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Thread: Please watch 'Men of Convention' My 3rd & final entry in 2011 Virgin Media Shorts

  1. #1

    Default Please watch 'Men of Convention' My 3rd & final entry in 2011 Virgin Media Shorts

    Hello fellow filmmakers, here is a link to my third and final entry in this year's Virgin Media film shorts competition. I only just made the deadline, uploading as the gates closed and working a 35hr shift no sleep at all in 48hrs, came up with final ideas shots on the final day. Trying to shrink 2 - 3 hrs of footage into a short is a mission itself, but once i had cut things much with minutes remaining i had5-6minutes still too much footage, and thought I would not be able, but kept cutting and re-cutting almost every scene until amazingly it was squeezed into the Virgin time limit of 2mins 20secs.

    Movie has many possible meanings and lessons, but I'll let you see your own take on it.

    Men of Convention - Virgin Media Shorts

  2. Default

    I like your commitment! Mobile phones and hands = communication is what I got from the film, not a great deal. The actors, I felt, looked very conscious they were in front of the camera, which distracted me. I am interested to know what you wanted to get across with this shorty? If it's something that is open to interpretation I'll leave it at that but if you were trying to get a message or story across what was it? Do you feel it requires multiple viewings to understand it? I ask because I had 2 minutes 20 seconds whereas you had at minimum 2 days straight to work at it and it seems you put in lots of work so I'd like to know in more detail if I may.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Cumbria, Near the Lake district


    You seemed to have edited an awful lot of footage to achieve something as disappointing as this. Composition in many shots was very amateurish I thought. There were shot to shot inconsistencies in contrast. I appreciate that it was meant to show the events over different time periods during the day but washed out grainy footage was next to shots with crisper heavy contrast material that didn't work for me....Sorry!
    A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

  4. #4


    Thanks for watching A-doh-be and thanks for the question. The outdoor filming for that was done a few months ago, and was meant to be filming for a much longer film 10, 15 mins or more. And i had only gathered those guys on two consecutive days, just phoning them out of nowhere and scrambling together who I could and I only had them for about an hour on one day and two hours on the other. They looked uncomfortable in front of camera because it was their first time, perhaps didn't want to do it, and I had no time to prepare them whatsoever or tell them anything, it was like 'Walk here, pretend to answer your fone when i give the signal and try to look serious.' It was such a rush I had not time to give them any direction. The indoor shots I thought of last minute and basically filmed myself as the deadline was fast approaching the following day, so I thought I could gel it all together by adding some orchestrating character in the shadows. Even those final indoor scenes, I had not time for, no space for, and didn't have time to reshoot almost all the shots came out too dark, some of the outdoor scenes were also too dark and had to be messed with in editing. My film was in the process of uploading when the deadline ended and i didn't even have a chance to watch it first, when I watched it I saw I forgot to re-activate the sound! The music was chosen at the last minute, and I forgot that I had to credit the musician, so that was my last editing thing. I can't explain how much of a mission it was to get this film in the competition. Imagine 35hrs non-stop, imagine sitting at 12am thinking 'well i have 12 hrs left, i should easily be able to edit a few hrs into 2mins by 12pm.....and then find yourself minutes away from 12pm with about a 9minute movie remaining where u don't really want to cut anything else. I can only liken the whole thing to travelling at the speed of sound, at a target 50 miles away where you are trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle. I actually had about 3 other movies I wanted to shoot to put in the same competition but ran out of time. Anyway sorry to bore you with all that.

    The message in the movie for me, are a few things...networks, communication, organization, seriousness, people with objectives. There is a psychological and social message or portrayal but put in an artistic way. I am an artist and so I see the screen a bit like a canvas, and i see a movie a little like a series of paintings, the different scenes being different canvases. This is one of the reasons i like black and white, it harmonizes the elements in a shot composition and it also unifies the scenes of a movie, and concentrates the viewer on the world you take him too and away from this world. As an artist and someone who believes in Divine inspiration, I feel that even the filmmaker or artist can learn more about the meaning of his work after he has done it, i.e. the meaning may come to me after, if I consider that I was only a conduit in the process. While I was editing this latest movie I almost felt it was out of my control and that I was being driven to make something, I had actually become convinced at one point that I would not be able to cut the movie into 2.2 mins, it seemed impossible, and to make it by seconds and make it exactly 2.2mins, you would have to be in my head to know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I was very happy with the result. If you keep watching it maybe you will see new things in it, new messages, new concepts. It is a bit like painting a picture, sometimes you have no idea how it will turn out, you have a general intention or idea, and it develops a bit like a child. I am pleased because it shows me that with editing you can make something out of very little footage that you have, little resources, little time. I have not spoken enough about what you actually asked me, sorry about that. There is an art and a psychological perspective related to every aspect of life, and so even a mafia gang have their artistic element, obviously exploited and explored by the likes of Scorcese, Coppola etc. maybe the full meaning of this movie has not dawned on me yet. But I have some idea of what it is about, but there is no reason why someone else can't watch it and think that the guy in the hat in the shadows is just demanding that his friends go out and get him a pizza. Or he could be an agoraphobic or recluse who needs to be constantly reassured about the outside world. That is the benefit and beauty of silent film, dialogue does not have to become a dictation or monologue from the director. It enables the viewer to think, interact and interpret and I enjoy that process as it opens my own eyes and mind to the viewpoint of other people who are watching. I have heard some deep interpretations by people on all three of my short movies so far and I enjoy the dialogue with the viewers, it makes me think. But I think if you only got mobile phones and communication from the film and nothing else then I would say you are missing a lot of elements that other people can clearly see and which were also intended by the director. However, as an artist and in making the film the way it is, I don't mind if you get nothing from the movie in terms of a meaning or theme, but instead can just appreciate the artistic elements of it. I enjoy the artistic elements of it so much that I keep watching it (I know I'm biased) but maybe I will get bored after the 1000th viewing if I live that long. My movies at the moment in the style I'm working with have to be thought of more in terms of general meanings, atmospheres, themes, psychological and social perspectives rather than specific meanings, stories and details.
    Last edited by Zayd_Depaor; 07-09-2011 at 01:50 PM.

  5. #5


    Thank you for watching Solway. It is only in videoediting forums that I get that type of response. The vast majority of people who have communicated about it like it overall. I am aware of many technical issues that I did not have time to change, but I expect some of the things you don't like, are not an issue for me. Grainy footage is not an issue here, indeed it can enhance some of the atmosphere and add to the character of this one. Its not disappointing to me at all, in fact I keep watching it because I like it so much. You need to realise that technical aspects of cinematography/editing etc are only a portion of filmmaking. The much more important aspect of filmmaking which a lot of videoediting forum people do not understand it seems, is the artistic impact, the message, the story, the theme, the acting, the composition, the harmonization, the realism or surrealism or expressionism etc. If you are an artist you will see those more important elements before you see technical issues or 'faults' which you consider are the main element of the movie. Someone can make a movie where everything is technically sound but is as boring as anything, or uninteresting and basically has almost zero appeal or cinematic/artistic value. If you didn't like it maybe you didn't understand anything from it, or maybe that sort of thing is not your taste. But on this one, I know a lot of people do like it. For me there are no technical issues that are spoiling this short. Also, 'amateurish' is a subjective judgement. I could say its only video editing forum amateurs (with very little artistic and original vision) who always get stuck at certain points. When a person buys a major work of art, they don't stop and say 'but how much did the canvas cost which the artist is painting on' The technical issues of filmmaking are merely the means, the vehicle. When you need to travel you mustn't get obsessed with the colour of the car etc and what size the engine is. If the faults totally hinder and ruin the viewing experience or block the message or make it miserable then these technical issues need sorting. Or if your aim as a filmmaker is total technical mastery, then yes....but don't forget, technical mastery is not the main cause of a good movie. A lot of technically good movies are awful and a a movie made on a mobile fone could have been better with a an idea thought up in two minutes. Technical issues can always be sorted by tech people, backroom staff on a movie....but the artistic, cinematic vision, originality of a filmmaker will not be learned from video editing forums.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by A-doh-be View Post
    The actors, I felt, looked very conscious they were in front of the camera, which distracted me.
    I actually don't agree with this, I think the actors look pretty cool in this, and in general they have achieved what I wanted them to, even though I gave them all the conditions and circumstances to fail. I'm pleased with the way they come across. I don't know how I would react if I'd heard there was money and experience behind this....its very difficult to judge your own work, but I do know what I like, and I do like it...and part of that is the actors. A couple of them look particularly cool and fitting the bill, (I'm not including myself in that judgement as I'm obviously cool and fitting the bill)

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by solway View Post
    Composition in many shots was very amateurish I thought.
    I'm not sure whether you can have amateurish composition, only an amateurish mentality, unless you are talking about someone trying to achieve something specific and failing or making a very messy job when they were trying not to. Composition is an artistic judgement more than a technical one. I am happy with the composition generally especially with how rushed everything was. Tell me a scene where you think the composition is wrong and how you would have alternatively shot it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Zayd, your criticism of videoediting forums is totally unfounded - particlarly with regard to this one. Films are regularly criticised for their lack of any real content, emotion, character, message rather than on technical merit.
    I find it impossible to comment on the content of your films as it's either
    (a) over my head, or, more likely,
    (b) just a masssive pisstake

    I really don't know why you want to post here because any criticism you receive you defend with that trump card "it's art".

    I think Thurston is the only person here with tue insight.

    To your disciples, I'm inclined to paraphrase Brian's mother "It's not art, it's a very messy video."

  9. #9


    I can't get the thing to play.

  10. #10


    It is only in videoediting forums that I get that type of response
    Doh !

    What do you expect. Videography is a technical and artistic discipline. What you seem to think you are doing is art in the video medium. Perhaps going to arty forums would be a better thing for you if you don't wish to have the technical side of your pieces critiqued. Look at the beginning of the User Video section, it's why most people post their videos here. They will be looked at and opinions given on artistic and technical merit.

    If you can't accept any technical criticism then don't post your videos here. Why else are you posting them in this section ?

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