Exposure is a crucially important part of every filmmaker’s world. When it boils down to brass tacs, our job is to entertain and to entertain you need to be seen to be successful. There are thousands of filmmakers in the world. It’s therefore no surprise that to make a career out of filmmaking you need an edge, something that makes you stand out from the crowd. I think I’ll just pinch myself when I find out what that is.
Meanwhile, our entry into the Vimeo/Canon USA contest this month has delivered a success of sorts. Whilst the film did not make the official top five, Vincent Laforet left some pretty heart-warming feedback here for our film on the Vimeo website. His analysis is as follows:
Kris – this one’s a bit tough to be “brutally” honest with as it was one of my top 10. I think you did a fantastic job on this piece.
That being said – you’re forcing my hand to be extremely critical – so here goes – I can’t make a general statement yet – so I’m going to nitpick one comment at a time:
Excellent wipe in w/ the bodies and trunk to start.
I think the first shot w/ the mob guys is pretty darn perfect. The casting / lighting / camera move – all are near perfect. To be extremely critical on that shot – I think you could have cut it at :28 or 29 to hide the bump in your camera move.
I really like the next shot of the kid too – excellent light. I would have shot it with a tighter lens – or maybe have had the kid looking into the camera to create tension between the mob guys and the kid – that’s a directorial decision of course. I like his body language in this one – so I’m just suggesting you think about it.
On the face grab – I might have cut it at 0:51 and did a jump cut to another guy for a reaction – or to one of the two men- to add a bit more drama. Right now it lingers a bit too long for me. I really like the nice round lens flare in there too! I see how you caught the other guy’s face of course – but since you don’t cut to him later – I don’t see the point… your suggesting he has something more to do with this / to say by doing that…
At “Gentlemen … you know” or 1:00 I like that you pushed into his jacket to go to black – but I don’t think it’s as effective as a direct cut on this one…
I would have done a slow dolly push past the two guys and their silhouettes – might have been a bit more effective and drawn out the mystery of who is talking etc…
at 1:21 – this is where your movie went from near perfect – to a little less so. The reverse shot on the guys – doesn’t have the same intensity in the lighting / composition… I no longer buy that the one lightbulb is lighting these guys – the light is much more flattering now and soft… up til then – the ligthing on nearly every single shot was darn strong. I think having that white ceiling lit and white columns detracts from the very dramatic lighting you’ve set up so far.
A little shorter on the initial shot of the guy pushing the book forward. Just tighten it up a tad and make the cuts a little cleaner / faster – you’ll get a bit more momentum that way.
A litte more subtlety in the directing (nitpicking here! On the Godfather’s hand shot, as well as the interaction between the mob guy and the kid – would have added subtlety to the acting – sometimes less is more. )
The shot at 2:15 is outstanding.
The entire loading scene w/ the trunk into the van – is excellent. This is where you nail the “less is more” thing – subtle directing/shot selection. This section is STRONG.
Nice location for the drive by pan / shot.
My guess as to why you didn’t make the top 5 … the ending. You have such a nice build up – and I’m left underwhelmed. The winning entry for Chapter 2 had a real nice series of surprises, build ups, and a great surprise at the end. The storytelling complexity was a bit more specific.
The key here – for all I think: the other pieces did a better job w/ the storytelling – AND the stories themselves were stronger (in my opinion of course.)
This film was REALLY well executed – but the core of it (the story / ending) let the wind out of its sails.
That’s my two cents.
Congratulations on an excellent job – great lighting/ shots / directing!
It’s worth mentioning that I was thrilled to read such a detailed, informative account regarding my film from the highly regarded Mr Laforet. Filmmaking is a constant learning process. Coming from a corporate filmmaking background, breaking in making drama films is a goal I aim to continue pursuing.
To read his comments from the official source, plus feedback for other filmmakers he left, you can go here.