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Old April 7th, 2016, 08:40 AM   #16
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marj Atkins View Post
.Not sure, but to me this seems to indicate that you are unhappy that some folk don't know what is and what is not an acceptable art form and will influence people by making a wrong call or a comment based on ignorance. I am sure that if someone raises a problem with a players film that is not accurate another player will counter it with a valid argument..
Marj. I am not unhappy by anybodies critique or any critique given to me. Although I am long in the tooth, I am not set in my ways and very open minded to innovation, new methods and ideas. I have never felt the need to question any I have received, unlike your good self but, accepted the critique, advice, in the spirit it has been given. Never shut your mind to to anything!!!

Unfortunately we have become a very small group, with new players now few and far between. Those new players we do get vary rarely make more than one entry. We have to ask ourselves why? To new players we can easily been seen as clique who pat each other on the back, bicker amongst ourselves plus, because we so limited in numbers two or more of us regulars always feature somewhere in the the results.

We need to get more new entrants with new ideas and fresh techniques. If we are to judge ourselves, we need to be seen to be judging from our own perspective no matter how inexperienced or experienced we are. Film is an art form and therefore very fluid.

Thanks Marj (a positive thanks), you have gone on to comment quite precisely about the for's and against wobbly footage, which exactly illustrates my point. Entrants need to feel they have been judged on the individual judges expertise and opinions and not been swayed on points raised by others.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the giving of or the receiving of critique and never has been. Its trying to make the challenge more attractive to encourage more entrants. At the moment we are in grave danger of coming over as a closed group and judging by long term regular's monthly critiques (me included) can at times appear quite set in our ways. Unfortunately that is the downside of peer judging. All I am trying to achieve is for us to appear more open in our minds and maybe, given good will from all, new entries will ensue with fresh ideas that will benefit us all.

If you go back to when we had had independent judges, there were quite a few surprise winners and runner ups that made me and I'm sure you ask yourself why! We learn't from an outsider judges perspective.

New entrants should be able to judge on their experience and not draw on or be influenced on the posted critique.

That's is why I suggested judging, critique, results. You never know it may well throw up a few strange results that will generate a lot more discussion long after the results are announced.

Mick
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Last edited by Mick Jenner; April 7th, 2016 at 09:20 AM.
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Old April 7th, 2016, 12:58 PM   #17
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Mick I have always regarded you as one of the most level-headed people around here. You feedback has always been helpful and I have never seen you question any critique given to you. I apologize for expressing myself in a way that was obviously unclear so as to give you that impression.

Basically I was struggling to understand why you are so concerned about us influencing one another simply by commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of our films (to the point that we are now changing the voting pattern). (You have explained it in a bit more detail now.)

Your last sentence below appeared to me to indicate that because techniques, styles etc change there is a problem.

It seemed to me - although I was not sure and said so - that you are unhappy about something – I thought the reason was perhaps that because people (due to ignorance) erroneously critique things that are now considered acceptable art forms they can negatively influence others. I argued that should someone make an inaccurate assessment of any aspect of a player’s film (due to ignorance) other players have an equal opportunity to counter it with a valid argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
...Since we moved away form an independent judge to us all being judges I have found it difficult to understand how a person can judge an entry without being subconsciously influenced by others opinions. As a judge you should mark on what you see and enjoy not on what others may have drawn to your attention, which can happen now. We all have different views and opinions on what is right, wrong, what works and what does not etc. We all learn from advice and critique but, techniques, styles etc change i.e once everything had to be rock steady, now wobbly pov camera work is an excepted art form.
And yes, as you quite rightly point out, I did take exception to a back-handed comment on my film because:

1. It was used as an example of a film that was ‘not good enough’.
2. It was followed by a very narrow view of what constitutes a good film.
3. It was done without any specific explanation. (Vague generalization.)
4. It was not done on my film’s feedback thread.
5. It came from a person who has a high standing in this forum and for whom I have always had a great deal of respect which made it doubly hard to accept.

This is not the way to go about things.

The purpose of this thread is to put across a better way of doing things and to help us all to more effectively decide what makes a good film.

This forum should be used to build each other up so we can be better film makers not to pull each other down.
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Old April 7th, 2016, 01:48 PM   #18
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Hi Marj, no need to apologise,exact meanings are easily lost in translation when talking to various nationalities, even those who speak the same language lol

With regards to your withdrawal of your last film, this is not a criticism of you or your actions but, it does raise the issue of wasted votes and does needs to be looked at and addressed if we stay with the existing voting system. Those who had voted before you withdraw will have wasted a vote if your entry was on their list thus depriving another of it, in turn possibly affecting the final results. With the system we are trialling this cannot occur.

The new system will eliminate the very reasons you have have listed that caused you to withdraw.

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Old April 8th, 2016, 01:56 PM   #19
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Hi Marj,

I like your post because it’s about an important area in making videos: - storytelling.

One book I read said that 85% of good video is the story and if the viewer isn’t hooked in the first few minutes they’re moving on to something else. In a similar vein, another thing I read that stuck is that 2/3rds of good video is good audio and in another aside (being on a roll), how important casting was yet the casting director gets very little credit.

Getting back to storytelling, this is an area that I admit to be really deficient in and I’ve tried to self-improve but it seems like it’s always mañana. Been to the library and searched for books on storytelling and storyboarding, found some (“tons” on storytelling), read some, but it isn’t that easy. Also went to one meeting of a local creative writers group which was somewhat helpful but time consuming and they were a lot more into the current projects they were working on and marketing. They used terms like protagonist a lot which, at the time, was a new term to me. There’s lots to learn.

While still photography and video both use cameras and similar equipment - tripods, lights, maybe backdrops, electronic media, computers, etc., and there is a huge difference between them in that video tells a story.

It is very easy to get wrapped up in the process of shooting a video and loose track of the story one is trying to tell, if in fact one even thinks about trying to tell a story. Maybe it’s akin to a diary verses a book. For example, a diary would say where one is, where they went, and what they did, but that isn’t what we’d call a story. A diary wouldn’t normally start out with asking a question and keep one in suspense then weave a plot line. Basically, I went through the same process as Vishal Jadhav (Post #12) but, unfortunately, haven’t yet put the things learned into any kind of a checklist - but I’ve been thinking about it (maybe mañana).

I’ve got several projects to work on for a couple groups and the projects really lend themselves to storyboarding so this topic is music to my ears.

The UWOL is the closest thing on this board to storytelling there is with the Wedding/Event techniques section being a distant second. Otherwise, it’s all equipment, business, and news. Since video tells a story one would think that storytelling would be prominent but for some reason it isn’t. A fancy new cam would be all well and good but if I can’t improve my storytelling ability all the fancy cams in the world won’t make my videos any better.

I want to compliment you in your initial post as it speaks to the very problem that many of us have and there’s no place to go and I don’t have time to take any college courses in the subject, either. An a lot of what has been said in the posts above resonates so no need to repeat what others have said. Needless to say, any resources, help, and direction (except for going back to college) would be greatly appreciated and thanks again for taking the time to write your post(s).
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Old April 9th, 2016, 11:19 AM   #20
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

I have to say, this has a been a really great thread to read. So many great thoughts & ideas.
I came across this article today & thought it was a great read.
Too Much Praise: When To Stop Listening To Positivity
At the end of the day, we are all here to have fun & help each other out with being better film makers/story tellers. How we both give & receive feedback of all types, is something i think this thread has made me (& i think others) think more carefully about.
Thank you Marj for starting it, & to all others that have added to it.
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Old April 15th, 2016, 11:40 AM   #21
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Thanks John and Bryce. I have not touched sides this week with work and a very special birthday to organize for someone for this weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
It is very easy to get wrapped up in the process of shooting a video and loose track of the story one is trying to tell, if in fact one even thinks about trying to tell a story. Maybe it’s akin to a diary verses a book. For example, a diary would say where one is, where they went, and what they did, but that isn’t what we’d call a story. A diary wouldn’t normally start out with asking a question and keep one in suspense then weave a plot line.
I love this analogy John

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
I want to compliment you in your initial post as it speaks to the very problem that many of us have and there’s no place to go and I don’t have time to take any college courses in the subject, either. An a lot of what has been said in the posts above resonates so no need to repeat what others have said. Needless to say, any resources, help, and direction (except for going back to college) would be greatly appreciated and thanks again for taking the time to write your post(s).
Its funny but I have never thought of UWOL as being a place for people outside this challenge to learn - I have almost regarded this more in terms of the blind leading the blind. Most of us are amateurs and do this as a hobby but we seem to muddle along quite well despite that.

Not sure if this will help John but I found the following sites explain things quite well – no need to re-invent the wheel.

http://www.filmclass.net/ElementsFilm.htm

The ‘Cinematic techniques-general concepts’ & ‘Cinematography-specific terminology’
From: http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki...tic_techniques

Sheila Curran’s ”Documentary Storytelling” is also a good resource.

I am sure other folk here can offer even better resources.


Thanks for that link Bryce - Lots to think about there.
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Old April 20th, 2016, 01:15 PM   #22
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Marj,
Thanks for coming back and providing some references to help with storytelling. Coming from someone with a background in this area your comments are valued. When life is going by so crazy fast and there is so much to do, it can be difficult to find the time to self improvement in an an area where you really don’t know where to begin, and nobody wants to waste time.

I did read the first link but the second one was either broken or perhaps my cookie-blocker might have prevented access. The Sheila Curran Bernard’s book on Documentary Storytelling (4.5 stars on Amazon) was actually on my “Book to buy” list! so I’m glad you recommended it.


One-man-band filmmaking is pretty much a Jack of all trades, master of none effort. When one sees the credits on a “Hollywood Film”, and the credits scroll for several minutes, it’s because it takes a lot of people to put together a movie/film/video, and they’re all specialists in their fields. Ditto with the Academy Awards. [See idea comment below]

Given all the areas required to produce a video, the storytelling one is so important and that is why I’m trying to put the effort into it.

What the book below does for me is make kind of a short summary of many of these tasks. If I’m starting a new project this is a good refresher to help think it through.

Movie Making Course: Principles, Practice, and Techniques:
The Ultimate Guide for the Aspiring Filmmaker, Chris Patmore c 2005 by Quarto Inc., Barron's Educational Series, Hauppauge NY. 144 pages, paperback. The main sections are: Before You Start, The Shoot, Post-Production, Projects, and Getting It Seen. The sections are broken down into subsections like an outline. Lots of fancy color pictures and diagrams. Basically an overview and summary of the movie making process. 8-3/4" W x 8-1/8”*H
A really great overview of the entire process in very short segments. I’d give this 5 stars.

These two, and especially the second one, were good reads.

Tales From The Script, a DVD, Library # 808.23, non-fiction. This is a very interesting DVD about script writing, script writers, and their opinions, with an emphasis on how the script story fits into the movie, and also how some directors and producers under-rate or even missuse the script. Very interesting.

How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Steve Stockman, c 2011, paperback 248 pages. Library 777.6 “Like two years of film school in 248 pages” says Steven Pressffield. *Other quotes:*“How do you shoot video somebody else will want to watch?” *and*“Steve is one of the smartest media inds in the game. This book is the perfect gift for any would-be filmmaker.” Whether you’re filming a child’s birthday party, business promo, video for what ever, this book will help you make it better.*
77 Ways to make your video better NOW! Including: Entertain or die, Make every picture tell a story, why a bit of planning makes all the difference, Keep your shots under 10 seconds long, Your video should always be shorter than you think, etc…..

Idea Comment [see Jack of all trades, master of none] comment above:
Putting together the videos “you guys” (yes, gals too) have done is a lot of work for just one person. Given that this board has a lot of resources in certain areas (lighting, audio, etc.), it would be interesting if there could be some way to team or consult with others for support.
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Old April 26th, 2016, 08:27 AM   #23
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Hi John

I have been away for the past week hence my slow response. Thanks for your reading suggestions. I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to go about linking with resources in DVinfo - that would be Trond’s call if he thought the idea worth pursuing.

Oh yes - apologies for my omission - the book 'Documentary Storytelling' is by Sheila Curran Bernard.

I feel I should stress at this point that while it is good to have all the professional help we can get via reading etc. I feel it should not become a burden but be self-motivated. This sub-forum is a place to learn but primarily it should remain fun.

Unfortunately we only have a month in which to produce a film and it is usually squeezed in between everything else we have to do. This alone is a big challenge. Under such circumstances it is not always possible to find all the footage for one’s story so compromises have to be made. Sometimes having ‘a beginning, middle and end’ is the simplest option – nothing wrong with that.

The topic and genre also play a role in how we approach a story. A cooking show is not likely to have a protagonist or antagonist I am sure – but who knows!?
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Old April 28th, 2016, 09:18 AM   #24
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Cooking show - ingredients v. cook; cook v. clock; but not always obvious when it's all been edited.

Interesting thread here, and I admit to being guilty of some, perhaps inappropriate, feedback back in the days when I was more active in the forum. Having been asked to review various books in recent years (nothing to do with film-making), I've come to understand rather more about critique now that I did before.

Someone commented about the participants in UWOL getting fewer. I'm guilty of being one of those losses. Work and house renovations took over my life, I found myself in an unwanted rat-race. And no sooner than I manage to partially extricate myself, then my husband retires and time management takes on a different meaning. I ended up looking at the forum today simply because I needed to find something that would read my 'old' .M2T and .mpg files now that Windows 10 and Mac iOS refuse to have anything to do with them. And having found a solution, I ambled across to my old stomping ground here.

I'd like to think I could get back here, do some more video, but it just doesn't seem to happen. I'm still a full-time field naturalist, for whom photography, video and writing is part of the job - just not the main part at present.

The best of luck to those of you who have the time and creativity to keep going. I'll no doubt visit here from time to time, watch a few videos, then go back to work again. And who knows, one day, maybe . . . .
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Old April 28th, 2016, 01:53 PM   #25
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Hi everyone!

Not placing an opinion here, but posing a question that I am grappling with myself. I've been reading your comments concerning the fundamental importance of telling a story with our films. I certainly think for a feature-length film this is true.

My two questions are:

1) For a 4-min short, can pure scientific, artistic and creative entertainment have equal merit to telling a story?

2) What actually defines a story?

The reason why I ask this is because of what has fallen out of my own entry this round on the theme "recreation". Don't you guys sense, when creating your own films, that these things can take on a life of their own?

A "story" as I think of what a traditional "story" is: an account, imaginary or real, consisting of a plot with a beginning, middle and end -- just couldn't be squeezed out of this one like I've been able to achieve with other entries. I think this time my entry strictly falls into the category of pure creative entertainment. Does this mean that this entry, or any entry submitted in the same style, is less of a contribution because it doesn't tell a traditional story? Strangely enough, after review, some of you might actually think it tells a wonderful story about recreation, just not in the traditional sense of the word. I'm thinking feedback on my entry this round might be all over the map, and I'm looking forward to it! :)

For me anyway, telling a story in a film no matter what length it is is optimal. But if it doesn't happen, there is still merit to be found in scientific, artistic and creative endeavors and can be equally entertaining without a story line as with one, in a 4-min short.

Just wondering what you think. Looking forward to your entries!

This round for me was anything but recreational, fraught with hefty labor, set backs, my gear died and I had to rent to finish this off which posed a new problem, (camera lenses too heavy for my tripod to adequately handle! And now I don't own a camera!) --- a dogfight to the end!

Cheers!
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Old May 1st, 2016, 12:29 PM   #26
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

General discussions about rules, guidelines, feedback, and everything else about uwol, are most welcome, but keep it civilized.
Any comments or "attacks" if I can use that word, directed towards individual people, will close this thread.
Personal issues are best dealt with offline and directly between any involved.
Thanks for understanding!
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Old August 16th, 2016, 03:00 PM   #27
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Just stepping in to say that this once-closed thread has been re-opened.

It's been in "time-out" long enough. One post in this thread was withdrawn from public view.

Otherwise it's really a very good discussion.
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Old August 16th, 2016, 03:03 PM   #28
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Re: The value of critique and what to look for

Also, paging Marj Atkins!

If you have been trying to contact me, please be advised that some -- not all, but some -- communication at DV Info gets sucked into a big black hole, including email which might be aimed at me. Please be sure to contact me at *this* email address:

chris at dvinfo dot net

Otherwise who knows where it goes... into a black hole presumably.

Thanks in advance,
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