimeo procedure (press play and wait for it to load before watching)

We shot it at 1080 24p using the Canon 7D.

We always look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Re: Our 2010 Film Challenge Movie
October 26, 2010 02:32PM
Easy things that could have been incorporated in the 72 hours:

Right off the bat... DELETE THE BARS & TONE!!

Audio edits "pop"

Music is too loud - doesn't need to be up throughout

Needs total Color Correction / levels adjustment (I would have hit it with a Magic Bullet Looks treatment - no brainer)

Better shot composition (especially in some shots in the car)

Not sure what that last shot buried in the credits was for

More fun title sequence top to bottom

Pre-Pro = would have auditioned professional actors

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: Our 2010 Film Challenge Movie
November 20, 2010 02:40PM
> Pre-Pro = would have auditioned professional actors

I'd really have to agree with this one at this point, emphatically. You guys have been showing your work in here for at least three years that I know of. I'd find it hard to believe that during all that time you still haven't met any trained actors you can get to appear in your movie.

The overwhelming problem is, once again, writing. All your scenes look like they were staged just to get the dialogue across. There's no realness to them; you don't feel like they belong in the flow of the characters' lives. Probably because the characters don't have back story. Why are they in a classroom-looking location with a Final Destination poster in the background? (You show the apartment later. Why didn't you show it before, instead of using an awkward, flat two-shot where you don't see their living space and the context of the conversation?) Because these "scenes" were just there, rather than organically developing from the characters' lives, they look like scene rehearsals, and all those two-shots look accidental rather than well considered. Two people standing around doing nothing, just like actors in an acting class.

If she has to go, why doesn't she just go? This is why trained actors are important. If her scene need was "to get out of there", I don't see anything preventing her from achieving that goal. If his scene need is to "win her back", he is facing feeble obstacles, because she's not making it hard for him. As a result, the scene rings empty. Try giving this situation to two trained actors and let them improvise their actions with those two scene needs. You'll probably see something more real and more urgent. Why the heck would she sit down after saying she had to go? He's done nothing that would make her want to stay.

Oh man...that "presentation" is lame. Sorry, I can't really soften this note. The juvenile nature of that move makes me want her to just leave him in the dust. If you wanted something like this to work, you really had to set up the guy as some kind of ultra-naive character, a man-child, and you'd need to give him lots and lots of quirks and character we can relate to -- like a Benny and Joon kind of thing. Since we know nothing about the guy, and since he's not that appealing (awkward dialogue and staging certainly didn't help), his "presentation" is just irritating. Both these people yap about their relationship, but we don't feel like there's a relationship there. They're reciting words from a page; there's no chemistry between them, there's no stake, there's no emotional investment. You want a breakup to work, that relationship had better have gone places already.

Stop trying to use music to create emotion. When your scenes, plot and characters don't generate emotion, music simply makes us aware of your attempt to manipulate us into feeling something, and it never works -- in fact, it works to the detriment of the movie by not allowing us to absorb the flow of the narrative, to watch a real scene taking place. The scenes already feel fake, and the music is simply another extra-textual element that takes us out.

Sorry...I think your script was just not workable. No substance. If you want a character-driven romantic film, start with the characters. You have to know things about them -- their temperament, their job, where they come from, their favourite food, their favourite music and movies. How did they meet? Have they slept together -- and if so, when and why? How did they feel about it? What broke them up, specifically? As a writer, you have to know: Why is this relationship interesting enough to make a movie about it? A corporate mogul, who can have anybody he wants, dating a penniless street prostitute -- that's dramatic. (Pretty Woman) A French aristocrat, who's trying to cheat Russian emissaries out of a fortune, falling in love with the religiously Communist supervisor to those emissaries -- that's dramatic. (Ninotchka) A homeless tramp falling in love with a blind flower girl who thinks he's a rich gentleman -- that's dramatic. (City Lights) I don't know why this relationship in your movie is worthy of a story because the characters aren't specific at all.

Those are things actors can use to create flesh-and-blood characters. This is yet another reason to hire trained actors -- if you as a writer hadn't done that work, most actors would do the work themselves and try to help you make more substantial characters. And most of the time, the average trained actor will have more presence in front of the camera, making the setups feel less amateurish.

Re: Our 2010 Film Challenge Movie
November 21, 2010 01:33PM
Agreed - it's a filmed conversation. Script doesn't go anywhere...and the bad acting buries the piece. Good actors will bring a rough script to life. Too many inexperienced Directors think of the actors as "live props" and just place them & shoot them...and that shows glaringly in the final piece. Acting is as important as shooting / editing / VFX / sound / etc. The best Directors allow the Actors to express themselves and improvise a little. I have worked with Directors where we shot the script and then allowed a take where the Actors improvised the scene. In a lot of cases, that take was used because it was the most natural.

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

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