DVC16 - "Sustanance" - Andrew Hood at DVinfo.net

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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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DVC16 - "Sustanance" - Andrew Hood

In a last ditch effort - pretty much everything done in the last 24 hours I decided mediocrity was better than the wall again. I spent most of the time rearranging the shed to get a spare bit of wall to shoot against. So at 2 in the morning I couldn't be bothered figuring out multiple shots, cut aways, close ups. Just did 2 takes and figured the first was the less contrived of the 2.

Probably the main focus of the setup was to play with lighting - finally used the umbrella and spot light I got for a "bargain" (free) when someone was cleaning out old gear from their work.

Next time I might actually explore the idea a little further - should have applied some of the street theatre training of working with my 'environment'. And moving the camera around would have helped get to where the point of interest was. A good learning experience from my point of view though.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:48 PM   #2
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After watching this I was a hhhmmmm

After watching this I was a hhhmmmm... well I was thinking... Of what you were trying to do, or the message you were trying to convey. At first I thought POW?.. I guess some audio/music would have made it more dramatic... Bungee cord across the lap was funny... As for food... was that cookies? I think dog food might have made it more dramatic as well... again POW/ Captive... But I wasn't sure what you might have been going for.... It did have me thinking for a while... OK it still does....
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #3
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I know no one likes being beaten over the head with "this is what you're supposed to feel" during a movie, but in this case I'd agree with Craig that a little music would help tremendously. As is I thought the film was supposed to be funny, to tell you the truth, and I think the lighting is part of that; interesting shadows, but overall a little bright to be heavy drama.

Bring the darks down a bit farther, add a moody soundtrack underneath, and you might get more of the POW feel Craig mentioned. Alternatively, chop off everything after about two minutes (when he figures out how to get the food out of the tray for the first time), throw some light, silly music on it and let it play as a comedy.

Good work staying off the wall, and with a twenty-four hour project at that. I've never cut it that close myself, congratulations!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:19 PM   #4
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These kinds of pieces turn into experiments to see how people will interpret them. In direct contrast to Robert I found it quite frustrating!

First time through one of the things that impressed me was the lighting. I thought it worked great--really effective in making it look like the guy’s in some sort of prison and just waking with the early morning light.

On subsequent viewings I noticed details such as how much that would have hurt these old knees to fall on that concrete. Ouch. Also the body language when the captive finally gets the cracker. “Now what? Do I settle for one bite or find a way to get the whole thing in my mouth?” I was rooting for the latter because the whole thing was such a struggle.

Interesting piece, Andrew. You always mix things up in your films. I like that.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:49 PM   #5
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The thing that impresses me most about this is how the shot was framed wide enough that you never slipped out of frame, but tight enough that I was interested and not distracted by the surroundings.

It did start to feel a little long to me and as others have said, I think some drama music would have helped. The lighting could have been a little more spot to me, but as it is, I think it still works.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 06:42 AM   #6
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Hummm.... when I kidnap someone, I never just tie them to a chair. Too easy to move around. I wondered why he didn't get up and walk around with the chair? I wanted to see more of the room he was in. Seems to me, food would not be the first thing on my mind if I woke up, tied to a chair. Finding out where I am would be first, maybe water second, or scotch, in Dylan's case.

He was dressed awfully nice too. Didn't look like he had been in captivity long. Usually, when you abduct someone, they don't start craving food for several days. (Not that I know anything at all about that. Pure speculation.) But they always pee themselves before they get really serious about wanting food.

I'd love to see an insert shot of the food. Wanted to see what he was trying to eat a little better. I wanted to see a tight shot on his eyes too. See the fear there...

But of course if you added all these things, you end up with a graphic torture piece and who really wants to see that? Except for me, maybe, and some of my friends...
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #7
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simple but good

I liked the fact that it was only one still shot. It brought the entire focus on the what the character was doing and there were lots of subtleties in what he was doing. It was like a dark charlie chaplin movie. At least thats what it reminded me of. It would have been nice to have something surprising at the end. I kept waiting for him to fall face first into the food and knock it on to the dirty floor, or I was thinking that finally he would just realize that his hands weren't tied tightly and he would just pick it up and eat it. For just one shot though it really kept my attention.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #8
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I had to think about this one a while, because I liked it, but I wasn't quite sure how to express why. I guess I like it because it is cartoonishly symbolic of what mankind will do to survive. Food sustains life and our hero here, does whatever he has to do to sustain his life. Simple enough.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #9
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Just wondered from the aurthor what you were going for here... Looks like we are guessing or making the assumption this was a prisoner of some sort...
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Old May 6th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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Last ditch or not, I think this piece serves a wonderful purpose -- it's making us all think and discuss, right? I'm very glad that you chose to put this piece out there over the wall of shame, Andrew. It has a great concept, which your pieces always do.

Your scene is very well lit, and I don't think the piece needs any extra camera angles. It can , however, use more of your theatre training, as you mentioned. You've got the technical part down -- now think about who you are, where you are, your goals, etc.

I'm a firm believer in just shooting as many projects as you can -- this is certainly a 'learn by doing' craft, and I'm certain that in subsequent projects, your ideas will become more and more detailed. Nice work.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #11
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Nice lighting. This is a very minimalist piece but it definitely works. The bungee chord is hilarious...
The acting was a little abrupt, like when he wakes up. Also I agree, different wardrobe would help make the prisoner idea stand out more.
I think keeping it as one single shot is a really interesting idea. I usually like a lot of different angles, but when I think of all the other angles I'd use to shoot this- I kind of don't think I'd like the piece more. The way you tell the story with a stationary shot makes it feel very voyeuristic (which everybody loves) and almost naughty (also everybody loves) like you are watching something you shouldn't get to see normally.
Way to stay off the wall!
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Old May 9th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #12
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It's amazing how what starts out as a simple idea can be seen so many different ways - and the discussions that arise. Looking back I'm not really sure I knew what I wanted out of it. I think I wanted a light-hearted side to it - not too serious. But I hadn't gravitated to pure comedy or drama - guess I tend to drift to black comedy more often. Morbid sense of humor or something.

Music was one of the last considerations that I needed to start earlier on to include properly. As far as waking up quickly I figured the character hadn't been there long, but had previously woken up and therefore tried the escape options, more the realization he's still there - but I made no clear indication of that in the film. Neglected costume too - in my haste. Should have dragged out my "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" costume - it had plenty of holes in a dirty T-shirt. And I'd only recently shaved too - had I left a few days growth on it would have worked better too. And the bungee cords (hands and lap) was because I couldn't find a rope. But it did keep the chair stuck to me reasonably well.

As far as the shots go, I could have gone in closer, but not much wider. Unless I wanted to include a junk yard feel to the room - there's furniture and boxes piled up just out of view - a couch on one side, etc... messy shed.
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