DVC7 - Sean McHenry - "Reindeer Murder" at DVinfo.net

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Old December 27th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #1
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DVC7 - Sean McHenry - "Reindeer Murder"

K. You knew I would find a sort of dark twist on the theme. Hopefully there is enough going on that you can all follow it alright. It's pretty easy really but the flashbacks seem to throw folks off for some reason.

I don't want to give it away before you all get a chance to see it so I will reserve my explanation until it has been posted for a while.

Looking forward to what you folks think. I would like to think it's something nobody has tried or perhaps even thought about. Standing by.

Sean
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Old December 31st, 2006, 12:37 AM   #2
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Love the title.

Hey, your remark about 'product' on your web page...awesome.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 10:56 AM   #3
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Loved the C.W. impersonation!

And santa is definitely 'the big man' when it comes to this season and his reindeer.

Creative story, I liked it.

was that a whitetail?
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Old December 31st, 2006, 12:17 PM   #4
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I liked it. The scenes as months passed seemed to drag on a bit for me, maybe having her outside the car for a few would have helped. I also thought that the theme (memories) was lacking a tad, but overall I have to say that I really liked it. The opening scene also worked quite well.

The C.W. impression was pretty good too. :)

Mike
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Old December 31st, 2006, 12:18 PM   #5
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Sean:

"Time" element was a bit confusing at first. It wasn't clear on first run through when the "identification" of Grandma was taking place, because the date you first gave was Xmas eve 2006, then ID takes place, then you start flashing back dates in early months of 2006. Once we saw what you intended, every thing fell together well. Compression didn't do justice to your film, I am sure, but it was great fun, and I loved the lyrics from the song being woven into the dialogue. Great job
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Old December 31st, 2006, 12:59 PM   #6
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Sean:

Your actor impersonating Walken was so good that I actually knew it before it was said in the movie! Also, excellent story idea. Well lit and paced.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 01:06 PM   #7
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I thought the pacing was good. The lighting was dark, but not too dark. gave a mood to it. the time lapse thing kind of caught me off guard and did drag a tad. but it got the point across so it did work. I guess that I was the only one who didn't know who the voice was, until the end that is. At first I thought it was Mick Jagger. hahahaha.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 01:33 PM   #8
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Sean, your initial hook caught me completely off-guard..."Near as we can tell, your grandma..." Hilarious! And the quip at the end made for a chuckle, as well.

This was a funny concept that you executed well. Yes, the months drug on, but I'm sure that was your intention.

I'd forgotten you said you used an impersonator, so, even worse than Michael thinking it was Mick Jagger (hahaha!), I'm sitting here thinking, "What the heck kind of St. Nick is that supposed to be? :)

Your movies are interesting, Sean. I always look forward to them.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 02:26 PM   #9
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Hi Sean

Merry Frickin' Christmas! lol

That opening joke was so bad, it was really funny. I'm sure that was your exact intention. About three sentences in, I knew the voice was a CW impression. Pretty good!

I'm curious as to what filter(s) you used in this film. It's almost as though there is an ECU of a candlelight glimmer without the color. Like the center portion of the frame is brighter and gets darker as it goes out and flickers. I hope I'm describing this correctly.

Am also curious on the time sequence. I believe she is wearing the same clothes for the whole deal. The shotgun shells and magazine are in the same place...as though she is parked at the deer crossing sign and doesn't move for 12 months. Can you share more about this?

Sean, you always deliver a very unique and distinctive feel with your films.

Best wishes~
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Old January 1st, 2007, 01:27 AM   #10
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That's good, the Walken impression kept me laughing. Would have liked to see more deadpanning of the 'Grandma Got Run Over' song but what you have is good. Long Santa letter though. If you cut that V.O. in half and added more gags up front I think it would have been better.

Nice job all around you guys.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 01:39 AM   #11
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Camera work and lighting was good. I really liked the twist at the end.

Merry _______ Christmas to you, too.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 04:09 PM   #12
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Sean -

I loved the beginning with the serious/yet spoofy dialogue! I think you totally couldv'e drug that out a little bit longer with more lines from the song...or maybe you could have added them in later into the movie!

Like some people have already mentioned I felt like the section showing her waiting for the reindeer month after month drug on just a bit...Perhaps you didn't need to do each month or maybe you could've experimented with the months overlapping a bit...a kind of montage look with the months and the various scenes slowing fading in and out of eachother...lol I don't know if I described that very well...I hope it made some sense though. I loved that you showed a variety of angles of her waiting though...we got a little bit closer each time and that was great! Especially when you cut away from her and just showed the deer crossing sign for one month...very nice!

I was a little confused about the ending, though...why was she waiting all those months and then on Christmas Eve the night it happened she had given up and was at home? I liked the wacky twist of Santa bringing her the reindeer, though, very dark and funny and the voice was excellent! I just would've liked some motivation for her not being out waiting for the deer herself...like maybe she was out there and it never showed so she went home...or was the whole idea of her waiting for the deer just a fantasy she had for revenge??? Because that's what I started to think...

Thanks for making such a fun, dark movie!
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Old January 1st, 2007, 09:54 PM   #13
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Some answers

The answers: (sort of)

Here's my take on the whole thing. By the way, you can watch it as embedded flash via Google on my web site so you don't have to wait for it to download anymore. Look under the Portfolio tab.

So, yes, in review, the month to month thing is a bit long but yes, the idea that she is out there waiting, hunting for that Reindeer is sort of important. I tried to shake it up a bit by doing a few angles, changing the light setups, etc.

I would have had Natalie out of the car but first, she had a very developed a very nasty cold that night and I felt guilty as it was dragging here across town for this one. Second, I didn't want Natalie running around wielding a shotgun next to a roadway, even if it is fake. Even worse, the lady that plays Grandma is another local theater and film/video actress with a few pieces under her belt and she drove about 45 minutes one way to spend about 5 seconds on camera. In retrospect, I would have made the hoof print on her forehead (in case you missed that) larger and perhaps a real bloody mess. After all, she got killed by a several hundred pound beast running over her head with a hoof.

back to the other comments - The "effect" in the "memory" segment, which happens while she is sleeping, is created with a Magic Bullet effect I tweaked by dragging out most of the saturation, using a vignette and some film jitter stuff.

I didn't want to be too derivative and just rehash the song itself, I wanted it to be more about what happens after the silly song is over. Hey, I suppose it might be funny if some one you don't know gets run over by a reindeer but what about the poor sap who's grandma is dead in the cold mean streets? Maybe the reindeer was drunk?

So for the whole idea, Natalie is sleeping on the couch Christmas eve 2006. She is dreaming and remembering the incident from December 2005, one year earlier, hence the months from Jan - Dec 2006. She is remembering the long months looking for the killer deer.

She wakes to the sounds of Santa leaving her home and finds the mysterious gift left behind.

The information I left on my web site about the production goes something like this -
We all know the song about the Reindeer and the unlucky dead Grandmother. It's funny, sure, but what happens when the songs over and the old lady's lying dead in the street? What would you do if it was your grandmother? Would you grab a Remington 12 gauge and head for the woods? What if Santa had a NY Mob mentality and a wicked sense of justice?

There you have it. Hope you had some fun with it.

I am a big fan of good magicians and big governments - both are great at misdirection...

Sean

PS, if you liked the lighting in this one, be sure to watch "Track 11". I think it's quite theatrical in it's lighting. A little something I did a few months ago now.
http://home.columbus.rr.com/deepblueedit/Portfolio.htm

And - if anyone is interested, I have a MySpace page too. http://www.MySpace.com/deepblueedit
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:03 PM   #14
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At first I was wondering, 'what's with Santa?', until it all became clear.

On first viewing I'd thought you got the dates wrong because both Christmases were 2006, until I realized that it's not both, but the same Christmas and everything in between was dream/memory. I think what threw me was that the cop scene looked dreamy, but the waiting by the road to kill the reindeer didn't as much. That left me needing a second viewing to figure out what happened. On the other hand, a second viewing gave me a second chance to laugh at the Grandma got run over by a reindeer joke. I can't imagine your out-takes, I'm surprised you got a straight reading at all.

Smile,
Kris
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