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Old May 6th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #1
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The Great Gatsby short

This short was shot by a group of High School kids from Living Word Lutheran High School in Jackson, Wi. They don't have anything besides a cheapo consumer grade camera and a lot of eagerness to be moviemakers and actors. Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think, I will be forwarding any comments onto them.
The Great Gatsby
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Old May 6th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #2
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Nice piece until the gun came out.

Sorry I know that's life but frankly I'm sick of guns and really sick of kids with guns. Just had too much and want to see films without violence for a while.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #3
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Very nicely done and well thought out. There were some technical and artistic issues but overall I enjoyed watching.

If they want some comments:

1) The sound in the living room could be improved.
2) The guns sfx were a little too loud.
3) The guy on the left must really like his tea. He needed something to do besides drink it several times before speaking.
4) I don't remember if it was there or later but a little music would have helped. There was a long period of inaction.
5) I don't know that the stylish language was necessary. With the modern setting it didn't seem to fit.

You learn by doing. If this is a first effort then I'm impressed.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 10:45 PM   #4
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Thank you Rob and Ned, I'll be passing your comments on. Keep 'em comming guys.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #5
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Ned whats your problem? Haven't you ever read The Great Gatsby or seen the movie? The story has guns in it so its not like they are just pulling this out of their own butts. Its based on the original story and because of that I see no problem with them having guns. Plus it was probably for a school assignment, and if thats the case its not like you can just change the story on your teacher.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 08:21 PM   #6
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Thanks Ned. You won't believe it but this wasn't for an assignment. These guys just live to someday be the big filmmakers.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 03:53 PM   #7
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I think some of the imaginary action on the scenes became a little redundant; like the imaginary girl and guy walking towards the camera holding hands. Although these are nice effects they can become a little repetitive if overly done. Oh yes, and the guy drinking tea should have just sit there and not move for a while. I think sometimes silence and motionless could be just as great.

Nice job, and keep on bringing this literary cinema! (to the kids)
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Old May 10th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #8
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Overall, I really enjoyed the piece.

I watched with the sound turned off just to get "tuned in" to the visual.

With the park bench scene, you might try pulling back the emotion a bit. Sometimes less is more. The leading man didn't have to rub his brow, we would know he was upset. He could just sit down quietly. The human mind is always occupied. If the actor is focused on "nothing", you know he is concerned with something within himself. Sometimes a distant look is better than business. That is something your actor can play with.

The ghost images didn't work for me. You might try a really fast "flashback." Man come out- sits- we see him in medium shot- cut to 3 second scene of him and woman together at the bench (differnt time of day or a different season)and then back to medium shot. No transitions. Pop into memory, pop out. I don't think you will lose anyone. Again, play with this. These are just style issues.

The tea scene needs a little TLC. I didn't like tea cups. Too small. The actors were having a hard time with them. Yes, tea cups are the "art majors" of the mug family, but these were a little too delicate. Looked funny.

You also need to "chop up the scene" a bit. The table was too wide so you had to use a wide angle and you got a little distortion (nothing tragic) but it put the focus of action on the edge of the frame. Next time, do the master shot of them sitting, and then cut to over the shoulder shots as the actors take turns with the dialog. Maybe throw in a reaction shot if it is called for. Then to the master shot for the final scene.

The very end of the scene where the man leave the room, his arm blocks the man who was still seated at the table, and then the door opens blocking out everything, gives me pause. As I had the sound off, I don't know if you were going for that effect or not. So I will leave that to you. If you wern't, just end the scene. We don't need to see him leave to know he goes. If you were, have them both get up, cut to a scene in the doorway, cut to the outside with the second man emerging, and show the door closing on the first man. Something like that.

As for the gun thing, differnt people are sensitive to different things. I don't mind guns, but I hate to see actors using drugs in films. You handled it well. Always keep violence understated. I don't know if I would have used a Redhawk. It just looks so HUGE and setrile. I think I might have gone for a blued revolver. Debatable. Glad you stuck with the revolver. I know that you did that to facilitate the business with the bullets, but it works for other reasons.

Overall I think it was great and I can't wait to see the next project.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #9
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Rule number ... avoid cliches and that includes cliche shots.

The medium shot, OTS, OTS, reaction shot is boring with a capital B. I thought the scene played out very well and was quite artistic to show the thoughtful, calm thought and connection between the two.

The shot with the one leaving the room. The one guy was framed by the others arm and it worked quite well. I'm sure that was the effect they were going for.

I don't mind guns, drugs, blood or mayhem as long as it is correct for the story. Trying to be politically correct is not telling the truth.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 01:52 PM   #10
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Joe and Rob, thanks for your detailed analysis. This has been very helpful. To be honest with you, I am also a strong believer that certain things such as violence, have a more powerfull effect when implied and not graphically shown. When I first watched this film, I had a bad reaction to the gun scene, afraid that it will look like a lot of the teen stuff you see on fxhome.com, but seeing the way it was handled gave me a pleasant surprise.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 02:40 PM   #11
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Thank You!

Hello, This is Eric Hillman(Gatsby, editor, screenwriter,co-director) wirting on the behalf of Mitch and I. First of all I'd like to thank each and every person who watched and posted on our movie. We are supremely grateful for any comments or suggestions. Please keep them coming. Having said that I do have some thoughts...

-contrary to what Rafal said this was a school project for a novel class...on that note we are just wrapping up on a new project inspired by The Grapes of Wrath. Hopefully it will be up on this site by next Friday.

-Concerning the the door and the framing with the arm. That is exactly the affect we were going for. We made it that way to set up the shot of me sitting there alone.

Thank you all for your comments.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 07:50 PM   #12
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Hey there Eric ( a.k.a. Mitch ). Good to finally see you here. Thanks for correcting my previous statement. Let me know when you're done with the other project as I won't mind hosting that one for you as well.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:32 PM   #13
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I'm still gathering my thoughts on this. I think it misses something
to capture the audience. It feels too slow and perhaps "forced".
I'm not sure yet. I'll see if I can add some more comments after
a second viewing.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #14
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This is Mitch this time. Thank you all for your posts. Very much appreciated. In response to what Rob said, can you explain how you feel that it was "forced." I'm not quite sure I understand what you meant by that, and want to now how to correct it. It may be due to the fact that we chose about a page and a half from the novel and had about 3 weeks to complete it in. There are many things that I wish I could have elaborated on but time constraints prevented me from doing so. But anyways, please fill me in on what you meant. Thanks.

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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:19 PM   #15
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Does anyone else have other comments?
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