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Thread: The Duel- Short thriller/action film I made

  1. #1

    Default The Duel- Short thriller/action film I made

    Hello all, I'm a long time lurker but intend to post here more and learn from you guys.

    I've made an action thriller called 'The Duel'.

    It's a short thriller about choice and consequences.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry_RIddHmbU

    One choice can change everything.

    The Architect is having a bad day. On his way home from a failed job interview he is responsible for a freak accident and is forced to make a choice: face the consequences or run.



    Looking forward to hearing your criticisms and feedback. Planning a black comedy for my next short which will be a vastly different kind of project to this.

  2. #2
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    It is a pity.

    Don't take this personally, it's my opinion about your video, not about you!

    You put a lot of effort into this but, in the end, it's just yet another short "you-tube-horror" video. You have a cast, crew and talent but the script and content let you down badly. It simply wasn't original.

    I really think you have the ability to make something special, unfortunately this isn't it. The actors seem to have potential, some of whom could be really good, but they were poorly directed. I'm sorry.

    Technically the sound was fine (apart from the effects which were well over-the-top and sounded silly) but there are quite a few focus issues. Actually an awful lot of them. Often the focus was at the wrong point. This is very distracting.

    The make-up was good, as were most of the effects. There were just too many of them. This and the excess blood puts this video into the "yet another teenage horror" category.

    Spend a bit of time getting an original and intelligent script, Get a decent cameraman and you'll have the ability to make something really good.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your thoughts pal. We're going in a different direction with the next film.

  4. #4
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    Perhaps it was because I made the mistake of reading Rob's post before watching but it was a lot better than I was expecting. Not as OTT, not as gory, not as silly.
    Of course there's no real story and no real scope for characters to develop. The back-story could be anything: all it required was him to be distracted whilst driving and the rest is all rather "we've seen it all a hundred times".
    But I found it entertaining and wanted to watch to the end. I did get caught up in the moment. Music was good.
    There were a lot of good ideas for shots, even if the focus was sometimes off (I couldn't see that as for some reason it all looked rather pixellated to me - and yes, I was viewing in HD)
    I look forward to your next endeavour. Well done.
    Tim

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Perhaps it was because I made the mistake of reading Rob's post before watching but it was a lot better than I was expecting. Not as OTT, not as gory, not as silly.
    Of course there's no real story and no real scope for characters to develop. The back-story could be anything: all it required was him to be distracted whilst driving and the rest is all rather "we've seen it all a hundred times".
    But I found it entertaining and wanted to watch to the end. I did get caught up in the moment. Music was good.
    There were a lot of good ideas for shots, even if the focus was sometimes off (I couldn't see that as for some reason it all looked rather pixellated to me - and yes, I was viewing in HD)
    I look forward to your next endeavour. Well done.

    Thanks mate. I take all of Rob's criticism onboard, and he makes some good points. The only thing I disagree with him on is that is a 'horror' movie. I guess it has elements of that but at no point did I try to scare my audience. My intention was to make this an action film, but as it is set in a forestry/lumber/logging place in the UK there are no guns, merely axes and the like. I do agree that it is probably too gory though and the gores makes it seem like a slasher film.

    I do think it seems a bit pixellated too. I shot in 1080, but to produce the movie in that size made the file ludicrously large so had to produce it in 720, which is a shame.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  6. #6

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    I looked at your movie and I looked at your "making of" video because I wanted to try and understand what it was about it that didn't quite hit the mark for me. One aspect was the technical side seemed "less than perfect", the over all image quality just wasn't there, possibly due to a cheep camera. Is this why you occasionally used an FX to gee things up ? The sound profile of some of the Foley just sounded like Foley and not natural. I think you have good ideas but need more experience in perfecting how to do them, Doing movies like this is a great way to learn these things.

    The other issue I had was the performances didn't quite come across as believable. Not that they did a bad job but they some how lost credibility, which means the story just falls down. I noticed from the making of video that the actors seemed to be doing a lot of the directors job, this seemed to me to be due to lack of shot planning in pre production. It's like you where all making it up as you went along.

    Planning your shots and blocking will half your filming time, at this stage it may not be important if it's a zero budget movie but at some point in the future I get the feeling you may want to make something that may require finance, if that's equipment hire or paying actors or what ever, it's going to be good practise to have a shot list and blocking done, as much as possible, before you get to the filming stage.

    Hope these pointer help in some way. Without wanting to sound patronising, I do see potential in you and your team.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I looked at your movie and I looked at your "making of" video because I wanted to try and understand what it was about it that didn't quite hit the mark for me. One aspect was the technical side seemed "less than perfect", the over all image quality just wasn't there, possibly due to a cheep camera. Is this why you occasionally used an FX to gee things up ? The sound profile of some of the Foley just sounded like Foley and not natural. I think you have good ideas but need more experience in perfecting how to do them, Doing movies like this is a great way to learn these things.

    The other issue I had was the performances didn't quite come across as believable. Not that they did a bad job but they some how lost credibility, which means the story just falls down. I noticed from the making of video that the actors seemed to be doing a lot of the directors job, this seemed to me to be due to lack of shot planning in pre production. It's like you where all making it up as you went along.

    Planning your shots and blocking will half your filming time, at this stage it may not be important if it's a zero budget movie but at some point in the future I get the feeling you may want to make something that may require finance, if that's equipment hire or paying actors or what ever, it's going to be good practise to have a shot list and blocking done, as much as possible, before you get to the filming stage.

    Hope these pointer help in some way. Without wanting to sound patronising, I do see potential in you and your team.
    Thanks for the feedback and for watching the making of. I was the guy dressed in the exact same blue checked shirt/jeans/boots as the villain of the film.

    The making of doesn't truly reflect our shoot as it was the first of a couple of shoot days spread out over several months and locations (when actors were available) and we got better as we went along. We foolishly started shooting on a big fight sequence as our first scene and it was hard to get right. Blocking was impossible as the actors were only around for the shoot days and their schedules were busy. So that's why we had to 'block'/practise the scenes, albeit briefly, before we shot. I did visit and designate each location prior to filming and had a good idea of what we would do, but of course it is a lot different when you actually get there with actors. I totally agree however that more shot planning is needed. For some reason I just found this film stupendously hard to storyboard. I had the whole thing in my head but when I tried to get it down on paper it seemed to lose all energy. I storyboarded all the pickup shots for much later however.

    I agree, the sound is not brilliant. As for the video quality, it's annoying. I shot with a HD cam capable of 1080p footage, and that is what I have. However the files to produce in this size are inordinately large so I had to produce them in 720p, for now. I will try to sort this though. I only used FX when necessary, (green screening as the actor cannot drive etc).

    Watching the making of definitely tells me I could and should be a better director though. I felt I had improved after having taken a short acting course myself as it let me understand acting a little better and so could work better with actors but I am still not quite there yet though, I need to be more clear with my directions. The main character, The Architect, is a tremendous actor, and I thought he did a good job, personally. Of course there is always room for improvement. The other main character, the bad guy, The Woodcutter is not an actor and as you can see in the making of is quite difficult to work with. I chose him solely because he looks the part.

    You have made some good points. I definitely have worried after making this, despite it being a fun and fulfilling experience, in terms of how the next project will pan out. I want to step it up a gear in terms of my filmmaking. I don't want to make another action film, but something different (have many ideas). On this film we had months in between each shoot day so we kept constantly rewriting, retooling and reshooting certain bits. If I couldn't get the actors there I used doubles to add in things (Ie: after the woodcutter is first run over, the actor was not showing pain. Months later had a double add in closeups of 'pain'). Unfortunate that all this tinkering with the script probably effected the final product negatively.

    Sorry I wrote so much. I quite enjoyed thinking about all this and I appreicate the feedback.

  8. #8

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    I'm glad your taking all these comments constructively as that is how they are intended to be. I'm sure you have learnt a lot from this production and that your next one will run smoother for it.

    Good luck, I'm lucking forward to seeing it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I'm glad your taking all these comments constructively as that is how they are intended to be. I'm sure you have learnt a lot from this production and that your next one will run smoother for it.

    Good luck, I'm lucking forward to seeing it.
    Of course I am taking the comments constructively, not everyone will like my film and that's just a fact of life. I know it's not perfect, it's not perfect! And I need honest feedback and criticsim to improve. We all do! But I'm still proud and glad that I made an action short, I learned a lot, and it was a gratifying experience. My favourite learning experience may have been the After Effects side, but the most gratifying was working with actors and seeing them enjoying the process and getting stuck in (running throughs swamps and the like). Although that's something I need to work on. Thanks a lot for all that you wrote.

  10. #10
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    The hardest fact to accept in drama film-making is that it's all about the preparation.

    This is because a lot of people see the pre-production phase as the "boring" part. The "fun" part for many is being on location with the actors and crew. The temptation is to rush the pre-production so that you can "get on" with making a film. Wrong attitude.

    There is a well known saying "you can't polish a turd" and this applies in film-making as much as in anything else.

    If the script is rubbish, it doesn't matter how good the actors are, the film will never be good. In the same way, every minute you can get with the actors before you go to the location with a full crew is valuable. The other advantage is that, if you prepare properly, the actual shoot becomes a breeze and is ten times more enjoyable that if you turn up and "wing it".

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