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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #16
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so what your saying is don't intercut the dancing, run the trailer like the film runs...?

The film is a family film. it's not all that, but it works and people like it. I am more of a Domino type flick fan. ;)

Anyway, where in the trailer do we say that the old guy wins? I will not spoil the film and tell you what happens in the trailer, what good would that be, but from your above posts it seems that you think the old guy wins??

The goal of this trailer is to give people a taste of the dancing and a taste of the goofy family that is in trouble.
the original trailer was how the Director wanted it.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #17
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Yes, I would definitely run the trailer the way the film does. Drastic changes in tone only work over time, gently done. Well, IMO, anyway. And there's enough dancing at the end to get the taste of it.

About whether he wins or not...from a tone POV, it's irrelevant. The tone will be predicated on how he looks when he's break dancing. If he looks like what my dad would look like if he trained like Rocky and started doing head stands and windmills and such, it will come off laughable. If you rotoscope my dad's head onto someone's body doing those moves it will come off laughable. If you show my dad doing little arm moves he can handle in tight shots and then show a wide shot of someone diving into head stands and windmills, it will come off laughable. Which is good if that's the tone you're going for, but if you're going for sincerity, that laughing is the worst case scenario.

From a story POV, I assume he wins. If he doesn't, what are you gonna do pull some magic ending out of a hat? That's hard to do without feeling cheap, unearned, and unsatisfying. And you can't let the girl die. So of the possible options you have (from what you've shown me), I hope you chose to have the guy win. The hard part of that route is making it convincing, that's all. And if you went for the magic ending route, the hard part is disguising it along the way, so it is believable but isn't obvious. Then when he doesn't win, boom, you pop that on us, and everyone is happy again.

Anyway, good luck with everything.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #18
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It almost feels as if you made the film as much as you think you know about it! ;)

Anyway, it's been good talking with you Jeff, thanks for your feedback and as much thought as you have on the subject I hope you get to pickup a copy of the film at your local blockbuster soon!

I gotta tell you I don't think that tone is everything in a film.
This film may not follow ANY of the "standards" and "rules" of story telling, good chance it does not. It's indy. BUT people like it, and cry while watching it. I could never ask for anything more.

BTW Jeff, what do you do?
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Old November 7th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #19
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Obin,

I guess we'll have to disagree on the tone thing. I think it's one of the most important elements of a story.

Anyway, as for what I do...I work a suck hole job while I'm pursuing a career in film. I've studied screenwriting for the last four years and have written thousands of pages and have given A LOT of thought to the structure of what makes an effective story. I made a short film this past year (35min comedy) and am currently expanding its tone into a full-length feature and have a game plan for how to get from here to where I want to be. So I am by no means a critic for the sake of being a critic. I study what people do and learn from it. I offer my feedback when I see something I think can improve with a few tweaks and to put the story they present to me in the context of my understanding of what effective storytelling is.

While I agree in theory that there aren't any objective rules one must abide by in telling a story, there are story principles that have evolved over the centuries of people telling stories to each other. And no one has all the answers. I think each story idea (meaning the main idea/plotline/character arc that pervades a story) has inherent strengths and weaknesses that force it to go in certain directions. There are no perfect story ideas. Whether you're talking about a 200 million dollar movie or a $5,000 dollar Indie flick, every story idea will have flaws that need careful tending and crafting and often a magician's sleight of hand and misdirection to make them work. Which is why it is so utterly critical that we choose our story ideas very very carefully, become aware of what our inherent story flaws are, and figure out how to apply that sleight of hand.

In your case, I outlined the fact (again, this is just from what you showed me) your story flaw, which needs to be overcome, is convincing the audience the old white dude can break dance. I can not possibly be the only one who thinks it is at least a little stretch of believability. But it's not like you can't tell that story, or that there are "rules" which need to be followed or not followed. But suspension of disbelief is one of those "underlying principles" of storytelling that can not be ignored. So I hope a LARGE amount of this story was spent making me believe he has a chance. I WANT to believe this. I love underdog, Rocky-like movies. But Sly Stallone looked like he could win. The action sequences, full of blantantly missed punches that were supposed to be real can easily be overlooked if the overall impression is good, mostly because by the time the ending arrives I have a lot of emotion invested in Rocky. I'll let it go. Whatever. Go Rocky. The same can be true for your old white dude. But you only get so much rope before you hang yourself. In fact, this is so important I hope it was THE issue to figure out before one second of film was shot.

I guess the bottom line is how utterly critical it is that we choose our story ideas very very carefully, examine their flaws, and see if they can be overcome, before we invest our time.

I am on your side. I hope you pulled it off. And, yes, let me know when it's in Blockbuster. Somehow I got real involved in this and now I want to see what happens. Best of luck.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cottrone
your story flaw, which needs to be overcome, is convincing the audience the old white dude can break dance. I can not possibly be the only one who thinks it is at least a little stretch of believability.
Nope, not at all. I wasn't going to say anything, but after watching both trailers I thought the acting was hokey and the story, if not lost on wether it was a comedy or a drama, just plain bizzare. I wouldn't go see this movie.

Now, that's just being totally honest, and Obin, be assured, there are tons of great movies out there I didn't like, and I'm being very judgemental based on what I saw in the trailer.

I also noticed that your movie looked like it was shot very well, very professional and nice lighting work. While I agree with everything that Jeff says, I also think you're past the threshold with this film, and if we "don't get it" then too bad for us and just move on and focus on the positives. Not everyone will like your film, but you made it, you're happy with it, and you're getting great responses to it. Keep pushing it. You can apply the critques to your next film if you want to. Congrats on your completing your film, I wish you the best success with it.
(PS, the story is no more weird than that rapping Kangaroo film, but then again, that was pretty weird!).
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jeff Cottrone
Obin,I guess we'll have to disagree on the tone thing. I think it's one of the most important elements of a story.
I agree 100%. Itís just very difficult to critique someone's work that has invested money, time and effort with getting defensive arguments as to why the work doesn't have flaws. The most important lesson, in my opinion, is to learn to separate yourself from your work and judge it objectively. That is a lesson I am learning quickly and assisting my advancement in filmmaking.

Robert McKee famously quoted in "Adaptation" saying that there are no rules, but guides that have been proven to work. I agree with you and the other posts, that the trailer didnít work, but Obin has his own vision, which he will either succeed or fail with. What we say really doesnít matter unless he is willing to accept constructive criticism. Adaptation is actually a really good movie to watch to see how a stubborn writer who insists on changing ďthe working formatĒ ends up realizing that itís a losing battle.

The story structure is ancient and there are certain working elements that you will find in every entertaining story. You can tell a joke without a punch line, but youíll probably end up with little or no laughs. You can write a store without structure and end up with a bored and confused audience. Is that a goal as a filmmaker? I think not.

I continue to say that movie making is extremely difficult, but there is generally a reason why it is a good idea to listen to other people uninvolved with the project, especially if there is a collective agreement on the flaws.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cal Johnson
Nope, not at all. I wasn't going to say anything, but after watching both trailers I thought the acting was hokey and the story, if not lost on wether it was a comedy or a drama, just plain bizzare. I wouldn't go see this movie.
Cal, we know each other pretty well now =) Its difficult to make any comments because on one hand I believe that most people post to get feedback, but it adversely affects their work they tend to become defensive, so I usually reframe myself from any sort of engagement. On the other hand its so inviting to engage in the exchanging of opinions. I just hope that people would take comments as constructive; not as retentive.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 08:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Brian Duke
Obin has his own vision, which he will either succeed or fail with.
Not really. Obin wasn't the writer. He wasn't the director. He wasn't even listed as a producer. He was a the DoP (and Editor). In those roles, I think he did a great job. The images look very good. I have no idea what it was shot on. There were some shots I didn't like, but composition is a directing decision. The DoP doesn't fail in any sense because of an odd script and sketchy directing... We all must shoot things for directors without a sense of taste at one time or another. I don't let those kinds of shoots affect me, and neither should anyone else.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #24
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sorry to burst any bubbles around here but it's not t"my" film, as, you can see in the trailer it says "A Peter S. Vinal Film"
I shot it and cut it, my brother is doing the color time on it. and we did some vfx on it.

you guys really are the best around here! such a positive vibe man! ;) really, chill...this is after all an "indy" flick...
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Old November 7th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #25
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What would I direct? I like Scott brother films and stuff like SinCIty
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Old November 7th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #26
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I just thought you guys would like to see our latest gig..it's our first feature...

kinda makes me feel like never posting here again. Can you honestly say, if you had the replys I have you would not feel the same way?

I don't even want to know what the Director would say if I was to copy+paste all the comments in here to his inbox!

lets take a vote, should I do that? would it be a good or bad idea?..he was asking what people think of the trailer I cut for free for him(that would be the version I posted here first) and I told him I would let him know....................

BTW the "Old White Dude" has had a dream for more then 20 years to make a movie, be it good or bad. you gotta hand it to a guy that has never done anything like this give it an all in move and just make the film, that is Peter S. Vinal. I don't think he "hangs himself" at the end of the film at all, it works out as it should. And no I never said he won or lost the danceoff...
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:20 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=Brian Duke] The most important lesson, in my opinion, is to learn to separate yourself from your work and judge it objectively. That is a lesson I am learning quickly and assisting my advancement in filmmaking.

This is the attitude that will foster real growth. I've learned the same thing countless times. It is not easy to hear criticism of something you worked hard on, but that is how we grow as artists. The ones who "get" that exponentially increase their chances for success.

Obin, you might consider flipping the tables on how you're perceiving this thread. The critical comments are the ones you should cherish and hold up and examine. Discard what you don't agree with and learn from the others. I would definitely send these comments to the director. If I was him, this is exactly what I'd want to hear. What would you rather hear, "great job" from fifty different people? How does that help?

And the ones who should be considering not posting anymore are the ones who spend some of their valuable free time to watch the posted stuff, think about it, and then comment, only to have their thoughtful comments totally blown off by the original poster.

And, btw, the comments I made are about story principles. They are as important to an editor as they are a writer. I gave you my impressions from what you presented. Once again, best of luck to you.

EDIT: I just noticed you added the 20-year dream thing. If he has no intention of making future films, there is no reason to hear constructive feedback. But the tone stuff about your trailer might help him make a decision of whether to change it or not. And he should hear that your trailer, even as is, is more effective than his.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Obin Olson
I just thought you guys would like to see our latest gig..it's our first feature...

kinda makes me feel like never posting here again. Can you honestly say, if you had the replys I have you would not feel the same way?

I don't even want to know what the Director would say if I was to copy+paste all the comments in here to his inbox!

lets take a vote, should I do that? would it be a good or bad idea?..he was asking what people think of the trailer I cut for free for him(that would be the version I posted here first) and I told him I would let him know....................

BTW the "Old White Dude" has had a dream for more then 20 years to make a movie, be it good or bad. you gotta hand it to a guy that has never done anything like this give it an all in move and just make the film, that is Peter S. Vinal. I don't think he "hangs himself" at the end of the film at all, it works out as it should. And no I never said he won or lost the danceoff...
Obin, try to remember that show buisness is, first and foremost, the "buisness of show". With that comes criticisim, be it constructive or otherwise, it's how you use it to your advantage. You say you want to make Scott Free type films, well that's BIG budget territory so toughen up and live your dream to make that happen. Keep posting here and for what it's worth, I would show the director the comments, if anything he would be getting a feel for the audience's taste towards his vision. Good luck and continued success.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 11:43 PM   #29
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thanks again for the words. really.

I wish the Director was on this board..;)
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #30
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Not really. Obin wasn't the writer. He wasn't the director. He wasn't even listed as a producer. He was a the DoP (and Editor). In those roles, I think he did a great job. The images look very good. I have no idea what it was shot on. There were some shots I didn't like, but composition is a directing decision.
We are not really discussing the director of photography job on the shoot, as most if not all of us didn't seem to take issue with that. But Obin DID defend and discuss story line, tone, characters etc, which other disagreed with his assessment, so the comments should be welcome and appreciated. If Obin posted it and said he had no involvement in the story, tone, editing etc, then we probably wouldn't be debating this. However, it appeared, at least to me, that he was looking for feedback, and, feedback shouldn't only be welcome when delivered positive.

Remember, we don't offer comments because we want to put the filmmaker down, but they construed as to encourage improvement and further success.
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