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Old October 1st, 2004, 03:26 PM   #1
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DVX100 Short Film: "Brie" now online...

Hey all. Well, I decided to go ahead and post this edit of "Brie" online exclusively for Cast / Crew / and the always honest Dvinfo community ;) . The film is for the most part complete however, it still is waiting on the original soundtrack to be completed (2 - 3 weeks longer) so as for now, there's temp music in there. They are songs by:

Mouse on Mars
Air

There are a few points the edits could be a bit better timed however again, these aren't the final songs so I figured why bother getting every cue exactly eh? Finally, the color could be worked with a bit, I've heard a few complaints of it being too dark in points, but mostly just a few tweaks here and there as the first parts are supposed to be dark picture wise. I hope to send this piece out to medium sized festivals and see if anyone will play it :) .

I'd like to thank Peter Sieben again for his wonderful insight on a rough cut I sent him a week ago. I changed some things and left other things but I'm pretty happy with where the film is now. Peter - you're getting a special thanks in the final version, I promise. As a warning: this isn't a normal conflict resolution type piece, it's meant to have a slice of life type feel and hopefully makes a very indirect statement and doesn't hit everyone over the head with its message. This was filmed with a cast / crew of around 10 non to semi professionals with a budget of around $1,500. We used my DVX100a and I co-directed and edited the piece.

As always, I love this boards' honesty and this isn't the fine cut so things can always be tweaked as necessary. Ofcourse, the acting isn't professional quality but I think it squeezes by as acceptable. I hope someone enjoys it out there ;) .......

File is QuickTime around 55 megs big and the short is 15 minutes long:

http://www.DefiningFilms.com/Rough Cut.mov
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 05:09 PM   #2
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Hmmmmmm..... Flaming posts are infinitely times better than no response at all. Is this just the weekend slump or did you guys really dislike it that much? Anyone?
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 06:16 PM   #3
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OK dude. I'll watch it in a sec and reply. :) Just give me 20 mins.


EDIT: Huh???? What exactly was the point of that?
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 06:38 PM   #4
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Okay, I downloaded and viewed it. (I know how dissapointing it can be NOT to get feedback)

Initial impressions.

Some very nice composition on a number of shots. Good locations, nicely used in the compositions.

Some bad lighting/color on a few (You know which ones.)

I thought the music you have worked well for the pacing of the piece.

Only a few jarring edits.

The acting was.... passable for a monotone theme.


And now, the storyline.


But first, let me tell you a joke.


A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar.

The Rabbi orders some Kosher wine,

The Priest orders a beer.

The Minister orders a cream soda.

The bartender serves each of them exactly what they ordered.


Fade to black.







What, you didn't get the message?


Don't consider that a flame. It's just a slice of life joke. Like a slice of life film. It's not extremely compelling or involving. There are some interesting elements to it. Why would a priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar together? What have they been doing before they walk in? What will they be doing when they leave? How long have they known each other? How many times has the bartender been in this joke?

Why should I care?

It's not for everyone. But you would have to tell it to everyone to find out those who liked it.


But that's just the impression of someone who is more concerned with storytelling than the image capturing. Other's will feel differently. Hey, you could win all sorts of accolades and awards.

Keep up the hard work.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 06:43 PM   #5
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HAHA! lol. That's kinda what i wanted to say, but didn't feel i had seniority enough to say it. :P
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 06:51 PM   #6
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Jeremy,

I really don't mean the previous post as a flame. It's a commentary on "Slice of life" art. Some people really really really LOVE it.

It's just not my cup of tea.

I've been around the block more than a few times. I am familiar with many of the issues addressed in the film. Watching someone else go through it, was like being trapped in a room with people you barely know who are arguing about something. Sure, there's drama there, but I don't really care, and don't want to be a part of it. Slice of life art taps into the voyeuristic nature of the viewer. In a traditional narrative, the viewer identifies with the protagonist (In this case it would have been Brie). As Brie we would be asked to take her journey and learn from it.

In this case, we are as disconnected from Brie, as Brie is from life. In that sense, I think the film accomplished it's goal.

Really... it's not a bad film. It will have it's followers and fans.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 09:15 PM   #7
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Thanks for your feedback guys.

Hmmm, not sure what to hit on first. Richard, I think you had some really well said points there regarding slice of life type films. I was part of a creative team who wanted to try something different for our next project rather than the traditional feeling film. Slice of Life type pictures aren't my favorite films by any means, but they have their moments and we felt the issue we wanted to hit warranted this type approach.

On our issue we were tackling: We as a crew, all felt very strongly against the over-prescription by doctor's, specifically in college aged cases, of mood "enhancers" or SSRI's, a group that contains Paxil, Zoloft etc. Some of my friends and the other crew members' friends (all college aged) have had bouts with very mild depression and have been prescribed Paxil on a first or second visit to doctors including those at college counseling centers. Our friends had serious negative effects mainly including withdrawal from every sort of activity including school, work and friends. It's a methodology that dictates we should medicate society rather than work on dealing with the problem interpersonally. Anyways, we wanted to make a film that would touch this area but also wouldn't be in our faces. We didn't want to put a big red X on Paxil and overemphasize how it's SO bad and make it overly dramatic. I can't stand those type movies, they so often feel like big budget after school specials, like propoganda.

So we wanted to show the film through a character who could represent a chunk of those college kids out there that we knew, like our friends, who ended up getting put on the drug. In our friends cases, they were people who "partied" alot, they use some recreational drugs, pot, ecstasy but they also would go to school and keep 3.0 gpas. They aren't burn outs or druggies, it's just a confusing time in life that can end up quite numb. It's a time when you're trying to figure out who you are as a person or what you want to be doing with your life while meeting new people and growing as a person. So where are these prescription mood enhancers taking us as 20 somethings? The film starts with the withdrawn looking Brie smoking, staring at her TV. After having gone through events in her life: rec. drugs, school, creativity, the death of a friend, thinking about death, and finally prescribed onto Paxil to help her "mood" or "depression" from these pressures in life, we're brought back to where we began. She's still withdrawn and drugs, Rec. or Presc. aren't her answer but only a short term fix that so many US doctors are trying to pass as long term.

Anyways, now that that's out of the way - just a quick statement: No one could say anything on this board regarding any work I've posted that would ever offend me, it's just the way I am. I love what I do and I love to hear people's HONEST reactions regardless of what they think. However, what makes the DVinfo community so respectable and different based from my experiences over the past 2 years has been the high level of character and helpfulness among its members. I appreciate Jeremy's feedback and honesty although without specific thoughts and only LOL's, it wasn't really on the side of helpful. I hope that new members or browsers of this board understand that DVinfo is not a community dominated by 16 year olds and LOL's but for the majority by professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts who enjoy to share their works and whose subject matters can include any genre even one outside of snipers in our back yard. Nuff said, hopefully we can keep it to feelings on "Brie" :

I'd love to hear any other feedback including flames, if just with some explanation :
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 10:12 PM   #8
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Bryan,

Interesting explanaition of the narrative intent. I have to say, while I sensed that as an element of the story, I didn't feel like that was the main thrust. Really, as a viewer, I was more interested in why Brie was out of touch... I wanted it to be someting more interesting than "Typical teenage angst", because - frankly, I've been a teenager, I'm the father of a college student, and maybe I'm not you're core audience. (And yes, I think anti-depressents are over prescribed.)

And, to be brutally honest, I actually thought at one point in the film "Is this going to be a "Very special Brie..." afterschool sort of thing?

I think, perhaps, in your effort to avoid being "Too on the nose" you went a little wide of the mark. For me, you ventured into the area of art that "Invites the viewer to find meaning..." Which can be fun on one level... I like seeing figures in the clouds and words in my cereal. I did not find the meaning of your intent however. Perhaps others will... it's a crap-shoot.

Seriously, the work and care on the project shows... It's good stuff... my critique is storyline related. But again, I'm probably not your audience.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 04:16 AM   #9
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I thought it was nicely made with good shots and editing. The
story was a bit "foggy" to me. I'm pretty young (I hope, 26) but
didn't connect that much.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 08:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback -

Richard - damn, I was hoping there wasn't any "Very Special Brie" feelings in the piece. I was thinking that the German techno would help steer most people away from those feelings.

Rob - 26 is indeed young. I'm 23 and our DP was 26. Hmmm, regarding maybe hitting the message more on the nose, I think our original music by composer Glenn Morrissette should help this out. The first and last songs are going to be variations of each other however, the last song is going to be a bit more dark. Air's song really fits the edits and pacing of the film at the "conclusion" point but its mood is one of moving forward rather than being back where we started having made almost no progress. Hopefully this will clear some fogginess for viewers but I guess we were going for foggy, just not inaccessible.

I'd love to hear plenty more feedback from other people who downloaded it.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 08:38 AM   #11
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Bryan,

A short suggestion. Sometime, the frame can help compose the picture. For instance, "Study in Blue number 17" doesn't really tell us much about a picture.

"Brie" is her name. It also brings up thoughts of cheese. (Sorry, I lived in Paris... see how subjective a neutral title can be?)

Since the project is pretty much in the can, perhaps a more leading title can be found. Something to suggest where the film is going, or where it ends up. No more than three words would be my suggestion. Something that's a bit of a guidepost, maybe even with an "Aha! That's why the title is xyz " feeling at the end.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 08:40 AM   #12
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Just watched your film and you have to keep up the excellent work! I made a 16mm short about 10 years ago and it is an unbelievable accomplishment to direct any film.

Your film, like 99% of all shorts (including mine), is a modest, humble, attempt at learning your craft. Having said that, what the film lacks in acting and writing it more than makes up for in visual sophistication (shooting and cutting).

The only short film I have ever seen that actually works on every level is Scorsese's "Life Lessons" segment of "New York Stories". If you haven't seen it, it is required viewing for any short filmmaker (about 40 minutes long).

Please give us more detail on how you got such a great film look on dv!

Good luck with the film. You should be doing the festival circuit with this film. Can't wait to see your next one.

Ken
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Old October 4th, 2004, 09:47 AM   #13
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Sorry for my feedback. I just really didn't understand what in the heck you were trying to get across by this film. It seemed like jsut a bunch of footage shot for the sake of shooting footage. And it really was rather dry and boring. That is all.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 10:32 AM   #14
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For starters I'm not a professional short film critique-r or reviewer, I do play one on message boards though.

For the story: I think you need to establish the problem of the use of antidepressants rather than counseling is the answer to mild depression.
I didn't really get that Brie was withdrawn from the effects of anti-depressant. I was under the impression that she was still depressed from the loss of her friend. I think the cutover from depression to withdrawal was blurred.

For the technical: Not mentioning the color and lighting, I thought the handheld was a pretty good idea at first. But I think you overused it and it got annoying.
I do like some of the shots (the shower sequence starting with the close-up of the showerhead, the blurring in/out focus effect, and the close ups of the flowers, all I thought were very good).

My overall feeling was that it was kind of boring and you really didn't establish the message you were going for.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 05:02 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback!

Richard - I think a title change is a good idea. We had actually always planned a better title as we heard a good deal of people say Brie made them immediately think of cheese. We just never got around to it. It'll be changed by the time we send this out anywhere.

Kenneth - hey, someone actually liked it, that's weird :) but seriously, I'm glad you were able to take something out of it. as for technique - we just used the dvx100a in F5 or 24p mode and pretty much crushed the blacks and tried to keep our ND up and Fstops around the F3 mark not to mention I think we had a talented DP. Some serious color correction was done in Vegas 4.0 (some more still needs to be done in certain areas) to give it a bleached feel in sections and keep the first drug scene very red to add to the intense feel.

Cliff - although music can't change the story itself, I think that with the final music in place to emphasize the exact emotions we were going for in the begining piece tied with the final piece in a slight variation might bring the message out a bit more but it was never supposed to just hit the viewer in the face or anything. I can understand what you mean regarding the cutover from depression to withdrawal. Honestly, we weren't so much focused on the crossover but more of not giving any solution or resolve to this girls life problems.

Well, thanks for the feedback, I'd love to hear any more thoughts anyone might have regarding the piece.
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