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Old December 10th, 2020, 03:15 AM   #1
also known as Ryan Wray
 
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What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

I shot someone's documentary project and am also editing it. It's kind of clunky as I having a lot of trouble getting all of the footage as well as his photographs to match with his script, but what do you think, or do you have any ideas as to what I can do better? Thanks for any input or advice! I really appreciate it!

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Old December 10th, 2020, 06:28 AM   #2
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

I can give a few comments but not sure how useful they'll be.

First thing is the story sort of rambles? He came from Vietnam, worked hard, had some knockbacks, but started weight training, and by some kind of obscure vieweing of Terminator wanted to become a body builder and go in for competitions. He then had a wife and a baby and then it stops.

He didn't explain it very well - I thought he wanted to become and actor, reinforced by him saying about going on stage - then the body building poses started and it clicked - what he was doing.

I found the entire video of him exercising and aimlessly walking very confusing? he talked about work, but all we saw was in the gym and wandering around. On top - I got confsed by the video images not matching the chronology - his sie and weight ballooning up. Suddenly we see a thin muscly man, then back to a big fella, then the morph into the grotesque mass of muscles these people do to themselves and probably the steroid abuse that is rife in that hobby/lifestyle.

The real trouble is the similarity and lack of development in his physicality? We don't see a skinny fella gradually turn into the muscleman - we have all sorts of random gym stuff and very litttle showing his eventual development? I guess he's been shooting all ths and just gave you a mass of random footage.

Some is clearly filler, and overused - like the slow fed up walk looking grumpy. The wife and kids element would have humanised it, but his life was sort of dull for 95%, then 5% of wife, child and a few on stage images.

I don't quite see the point. The church paid for entry and growth and he dumped them? His story is lacking a conclusion and development. I kind of says I came from Vietnam with nothing and owe lots of people. I worked hard and eventually became a bodybuilder. along the way, the church helped, and I moved a couple of times, and felt very sorry for myself. The material he has give you is lacking in variety and interest. all I could think about with my bad back is how dangerous what he does is!
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Old December 10th, 2020, 08:50 AM   #3
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

The opening doesn't grab you, he's talking about not having any food, yet all you see are pretty pictures of people in boats on a river. Too much wallpaper footage of weight lifting, still more happy pictures over him talking about working 4 jobs,

You need to have the material to show a life story,
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Old December 10th, 2020, 10:44 AM   #4
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Okay thanks. All the footage and photos I have are from him but I don't have anything with him growing up, because he doesn't have any of that. Is there anything else I should put over top of that then to compensate?

As for the story not being that good for 95% of it I just took what he gave me and ran with it but I don't have a lot of footage of his life to back up what he is saying. What should I do therefore do you think?

I put in more videos of him exercising to fill it up with something but I'm not sure what else to do especially since it would mean having to put the videos and photos out of order with his size because he talks about his size getting bigger later on compared to earlier on, if that makes sense?

For the section where he talks about how he didn't have enough food for example, I could just cut to some shots of plates without enough food on then, but I think that would be way too on the nose if I am right?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 11:14 AM   #5
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

You need pictures from that period in his country the reveal what's going on around him when he was hungry.. Plates without food don't mean anything unless there more to be seen, plus it should be the type of vessel they would be eating out of in Vietnam. That's why documentaries use a lot of library material, plus reconstructions with actors, when telling people's stories on the various history and other channels .

Overall, the film is probably too long for the story you're telling.
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Old December 10th, 2020, 11:55 AM   #6
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Oh okay thanks. Well I don't really have any footage of him growing up. As for reconstructing it with actors, where I live doesn't look anywhere like Vietnam in the 90s I don't think. But should we just do interior shots with actors and do not show the streets much or anything? Plus it's winter time now where I live and he wants it finished by January.
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Old December 10th, 2020, 12:00 PM   #7
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Have you got his words as a transcript? Treat it like your recent script work and edit it. So much is padding, so it could be chopped. He repeats so much multiple times. The odd thing is the visuals contradict the story. When he's having a hard time, we see a well fed, well nourished fella in decent surroundings. The words on their own conjure up images we simply don't see.

What are his reasons for telling the story?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Oh I don't know his reasons for telling the story. Perhaps it was something to do with wanting to get noticed in his body building career. I am doing it for someone else, and he knows more about the body builder than I do and has more contact with him.

Well I can ask if he is okay with cutting anything but I don't think he will be, because he wants me to make it longer even if possible and doesn't think 10 minutes may be enough for what he wants out of the video.

But I can ask if anything should be cut. Should I show them this latest cut first do you think?

I asked some other people and they said just use stock footage and stock photos of Vietnam, but if I have that going on for about four to five minutes, won't that just get boring? Or is that better than showing a well fed person?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 12:41 PM   #9
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Why don't you show him this? I don't understand how you never asked him the purpose? Surely to do the job you need to know the reason? That makes no sense. If you have no good material, how can you produce something good in the edit? Not really your job to source material, as - as you say, you have no clue what he wants it to do?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 01:24 PM   #10
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Sure, I can show him. I just thought maybe I should cut it better before I do, but I can show him.
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Old December 10th, 2020, 02:06 PM   #11
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Elder View Post
I asked some other people and they said just use stock footage and stock photos of Vietnam, but if I have that going on for about four to five minutes, won't that just get boring? Or is that better than showing a well fed person?
What about what you've currently got that's exciting? If that's the background to when he's hungry and the world he has to escape from you have to show it,

It won't last five minutes if he doesn't talk about it for 5 minutes,
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Old December 10th, 2020, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

So you are saying that shots of mostly empty streets and buildings would be better compared to shots of him as an adult, actually doing something?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 02:30 PM   #13
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

You know, this “client” has the same MO (Modus Operandi) as the martial arts guy. He wants to make a compelling movie story about this guys “rise to fame in bodybuilding” (or something like that, real reason unknown) … have the person (or you?) tell the story by using a mis-mash of material.

Remember that martial arts guy? He never caught on that he had to stay in frame to have a video of what he was doing. He never caught on that one can’t video the other side of the moon from earth (showing what was happening on the other side of his match partner) while the two of them are filmed facing the camera.

This client has no clue about what it takes to tell a story but thinks you can pull it together with this mis-mash of stuff.

Paul says it…. You need a story line.

Brian says it too - more material is needed. Try library material with pictures of what the boats are like, pictures of how life was back there and back then, with copyright permissions to use. His narration as a voice over with whatever pictures that can be found can be used. But like everything that has been said before in other threads, the story has to go from clip to clip with a good reason reason in order to make it compelling to watch. This might be done with some researched file pictures but one still must have a decent story line. And, as a director, you know about how long clips that don’t add can be b-o-r-i-n-g.

No one here knows what the Scope of Work is. That’s a term used in construction when one wants to hire a contractor to do something. In one sentence, can one write what is the Scope of Work here?

If it were me, I wouldn’t show them anything until there was an agreement on the Scope, it needs to be clarified, and, since you’re dong the work, that you need to agree to it, or the other way around, you write the Scope and they agree to it.
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Old December 10th, 2020, 02:57 PM   #14
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Oh okay. Well I told him that there wasn't a lot of material he had for the first half and he just said to fill it in with what you can and try to make it work. So that's what I've been trying to do. Do you think I should just use photographs of Vietnam of buildings and streets while he's talking and that's it pretty much then?
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Old December 10th, 2020, 03:02 PM   #15
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Re: What do you think of this rough cut of this documentary project?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Elder View Post
So you are saying that shots of mostly empty streets and buildings would be better compared to shots of him as an adult, actually doing something?
No, you select material that reflect the times he was going hungry and what they're escaping from, so that his words carry some weight, Any stills should reflect his hard times and not just be pretty tourist board pictures. .
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