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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old May 24th, 2003, 10:17 AM   #1
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Directing Unsuccessful Motion Picture Shorts

See D.U.M.P.S. -- enjoy,
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Old May 24th, 2003, 12:11 PM   #2
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What shame. I've committed those sins in my student films and worked on ones were they did too.

If only the internet and info like this was around when I was a film student. And why didn't our lecturers tell as about these back then anyway? Surely they must have seen it all before and knew all the no-nos?

Oh well, maybe we needed to get these examples out of our system anyway.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 06:55 PM   #3
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Screw this guy! The movie I'm working on now has a time lapse montage, and I'm keeping it!
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Old May 24th, 2003, 07:11 PM   #4
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Bah, screw that list. I can agree with most of the stuff, but he goes too far with some suggestions...
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Old May 24th, 2003, 08:23 PM   #5
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Thread subtitle: Or...why you shouldn't listen to critics

Everybody needs an audience...and I think one of the reader's comments on this guy's page says a lot about the validity of his audience
Quote:
I am 13 and I have been making movies for a very long time. I wanted to be a director since I was 6 and it is funny, because most of the things on your list are things I used to do, and things I still do.
Good thing the great moviemakers didn't read his pearls of wisdom or they might not have created/branded these items on his list in the first place...then what would he have to trash?

---
Dolly/Zoom in on John as he takes an introspective moment to puff on a cigarette, flash a bemused look at having put Chuck Workman in his place, then flick the cigarette toward the lens, as he walks into the lens.

FADE TO BLACK.
---

Incidentally, Chuck obviously merits listening to due to his overwhelming filmography:

1. Spirit of America, The (2001)
2. House on a Hill, A (1999)
3. Source, The (1999) (TV)
4. Story of X, The (1998) (V)
5. That Good Night (1995)
6. First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies, The (1995) (TV)
7. 100 Years at the Movies (1994)
8. Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990)
9. Fifty Years of Bugs Bunny in 3 1/2 Minutes (1989)
10. Precious Images (1986)
11. Stoogemania (1985)
... aka Party Stooge (1985) (UK: video title)
12. Cuba Crossing (1980)
... aka Assignment: Kill Castro (1980)
... aka Key West Crossing (1980)
... aka Kill Castro (1980)
... aka Mercenaries, The (1980)
... aka Sweet Dirty Tony (1980)
... aka Sweet Violent Tony (1980)
13. Making of 'The Deep', The (1977) (TV)
14. Money, The (1975)

Ever seen any of these things? If so, do you years later ever say "Remember that shot in...?" about any of them?

Nuff said.

P.S. I wonder if Spielberg is sitting at home, tormented by the fact that he uses Dolly/Zooms and some of the other things mentioned on Chuckie's list and asking himself, "How...oh how...can I win Chuck's approval?"
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Old May 24th, 2003, 08:58 PM   #6
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Scathing.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 09:47 PM   #7
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HAHAHA,

I really liked the site, it had me in tears actually, because he was spot on in a lot of instances. Geez, the stuff about slice of life and introspective was so true.

I suggest you go down to some universities or schools showings, and watch it all, then ask if they should have done it. It was so true about a lot of of the stuff he said.

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Old May 24th, 2003, 09:58 PM   #8
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Yeah, but those are student films, which are, I'm sure are like student creative writing stories (except mine), which ALSO have people smoking cigarettes and philosophizing.

I think if you know what you're doing, many of those shots are cool. How else do you show someone searching the fridge? What if the whole point of the scene is that there's nothing in the fridge? Geez.

My montage rules!

By the way, when he talks about the time lapse thing, does he mean similar shots that show a passage of time? Like some guy painting a wall, but sped up like 45x? That's not what mine is.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 10:17 PM   #9
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He is talking about 'point of view' shots from out of the fridge, not looking into the fridge.

Josh, seriously, many talented people can get away with some of these, but as a whole they almost always do fail for student film makers.

A lot of people seem to forget that films are like a machine. If one part is failing or not running correctly, the performance of the rest goes down, or complete off.

Most of the time, the talent and/or the resources are not there to do some of these effective film making techniques, you don't just put things in there because you can, there must always be a decision and reason for what you are doing.

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Old May 24th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #10
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Man that was some great points, I was laughing real hard, and I really agree with him.

I would say that the film students use those angles and things to do something cool, but don't look at whether it actually adds or removes the "feeling" of the movie.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 11:01 PM   #11
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He doesn't mean the shot where the camera is allegedly inside the fridge, looking out? I like those.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 11:05 PM   #12
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Well...I for one love out of the fridge shots. How often in life do we get to see someone looking in at us from the inside of a fridge? Isn't one of the major points of visual arts to show perspectives that we don't see in every day life?

I think laying out rules about what is and isn't considered good filmmaking is a load of crap. Your story is principle and the visual devices are simply mechanics of telling the story. The main word here is "your." It's YOUR story. It's YOUR film. So use whatever visual devices you like because the person you should please first is yourself. That's a luxury you should take advantage of while you're in the no- to low-budget filmmaking arena...once big money is involved, you'll have all sorts of opinions and restrictions piled on you.

Every great filmmaker has "broken the rules" at some point. Funny how it's suddenly acceptable when it's done by someone considered famous. And funny how those who sermonize about "the rules" usually aren't famous.

(side note: Look at popular shows like "Ally McBeal"...talk about "breaking rules"--flashbacks, dream sequences, deus ex machina, cartoonish effects and behavior, and most the things on Chuck's list...and it's great. People forget...it's e-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n-m-e-n-t)
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Old May 24th, 2003, 11:09 PM   #13
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I'm with John. Do what suits the story. I myself love low angle shots for some reason, but don't always use them. I saw some movie on TV the other day, and they had a whole scene that was shot like real low, for no reason that I could see. These people were talking to each other in broad daylight. I think they exchanged something (drugs, money, who cares?). I don't mean slightly low either. It's like the camera was at their feet.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 11:50 PM   #14
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I went back to the appropriately-named D.U.M.P.S. page again...and boy, I'm getting more ticked off by the "attitude" the more I look at it. Is this inspirational? Is this supposed to ENCOURAGE young filmmakers? I can hear the plastic-on-table sound from filmmakers the world over laying down their cameras because they're embarrassed that they've broken "the rules."

Some of the inspirational jewels on the page include:

"A student-film no-no." (Gee...thanks for stopping us from our misdirected selves)

"You're not Quentin Tarantino._ Stop trying." (Stop trying?! Stop trying to learn through imitating a respected visual artist? Somebody get me a gun.)

"The Tortured Artist Film usually involves a so-called "man vs. himself" struggle which is guaranteed to put you to sleep in the first two minutes." (What? Does he realize how many films this eliminates?)

"A dream sequence generally says "I couldn't think of a better way to reveal information about the character than this." (And in some cases also says "And I'm not shooting this dream sequence for that moron who can't appreciate it anyway.")

"You can have a real nice looking short film, but if the sound is bad, the film itself comes across as bad." (I don't believe it...SOMETHING on that page I agree with! Like they say...even a broken clock is right twice a day.)

"Examples include-- the gratuitous "fishbowl in the foreground" shot, the "overhead for no reason 'cept we're shooting in a soundstage" shot, the "we think it's cool canted dutch angle shot" and perhaps most insidiously the "fridge POV shot", otherwise known as the "put the camera inside the trashcan/toilet/mailbox shot"._ Ok, maybe you need to get this stuff out of your system, but just be warned, it's total cheese." (Again...somebody give me a gun. What's with this guy? Does he honestly believe that shooting everything at eye-leve, true-to-life, is as interesting as putting in unique angles?)

"A film professor once told me that on a film set, one second of "real" time equals three seconds of film time." (Now I'm telling you...one second reading this guy's nonsense equals a second of wasted life.)

"If you've ever sat through a screening of student films, you'll notice that often the ones that are best received are the shorter films._ Now it could be argued that this is due to the simple fact that they suck and less sucking is better than more sucking." (How inspirational...and profound. So, a one-minute film is automatically better than a three-minute film. Got it.)

"Video effects suck." (True pearls, eh? The profundity is awe-inspiring.)

"These self-examinatory "why my ex dumped me" films that turn into long diatribes about the nature of love, the nature of mankind, etc. are rarely insightful and usually about as interesting as listening to a friend complaining about a relationship gone bad. In short, philosophical examinations of human existence and relationships, when discussed on an abstract level, will almost guarantee that the audience will become bored and/or confused." (Someone please call Woody Allen and tell him he's been doing it all wrong. D.U.M.P.S. says so.)

At closer examination, one thing I'm not sure of is whether ONLY the quote at the top can be attributed to Chuck Workman, or if the yellow-highlighted quotes can be accredited to him. Perhaps these quotes belong to Billy Frolick who is also mentioned on the page. They haven't made it clear.

So, Chuck, if you aren't the guilty party, my apologies for dissing you. Billy, if you are the guilty party, all that dissing gets piled on you. It would be nice to know who's doing the talking here, don't you think?

Regardless, I don't care if it's Sir David Lean saying it (which I'm sure he wouldn't)...this kind of attitude doesn't inspire.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 11:53 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Locke :
I think laying out rules about what is and isn't considered good filmmaking is a load of crap. Your story is principle and the visual devices are simply mechanics of telling the story. The main word here is "your." It's YOUR story. It's YOUR film. So use whatever visual devices you like because the person you should please first is yourself. That's a luxury you should take advantage of while you're in the no- to low-budget filmmaking arena...once big money is involved, you'll have all sorts of opinions and restrictions piled on you.
-->>>

It is your film, but using flashy visual devices isn't going to make up for lack of knowledge or ignorance. What I mean is, maybe there are other ways to accomplish the same thing you're trying to do but haven't looked at and could be more effective. I think Akos pointed it out rather well:

"I would say that the film students use those angles and things to do something cool, but don't look at whether it actually adds or removes the "feeling" of the movie."

To me at least, that's what "the list" seemed to be venting about.
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