"Chicken" Feedback Thread at DVinfo.net

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Old October 4th, 2013, 07:34 AM   #1
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"Chicken" Feedback Thread


I was having a pint with my girlfriend Katy and considering what to make for this competition when she suggested "Why don't you make a film about why the chicken crossed the road?" I said "Yes dear" in a mildly condescending manner and proceeded to outline my fantastic idea for an elaborate and grisly horror film involving monks and bell ringing. By the second scotch I was convinced it was going to be brilliant.
Several days later I was in the pub with my brother. The thing with the monks and the bells had rather stalled at the planning stages when I realised it wasn't brilliant and was, in fact, rubbish. He was similarly stuck for ideas. I mentioned Katy's thing about the chickens. "That's brilliant!" he exclaimed. "Yes, yes it is" I suddenly realised. "I'm going to make it!" he said. "Can I make it with you?" I said.
A few hundred quid and a week and a half of planning, shooting and editing later we had an extremely silly short film.
The intention with this movie was to spoof a regional UK news report, specifically the BBC London ones. They're made in a very particular way so we didn't use music and I shot most of the film on my ENG camera (Sony EA50) using a zoom lens to get the correct feel. My collection of primes pretty much stayed on the shelf looking at me accusingly.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the film. We had SUCH fun making it.

Henry
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Old October 4th, 2013, 08:12 AM   #2
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Funny! Reminiscent of the skits done by the The Day Today, Drop the Dead Donkey or The Two Ronnies. Very British.

Quite the family affair -- and they really got into character, which is great (nothing ruins a skit like the actors laughing at their roles).

The original idea struck a chord with me. I used to be a TV reporter and, during a particularly empty news week, I was actually once assigned a story about a group of feral chickens in a national park that were crossing the road and blocking traffic. It was a piece of crap story, done only for the cheap line of "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?" and I was furious. I left the station, left the country and never looked back. I enjoy well-done lighthearted news pieces, but manufactured ones done purely for clichés turn me off. //Rant over//

On a technical level, you 'crossed the line' in the interview with the scientist chap (so both interviewer and talent were facing the same side of the screen). Also, the reporter was shot from high up, making him look small (which, given the spoof, may well have been your intent, in which case ignore). And, apart from the MP, the interviwees were looking a little too obliquely compared to the camera. We normally set up the news camera just off-centre of front on.

I enjoyed the whole thing, it looked fun to do and a clever result. It made light of the 'mystery' theme and made me yearn for the silly, surrealist British humour. No 'Have I Got News For You' over here....
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Old October 4th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Hi Marc,

Really glad you liked the film! And great to have expert feedback from someone who once had to do stuff like this with a straight face.

Yes, we wanted to make Henry look small. He's not the tallest chap in the world and I (big Henry) am 6ft 7 so we thought it would be fun to exaggerate what was occuring naturally. The interview with me is shot from an extreme low angle for the same reason.

I shot the interviews like I'd normally do them when filming a two way interview for a corporate. Interesting to know the difference between that and news work.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 09:56 AM   #4
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Well done Henry. The film had a good consistent feel to it and mocked the genre just gently enough to be funny without being insulting to our hardworking journos. The only low point for me was the reporter seemed a bit distant in the "noddies", but I may have missed some subtle cultural reference there.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Really glad you liked it Tim! I'm not sure if we had any terribly subtle point to make with the journos reponses (subtle is a bit beyond a film comprised largely of terrible egg puns!). We were trying to indicate general bemusement at the end of the psychologist interview and the nod shot during the chicken interview was trying to indicate that the reporter understood what the chicken was saying even if we, the audience, didn't. Otherwise it's just the nod of a reporter struggling to keep his increasingly ridiculous segment on the rails ;)
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Old October 4th, 2013, 12:37 PM   #6
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Haha this reminded me of a news bit on Monty Python's Flying Circus. Completely dry and straight faced, with a ridiculous subject. I liked it a lot, good work!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Thanks Derwin! Humour's a massively subjective thing so we're all incredibly relieved that people are finding it funny :)
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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Loved this tongue in cheek treatment of news shows. Lots of fun. Your newsman was great at making it sound like a serious in depth investigation.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Thanks Chris! Henry (the news reporter) was the only "proper" actor on the shoot. He maintained his sang-froid manfully in the face of me and my brothers acting like complete idiots for the camera :)
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Old October 4th, 2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

This cracked me up. Hilarious.

I loved the shot (@ 0:40) with the Bunsen burner on in the background.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #11
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

thank you very much Andrew! The shot with the bunsen burner in the background was great fun. When we were in the lab the lovely tech there, Keith, found out my girlfriend was a scientist and gave her free rein of the place. Katy had a blast setting up bunsen burners, flasks full of strange liquid and the like. Most of it's bokeh'd out but I'm glad you can still make out the flame. Alfred (the mad professor and my little brother) improvised most of his speech. What you see on screen is all from take 3. It was very hard not to laugh and spoil the audio, especially when he kept adding in new bits each time he did it!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #12
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Oh my god, this is superb! I've watched the movie three times now, exceptional idea you(r girlfriend) had.

The line of action has been mentioned, as well as the eyelines, my only additional comments would be that the audio was sort of boomy, maybe the microphones could have been a bit closer to your subjects? And the sound effect for the chicken roadkill was a little too small and juicy for something the size of a chicken, if that were "beefed up", so to speak, I think it might sound nicer.

If the film is missing anything it's a neck-down shot of an especially overweight chicken walking, and a title change to "Poultry in Motion" if you want to really nail the cheese factor.

All in all a brilliant job your team did, in the finest tradition of the BBC if I'm to believe Charlie Brooker (please note the language warning): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHun58mz3vI
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Old October 5th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #13
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Henry, what a wonderful idea... that was actually rubbish... but actually wonderful. :-)
I think you successfully accomplished your goal of making a regional UK news report spoof. It reminded me of The Daily Show and a John Oliver report to be honest with you (TV show in the US if you know what I'm talking about).

I did feel that the middle ran a bit long as my mind wondered for a moment during the second half of the scientist interview the first time I watched it. Although this could have been a result of the shot selection for a couple of the interviews. Having the interviewees eye-line closer to camera would likely make their interviews more engaging to the audience. (Closer eye-line to camera is generally more intimate). So simple tweak might make a huge difference.

The shot of the man holding the chicken and the egg was great (1:29). Didn't have to say anything about it and we all got it. In general it felt like a fun and silly spoof making fun of the absurdity of the mystery of "Why did the chicken cross the road" which we can all relate to... so I think it was, when all was said and done, a wonderful idea and a joy to watch.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 02:59 AM   #14
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

Adam, Robert, so pleased you liked the film! Robert, I rather worship at the alter of Newswipe era Charlie Brooker so please feel free to compare us to his work as often as you like :) Adam, the double take at the end of the interview with the psychologist was done with John Oliver very much in mind. Had recently watched a fair amount of his Daily Show output :)
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Last edited by Henry Williams; October 5th, 2013 at 03:00 AM. Reason: idiocy
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Old October 5th, 2013, 03:05 AM   #15
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Re: "Chicken" Feedback Thread

A friend of mine has been watching the films for fun and she actually independently just said "The chicken one was funny. It reminded me of the daily show correspondent segments". So job well done!
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