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Old January 19th, 2005, 04:41 AM   #1
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Beauty - A 5-minute short

I accidentally posted this in the wrong forum initially, so I'm reposting it in the correct one.

I filmed a short in December called "Beauty". I filmed it using a Canon XL1. All audio is recorded using the camera mic (some of it was re-recorded after the fact), and all light sources are natural. I'm thinking of submitting it to a couple of festivals, so any feedback would be fantastic.

The file is about 10mb in size and is it quicktime format. Let me know what you think.

http://www.sweepinghalo.com/beauty.html


*EDIT*: I also added a WMV version that is twice the size with a faster framerate. And it's only 3mb larger than the quicktime.

http://www.sweepinghalo.com/beauty.wmv
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Old January 19th, 2005, 09:12 AM   #2
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It was nicely put together! However, I think the story was kind
of lacking. I'm not sure if the event that triggered his change was
strong enough (emotionally), or perhaps that just didn't show
enough. Some great shots in there, however I thought the
sky (with him on the building) with the sun didn't match the cuts
to him standing....
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Old January 19th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #3
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A lot of those shots were "beautiful". haha. I enjoyed it a lot. The scenery helped out. Your fortunate to have such nice places to shoot at. Everything looks so dead and bled out here. No color or expression to anything, especially this time of year.

As for entering it into festivals, I would go back and check through some overlooked errors like in Rob's reply. I haven't went back to check it, but just to be sure about it you should go ahead and patch up any little mistakes you can.

Also, I noticed the music was done by Sigur Ros. If you enter it into a festival do you plan on changing the music or do you have rights to use that song? That's something else I would check on.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #4
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I absolutely don't know this sure, but my nephew went a couple of times to the website of Sigur Ros and emailed them a couple of times and he said Sigur Ros doesn't object when people use their songs in their own movies.

I can't state this in any way, just what I heard.

BTW: I found that the movie had some beautiful sky shots, but indeed sometimes I had the feeling something was lacking.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #5
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I liked the short, simple but pleasant to watch. However I felt we aren't told the guy is depressed. There is a guy lying on a bed and suddenly he decides to commit suicide? Looks a bit strange.

Regarding the music, you should always check to make sure the authors are okay with it - Don't forget their music is released by some record publisher which will probably have the rights for film, etc.

I think it's the third time I hear this music being used on a short, it seems very popular indeed. I'm not surprised because I too was touched by this music when I heard it for the first time quite a few months back when I bought the cd.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 01:17 PM   #6
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About the music, I emailed the band about a week ago explaining how I made this film and wanted to submit it to some festivals. I got a really quick reply back saying that they had no objection as long as:

a) The content was "appropriate"

b) I wouldn't be selling my film

c) I wasn't submitting to any large-scale, internationally known festivals (e.g. Sundance, Cannes, etc)

In terms of showing his depression... it's a little subtle how I chose to present that, and I have found that a number of people I have shown this to don't pick up on it. There are two signs in the opening black & white scene: The bloody knife and rag on the desk next to him, and the "with the vein" cuts on his wrist that you see when he moves his arm to scratch his eye. They are subtle, so perhaps I should have made that more clear.

Thanks for all the input guys, I really appreciate it. It's nice to actually hear criticism from people who know what they are talking about, since asking my friends and family always gets the same "wow that was great" type of response. Thanks.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 02:29 PM   #7
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Nicely done. You might also check on permission to show the TV program as well. (I can specifically hear "American Idol", "FOX", and "TV Guide Magazine" all of which make me want to kill myself too) I actually had to create some custom TV programming for a short I did a while back because of copyright problems, but then again my shot had a more obvious usage rather than just background noise.
I agree with the other comments about not really knowing "WHY" he is depressed and thus "WHY" the sudden change of heart. Maybe give some small visual clues as cutaways like you did with the X-acto knife.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #8
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I thought for a long time about whether or not to give a specific reason for his depression. I decided, however, that it might take away from the overall theme. For this piece, I think it's less important what his problem is than how he begins to solve it. It's a general story of hope, so I didn't want to tie it too much to a specific thing.

Maybe I should have done it the other way, but I'm just saying this so you know it was a conscious decision and not just an oversight.

And thanks about the TV stuff, I hadn't even really though of it. I'll just hope they don't notice it or anything. If Fox or TV Guide really want to slap a lawsuit on a college film student for their names showing up in a film, then sobeit. I think they have bigger things to worry about. And besides, a lawsuit would be some nice publicity right?
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Old January 19th, 2005, 06:26 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brent Ray :
And thanks about the TV stuff, I hadn't even really though of it. I'll just hope they don't notice it or anything. If Fox or TV Guide really want to slap a lawsuit on a college film student for their names showing up in a film, then sobeit. I think they have bigger things to worry about. And besides, a lawsuit would be some nice publicity right? -->>>

I doubt a film festival will even accept it without proof that all the material has been cleared.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 07:26 PM   #10
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I don't even think I was looking for a specific "reason" he was depressed but something to help distinguish that he "is" depressed would maybe help. Just a little glimpse I guess for background and character development.

I had a piece of FOX news footage I used once and I ended up going down to a TV studio and sitting at the news desk with my co-producer while our sound guy shot it for us. It took about 5-10 minutes to run thru some lines (we wrote on the spot) a couple of times and that was enough footage for us. I figured "better safe than sorry".
In your case you could easily cut some random voice over, maybe even make it relevant to the story (remember the reason or "clue" that he's depressed) and splice it in. The video on the TV is pretty difficult to see clearly so you could maybe even touch it up a little to make it even more obscure and with the new voiceover, presto, no more copyright worries.

The one thing you don't want to get noticed for at a film festival is being a copyright violator. Even if it is a long shot, "Murphy" say's you'd get nailed. Besides, I'm not even talking about all the other violations possible like posters, sheet patterns, wallpaper etc...
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Old January 19th, 2005, 07:27 PM   #11
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Change a bit too sudden?

I liked your short, good message, well shot, put together - mostly everything. The only thing I had a problem with (and it was earlier mentioned) that his change is a little too extreme and sudden. I have known suicidal people and they do not reverse their mood by the mere sight of a sunset, nor do they do it that fast. Some of them did come around and become happy again, but it took a longgg time. It was all I could do to keep them happy and cheer them up, and it was actually exhausting. Perhaps the sunset could trigger a memory he has of something better? Showing that would help enormously I think. Don't get me wrong, a gorgeous sunset renews my love of life all the time, but I think it's different with a person who thinks living is the worst case scenario. It's just my opinion that it would take a little more to get that across to that particular character. But great work, and it's nothing that couldn't be fixed!
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Old January 19th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #12
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If some TV station sued an amateur videographer just because he used their images very subtly in the background, they would have to be real petty bastards.

He's not making any money out of the film, and the content shown on the TV is irrelevant to the story, so who cares? I doubt any serious TV station would give him a hard time.

Regarding the depression mood change being to quick, I have to disagree - It's a SHORT film, not an in-depth coverage of what depression is all about and how to get over it. That's what I liked about the film, the simplicity with which the character suddenly re-started noticing the little things in life and enjoying them.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 08:10 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Ferdinand : If some TV station sued an amateur videographer just because he used their images very subtly in the background, they would have to be real petty bastards. -->>>


... and your point? Have you heard about Apple suing the 19yo student for his website? A little different situation but I bet he never thought it would happen.

I don't presume he (Brent) would have a problem. I just wanted to bring it to his attention. People are pretty serious about Intellectual Property these days and I can't think of an entity as greedy and petty as TV Stations. It's just good practice to cover your ass with both hands whenever you can.

Let's just for kicks say that he does get into a festival, and wins something, and some else competing complains because they got second place. Now he has something that theoretically could get him disqualified. Or rejected up front. Or sued. It's just always better to make sure you are covered up front. Even fire off a sample to the network for permission. They could say yes!
All that said, I really liked it. Very well shot. I like it short and sweet too.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #14
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Thanks for the input guys. It's nice to hear some different opinions. My biggest worry when planning out this short was the idea of the change that so many of you have mentioned. I have known a number of depressed people and I know that simply a sunset is not going to make them love life. I presented my idea to a number of peers and got the same feedback that many of you are giving me: Him seeing a sunset is not powerful enough to make him not suicidal. I tried to make it as clear as I could (without the use of additional characters or dialogue) that he has not jumped to the polar opposite of his initial depressed state. It's merely a glimpse of a greater story of this character's life. He sees that sunset and hesitates for a brief moment, and maybe for a split second thought that there might be something out there to live for. He is by no means a happy person at the end, he is simply given reason to form new hope. I tried to show this as clearly as I could, but I suppose it's difficult to accomplish in 5 minutes and without any dialogue. I do appreciate the comments about it though.

And Dave, I would have to agree with you completely about the TV stations. I'm not submitting to major festivals, and I'm not selling my film, so the likelihood of anyone slapping a lawsuit on me is slim to none. If this was Sundance, I'd be a little more worried, but I'm not thinking that big yet, so I'm just going to hope I'm ok.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #15
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You're right, it is a short, and for that it is great! I was still really pleased with it just thought I'd bring that up.
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