DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey at DVinfo.net

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Old September 9th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Hey everybody! What an amazing crop of films this time around! My friends and I are really excited to hear any and all feedback and thoughts that you have about our film, and all criticism is very welcome :)

I think I will hold off from saying anything about our film and hear what you think first, and then I will talk about it after that. Thanks everyone!

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Old September 9th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Nice job!

It was interesting watching the entire story being told without the camera ever moving. It was almost like watching stop motion, or a sequence of photographs. I enjoyed the visual aesthetic used.

The shots in the trees were excellent, nice location scouting! Gorgeous. The greenery really popped in those shots, love it.

I feel weird being critical of the story, because I'm not a writer, but can't help feeling that there could have been a bit more drama somehow, or some additional layer to explore. It may have been the stark environment, or the character's coldness, but something about the way the shots unfolded had me on edge, waiting for something big to happen. For example, I noticed the dirt in the bottom of the bird box at 3:59 and it made me wonder if it wasn't really dead. And had been out walking around? (fowl play perhaps?!) (But I realize now that I was just distracted by what was probably leftover dirt from a take 1 of the burial scene.) In any case, for such a well executed film, I sort of wished there had been more there to sink my teeth into.

The bird flyby at 4:33 was a very nice touch. In addition to being a great actor, all the vfx was tastefully and skillfully done, props to Darren!

Where did you get the bird from? It looks real.

Great typography too, I like the classy type used for all the credits.

Well done!
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Old September 9th, 2012, 04:51 PM   #3
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

I thought that the film was shot beautifully and looked great. It was very apparent that you took the time to make sure everything was well lit and composed purposefully. Very well done!

The one thing that I was missing after watching the film was a clear explanation of what exactly prompted the main character to change from the beginning of the story to the end. I didn't make a clear connection between the bird flying into the window, the main character burring the bird and his decision to finally decided to talk with his mother. The only thing that I could come up with was that he realized the fragility of life and that prompted him... but that would just be a guess.

So once again, it looked very professional but from me lacked clear motivation in the story which left me wondering what happened.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Hi Mitchell

Man that woodland wide was slick, what a location! Your piece had a definite visual style. I like locked off shots and you had lots of very tasty lock off in this. As previously mentioned it did start to feel like a collection of nice stills and i did find myself wanting some camera movement to provide emphasis, but as an overall style, it was interesting and effective. Your shots also seemed to have LOADS of resolution, what was this shot on?

Story wise I thought it was original and interesting and it read well. I was left wondering why the dead bird would change this chaps mind and maybe something more would have sold this to a greater level but it still worked as it was.

Visually original, high production value, great stuff !

Mat
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Old September 9th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Mitchell,

First of all, I really was impressed by the gorgeous film-making. I watched every shot with envy- totally would love to know what you shot with. The acting was understated and perfect for the type of feel I think you were going for.

I found myself rewinding and freeze-framing the impact of the bird on the window in hopes I could find out how you did it, but to no avail. Very cool.

Loved the interior apartment shots as much as the forest shots. Beautifully shot.

Toni
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:27 AM   #6
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

I wasn't sure I was going to like this film when it first started. Seemed antiseptic. But I recognized by the time the film was closing that was your intention, and that this little incident was designed to bring out the humanity of the man. Great filming, great scenes, and interesting story idea. Thanks for a great film.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 04:41 AM   #7
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

And another great film. Lovely camera work, what can I say, but I enjoyed it, but at the same time find myself agree with some of the other comments others have made too. Is that bird real or stuffed? Look forward to hearing more about your film. Great stuff
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Old September 10th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #8
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

I think the starkness of the apartment worked well; its totally inorganic and slightly unpleasant to begin with. When something unexpected breaks into the routine, the character is forced out into nature; and the difference between the two locations works very well, and makes the forest scene all the more amazing. It was a great location with amazing lighting (be it natural or otherwise).

This film works well, and it was clearly well planned and executed. Well done!
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Old September 10th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #9
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

As others have said, I want to know more insights on how you created your film. But aside from that, I really enjoyed this piece! The contrast between the stark, white emptiness of his apartment versus the peaceful, colorful element of the burial site really lends itself to the storyline. Opinions will always differ (I still don't know how my best bud can not like The Dark Knight Rises), but I think I followed the story pretty well:

To me, if the bird were already dead when it first hit the window, then there wouldn't have been much of a journet for the lead character. However, because the bird was alive, then died while in his care, then the burial happened -- that small but almost circular experience felt big in the character's eyes. It had enough of an impact on him to push him to make a simple call to his mother -- the one that gave him life.

Sorry for getting so deep, but really enjoyed your piece, Mitchell! Nice work!
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Old September 10th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #10
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Hey, I called my mom after watching your film. She's ninety, and I don't call her as often as I should. But it was indeed very beautiful, a stark coolness to the piece. A simple story, well told. Like the choice of music too. This challenge had the best looking films of any challenge ever, am I right about that Lorinda"
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Old September 11th, 2012, 03:21 AM   #11
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Nice film!

Great simple story and very pretty camera work! I enjoyed watching it and think you have great talent!

Thank you,

Frank Moody
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Old September 11th, 2012, 03:50 AM   #12
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

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Originally Posted by Dick Mays View Post
Hey, I called my mom after watching your film. She's ninety, and I don't call her as often as I should. But it was indeed very beautiful, a stark coolness to the piece. A simple story, well told. Like the choice of music too. This challenge had the best looking films of any challenge ever, am I right about that Lorinda"
You are right about that, Dick. And good for you, calling your mom. :)

Loved this film, Mitchell. But then, you know I always love your work.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

Thank you everyone for watching our film and for your thoughtful feedback and critiques! We really appreciate you taking the time to watch and comment.

I will try and address your questions, but I will just say first a bit about where we were going with this film. We did set out to make a stark, stripped down, and even at times unlikable, minimalist piece about an isolated person who is not necessarily in the happiest of places. We were hoping to use glass as more of a metaphor, and suggest that this character lived/hid behind it, and didn't venture outside too often (represented by having his glass doors closed). The bird as many of you picked up on just represents life's fragility and death's proximity and when it crashes into his window, is something from the outside he engages with. He feels enough for the bird that throwing it away won't do and so he goes somewhere nice to bury it, and to us he had an experience out in the woods that "changed" him. I use it in quotes because it wasn't a dramatic change, but it wasn't a feeling he would have had just sitting in his apartment. His interaction with life and death just made him realize he should probably call his mom ; ). And he does so by opening his glass doors and being out on his balcony.

We shot it on a 7D with a zeiss 35mm prime, and Toni, like you too, it was shot by my lovely spouse! It's nice to hear so many compliments to the cinematography because we think she did a fantastic job! Also, a fun fact for any DVC vets, is that my wife Emma is the star of our old DVC entry "Before the Party" for the theme MASKS!

@ Andrew
Busted! The dirt in the box is definitely from take one. We had all agreed we were going to do it one take, but then I got nervous and called cut because the take didn't seem perfect enough for me. We talked about rotoscoping out the dirt (which we should have done!) but we hoped people would be focused on the bird, but then again it is a very long shot and that is a lot to ask. Good eye, sir.

As for the bird, we ended up buying a real, dead bird from a taxidermy shop a two hour drive away. I thought for sure it'd be easy to find a prop bird in Vancouver as we have a pretty thriving "Hollywood North" film industry and lots of prop shops, but it was impossible! It took me all day and tons of calls to taxidermy stores before finally one guy had a frozen pigeon he sold us for $20!

Glad you liked the typography! It's a font I really like called "District Thin"

@ Adam
Thanks for the compliments! Too bad it left you feeling confused / that the film was unmotivated, but you definitely arrived at the point we hoped you would, so in our eyes at least, something went right! But I really appreciate the feedback.

@ Mat
Thank you! I kinda answered your questions above, but thank you for the comments and compliments!

@ Toni
Wow! Hearing you were jealous of the cinematography is the best compliment ever as your film was so gorgeous! Thank you! As for the effects shot, Darren is a talented man and he did a really great job compositing that bird in there (which was all done in After Effects).

@ Chris
Thank you very much! That is such a nice compliment and I'm really glad you ended up liking him / the film. That was our hope!

@ Mark
I think all your questions were answered above, but thank you!

@ Simon
Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback and glad to hear the film worked for you! Also, very cool to hear you may or may not be a Gasper Noe fan! Next time I'm in Uganda we should definitely hang out!

@ Joseph
Don't apologize for getting deep! That was our intention! Really glad to hear you liked the film and thank you so much for your compliments!

@ Dick
Haha yes! That is so awesome you called your mother! We didn't necessarily set out to make people call their mothers, but it feels like some kind of success that you did! Our talented friend Gab did all the sound design and scored the film, so I will be sure to pass along your praise! Thanks.

@ Frank
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!

@ Lorinda
Thank you so much Lorinda! Not just for liking the film, but for being a supportive friend through the DV Challenge since day 1!

Thank you again to everyone too, this truly has been an amazing round of the DV Challenge and lots of fun to participate in. I will take all of your critiques with me into the next challenge which I look forward to seeing all of you again in!
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Old September 11th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #14
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

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Originally Posted by Mitchell Stookey View Post
We shot it on a 7D with a zeiss 35mm prime
Wow, the shots looked wider than that. You must have had a lot of room in that apartment! In any case, it looked great.

It's really nice how the photography completely set the tone for the character.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 11:47 AM   #15
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Re: DVC 22 Tempered Mitchell Stookey

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Originally Posted by Mitchell Stookey View Post
As for the bird, we ended up buying a real, dead bird from a taxidermy shop a two hour drive away. I thought for sure it'd be easy to find a prop bird in Vancouver as we have a pretty thriving "Hollywood North" film industry and lots of prop shops, but it was impossible! It took me all day and tons of calls to taxidermy stores before finally one guy had a frozen pigeon he sold us for $20!
I was going to tease you about the very dead, very stiff bird but had decided not to, given the unkind solution for realism that none of us would have wanted. And I wondered if you all wandered around in the trees until you found one. But this is kind of funny--$20 for a frozen pigeon! That's not something you see on the expense list every day. :)
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