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Old January 17th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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5150 - EX1, pure and simple!

Hi All - Here's a rough cut of my dramatic short piece called "5150".
I'll post a color timed version when Exposureroom is up and running again.

EX1, 720p30 and 60. Nothing on the glass, 16GB SxS for overcrank, MxR into SanDisk Ultra 16GB SDHC for everything else.

Shot in 5 hours in downtown LA.

Director's Sample - "5150" - Rough Cut By Chris Ross Leong On ExposureRoom
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Old January 18th, 2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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Fine Cut, color timed but still no final audio or music is now online at:
"5150" By Chris Ross Leong On ExposureRoom
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Old January 18th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #3
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Hey Chris, great technically, not sure i "got it" content wise. Very nice use of the crane and slow-mo when the woman stops in front of the car. I would say cut out a few of those eye close ups, and some of her laughing at the end.

Nice work!
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Old January 18th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #4
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Thanks Jay
It's a little long pending music scoring.
When the score's in it will make better sense.
Most of the people who watched it got it, some didn't, oh well. Can't please everybody.
I've cut in shots that fully explained what's going on, and then cut them out again. Maybe I'll revisit that.
Thanks for your comments, though!
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Old January 19th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Leong View Post
Most of the people who watched it got it, some didn't, oh well. Can't please everybody.
First of all, I'd be curious to know who "most of the people" were (the cast and crew?). And shrugging off the comments with "Can't please everybody," is a bit of a cop out. Don't you think an explanation is in order?

Understanding and being pleased are two entirely different things. I may fully understand something, yet not be please with it (Raging Bull is one example). On the other hand, it's going to be difficult to be pleased with something one can't understand.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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Jay!

Let's see if I can address your issues without writing another tome about it!

Okay, here we go.

"Most of the people" were test screenings for over 300 people, online, and IRL. And while around 25 of those were indeed at the AFI, (and cast and crew of 8, discounted), over 200 were random people not in the business or related to it.

Three people, one from an AFI screening, one online, and Jay here, absolutely didn't "get it". The other two (not Jay) mainly because of their own cultural backgrounds, I established later on. 28 people overall got it but didn't buy it. 33 people, 8 in the biz, thought it was way too obvious. 2 of them said they'd been through that experience themselves before, so they immediately knew what was going on the minute the movie started.

That's the part that can't be helped, and so no, I don't think I'm copping out at all. In fact I double checked that fact with over 50 people in this latest cut. That's what screenings are for, after all.

So - explanations.
I personally prefer pure cinema (i.e. almost without dialog) to making a piece that's so well explained that there's no joy of discovery left in it for me. I do that in television all day long and I'm sick of it, probably as sick as you are of watching it.

So while I'm perfectly capable of making this piece 100% transparent and telling everybody that thus-and-such happened and so-and-so didn't, and why (at work we politely call this "broadening" the show - I prefer to call it "taking the crunch out of the peanut butter"), this film is my personal expression and I prefer to have my audience stretch, just a little, not too much, and maybe risk losing them, at least on a first viewing, than have it be "nice piece!" and walk away, done, dusted, forgotten, next.

A short piece, for me, should be way more poetry than prose. It should be the absolute opposite of a pre-digested TV show: a little hard going down, but stays around inside awhile longer and hopefully does more good than ill.

Also I subscribe to a theory of pure cinema in that brevity and concision is the key. Nothing wasted, off point, nothing superfluous. So, unlike watching most TV shows, blink and you'll miss something - something important, not inconsequential.

To illustrate - in race car building, a famous constructor once said he'd design and build a car, then start pulling support struts away from the frame until it collapsed. Then he'd put the last strut back.

So it is with my construction here. This piece is missing two support struts, without which isn't fully built: when the effects are in and the audio post is done, the images should interweave properly with the sound to create another effect entirely, as per Kuleshov and later, Pudovkin and Eisenstein. Then the score, which is a major element, will also carry information not available at the moment. And music, as we know, carries mainly an emotional content to the viewer - which is the other missing support strut as far as I am concerned.

Although that's maybe debatable too. I won't know until my sound design has been implemented and at least a rough score comes in from the composer. Then maybe I'll trim those back too. The reason? When I had my earlier, more obvious cut screened, around 30 or so people said that it was too obvious already, without the sound or the music So I adjusted the cut some, and will probably do so again. That's what screenings are for, after all.

One last point. When I started in this game, I spent a lot of dollars and years building skill sets, making sure that what I saw behind my eyes ended up on the screen, as intact as possible. I saw my first duty as being to capture the ethereal concisely, precisely, on time, and in budget.

However, when I finally finished a personal film that I personally was pleased with - guess what?

Only around half the people who watched it got it and actually truly liked it (which for me was a rather high score at the time) but the important thing I learned was this - when a piece is personal and accurately conveys what it is one originally intended for it to convey, then it's like a complete, non-generic thought, spoken accurately, to another person. Their reply to that sentence comes as much or more from themselves, from their own personal reaction to that thought, than from one's statement alone.

In other words, I know what my film is saying and what it isn't saying. I'm in full control of what it is that I write and produce, and why. Personally I prefer my peanut butter extra crunchy: I prefer to delve into the subtexts of pieces myself, rather than being spoon fed information through dialog and music that's too on the nose.

However, the piece itself is around 4 minutes long. And as every kid knows, it's hard to select the right 4 minutes to get a good response out of their folks. And a film, when viewed online, doesn't choose the moment a viewer selects to watch it.

So - once this piece is done, a) I expect as many people to say "too obvious, too predictable" as "too obscure, don't get it" b) around half the people who really watch it actually to like what they see, and c) their comments to me to be based on a combination of their general state of life (i.e. what they were feeling at the time they watched the piece) and the piece itself, just as one gets different reactions to the same statement depending on the mood of the person being spoken to.

A film speaks personally, emotionally to many different people not only of many different background, but also in many different moods and modes, at the same time.

However, if just one young lady, sometime in the future, watches this piece, remembers it in a moment of crisis, and acts on it, then, for me, it's worth it. All of it.

JM2c, YMMV, etc.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #7
 
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Just more rhetoric, but not very meaningful.

If you're happy with it, then I'm happy for you.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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If you say so. Let's see how it turns out when it's done.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #9
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I'll try this approach at work....

Maybe staging a "mental break" will get me out of a couple of deadlines...."Hey Pussycat, where's that report?" ...."ha.ha..ho.ho. hee.hee.wooooo"

I kind of got it....Would like to see the finished product to see how it gels together.

Liked the Asian character the best...

Mike W.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 05:45 AM   #10
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Watch your eyelines as well!
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 02:06 PM   #11
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I think I got it -- stalker gets more than he expects with an unstable women?

Any way, looked good. for some reason I didn't like the sound of that drama book hitting the pavement, didn't sound "Right" to my ears.

Also, what color is that woman's long jacket? Black? The EX1/3 has trouble with that color sometimes -- people are using some sort of IR filter for the fix.
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