DVC 10 - "Better Day" - Dick Mays at DVinfo.net

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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #1
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DVC 10 - "Better Day" - Dick Mays

Okay, here is how our entry for DVC 10 happened.

First, a friend of mine, Chet Dixon, came into town and played at Eddie's Attic. He specializes in White Trash Show Tunes and wanted me to video some of his pieces. So I set up and film these, (they're on youtube so you can watch them too and learn how redneck's make love to their women).

Then I meet this guy also playing there and get to talking to him. He wanted me to shoot one of his gigs and I tell him I make shorts and he gives me a DVD. He tells me I can use the music, and I set it aside and forget about it.

Then some people drop out at the last minute, and I am left with Stacey and Herve, and the three of us meet to collaborate on an idea Friday night. We come up with a basic idea, which is what we end up shooting, and we decide to shoot it at night since the apartment has so many big windows. But the next day I get up and listen to Will's CD and really like this song, "better day." I start envisioning an obsessed musician, and like he sends this music video to his love interest, and then kills himself in the shower when she goes to investigate. All the same visual elements as before, but with the whole creepy musician added.

Stacey and Herve think I'm smoking crack when I tell them about the big bloody scary scene at the end, and they both like the original psychological ending we came up with the night before.

I go away to get the dolly in a huff, and tell them Herve can direct the dang thing if they don't want to play ball my way. They both think I'm a major prima donna, and we end up shooting the thing the original way it was scripted. But we still use the music. (Herve wanted a heartbeat growing louder, but I added thunder instead. I invoked executive editor's privledge.)

It actually turned out better than I expected which is really causing me pyschic damage as my ego is already frail this year what with all the changes in my personal circumstances. So, there you have it. "Better Day," with music by Will West.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #2
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i hesitate to say it and therefore add any fuel to the existing egoic wounds, but this was a great film! i prefer the suggestive to the obvious, and this one really nailed it for me. your actress did a terrific job with her creepy suggestive mirror-image expression--it's hard to maintain that edge, too much and it's campy, too little and it's underplayed, but she had it juuuust right. and props to A. Hitchcock for making the shower head such a handy device for invoking terror. it worked perfectly here to suggest what was happening off-screen.

excellent work.

don't open that door!!!!
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Old October 29th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #3
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Great Job!

Dick, your lighting was great. Very natural and moody. I thought she would appear a bit more frightened than she was but then again, I would have jumped out the window! :-) Excellent effect in the mirror. When she drew her finger across her throat I got the heebiejeebies. Great job! Also, not using the obvious "scary" style music ramped up the suspense for me.

Great work.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #4
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Hi Dick!

I'm not sure why you are being so hard on yourself. I really enjoyed this film.

Stacy's acting was excellent! She has a great presence and I think she executed her role beautifully.

Really liked the lighting where she is on the computer at the beginning and when she walks through the door. The rest worked well too. Hey?! She has my Mac too. Sweet.

Some nice dolly / camera work in there too. May I ask what kind of set up you have?
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Old October 29th, 2007, 01:33 PM   #5
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Really digging the look of the film and the story played out very well.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bradley L Marlow View Post
I'm not sure why you are being so hard on yourself. I really enjoyed this film.
...

Some nice dolly / camera work in there too. May I ask what kind of set up you have?
Bradley,

I wasn't being hard on myself. I was being hard on those stubborn actors of mine who kept pushing for a low key psychic thiller ending instead of the bloody gore scene I wanted to shoot. In truth, Stacey didn't trust my homemade prop blood would ever come out of her shower grout, and Herve didn't like the idea of him thrashing around naked in a pool of blood. (He has never forgiven me for the toliet plunger/nightgown scene from DVC9.)

But hey, for art you have to take risks!

But thank you all for those kind remarks. Hugh, Meryem, Travis, you have boosted my actor's ego so much there will be no listening to me at all next weekend when we shoot the Rapid I Movement 50 hour film festival.

In truth, Stacey did a great job acting in her second short, and Herve had a great directorial debut.

Bradley, I have a Sony FX1, a Britek Light kit, a bogen tripod with 501 panhead, and a borrowed dolly. The dolly is so great, I can't imagine working without one. It adds so much to the shots.

Thanks again. I will be reviewing the other entries tonight and look forward to seeing them.

Dick
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Old October 29th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #7
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I liked the look. I thought the premiss behind it was executed very well. If I was that woman I would have said a few choice words as I ran out the door as well :p
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Old October 29th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #8
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Note to self: Next DIY project for me: dolly for dolly shots.

Loved the look of this film, and a very pretty subject too....extreme closeups, and composite shots done well to.

I was waiting for the dripping blood going down the drain in the shower, ala Psycho....
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Old October 29th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #9
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Kudos

I loved much of this. Many details could have been tightened up in the edit but I still got a very creepy feeling. The best is her evil mirror scene. I was hoping for one small splatter of blood on the shower head. Still, kudos Dick.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #10
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Man...I loved this film. A great job by all. My goofy mind actually ended up having the story as the girl having multiple personalities and one was going to kill the other. Still the adrenaline flowed, the heart raced and all was great.

-R
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Old October 29th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #11
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Tense, though in some way I felt like something was lacking. The actress didn't really bring me into her emotional state, as if she was simply confused and interested, not frightened, or so overly frightened, it didn't register on camera. It was played smoothly, but not animatedly. Perhaps that was your desired approach (or hers).

I, too, was a bit disappointed with the shot of the showerhead at the end. I'm not quite sure what I did expect, but just having the water was a bit anticlimactic.

I did get into the suspense as I was watching and I thought the concept was nice. The curtains not quite closing was an interesting touch as well, giving her an enhanced sense of panic, unable to close off this window to her privacy (and safety).

The cinematography was nice, though the pace was a bit slow for my tastes, but then again, that is what builds suspense.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #12
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I am such a fan of your lighting and shooting, Dick, and it just keeps getting better! As a matter of fact, the first time through I kept getting pulled out of the story because I was loving the cinematography so much. It doesn’t hurt one bit that the “beauty” is just that—beautiful, but your style really suits my taste.

I took it that the woman was a complete nut job because she appeared to be so intrigued by the scenario unfolding before her. It’s like she derived some kind of creepy pleasure out of the whole thing. Am I all wet in thinking this way?

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s possible that your idea for the ending should have prevailed. Maybe something between “big bloody scary” and “kind of bloody scary” – I just don’t know.

What I do know is that in my eyes, this is first-rate. Nice job.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #13
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Well, it's easy to throw "blood" around for it's shock value, but it takes a lot of skill to build a scary mood with visuals like you did.

I agree with the others positive comments, your lighting skills are super (I'm a retired pro photographer who appreciated what good lighting can do for folks and for mood) and I liked what you did here.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton View Post

I took it that the woman was a complete nut job because she appeared to be so intrigued by the scenario unfolding before her. It’s like she derived some kind of creepy pleasure out of the whole thing. Am I all wet in thinking this way?
Lorinda,

Yes, if it fact she is a little bonkers, it explains why she would pick a knife up and go into the bathroom herself. That's the way we intended it, and the reason she doesn't scream in fear and high tail it out of there.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #15
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Hi Dick,

When I watched this for the first time, I thought oh no everyone is going to have women alone at home going out of their minds.

So far were the only two.

Nice camera work, and I like Stacey's acting.

I don't get the shower head, other than as a reference to "Psycho" (I guess kind of like my "Wizard of Oz").

Nice and Creepy
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