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Thread: 'Pit of Despair' - 10-minute Short Film (Shot in the Scottish Highlands)

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    Default 'Pit of Despair' - 10-minute Short Film (Shot in the Scottish Highlands)

    Hi Everybody,

    This is a short film we shot 6 months ago while on holiday in the Scottish Highlands. The filmmaking is maybe not as 'crisp' as our films nowadays but its still a pretty decent effort. I'd still love to hear some feedback on this. I think this is one of our strongest scripts in our short films, but feel free to nitpick


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    The sound is not so good but that could be the crappy computer I'm on the the moment. There was some crossing the line editing at around 2:20. I found the editing near the end just before the fight was a little confusing when it cut between time jumps, I don't know how you could have mixed that better. It's the same as the line crossing at 2:20. I now realise this was time jumping. I guess it needed to be a little more obvious. You could have treated the finding the girl in the bath sequence in a different colour grading to show the different times.

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    Thanks for the comment, Midnight. The sound is not particularly 'good' in this film, I agree. Not sure which shot you are referring to at 2.20 regarding the line crossing? The time jumping was deliberately edited in that way to show confusion - rather than spelling everything out to the viewers. It was definitely an experiment - thanks again for watching!

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    I dont pick up much on the technical faults in movies, so mine will be more of an overall review of what Ive watched. I liked it a lot, altho some of the acting is a bit distracting, the red headed girl could have been made up to give her a different persona if you know what I mean. Using her hair colour as an indication of the type of person the character is, maybe a bit extrovert or OTT, as it was she seemed very normal. The lead had a great moody stare to him so might have been better as the brother, given more background to his mindset, disturbed etc. I could forgive the blonde lads acting, mebbe he should have just played it natural, with a bit of improv instead of a script but my main problem was the end fight, it should have been brutal but more realistic and shorter. I was expecting big 'wallop' and 'wack' words to pop up like batman style with the overdubbed sound effects. Ive seen you scots lads fight and its not usually like that. Also had some good photgraphy especially with the external shots.Well done.

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    Haha thanks for the comment. I've always been against making fights realistic due to the fact that I don't like spending time in A & E very much

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    Not sure which shot you are referring to at 2.20 regarding the line crossing
    It was the time jump shots confusing me. First he's looking one way up the stairs then suddenly it the other way.

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    Ah right, okay I understand that now - to be honest I wasn't too sure on it myself but I wanted to experiment with things. Some things worked and some things didn't. I appreciate you taking the time to watch and comment though

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    I broadly agree with what's been said above. I'd definitely explore Midnights idea of different colour grading for the different times.
    I think the acting was made more difficult by the slightly un-natural dialogue - especially the first scene. I don't know if you do this or not, but it's well worth gettingtwo or three people to read the lines out loud as you write and re-write the script.
    Funnily enough I rather liked the fight - though I agree it could have been shorter. The shots and the cutting, to say nothing of the acting, were, to my mind, much better than we usually see. The sound effects were a little too much though - it's a difficult balance.
    You've studied shots well and, as jinbob syas, some of the external ones were very good: 5:13 where "John" walks into the frame and we get a rack focus, cut to the POV over the shoulder at 5:16 is particularly good.

    Matt's wearing of the cap was a double-edged sword. It helped emphasise his keeping his feelings to himself which, of cours, is all part of the plot, but unfortunately it also meant that his emotions were hidden from the audience as well as from John - it would have been good if we could habe had more of an insight into his persona. The other ssue was that as all we really saw of him for much of the film was his beard, and John also had a similar beard, I wasn't sure at times whether I was looking at Matt or John in a cap.

    You created a feeling of unease and suspense fairly well, but you didn't really give us any reason for it. Evereything suddenly came out at the end - prior to the final dialogue between John and Matt we have no idea about how Matt is feeling. If you were to work on the script further, i'd suggest you need to get across to the audience something of what Matt is feeling (whilst keeping it hidden from John). Thus the audience knows something John doesn't - this is "dramatic irony" - and this helps build the tension.

    All in all another great attempt. I'm sure that as you continue with these films (you seem very productive) your scriptwriting and direction will rise to the same exellent standard as the filming.
    Tim

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    Thank you very much, Tim. You always have very insightful things to say and I appreciate feedback from people like you. As for being productive, I believe that all filmmakers should try and film as much as they can - this has been the main reason for my filmmaking being the standard it is today. Practice makes perfect and I'd definitely like to keep improving - thanks for the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdn35 View Post
    Thank you very much, Tim. You always have very insightful things to say
    Unfortunately I find it much easier to find areas for improvement in other peoples work than to apply it to my own. I'm sure that partly this is because it's much easier to spot flaws when the first time you see a project is when it is in its completed state. And partly it's because my abilities with a camera and edit suite are often way below those of the makers of the films I try to criticise. So, I really can (to a limited degree) "talk the talk" without being able to "walk the walk". In my defence I do recognise that.

    I should take a leaf out of your book and spend more time on production films rather than filming local events (a sort of obligation for those of us in video clubs)

    None of my observations are original. They're all from books I've read or articles in magazines or forums. I love doing it. Most of us can see when one thing doesn't work as well as another, but I'm always intrigued as to why. Trying to put it into words (ie posting here) helps me to understand it better than if i simply "think" it.

    Two books I recommend: The Five Cs of Cinematography by Joseph Mascelli (Written in the 60s, but great coverahge of basics in camera angles, continuity etc)
    On FilmMaking by Alexander Mackendrick (edited handouts from his courses from CalArts - loads of info, I'm only halfway through - the first half concentrates on Dramatic Construction: this is where I got the "dramatic irony" bit from above)

    There are literally hundreds of books on film the market, but these two have offered me more insight than any of the few I've read.
    Tim

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