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Old April 13th, 2006, 03:50 PM   #16
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Very nicely done, Robert. A lot of people do this--reflect on how they could have "put up" with someone better or been nicer while the person was alive. I thought you did a good job of pulling that off in a short amount of time.

As for the last scene, it's obvious something is there; that's when a pause button comes in real handy. :)

Think I'll give my folks a call...
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Old April 13th, 2006, 04:06 PM   #17
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Ahh, now I get it. I never saw it until it was brought up. I was trying to figure out what you were looking at. I thought at first it was a hospital. I liked the pace of the story. I thought your parents did a great job at acting too. I can say it does make you want to give your mom a call. nice job.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #18
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Well Rob, I apologize for I guess not paying as much attention on that last shot as I should have. . .I totally missed it on the first watch, and watching it again while paying extra attention to that last shot makes me go "ohhhhhhh" haha. It was really well done, I enjoyed it. Nice work! The parents did a stellar job and I thought the "useless emotion" line sounded natural. *thumbs up*
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:43 PM   #19
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I too missed the shot at the end on the first viewing. :(

Nice work in general. One suggestion for next time: a little music can go a long way, especially for a film like yours with a lot of quiet, introspective shots.

Thanks,
Bill
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Old April 13th, 2006, 09:33 PM   #20
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Hey -- I watched the film again too and saw it, definitely makes a lot more sense now.

I think of the four today yours was the one that went the deepest -- it's good to have some laughs and stuff, but it's also good to reflect on what's really important in life (sometimes relationships, or even life itself!) and it's good to see someone doing that. Don't feel bad about that last shot -- that happens to everyone at some point on some level. Good job on putting it together and making something deep and meaningful. You're a thoughtful guy and that shows through loud and clear.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #21
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I thank you most sincerely, Philip, I'm deeply moved. "Thoughtful guy", that's a new one. I hate to let such compliments go to my head, but they really mean a lot, and I do appreciate them.

I can't forget that this is still the first day, at least in my timezone. Who knows what tomorrow's gonna bring? And there's always your film. "Hmm," I wonder quietly to myself, "is Philip trying to get on my good side so I vote for his film?" :P I do look forward to it, and all the others. A board this size, with this kind of talent, and "went the deepest" is sure not to last very long.

But then, I'm not being very gracious in accepting kind words, am I? I'll just repeat my "thank you" and leave it at that.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 03:04 AM   #22
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Robert

I missed the reflection in the van window, and without it, I was puzzled at the ending.

All these D.P types call out the lighting, but as an actor, I tend to be amused by the relatinships. My favorite part was the breakfast dialog. "You say that all the time,"
"Yeah, and I'm right."
"Do what you want to do."

That's New York love baby!
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Old April 14th, 2006, 03:41 AM   #23
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It was a good piece but I too missed the last reflection shot. I couldn't tell what it was when I looked at it again, either.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 07:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
"Hmm," I wonder quietly to myself, "is Philip trying to get on my good side so I vote for his film?" :P I do look forward to it, and all the others. A board this size, with this kind of talent, and "went the deepest" is sure not to last very long.
LOL -- that's pretty funny! I hadn't thought of that... My point was that the other three are pushing things a little, hard to connect with on a very personal level (I've never been a vampire), whereas yours was about a guy and his relationship with his mother, and he's upset that he failed her just before she died. I can relate to that on a personal level because I really don't have a good relationship with my parents, especially my mother.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 02:34 AM   #25
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I liked it too. Acting and composition aside, the story is a common one and that's not a bad thing. If you can get the audience to relate I think that's good. Sadly, I think a lot of us can realte to this one. We all have regrets / guilt.

Nice job.

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Old April 15th, 2006, 03:01 PM   #26
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I was also confused by the ending. I've reviewed the final shot over and over (the wmv version), and I don't know if I'm just missing it, or if I'm imagining things in the reflection. Is there a rhymes-with-moose in the tree? (Hopefully, I didn't spoil that for anyone.)

The only criticism I had is that there wasn't a lot of close-ups. Most of the shots are long or medium, with the closest being a 2-way between the son and the father. For some of the introspective shots, I would've like to have seen more of the main character's eyes -- perhaps even a reflection of what he's looking at in his glasses. (But that's just a personal preference.) Some of the long shots (like the dinner table or the phone call at the couch) also had lots of head space, but I didn't know if that was intentional or not.

What I'm digging about the DV challenge is that a lot of people are doing dramas or poetic pieces. Which can be really hard to do right without being overwrought. So far, everyone's nailing it nicely.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #27
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Yes, Robert, there is. I'm thinking it wasn't lit properly, and with some decent lights and/or reflectors, I could've made it stand out more (or just some different framing--it's a bit low on the van's window as it is).

I wanted to grab some closeups of myself while standing around, and I do feel distant from the story without them, but didn't get any for some reason. I think it was because I got too obsessed with the little details; the scene is supposed to be set out in a field somewhere, or in a secluded place, and I was worried that closeups would reveal the house in the background (our neighbors', for the record). Some of the shots do that anyway, however, and no one seems terribly put off by it.

I considered eyeglass reflections as a possible alternative when reworking the scene, as my first idea didn't work out. I had planned to have the camera face the van head-on (this is before I decided on a location for those shots), with my character standing on the opposite side of the screen. The film was to be closed up with a dramatic dolly move as I entered the truck, with the vehicle and the reflection sliding into view, explaining the whole story. That was out, for various reasons, not the least of which was the lack of a good location for that. Every other potential angle shows the surroundings, our yard, and wouldn't have looked the way I wanted it to, so I was stuck with what you see. I've got a handful of behind-the-scenes photos, if you guys are interested, that show exactly what the camera would have seen from any other point.

The headroom in the shots you mention comes partly because I was worried about standing up: if I framed the shot for myself sitting on the couch, with no headroom, I'd be cut off when I stood up, and that's no good. Better coverage would have helped there, and let me pace the scene much more convincingly as well, unfortunately I didn't adequately plan this production. I also couldn't operate my own camera, so I sort of eyeballed the framing. My father worked as my stand in for those scenes, but we're not exactly the same height, so I may not have compensated well enough. I shot 4:3, so I could always adjust the shots later on, but that might eliminate the bottom of some shots...the "footroom", I guess. Too much on top, not enough on the bottom, I'd have to reshoot again to get everything right.

I mean, I've read "Shot by Shot" a dozen times over, why didn't I get this stuff right the first time? It's frustrating to know I should've known better.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 03:56 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
I mean, I've read "Shot by Shot" a dozen times over, why didn't I get this stuff right the first time? It's frustrating to know I should've known better.
I wouldn't worry about it. I've read Shot by Shot too, and I always make so-called "mistakes" while shooting. It happens -- there's just a lot of stuff to keep in your head, especially when pressed for time. Trust me, I wish I had shot some things differently on my short. I use Vegas a lot, to zoom in on footage, and make my compositions tighter, to correct my screw-ups on the shoot.

But honestly, yours is a *solid* film. My criticisms are rather minor.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 04:15 PM   #29
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"Solid." I like that, thanks. Your criticisms may not be that important to you, but anything that helps me make better movies is pretty major in my book. I'll do my best to reciprocate once your film is released.

Something I forgot to do earlier: bonus points to anyone who knows where I got the title for the movie.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 05:17 PM   #30
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Robert:

Your movie powerfully showed me what my life's mantra has been since November, 2004:

Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Thank you for your message. I felt your sadness. Your movie had the same feel as the original "In Cold Blood" starring Robert Blake, lensed by Conrad Hall. I want to say that your movie had an organic quality and an unsettling eeriness to it. Gosh, I hope that is what you were going for because if it was, you scored a bullseye.

I recently lost my mother and your move paralelled a moment in my life with her. A day before she suddenly died, she called my home late one night and asked if I would bring her a sandwich. Now, normally I would have done that except that she lived about 25 minutes from me and I had just fallen asleep due to the hour's lateness. In a groggy voice I told her I would bring her a sandwich tomorrow. She was dead the next day.

So yeah, your movie hurt like that. Thank you being brave and tackling such a topic.
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