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Thread: Best Birthday Ever! Non-final needs feedback

  1. #1

    Default Best Birthday Ever! (Comedy)

    Edit: Final draft video

    ===Original post text===
    I've been cooking this idea up for the better part of 2 years and finally I managed to get it filmed. Length is currently 3:45 and ideally I'd like to see it down to 3 minutes but have a few questions for you:

    1: Does it play acceptably at its current length? / Would it be improved at a reduced length?
    2: Obvious sections to possibly cut are 0:38-0:52, the second interview piece to camera. Is this funny? Is it worth keeping? And 1:35-2:05 the microfilm dialogue, this could be reduced in length. Also a few seconds chopped off the credits.
    3: I have yet to complete basic colour correction and sign off the audio mix, but are there any stand out issues for you?

    I'd really appreciate feedback on this one, I want it to be the best it can be.
    Last edited by clay_9; 08-06-2012 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Updated for Final Draft video

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    The main terrorist guy was awesome; he makes the movie
    Everybody else was great, especially the girl whose boyfriend was shot
    Last edited by zamiotana; 08-05-2012 at 09:27 PM.

  3. #3


    I loved it, I thought the editing style fitted the piece great and I wouldn't go too far with the colour work to keep that fitting the content too.

    As soon as the microfilm dialog came on I was thinking "too long" but then the reason came and I could see why you did it. If your going to try and cut this down I think you'll need to be careful to make sure it keeps that same effect. I wouldn't worry about getting it down to 3 minutes if I was you and I'd definitely keep that 0:38-0:52 section in, it's helping to build your character.


  4. #4


    Very funny Matt and a good job. I agree with you it needs trimming. I would take out the section from around 2:25 up to 3:10 cutting straight to the end interview. That section although having some funny moments, isn't necessary for the piece as a whole. It's got some great touches like the guy who got shot saying "who can't act now" and I love the wink to the camera as the terrorist came in.

    Nice to see you posting again.

  5. #5


    Thanks MB, I've been really busy recently, I've put out a couple of small videos but nothing I've felt worthy of posting up here. Plus the planning of this one has taken a stupidly long time as I chose to inform the police of my plans due to the use of realistic imitation firearms (airsoft guns). So I had to wait approx 3 months for all that to go through for them to say yes ok.

    Anyways, I'm going to work on general trimming, i'm going to try to cut some of the post-interviews 2:25-3:10 but not all of it as I really do feel its key. I can lob off a good 5 seconds off the microfilm and credits, I'm sure I can bring it down to 3:15 without being making too many important cuts. Watch this space for v2.

  6. #6


    Video above updated to second draft version.
    I was able to bring it down to 3:15 without many drastic cuts at all, I would struggle to cut it further though, I really didn't want to cut too much of the vox pops at the end.

    I'd be happy with this cut as the final version, I think 3:15 is an acceptable length as it does flow quite briskly, thoughts?
    Last edited by clay_9; 08-06-2012 at 06:24 PM.

  7. #7


    Love it!! Great concept - Very well scripted and acted. I was hooked right from the start on the 'Office' type interview dialogue. This works so well and the ending was a killer. Mopping up round the corpse . . Love it!
    A very minor crit the . . . opening few seconds had a wobble. Not critical, but caught my eye. A stable opening shot would help.
    Last edited by Zero; 08-06-2012 at 04:59 PM.
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

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  8. #8


    Thanks for the feedback guys, after a bit more thought and feedback I've decided to stick with the 3:15 length, the slight wobble on the opening shot is fixed. Final draft now linked above.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by clay_9 View Post
    after a bit more thought and feedback I've decided to stick with the 3:15 length, the slight wobble on the opening shot is fixed. Final draft now linked above.
    Hang on, hang on. Who do you think you are to make decisions like that without letting me stick my oar in? I've only seen the 3:15 version. I think it's perfect. Not because of the comments by anyone else, but because I say so.

    This is classic clay_9. Well scripted and performed. Your own delivery was excellent (as I've come to expect) though I think I'd have had you looking a little less wide of the camera in the interview shots to create a bit more viewer empathy.

    I was thinking that this is right on the edge of bad taste, but then the result (that the guests also think it's in bad taste) sort of apologiese for that. I wonder how far you could go down that route. (That's not a challenge, by the way)

    I got so absorbed and it happens so quickly in it that I missed the obvious flaw in the scenario: This is presented as a documentary. Whilst, feasibly, there might be one or two cameras filming your birthday party, I think the guests may have become a bit suspiscious that the cameramen continued to film uninterrupted throughout the hostage taking!

    Loved it.

  10. #10


    The 3:45 version wasn't actually much different, the microfilm bit was a bit longer which ive cut, but most cuts were just a couple of seconds here and there. Overlapping audio and video a bit more and chopping a load off the credits.

    I really worked hard on this one, I had the idea 2 years ago and for many reasons was only able to get it filmed now. It was almost a complete disaster as many extras didn't bother to show up and even the guy who was due to play the dead man who got shot, he was a no show. The guy who played the part was a last minute extra brought by someone else! Good fortune though as he played the part wonderfully.

    I knew that it was cutting a little close to the bone, I think this would be my limit as I wouldn't want to go further into bad taste. I think the whole bizzarre-ness of it all compensates for the dark theme.

    Regarding the way it was shot in docu style, I was very aware that the cameras would be in this strange place of physically being in the room, as they are acknowledged by the wink from the main character Jeff, but not seen by anyone else. I just always had it in mind to shoot this way, even though the shots we see could never actually be achieved if shot in true documentary style. I think it works and just helps with the surreal style of it all.

    Thank you for the positive comments, there have been times recently I've considered giving up making this sort of content. I think it's just a case of quality not quantity moving forward.

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