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Old January 1st, 2009, 01:03 PM   #1
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First short film

Hello everyone, this is my first short film. It was shot on a very cold cold day in winter in under 4 hours. I was the one man film crew. I wrote, shot, directed, edited, and composed music for the film. The total budget was $8.52,which was for the 4 hot chocolates for my actors. I'm a self taught filmmaker, but I have aquired most of my information from dvinfo.

...and then i... - Short Film on Vimeo



Thank you kindly for you time.

e.m.white
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Old January 1st, 2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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Assuming you are looking for feedback, if not, please accept my apology if this comes off harshly; it is not meant to.

These are just suggestions and obviously just my opinion. If you are making a short film I generally say it should be max 10 minutes [depending on the topic], and even most times no more than 5 minutes.

Over the years I learned that first time filmmakers [myself included], a) tend to triple the length of what the film is really supposed to be, b) quickly -and sometime proudly - state how little time and money they spent [as if that is a qualification of someone liking it]. To me a film that is too long is a sign of self indulgence and I include Peter Jackson and other successful directors in that too.

Stating how much it cost and how much time you spend is a sign that the viewer should really give you a break when watching it. I have done it myself, but do it no more. Movies are judged on the end results, not the "making of production." No one is going to say "oh I really liked your film because you only spent 3 hours and/or $50 making it." I used to proudly tell people I shot a feature in 8 days like somehow that would make them give me a break on the end results. They did not, and because I was trying to prove that I could make a film in 8 days contrary to what I was told, it suffered.

Why not wait until you have enough money to get what you need in the film and also the amount of time you need? This is my strongest advise to anyone trying to make a film, but with most things, people have to learn on their own, at sometimes, heavy financial loss.

Now to your film. In my opinion the negatives are:

1. It is 6 minutes too long.
2. Edited too random.
3. Some camera compositions are too in your face.
4. Opening credits too long. Leave them for the end, we don't need 45 seconds of credits in the beginning in an 8 minute film.
5. The story was not clear, plus I lost interest after the first 2-3 minutes.
6. Too much talking heads, not enough action and I don't mean Terminator action. I mean action by DOING/SHOWING stuff, rather than TELLING.

The positives:

1. The tone was nice, and you accomplished to create a mood.
2. The music was the best.
3. Better than most first time films I see.
4. Sound was pretty good, which is rare in indie films.

Suggestions. Cut it down to 2 minutes (MAX 3), and let the dialogue stay narrative without the random cut offs. I'm sure you get a lot of "great film" comments, but you should judge it by the amount of entires it gets at a festival or how many would purchase it. You can't make a living on pleasant comments. That is, if you want to become a filmmaker.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 08:08 PM   #3
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Thank you for your comments.

Thank you very much for your constructive criticism Superbadduke.
Very insightful information. I would like to respond to some comments to clear up some confusion that people that Iím in contact with have referenced.
First I respectfully disagree with the concept of a maximum 5 or 10 min short film. It sounds like you are much more experienced than I, so you surely know that most festivals consider anything under 60 minutes a short film. Also there are infinite reasons as to the length of storytelling that the director/writer chooses for the length of their work. Just a few reasons could be budget, time, indepth characterization, festival criteria, etc. A lot of short films are showcase work for the director, so they will take as much time as they feel necessary to get their idea across. (Budget and other constraints are always factored in)
In regards to my reference of budget, crew and time, I do agree to the average filmgoer, they are neither interested, or care. The film either moves them or it doesnít. But, since this is a filmmakerís forum, and the first three questions asked by other filmmakers who have seen my work are budget, crew, time, I thought that this forum would be an appropriate venue to release that information.
Lastly, your opinion about length, edit, camera etc is duly noted. I must express that this is not a traditional liner narrative, and if you watched the whole film, will realize that it is based on a poem. Many people have expressed that this work, is more in line as an installation piece at an art gallery, and I would agree. The Music is a crucial element, and must be experienced at full volume, hopefully to take the viewer to a certain place, and as a result can experience and feel with the piece. This film has been accepted and screened at many film festivals, oddly enough, mostly in Europe and the Far East, as well as South America. I understand if you lost interest, this is definatly not a film for everyone. There was specific design into all the shots, edits, and it is a secret that has to be deciphered. To those who lose interest, thatís okay Ė itís not your kind of film. To those who pay attention, you are rewarded with figuring out the puzzle.
This is my very first film. As I have said before, I have referenced this forum for ideas, and information to help me through it. I have learned much, and have much to learn. And will continue to come to dvinfo, as it is my only school.
In closing, once again, thank you for your valued comments, and I wish you great success in your endeavors.


e.m.white
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Old February 5th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #4
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My initial reaction ? I really enjoyed this short film. It held my interest throughout and was quite atmospheric. Also I think the film was well acted, particularly Tony Stellisano's part as the grieving husband.

I agree with Brian that the opening credits are too long. Also some of the sequences of transitions didn't quite flow for me. I think it's quite valid to state the budget and limitations of production in this forum, if only to give newcomers (like myself) an idea of what can be achieved with limited resource. This is one thing that has consistently impressed me about the work that forum members have produced.

Neil
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Old February 6th, 2009, 10:49 PM   #5
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Opening credits

Thank you for your comments and observations Neil, duely noted about the opening sequence and trasitions, for you or anyone else interested, please let me know if there are any technical questions you may have, I'll certainly try to do my best to answer them.

Thanks again Neil,

Cheers,

e.m.white
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Old February 8th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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So, I guess Eric and Brian are coming from two different worlds. Eric is coming from art, Brian is coming from film in a commercial sense. Eric, if you want to get into filmmaking as a career, I suggest that you take Brians advise seriously. I agree with the 5 to 10 minute max for short films. Brian was not talking about the definition of a short film, he was talking about what works for audiences, as a short film.

On the other hand, if you are going for the art installation and film as art, then, I guess you should just keep going in the direction you're going. You didn't really follow any traditional story format, but the atmosphere was good. I suppose that is what you were really after, and I think you succeeded in that sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke View Post
Assuming you are looking for feedback, if not, please accept my apology if this comes off harshly; it is not meant to.

These are just suggestions and obviously just my opinion. If you are making a short film I generally say it should be max 10 minutes [depending on the topic], and even most times no more than 5 minutes.

Over the years I learned that first time filmmakers [myself included], a) tend to triple the length of what the film is really supposed to be, b) quickly -and sometime proudly - state how little time and money they spent [as if that is a qualification of someone liking it]. To me a film that is too long is a sign of self indulgence and I include Peter Jackson and other successful directors in that too.

Stating how much it cost and how much time you spend is a sign that the viewer should really give you a break when watching it. I have done it myself, but do it no more. Movies are judged on the end results, not the "making of production." No one is going to say "oh I really liked your film because you only spent 3 hours and/or $50 making it." I used to proudly tell people I shot a feature in 8 days like somehow that would make them give me a break on the end results. They did not, and because I was trying to prove that I could make a film in 8 days contrary to what I was told, it suffered.

Why not wait until you have enough money to get what you need in the film and also the amount of time you need? This is my strongest advise to anyone trying to make a film, but with most things, people have to learn on their own, at sometimes, heavy financial loss.

Now to your film. In my opinion the negatives are:

1. It is 6 minutes too long.
2. Edited too random.
3. Some camera compositions are too in your face.
4. Opening credits too long. Leave them for the end, we don't need 45 seconds of credits in the beginning in an 8 minute film.
5. The story was not clear, plus I lost interest after the first 2-3 minutes.
6. Too much talking heads, not enough action and I don't mean Terminator action. I mean action by DOING/SHOWING stuff, rather than TELLING.

The positives:

1. The tone was nice, and you accomplished to create a mood.
2. The music was the best.
3. Better than most first time films I see.
4. Sound was pretty good, which is rare in indie films.

Suggestions. Cut it down to 2 minutes (MAX 3), and let the dialogue stay narrative without the random cut offs. I'm sure you get a lot of "great film" comments, but you should judge it by the amount of entires it gets at a festival or how many would purchase it. You can't make a living on pleasant comments. That is, if you want to become a filmmaker.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #7
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I thought the movie was good. the shots was great love the scenery and man -40c crazy you did a great job of the panning shots and holding the camera. the script well it a poem so there is really not much of a dialog but the shots really is what told the story here. Good Job and look forward to seeing more from you
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