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Old November 7th, 2003, 01:30 PM   #16
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Dylan, I guess some of us like slower productions. Sure, it's nice to have the two slots - I agree with that point. But it's also nice to see an episode that has a nice European feel that concentrates on atmosphere. They may have skirted the challenge of concision but as a stand alone I want to see the next episode before I render judgment.
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Old November 7th, 2003, 10:37 PM   #17
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Jami, I have to admit that to your credit, the mood and pace strengthen the weaknesses in the story.
I do appreciate the diversity of your movie, and will reserve final judgement until the 2nd episode. However, the strength of this episode is supported almost entirely by your excellent photography. If you weren't so skilled at shooting and editing, it would have been very boring to watch.

After watching it again, I think you definitely my vote for best Cinematography.
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Old November 8th, 2003, 11:42 AM   #18
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Dear Dylan,

thank you for your comments on Episode 21. I agree with you on Jami's excellent cinematography and editing, but as the writer and co-producer of the episode, would like to talk about the story.

"Now some critical feedback, as much as the pretty pictures entertained me, you took 7 minutes to say virtualy nothing, except there is an old man, a ghost and a book."

Many of the Lady X movies have focused strongly on action: What the characters do. However, we believe that while the medium of cinema works precisely because of movement, it is the characters that make that movement relevant.

It is NOT interesting to see an action hero shoot a villain. It IS interesting to see an action hero shoot a villain because the hero had a fight with his son, and must now rescue him from the villain before the son joins forces with the villain.

I don't know about your experience with storytelling, but as a professional writer I believe everything in a movie (or a play or a novel) contributes to the whole. If you only saw an old man, a ghost, and a book, then I suggest this may be because you're looking at the wrong things.

Indeed, the fact that you're looking for some particular things that will form the entirity of the story is flawed logic. Every nuance, facial expression, camera movement, sound, touch of color, object in the background... They all make the whole that is a movie, not just what the main characters do or not do.

Now, I'm sure you're familiar with all this, but if none of this felt in any way moving to you in our film, there's probably something wrong with the film. If you have time to think about how good the cinematography is, it's not solid enough a part of the whole. Maybe because you only saw the first part, but probably something bigger.


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Old November 8th, 2003, 06:20 PM   #19
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Just watched Part 2.
Mike, someone in the other thread suggests that this episode should only be shown as one part, since it loses something by being cut up. Perhaps as part of the creative team, you see it as a whole, not as two pieces are the rest of us get to.
Yes, all the individual aspects of the film moved me through the story, and it was extremely well put together. However, the story itself, was fairly unclear and confusing. Maybe I'm just slow, it's quite possible, but by the end of the movie, I was asking myself what the point was?
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Old November 10th, 2003, 02:56 AM   #20
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I agree with Dylan.

I don't mean to offend anyone, but let's just say I've watched it twice and I still haven't picked up on the plot. Now I'm sure if I really paid attention I would perhaps understand more of the story, but the fact is nothing in the film made me want to do that. Nothing jumped out at me besides the images, and that's not to say there should be more action, but after an extended time with no dialogue, and seemingly pointless cutaways, your mind starts to wander away from the story. That was one thing that confused me, why so many cutaways to random wildlife? All the shots looked great, but I couldn't figure out how it all related. It made the film seem more like a showcase of talented photography rather than good photography aiding the storytelling process.

One is left with the feeling, very impressive, could have been better, as one side weighs more than the other. But I guess that's how all films are and everything is open to improvement.

The cinematography really increased the production value of this short. I really enjoyed the shot of the old man sitting on the bench, with the people walking past him. How were you able to acheive such a shallow depth of field with the Canon? Was that done with a different lens or in editing?
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Old November 10th, 2003, 07:09 AM   #21
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brad Simmons :
, why so many cutaways to random wildlife? -->>>

Random wildlife?

There is no random wildlife in our episode. All the animals have a reason to be there. Their action and even presence have certain meanings as a character (jackdaw), symbols (a pair of mallards) or as adding mood, especially contrast (squirrel in the graveyard in contrast to the almost lifeless old man and the dead).
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Old November 10th, 2003, 08:19 AM   #22
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Just wanted to chime in that part of the problem is that a film like this is harder to appreciate in a little Quicktime box. I can think of many films that I thought were great, subtle and deep, but I would not appreciate them unless seeing them on my TV or in a theater.

Any film with lots of subtext and literary metaphors or such are just hard to appreciate while hunched over a monitor.

It's more of a problem with the medium than the message.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 11:52 AM   #23
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For what it's worth, I have to admit that I find myself troubled by Jami's episode(s). When the production stills were first posted, I was really excited as it's obvious that his skills as a photographer are superb. Upon viewing the first part, I immediately found myself seduced by the images and rich music emanating from this little theatre.

But about halfway through that first episode I started hearing the voices...."nothings happening"..."what's going on here?"..."is this really a ladyX film?" I decided to put those thoughts on hold and wait for the second part. Unfortunately this time the voices were less patient and started up within the first minute. About 3/4 of the way through, the chorus became so loud that I had to step away from my computer....I'll admit that I don't know how it ends yet.

Maybe I'm just A.D.D. but this is the first film I've ever walked out on in my life, and its a shame because there were such pretty pictures on the screen. If you sit back and watch the film again you'll see that by and large it is like a slide show...a collection of really beautiful--but essentially still -- images. The challenge of this approach is that it needs a strong narrative to keep it alive. Spend sometime with Woody Allen's "Manhattan" to watch how beautifully a still camera can be used in a film (and I'm not just talking about the cityscapes in the beginning).

Rather than presenting the episode full length as one part, my feeling is that it would benefit from some significant cutting, perhaps to the length of a single episode. It's painful to take beautiful shots and deposit them on the proverbial floor, but all filmmakers have to do it. Sometimes you have to throw away your best stuff to make a film work. Because Jami's shots are so beautiful, it only makes it harder.

Barry
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Old November 10th, 2003, 09:39 PM   #24
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When I started working as an assistant cameraman, my 'tutor', who knew I was into still photography, told me I'd better forget a lot of what I knew in order to become a better cinematographer, as the two are very different things. I'm still working on that, as you can see from episodes 4 and 5, also one story told over the course of two episodes (I've since taken my time re-editing the two together into one feature for our DVD version, btw). Anyway, perhaps you need to stop thinking so much like a photographer, since adding the dimension of time to the process changes almost everything.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #25
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<<<-- Originally posted by Barry Goyette :
But about halfway through that first episode I started hearing the voices...."nothings happening"..."what's going on here?"..."is this really a ladyX film?" -->>>

I'll spend my life discussing the last one, if I have to. Our episode passes all the LadyX rules clearly. No, this is not an agent-action-gunsandchases -piece, but the LadyX rules don't require it to be, either.

<<<-- Maybe I'm just A.D.D. but this is the first film I've ever walked out on in my life, -->>>

Our episode has made a unique impact on you then ;)

<<<-- If you sit back and watch the film again you'll see that by and large it is like a slide show...a collection of really beautiful--but essentially still -- images.
The challenge of this approach is that it needs a strong narrative to keep it alive. -->>>

I disagree a little. I'm sure that as a photographer you don't think that still pictures are dead? In my opinion strong visuals can make a still/moving still alive regardless of the narrative.

But there are limits. Maybe I've crossed them in our episode.

<<<-- Rather than presenting the episode full length as one part, my feeling is that it would benefit from some significant cutting, perhaps to the length of a single episode. >>>

Again, I disagree.

As you must have noticed, the action in the storyline is very small. It might have been squeezed to one-minute movie quite easily.

The mood and atmosphere were amongst the most important things in our minds, when building this episode. And these were totally destroyed, when the episode was cut too short.

Believe me, I tried for countless hours and sleepless nights. It just died. (OK, many of you feel it's dead regardless of the length)

The question about the medium is quite relevant, though. About 30 people have seen the episode on a larger screen, and although many of them didn't like it or didn't "understand" the plot, nobody thought the pictures themselves were "dead".
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Old November 11th, 2003, 12:16 AM   #26
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E.P. Comments

One of the many goals John, Paul, Rob and I had for the series was to encourage creative diversity among productions to the maximum extent possible. (Ex: A samurai version of Lady X?!) In turn, one of the goals of that encouragement was to ignite thought-provoking discussions about many of the episodes between producers and viewers. Thoughtful critical discourse and interrogation represents such a valuable aspect in creative work for both its producers and its consumers.

This thread is an outstanding example of such a conversation. Jami and Mike have certainly presented us with a gem for creative discussion.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming....
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Old November 11th, 2003, 01:57 AM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jami Jokinen : <<<-- Originally posted by Brad Simmons :
, why so many cutaways to random wildlife? -->>>

Random wildlife?

There is no random wildlife in our episode. -->>>

Yeah, you are on your own on that one Brad... :)
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Old November 11th, 2003, 10:16 AM   #28
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Jami

I don't think anyone (especially me) here thinks your film is "dead"...otherwise you'd be seeing comments like "cute, loved the birds.....great job Jami..see ya".

As a still photographer, of course I don't see photography as a dead art, and perhaps you are right that its not critical for this approach to have a strong narrative to succeed...I think of godfrey reggio's Koyaaniskaatsi or Kubrick's 2001...yet I'm not sure you were after some sort of meditative abstract mind-bender. You have a narrative here...your story is relatively straightforward. My suggestion is that your approach is "challenging" ...meaning if you do go down this road, you have to go to extra lengths to hold the viewers interest. In my case you didn't succeed, I lost interest. But I'm only one viewer.

Jami, I think the reason that your episode has generated so much discussion is that we all recognize that we have a director (or DP) of tremendous potential in our midst. In this way, please consider your episode an unqualified success.

Barry
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