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First short film - be nice


Liam
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@Liam! thank you for sharing this

so, first of all, i thought this short piece was pretty good~! therefore let me make it clear that my constructive criticism is just that – youre definitely on to something here, something that needs development and refinement, but thats the life of an artist~! its never ending... and at a certain point you have to put stuff out there, and the people will probably like it more than you do, because theyre way less critical of your work than you yourself will always be! but thats good: when your reach exceeds your grasp, its tough to live, but it means youre growing

my first impression was that i found the way you shot the figures very intriguing, avoiding their heads and faces – not a unique notion, but a seldom used technique. almost reminds me a bit of all the cut aways robert rodriguez was forced to do in el mariachi due to lack of coverage.... which ended up benefitting his production tremendously, and people thought he was a genius for it...and it was in spanish. that helped too. but i digress

anyway, that was cool, and it developed a sense of tension from the very beginning. like, who are these guys, what are they doing? what are they planning? WHY cant i see their faces? there must be something sinister going on~! moreover, that coverage forces the viewer to listen carefully, far more so than they usually would, to get all the information possible out of what the characters are saying. without the infinite subtleties of human facial expressions, we strain to discern that missing information from the dialogue alone, the sound of the voices, the cadence, the emotion or lack thereof. its a fascinating principle

given those points, id suggest a couple things in terms of audio. firstly, it struck me that the voices of the principles are a bit too similar. theyre not identical, but since we dont have faces to associate them with, perhaps pitching one up or down in post could help differentiate the characters on an emotional level, so they seem more like two separate individuals, vs one characters internal dialogue. on the other hand, if youre going for the latter, great, push it that way instead!

additionally, i believe the score would be more effective in this case if the music in the background seemed more like music that the guys are listening to while chatting and drinking some beers, less like dubbed audio. moreover, it could be subtlety manipulated to work better with the conversation – but a random overlay of your music track where youre not ramping it/changing it to coincide with the dialogue could be great too – a bold "element of chance", as duchamp would say, can work wonders

i like the dialogue. i write "uhm"s and "like"s in my screenplays, but i keep it to a minimum, and try to have those pauses and forms of verbal static express a characters difficulty in forming a thought or making a particular point in that moment, describing their emotional state

i like grain/noise for narrative, but in this case i found it a little distracting, notably in the lighter areas of such a dark piece, if the noise was more unified over the entire image that might work better. mind you, its easy to be extra critical of something like that in a piece where we are listening even more than watching, you know what i mean?

last but not least: the content: what is this film about, what happens? like i said, i found the conversation intriguing and interesting from the beginning, but i feel like it needs something of a payoff, a conclusion, a highspot* if you will, something to complete it. i feel like these guys were having an idle discussion which might be leading to some wild action, or at least a resolution to do something extreme – like go on a killing spree. i feel like this is a teaser for something bigger... am i right?

the mention of anxiety and intrusive thoughts is great, subjects that are seldom addressed, americans being on a pharmacy full of [dangerous] drugs is our dirty little secret. id like to see more work that explores those issues – i mean how many people are on SSRIs today, like a billion??

anyway, those are just some of my initial thoughts, im gonna watch it again later tonight. but my biggest point is this: I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE THAT I WOULD CALL TREMENDOUSLY GIFTED FAIL MISERABLY IN MAKING A ~WATCHABLE~ SHORT THAT IS ~AT ALL~ INTERESTING WITH A BUDGET OF $50k OR MORE. Youve already made something that I'd like to see more of, and if this is indeed your first short (!!!), id say youre off to a great start

in conclusion, the salient principle of visual narrative is always paramount: "If its not on the page, its not on the stage"! And there's definitely merit to what youre doing, keep at it!!

Stay strong buddy!!

your pal,

Kaylee ❤️

*pro wrasslin term lol

 

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that was excellent to read, Kaylee! thank you for taking the time!

I hope I don't seem like I'm defending myself on these points.. I do that sometimes. Not helpful, haha

27 minutes ago, kaylee said:

it struck me that the voices of the principles are a bit too simila

great note, I was a little worried about that.. I played both parts (clearly) and dropped the pitch of the guy in plaid just a little. thought it might have been enough, but I'll take another run through to see if I can make it better.. was really worried about doing that in a cartoony way haha

30 minutes ago, kaylee said:

the score

hmm.. I was originally going to have the first guy be leaving a party in the adjacent room, to go to the bathroom (by adding muffled murmurs), to imply the second guy was sitting off by himself, later joined by the first guy, which might better explain his weird music choices? if that partially addresses that? I wish I could do that.. seems a little more difficult than playing two parts (playing a room full of people), but maybe I should make it more understandable drinking music, if I don't have that element. that makes sense, i'll keep browsing. wanted it to be subtle music that wouldn't make it seem like they were ignoring it by not tapping their fingers to it, and not like emo - could almost be funny, but probably just painful.. music is tough

The grain, I hope was just because of the compression. I've been experimenting a ton today with export settings etc. I decided no grain for vimeo upload, since it's too long and the file will be too big for my basic account. But I might be convinced to buy a month of Plus for one of those huge file uploads after upscaling to 4k. seems it would work pretty perfectly.

I keep getting that note about adding some meaning, haha. I kinda just can't see it.. I'm really trying. probably the whole point right now is how stupid the conversation is, ha. and the end kind of does justify that in a way I hope? making like the lack of payoff a payoff? I got one note saying even though it should mean something, they liked the ending.. it's tough to compromise like that. I'd have to really see it. and that would be difficult to get right.. a film with a twist ending or almost a "punchline" like that, has potential to be really corny.. just would have to have a real grasp on the change first. I have kind of this element in another film i'm writing (what they're talking about), but unsaid, internalized the whole time, so there you actually see it. But yeah, I'll keep thinking. more tempted right now to maybe just call this one done and use what I learned on my next film

1 hour ago, kaylee said:

Youve already made something that I'd like to see more of, and if this is indeed your first short (!!!), id say youre off to a great start

That is the best thing I've ever read, I love you!

let me know if you have any more thoughts after watching again, or of course more responses to the above

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1 minute ago, mercer said:

Wait, I call foul, you were much nicer to Kaylee after her notes. I guess I gotta quote Monday Night Raw next time... Dang. 

ohhhhh! come on. we all love each other :* 

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as promised, i watched your piece again~! my plasma isnt really happy until the sun goes down – its the most reflective surface on earth. its like the opposite of vanatblack

3 hours ago, Liam said:

I hope I don't seem like I'm defending myself on these points.. I do that sometimes. Not helpful, haha

you dont at all. but explaining your point of view in why youre doing things is just as important to ones own personal growth as it is to dialogues like this. and at the end of the day if you do something really great there will always be idiots who level empty criticisms, having the confidence to ignore these slights or defend yourself is part of the job

3 hours ago, Liam said:

great note, I was a little worried about that.. I played both parts (clearly) and dropped the pitch of the guy in plaid just a little. thought it might have been enough, but I'll take another run through to see if I can make it better.. was really worried about doing that in a cartoony way haha

after watching this again i was about to withdraw my statement regarding the voices, or qualify it, and now that i know for a fact that you did play both roles, id definitely say you did well with having them seem like different people – good work. my thought was that they should be more different, in a more iconic way. not a comical way, what you have going is good, but since we dont see the characters faces, re-doing the audio for one character wouldnt involve all kinds of tricky synching... maybe you could have a friend do some voiceover you could edit in. just a thought off the top of my head, but again, after watching it again, i dont think theyre too similar for their own good, id just personally like even more of a dichotomy

4 hours ago, Liam said:

hmm.. I was originally going to have the first guy be leaving a party in the adjacent room, to go to the bathroom (by adding muffled murmurs), to imply the second guy was sitting off by himself, later joined by the first guy, which might better explain his weird music choices?

ok sure. i was thinking that id like the music blended into the voicework more, so its a bit more entangled, sounding more like practical music in the room with them vs. dubbed background audio. but as far as ~what~ it is, like the different styles of music, thats cool but for me at 6:30 it gets pretty trippy. which is a good word to use, like im sensing these guys were on something other than alcohol lol. the conversation takes on a very 5 hour smoke session vibe u kno. but i sense thats kind of what you were going for

4 hours ago, Liam said:

The grain

yeah its definitely getting stepped on by compression, but i guess i just expect to see more noise in the shadows. and maybe a bigger blobbier (lol) grain, that looks more filmic. or no noise, thats a fine option too

4 hours ago, Liam said:

probably the whole point right now is how stupid the conversation is, ha. and the end kind of does justify that in a way I hope? making like the lack of payoff a payoff?

okay great, i kinda figured but i didnt want to say that lol. in that case, i think it should be shorter or MUCH longer. perhaps this is either something digestible that people want to watch in our short attention span culture, or its deliberately the opposite like warhols sleep or andy kaufman reading the entire great gatsby onstage

4 hours ago, Liam said:

more tempted right now to maybe just call this one done and use what I learned on my next film

thats up to you but ill tell you this: the reason my art practice is at such an incredibly advanced point today is because ive LITERALLY PUT A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS OF MY OWN WORK IN DUMPSTERS OVER THE YEARS AFTER HACKING THE PIECES APART WITH AN AX

its been a very difficult road. blood sweat and tears. but i am the sum of my parts, and i could never do the things im doing now without doing every single thing in my life that led up to the present

oh and thats just the process of being an artist. its a constant. happens to this day. but now, my "failures" are immediately recycled into a greater whole. it took me a long time to accept this phenomenon, but now i embrace it, and im all the better for it

4 hours ago, Liam said:

thought Madatcha might have been a wrestler. Googled it and everything

thats actually a great wrestler name. im picturing this guy

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