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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:31 AM   #1
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Spoon Test Factory

Here's a short we did recently. Hope you enjoy it!

Spoon Test Factory (2006) is a short film about Marie, played by Beth Gillin, and Geoff, played by Brian Egendorf (MainFragger), who work in a factory where spoons are tested.


Cast

Geoff ........................................... Brian Egendorf (MainFragger)
Marie ........................................... Beth Gillin

Crew

Directed, Written and Cut by ........... Mike Gray
Produced and Sound by .................. Tim Gray
Director of Photography ................. Andrew Salerno
Script Supervision by .................... Thom Webb

Format: HDV
Location: Studio 5 South
Run Time: 6 minutes 20 seconds
Script Writing Software: Celtx
Date of Principal Photography: September 24, 2006

All cast and crew of Spoon Test Factory are members of Philadelphia Filmmakers, Actors, & Screenwriters Syndicate, which meets at Katseye Studio in Philadelphia, PA.

Click here to download a copy of Spoon Test Factory in MP4 format.
Attached Thumbnails
Spoon Test Factory-spoon_test_factory_still_24sept06.jpg  

Last edited by Tim Gray; October 10th, 2006 at 12:57 PM.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 12:41 PM   #2
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Hi Tim. I watched your short. To be honest, it just seems a very basic, simple story with an obvious gag at the end. I think you could have trimmed down the story line a lot, you don't even need the other actor (the guy is just comic relief, and does nothing to drive the plot forward). It could have just been the woman testing spoons, then stops for lunch and is given soup and a fork.
This is just me, so please take this comment with a grain of salt but your whole post and site smacks of over-indulgent self-congratulations. Even your feedback blog has posts praising the film from people that worked on it.
If you tightened up the script, and knocked off all the self-generated hoopla, I wouldn't be so put off. I know this is a pretty negative comment, but I'm just being honest. Let the work speak for itself. Praise and aknowledgement will follow. I know there are going to be posters out there writing in saying I'm full of s*#t and it was the most amazing work they've ever seen, so let me just reiterate that this is just my opinion, the impression I got from reading your post and going to your site. I'm sure others will see differently.
One small comment I would make is that the editing seemed tight (good) in terms of cutting on the action, so you did a good job of getting the coverage needed.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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Cal, thanks for taking the time to watch it and give some input.

Your right, it was a simple story with an obvious gag at the end. Might not have been the best choice, but it was the one we made :)

Interesting point about the second character. He was there only for comic relief and you are correct, not vital to the story. The way I originally thought about the script (written by my bro) was that the whole thing was just kind of comic relief, so the male character worked in fine. In fact, we never discussed not having him. I do wonder how we might have treated things differently if we had have not included him. Something I will think about.

As far as self congratulations, of the comments on the film, only two were made by people who were there. My comment on the page was an honest one about the two actors being very easy to work with. They were, and I wanted to give them credit for that. Same goes for the info about who worked on it - it might be just a simple short, but the actors who participate in project, no matter how small, deserve to have their names attached to it.

The site's is obviously visited by friends and family and isn't meant to be the site of a production company or anything. The post on the site is meant to (hopefully) generate discussion amongst the people who do visit the site, and the comment section is there for that discussion to take place. Naturally, people involved will take part in that discussion. I guess that might seem self indulgent to you, but it does provide a forum for people who are interested. However, I guess that can be misconstrued in forums like this.

I do think I will knock out the links to the site though and just post a link to the video. Certainly wasn't our intention to come across as over indulgent, self indulging fools.

Thanks again for the criticism!
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Old October 12th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #4
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Here are my two cents. I am not sure I got the end and point of the movie, but I assume it was a fork given to someone eating soup working with spoons. Not sure it is very clear and I have a few other comments, which of course it is always easier to add comments and suggestions after the work is done.

However, I don't think the establishment of a factory is clear. It looks like a room, and closer to a school room if anything, so the factory aspect may be lost. The other issue is that it is way too long. It could be a minute and would still work. Quick cuts will do the job. I am also guilty of leaving stuff in for too long, but the more you do the better you get at it and less married to the material you become. You didn't need the other guy. He seemed pointless. It also wasn't clear that it was a spoon factory, not just in terms of the production design but the girl's work. It seemed like a experiement or IQ test for her. Again that's just my two cents. Good luck with it.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 02:05 AM   #5
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I really enjoy this kind of absurdist humor. For some reason, when the guy looks inside his sandwich and makes that face, it just cracks me up. Go figure. His antics with the tinfoil are pretty funny too. There are a few things in this world that are just inherently funny. Monkeys are one, and tinfoil is another. There are many more, of course.

I don't agree that you should have taken the guy out of the mix just because he doesn't advance the plot. He's funny as hell, and plot is by no means the only important factor determining whether a story works or not. I also don't think it's a problem that this one room is supposed to be a factory. The whole idea of a "spoon test factory" is pretty freakin' absurd to begin with. I don't think establishing traditional "factoryness" is necessary or called for here. I didn't really find it to be too long, either. I can't see how six minutes of anything whatsoever could be too long. I think there's way too much emphasis on making everything zip by in a minimal amount of time these days. Call it the unfortunate effect of sensory overload if you want. I call it short attention span syndrome, and I call it pathological. :) No offense at all meant to any of the other posters here, by the way. Just calling it as I see it.

I would like to make a few comments on the audio, though. By no means is it terrible or even bad, but there are a few things I think could be a touch better about it. Namely, I think that the actors could have been mic'ed a little more closely. This would have cut down on some of the room echo's effect on the dialogue. It'd be pretty simple to suspend mics (hypers would be best in this room) over their heads and keep them out of the shot, so you wouldn't even need a boom op. Lavs (wired or wireless would both work here, since they don't move much) would be even better.

In general though, I think it was a pretty successful effort. Seems like you were basically going for laughs, and you got a couple out of me. And I'm pretty stingy with my laughter usually.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 03:06 AM   #6
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Jarrod, ease up there buddy. Glad you liked the short so much, but please, just because other people found it a bit too long doesn't mean that they have a short attention span. We obviously took the time to watch the film, and paid attention to what was going on. Maybe some of us were just not so easily drawn into it as you were. Doesn't mean we have a pathological syndrome. That really seems like a cheap shot, and not appropriate in this forum. If you want to comment on the film, that's great, but don't hack on other posters for offering their opinions.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 03:15 AM   #7
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I didn't say anyone here was suffering from a pathological syndrome. :) I'm talking about a very general societal condition that makes it difficult for anything with less than 3,000 cuts, zooms, and "bullet time" shots per minute to be taken seriously. I apologize if I offended anyone there, but I do think I attempted to make it clear that my comments weren't directed at anyone here.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 06:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley
I didn't say anyone here was suffering from a pathological syndrome. :) I'm talking about a very general societal condition that makes it difficult for anything with less than 3,000 cuts, zooms, and "bullet time" shots per minute to be taken seriously. I apologize if I offended anyone there, but I do think I attempted to make it clear that my comments weren't directed at anyone here.
We could argue all day over art and what is good and what isn't. Some say it is a matter of opinion, others say it is a matter of experience and knowledge which form the basis. Who knows? I can say one thing for sure. Opinion DOES and CAN change. Your opinions about movies aren’t the same when you were 4 years old to now. That proves that it changes based on experience etc. People that study movie making and story telling will generally have a better and probably a more sophisticated sense that people who don't.

Either way, we were discussing the movie, not each other's opinion, which is irrelevant. What you find hilarious, others may find really boring, and yes some may be suffering from ADD, but others may not. They simply may just be seeing a boring piece (not referring to the short herein discussion). I enjoy all types of movies, including slow paced films like Lost In Translation without a story, but that doesn't mean I can't think that this was a bit too slow for my taste. It was. I lost interest after a minute or less and fast forward, which isn't a good sign. I personally think it could work as a 1-2 minute short. The idea is there, but to me, it isn't clear, and it takes too long to get there, and it could be done with just the girl.

If all the things that I commented on didn't matter, i.e. about production design, then why bother creating set environments that reflect the reality you are trying to convey? Why not set a military movie in a schoolyard? The point of setting such an environment is to get the audience to feel like they are there without an explanation. Are you going to set a prison movie in a 7/11 deli? Probably not, if you want the audience to think you are in a prison. In the short I got no sense that it was a spoon factory, which lost me from the beginning. This could work as a 30 second short. You be surprised how quick people pick up little things on the big screen and "get it" quickly. The short was basically a joke told in a moving format, but even jokes sometimes can go on for too long before you get to the punchline. "There is a chair, and the chair walks with the shoes, la di da la di da.. Is a good joke, no?"

Of course you don’t need every moment and character to advance the plot or story, but it helps. Less is more. Having said that, moving making is HARD, so all the comments should be taken with a grain of salt and to assist in making it better.

And that's another 3 cents for you.
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Last edited by Brian Duke; October 13th, 2006 at 02:23 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #9
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Thanks again for the comments. A couple quick responses:

Title & "factoryness" of the set - The set actually was an old factory building. Not that it comes across in the video or that we chose it because it was a factory. And just to be clear, it was a "Spoon TEST factory" not a "spoon factory". Jarrod hit the nail on the head as far as that is concerned. It was a bit of absurdity. If it didn't look like a spoon test factory to you, I'd like to know what a spoon test factory actually looks like - I certainly don't know :)

DESPITE all of this, I do think we need to take a bit more of a look at set design in our work - it is certainly an area that is lacking. Same with lighting. I think this video could have been better looking if we spent more time on giving the set a look.

Length - Probably right, could be cut down. I'm sure we are all guilty of not trimming things down to their leanest and meanest all the time. The whole sequence of the guy throwing spoons and the girl trying to make a boat out of the spoon could have most likely been cut out completely - all it does is draw out the "story" and give a tiny bit of tension (in my mind).

Sound - It actually was boomed with a quite decent hyper, hovering right at the edge of the frame. Unfortunately the room was very reverberant (it was actually a room in an old factory) and there was an incredibly high noise floor from the fans/blowers/something outside. Not trying to rationalize the mediocre quality of the audio or say I am the world's best soundman... I probably should have used lavs, at least as a backup, but I don't have them.

Thanks again for the comments. I'm glad some of you liked it and and I'm glad some of you didn't - both kinds of feedback are important.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #10
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Just wanted to say real quick that any response I make aren't made to disagree with any criticism, but more to explain why some of the decisions we made were made - not that they were the right decisions to make.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal Johnson
. Plot sure does matter, and many great film makers have dropped entire scenes or characters simply because they didn't drive the story forward.
Pete Jackson dropped Christopher Lee and Brad Dourif from return of the king which really Pi##ed off Christopher Lee. I always try to do whats best for the film and if your struggling to fit a scene in then it probably means its not right for the film.

If a chef asks you to taste his soup and you say it needs more salt the chef doesn't get offended he just adds more salt and gets on with it.

Tim you take criticism very well, good for you. You need a tough hide in this business. BTW i liked your composition and the bodyless arm that gave them their tasks.

The whole reason i joined this community and IMO the real benefit of this place is to see what other people are up to. I love watching everyones work, there is so much to see in here and it all gives me inspiration and ideas wether it be good or bad. Getting feedback on your project is a must and a place like this is ideal for constructive criticism.

Tech knowlege and support is great but i'd get by just fine without it, I don't however think i'd get by without watching peoples material.You have to watch to learn.


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Old October 12th, 2006, 12:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Andy Graham
Pete Jackson dropped Christopher Lee and Brad Dourif from return of the king which really Pi##ed off Christopher Lee. I always try to do whats best for the film and if your struggling to fit a scene in then it probably means its not right for the film.
If you ask me, Pete Jackson should have kept cutting :)

Thanks for the comments everyone. Let's not have a pissing match here.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray
If you ask me, Pete Jackson should have kept cutting :)
We're not asking you, Tim. ;)

So... I watched it and I liked what I saw. I would have went with a few different angle shots to break things up a little bit, but overall I enjoyed it.

Well done.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cal Johnson
Plot sure does matter
I didn't say it didn't. :) I said it wasn't the only important thing. But that's not the first time my words have been distorted in this thread. :)

Look, I just disagree with you guys about some things. If that offends you, then I don't know what to say.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #15
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Jarrod, I don't mind you disagreeing. What I minded was the obvious snipe that you included in your comments, then tagged with a "no offense" disclaimer :)
I think its appropriate in the forum to just comment on the film, and not read so much into other peoples comments :)
If someone had said that they didn't like the lighting or the color rendition, would you just write back saying "I think that's because today people have no concept of cinematography, no offense intended".
To me, it seems you're just being cheeky, getting the dig in there and then countering it with a "no offense" disclaimer" which I think is just lame:)
I noticed you're doing the same thing in regards to your short that you posted, "The Auditor". :)
Like Brian was trying to say, you can't change peoples opinion, so its best just to critque the film :) Saying that people can't watch a six minute film without being bored because they suffer from a short attention span is just so blantantly subjective it really serves no purpose in this forum :)
Anyway, I watched the film, gave Tim some feedback that he took in the spirit it was intended, and that's good enough for me. If you've got to get the last word in about you're words are being distorted and be offensive while not meaning to be offensive, fill your boots. I'm not even going to come back to this thread.
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