Meat at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > DV Info Net Community Contests > The DV Challenge > The DVC / UWOL Charity Challenge

The DVC / UWOL Charity Challenge
Our contest series unites for a common cause...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 12th, 2011, 04:08 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Meat

Here's the feedback thread for my 2010 DVC/UWOL entry, "Meat"


Firstly, many thanks to Dylan, Lorinda and Guy for giving us the encouragement to get these films made...


SPOILERS AHEAD...

As others have said, "Perspective" is a fun theme but I also found it a bit of a challenge to come up with a story that was appropriate and that I felt was any good/ that I could do justice to. I kept oscillating between bad science fiction and mawkish sentimentality. Then I just thought what the hell and wrote a script about a scientist who dabbles in the black arts and gets his arm chopped off.

Seriously, I think the script I ended up shooting was the fourth of fifth entirely separate idea I'd written for this competition. I did want to go down a literal route rather than a metaphorical one, as part of the challenge for me with a theme this broad was to see how literally I could stick to it! I spend so much time editing other's scripts and working with the framework of their world that my mind is happier the more arbitrary the restrictions, even if they're self imposed ones.


Apologies if my film ended up being a bit, well, horrible - my boss had just given me a book on 1950's horror comics filled with wonderfully lurid images and stories that turned so fast it made your head spin. This may have had an effect, as, at the risk of sounding terribly pretentious, did an essay on "Terror" versus "Horror." Apparently Shelley et al thought the art was in scaring the bejesus out of people with the anticipation, not the execution. Or the dismembering, or the defenestration etc. etc. etc. ;) I'm also indebted to H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West, Re-animator" for a lot of the tone of the piece, although if I ever write anything a tenth as well as him I'll probably fall down dead on the spot in shock.


As far as the look of the thing went, I tried to make it as seedy as possible in a Mario Bava circa "Twitch of the Death Nerve" kind of way. Quite dark with lots of odd semi-pov shots etc...


I'm heavily indebted to Vyvyan, Alfred, Edward, Mum and Dad and David for all their hard work and for indulging my semi literate ravings. Hopefully we ended up with a fun little cautionary tale.

Last edited by Henry Williams; January 12th, 2011 at 04:09 AM. Reason: to add a spoilers warning
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 08:22 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 143
Hey Henry,

I really enjoyed watching your entry. Part of it stems from my own twisted reading habits (my father's trash comics, one of which memorably had giant alien cockroaches doing unspeakable things to buxom maidens, or an Alan Moore comic I just received, "Hypothetical Lizard", which is told from the point of view of a magician's whore whose brain's hemispheres have been severed so she can keep the mystical secrets she is privy to, and who watches a sexually confusing couple break up then assume each other's identities in a bizarre story of betrayal -- I think you'd like Alan Moore.)

Your story, therefore, was welcome and recalled many little ancient ghost stories I've read....

Now, bravo, because you were ambitious enough to do the only period film I can remember from any DVChallenge. Your main actor nicely personified a 19th century physician, and his voice over held nothing back while maintaining the clipped accent needed. I was amused to see we both went for narrated voice-overs (in my case, partly because I didn't have the actors on hand to shoot an expository scene).

The set-up was nice, and I was curious to see what the black-magic perspective would have given the character once the rope burned. So, while the twist was nice (though because we all rely on just a couple of actors I deduced early on he'd be the source of the "fresh meat"), I would have liked more of a second act to heighten tensions and draw out his helplessness.... A POV camera outside in the streets with him saying he recognised the road, etc... The sudden bursting in of the second character seemed a little too sudden, and not quite menacing enough, though he put in a good performance and his saw was suitably old.

You're obviously enjoying your camera, getting clean, low-light footage that was noticeably better than for your last entry (and how many lux is that? I counted a dozen candles...) The music was good.

One off-note (IMHO only) was the titles -- you used the same modern font with disappearing letters in your last entry, and you have the same on your website. It's a nice effect, but felt too modern for this film. An older font and style could have been better.... (Something Hammer House of Horror-ish maybe?)

But great work -- you nailed it with good atmosphere, good acting, good angles, good soundtrack, and a creepy ending.
Marc Burleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lielvārde, Latvia
Posts: 326
Henry, I LOVED YOUR FILM!
It was great! Coincidentally I'm also a great H.P.Lovecraft fan and I immediately noticed the style. :)

Great humour and acting, great camera work.
One comment - I thought it a bit too ridiculous when that other scientist came into the room and immediately started sawing off the arm. Why should he do such a thing to his collegue? :D
But things like these make life interesting. :)
__________________
Our Fire Films - a free film project.
Andris Krastins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Many thanks for taking the time to watch and for the kind comments, I'm so glad you both liked it.

Marc,

Alan Moore is indeed great fun. Very much a fan of Mr Hyde in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Especially for what he does to H.G. Well's aliens...

A longer second act would have been interesting. I did consider it but I'm afraid that time constraints reared their ugly head - I only had two hours with the actors on the day before they both left for foreign climes. There was also another reason as I explain below to Andris...

The cam isn't quite the low light monster it will be when I can finally afford to put a 1.4 or 1.8 prime on it, but I can get away with murder compared to the XH-A1 even with the f3.5 kit lens. There were indeed 12 candles, although I did cheat and bounce a little videolight off the ceiling as well ;)

My boss again gave up a fair chunk of his weekend to do the soundtrack, for which I'm very grateful. It does seem to make a difference.

Agreed re: the titles.

Andris,

It is tremendously good fun creating something this ghoulish! The idea with the ending was that Johnson had come to cut Benjamin up for parts anyway and it was just Benjamin's misfortune to have been conducting the ritual at the same time. As to why Johnson did it, my hope was that the speed of the twist would feel like an old horror comic, ie: a little faster than allowed for by the character development!

Henry
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 11:12 AM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Southwest Idaho, USA
Posts: 3,063
Henry, as someone who doesn't watch films of this nature so can't call it "esque" of any kind all I can say is...it was creepy. :)

The cinematic feel of this film immediately elevated it to a very high level, so it had nowhere to go but downhill; yet, your story, abbreviated as it had to be, kept it at that high level. I absolutely loved your set--perfect in my eyes. Your actors did a marvelous job, direction was excellent. All around just a very fine film!

That's my first impression. Id like to revisit it later and come back with more.
__________________
Lorinda
Lorinda Norton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 12:13 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 126
Henry,
I found this darkly hilarious. I nearly cried at the very end I was laughing so hard. I'm not so familiar with Lovecraft, but the Re-animator films were full of this type of horrible comedy. So I can definitely see a connection there.

Other than the "punchline" I thought you executed this extremely well. The set was simple, yet it made your time period immediately obvious, as did your actor who was really very good. (It's hard enough to find somewhat naturalistic actors, let alone one's who can do a decent accent.)

I liked the mix of narration and music. You blended them well.

I can't think of any criticisms at the moment. I think this could easily be fleshed out into something larger if you wanted to. I think it works the way it is, as a short dark, funny video. However, if you wanted to flesh out the characters, you could turn into something more quite easily I believe.
Cole Seidl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Think I'm getting on top of the tax returns so I've got a bit more time. Sorry for the brevity of my earlier reply but I was desperately searching for what on earth I'd done with June 2009.

Thank you all for taking the time to watch and give feedback and for saying such nice things. The gentle constructive criticism and supportive atmosphere I've encountered the last couple of competitions from everyone involved has been lovely.

The set was fun to do. My mother had an absolute ball shoving everything Victorian that we owned into the one room and making it look like a student digs circa 1850, while I got to feel like a mini Ridley Scott wandering in next door from my storyboarding every couple of hours and giving "helpful" comments. What we couldn't find we managed to source from DIY stores and bric-a-brac shops. Dad even managed to dig out one of his great grandfather's fountain pens and make it work for Vyvyan to write with.

Ed did a fantastic job with the boom (especially considering he was holding it fully extended most of the time and had to make do without a shock mount so the mic would have picked up ANY movement he made), so all credit to him for the sound and as already mentioned the boss was an absolute trooper coming up with the music between me handing him a rough edit saturday evening and arriving back at the office sunday morning.

It's great that everyone thinks it looks so good and I think it's *ahem* roughly the way I wanted it but I have to confess that if there's anything I'm taking away from this it's that I need to try and jerry rig a monitor out of a car tv or satnavv, build myself a couple of softboxes and get hold of a china ball...

Vyvyan and Alfred did an excellent job at very short notice - neither of them had seen the script until the night before the shoot. It was a lot of fun as well. I'll try and post up one of the outtakes in particular tmrw as it corpsed everyone in the room for about five minutes.

Oh, and Cole, it's so worth tracking down the original Herbert West, Re-Animator short story by Lovecraft. Very different from the films in setting but a similar tone and one of the most darkly humorous things I've ever read. Maybe I'll come back to these characters in another form. I don't think I'm quite done with them yet.

Now where in the name of all that is Holy did I leave March 2010...
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Oh and Lorinda, I don't watch films like this very often either. They scare the bejesus out of me too ;)
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 03:30 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 2,860
Hi Henry,

I like what you produced here. Had to watch it again right away.
And I agree about what has been said already.

Well done!
Trond Saetre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Thanks, Trond :)
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2011, 08:26 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
Hi Henry,

Your ability to portray the mood with nicely contrasting low light really made it feel exactly like a candlelit ambience. I especially liked the way you allowed the camera to play on the actor's face in this warm soft light. Believe it or not, I am actually old enough that when I was a young student we had ink-wells in our desks and used straight pens constantly dipping in the ink well for more ink for our writing. The nibs were not nearly as elegant as the nib on the pen you showed, although the writing was just as blotchy because the nibs caught on the fibre of the paper unless you were really careful.

What fun to recall some of that. Thank you.

Alan
Alan Emery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2011, 08:44 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Many thanks for the kind words, Alan and for taking the time to watch and give feedback. It's much appreciated.

I did the best I could with the lighting. Really glad you liked it. It's an area where I'm going to keep pushing myself to improve though - I think I can jerry rig a couple of bits and pieces for next time that will allow me to keep a shallower depth of field in the wide shots.

I'll pass on your compliments about the pen to my Dad. He's got a couple from that era and is incredibly fond of them. I was very touched that he let Vyvyan write with it. Personally I have to say that I infinitely prefer fountain pens to their more "modern" equivalents. Writing with them is so much more enjoyable...
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Porsgrunn Norway
Posts: 280
Henry,
You have made a good cinematic video. The whole atmosphere, even the speaking voice, brings the viewer back in former times. I know it is a lot of work behind it. You are a clever guy.
I am already waiting for a longer historical film-drama from you and your partners.
Finn-Erik Faale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Southwest Idaho, USA
Posts: 3,063
Finally! I've been waiting to watch your film using a headset in order to get the full impact. WOW...did I ever get it.

Henry, this is the complete package: A marriage of theme, writing and technical achievement that exemplifies cinema. You are truly an artist whose work matures with every effort. Looking forward to your next film!
__________________
Lorinda
Lorinda Norton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Thank you very much, Finn-Erik, for saying such nice things. I really enjoyed your film immensely and am glad you enjoyed mine! Half the fun of this competition is the support we give each others efforts...

I've been a bit nervous to venture outside of the horror genre with my short films, which is silly because I edit scripts and make music videos in other genres all the time, but somehow getting behind the camera for something which is entirely (or at least mostly!) my vision makes me want to retreat to an area of filmmaking where I feel comfortable. And I think it might be time to step away from that a little.

I really enjoyed making something with a more "period" feel. The big thing for me with this piece was making sure that the audio worked, as it's an area I've often neglected in my previous shorts. I think next time I might try and challenge myself narratively as well. It would be quite fun seeing if I can do science fiction on a zero budget!

Henry
Henry Williams is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > DV Info Net Community Contests > The DV Challenge > The DVC / UWOL Charity Challenge

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:58 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network