DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins at DVinfo.net

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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:19 PM   #1
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DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Hey guys.

So, let me get this out of the way. The 3-minute time limit really killed us on this one. We went out and shot about 30 minutes of footage, a couple of endings that we couldn't fit in, and a whole side plot that is only vaguely hinted at. We struggled a bit with getting the pacing right and building tension in the time allotted. I'll admit that it's our fault for not planning well enough, but our style is usually just get out and go see what we get.

That being said, enjoy the film that we put together. Last minute style, as usual.

Ready to answer any questions you may or may not have.

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Old October 3rd, 2013, 07:43 PM   #2
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Gripping and suspenseful. Nice misdirection with the "trees". Good colour grading throughout the film too.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 07:04 AM   #3
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Loved the visual at the beginning of the dark-haired character coming down towards the camera and you taking the time to focus him, before he yelled "Hey!" Classy bit of letting the moment breathe.

The next bit of dialogue though brought me up short -- because of the audio. It sounded like you were recording with an on-cam shotgun rather than miking the guy below and just dropping volume.

After that, I have to say I didn't really get what happened in the story. I was a bit lost as to motivation and reason. But the hit man in the car, although he first appeared a bit young, had really nice delivery, and I appreciated you shooting him off centre and not looking at the other character.

Some nice moments there. Thanks.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

I really liked the mood of the conversation in the cars. Like Marc, I appreciated the performances at that moment as well - the lack of eye contact was very effective. The feel of the whole film was very bleak, insular and oppresive. It fitted the story well.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 12:46 PM   #5
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Pretty well shot considering it was last minute. I was a little confused on the narrative side. I think it's about this guy wanting a hitman to put someone out of their misery because they're terminally ill. Why doesn't he do it himself? He drags him away at the end after all, but maybe I'm missing something. Either way, solid job!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Good visuals, good acting, but I think story wasn't quite tied up. One big distraction for me was the passing of the empty envelope. It was almost see through, and there was nothing in it. Maybe I missed something there.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 04:41 PM   #7
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Your hitman was awesome. His facial expressions, the dialogue, the camera framing, all very cool. Nice job creating that character.

I would like to hear more of the story behind these characters. How did they all end up in this situation?
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Old October 4th, 2013, 04:45 PM   #8
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm glad we conveyed a bleak and dreary mood throughout.

Derwin, that is a solid theory there. As I said in my description, we had to cut about 30 minutes of extra footage that would have done a much better job of explaining everything. A key point for describing the story is actually the title, which we hoped would also explain why the character that didn't kill the man ended up dragging him away.

Marc, thanks for noticing the audio quality of that scene. It was the only scene that we didn't have time to use our external audio source. So I agree, the audio is a bit shoddy there, but we felt it worked well enough, considering he was further down a cliff. The scene with the cars was our favorite portion that we shot. We took the most time making it happen.

Chris, you caught us. We realized it was apparent that it was an empty envelope a bit too late to reshoot. The envelope is implied to contain some sort of information regarding the "mark".


Anyway, I know this is cheating, but I'd like to elaborate on the story a bit here. We initially came up with the idea that the character that is killed, may or may not be a "skinwalker". For those unfamiliar with this urban legend, it's basically an entity that possess a human body and uses it for it's own purposes. Our idea was that the dark hard character was convinced his friend was no longer himself, so he wanted this being done away with.

We filmed multiple endings, and eventually, due to time constraints, settled on the story being about a sinister form of harvesting energy from freshly dead bodies, which is why the dark haired character drags the body away himself.

Thanks again for all the feedback everyone. I wish we could have shown you the fully realized end result, which we are still actually editing into a 15 or so minute short.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Oh wow! That is definitely a dense idea that needs longer than the 3 minutes. That would be cool to see!
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Old October 5th, 2013, 01:58 AM   #10
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

It's always a challenge to try to condense a complete narrative down to a few minutes and not leave anything out. Despite running into that roadblock a bit I think you were able to put together an engaging story. One thing that may be helpful, at least it has been for me, is try creating some 30sec - 1 minute stories. It forces you to really boil down a story to it's core. Then if you take that mentality towards a longer piece you add on things that improve the core of the story rather than end up being forced to cut away vital parts to make something sorter.

I felt for you with the plane audio in your first sequence by the river. I think we've all been there. (Today I was on a shoot where in 3 consecutive takes we had a plane, a train and then an automobile). lol.

I did think you guys did a really nice job establishing a eery mood to your piece (both shots & music) and I enjoyed the hitman conversation. Using a tree was a neat way of keeping us guessing a bit as to what they're "really" talking about while also having them use code. I'd certainly be interested in seeing the piece when it's cut to a decent time with all the stuff in it that you wanted to put in there.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 06:01 PM   #11
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Hi Ben,

I read about your skinwalker idea and that would have been AWESOME! I can sort of understand now about the scene where he is screaming and grimacing.

You are right, you needed more time to tell the story, but with what you did at least you had a beginning, middle and end.

My only thought at the conclusion was, "wait, no, don't touch the body because the police will see your fingerprints on the clothes."

Thanks for sharing your creativity! Would love to see some sci-fi stuff!

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Old October 9th, 2013, 02:20 AM   #12
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Re: DVC23 - Harvest - Ben Robbins

Benji, congratulations on a solid solo piece (without Cole)! How I wish I had known what was going on with the character who was in pain. That would have made all the difference in this film, so, like others, I'd be interested in seeing the longer cut.

My old-school "nose room" teaching got in the way during the exchange in the cars; yet, I admired very much your intent and how we barely saw the shooter by the end of the scene.

Every time I watched this piece I honed in on the acting of your "skinwalker" in the last lake scene. Tell him I like his timing and the way his reactions seem fresh--like he's hearing the lines for the first time, truly in the moment. All three actors did very well, but I'd like to see him again.

And I'm hoping to see you again for the charity challenge!
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