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Thread: The Endlings | Post-Apocalyptic Short Film

  1. #1
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    Default The Endlings | Post-Apocalyptic Short Film

    "Propably the best Finnish post-apocalyptic short film of 2015 so far"

    -Our Crew, trusting there have been no others.

    Not too long ago I posted trailer of my latest project for you to see. The project is called "The Endlings" ("Viimeiset" in Finnish) and it's our first Finnish language short film. It also happens to be one of our largest productions so far. We had eight people working on the project, so you can expect to see a bit more than just my old face there. Many people involved are friends of mine who I've worked with before, but haven't had a chance collaborate with for a long time. It's the usual reasons, people living in different cities, studies, work and all the little things that drain away our time. For this film we decided to get people together once again and against all odds everyone actually had time to attend. Little miracles.

    There were some last minute changes; we actually had to change our composer at very late stage of production. Composer of our two previous films, David J. St-Hill, was going to be composer for this one aswell, but scheduling problems came along and we had two options; either to postpone the release by few months or try to find another composer. Luckily, one of our actors knew a Finnish composer who was interested in seeing what we had. A meeting and a few beers later we had new composer, Ville Huovila. He turned out to be very productive and it didn't take long for him to compose new soundtrack for us. I'm very happy with the work he did and can recommend him for all your soundtrack needs. You can check out his soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kasvihuone

    The film is 17 minutes in length, so a bit longer than my films tend to be. Your feedback in past has been very useful and much of it has been incorporated in this film. I'd like to thank you for the feedback you have given in past and I hope you like this one.

    Now the film itself is set in post-apocalyptic Finland, in the end stages of war between "superhumans" and "ordinary" humans. It has influences ranging from spaghetti westerns to weird Finnish films. The dialogue is purposefully Finnish in nature; some sentences and word choices were actually bit hard to translate when writing the subtitles. It may seem somewhat awkward or monotone, but that's the way it's supposed to be. It's weird little place we have up here in the north.

    (There are english subtitles, make sure they're on)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpoZXldpTvw

    Thanks for watching.

  2. #2
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    Its a bit dark

    how about a musical number to lighten things up about halfway through?

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    Zam, did you truly miss the charming song at 5:50? Considering the jolly fashion Vanisher walked along accompanied by that music piece, I could almost declare that a musical number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSCinema View Post
    Zam, did you truly miss the charming song at 5:50? Considering the jolly fashion Vanisher walked along accompanied by that music piece, I could almost declare that a musical number.
    Actually I had missed that subtlety the first time but I noticed it the second time after you mentioned it

    the filming was excellent and the effects were spot on

    you didn't leave much opportunity for a sequel, unless the endlings come back from the dead

    the soundtrack fit perfectly

    the little out takes at the end were a nice touch

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    I thought it looked great. Very bleak and consistent. I liked the way you used outtakes and the "look" of the actors' credits at the end (I did not like all the written credits with the same names appearing repeatedly - this always look like either someone is trying to make the production team look bigger than it is or someone is on an ego trip - I know that you're just trying to show who did what, but I doubt anyone watching really cares so long as they see everyone who was involved).

    I thought the musical score was great and I thought the sound FX were spot on. Visual effects were good, generally very tidy. You avoided the temptation to leave VFX onscreen for too long. I particularly liked the Vanisher effect.

    Plot-wise I didn't have a clue what was going on. Either things weren't sign-posted well enough of they just went over my head. Just when I thought I'd figured out who was on whose side, two people I thought were allies would attack each other. Previously I'd assumed that this was because you played all the roles - but clearly not! Irrespective I thought the cast all acted very well.

    Some of the pauses were rather long. Those at the beginning were, I guess, meaningful (though I've no idea what the meaning was - other than "suspicion" that I got occasionally) but some seemed rather unlikely (you spot an enemy with a gun at 6:14. He doesn't even raise the gun until 6:21 and then you still stand there looking at him until 6:29 when he shoots and misses (after eight seconds of aiming)! Just implausible. Sorry.

    I didn't understand why/how the guy turned black & white and indestructable.

    Despite the confusing and/or weak plot points, I thought your cast did an excellent job. They were all believable and I liked the pipe smoking girl being cast against stereotype. I might have liked to see girls in battle a bit more - it all looked rather male dominated.

    However, the characters were (presumably intentionally) pretty emotionless and this combined with not having any real idea of who was fighting for what and why meant I had absolutely no reason to care who won and who lost so I wasn't really engaged in the film.

    I thought this was a big step up for you and you had a good team working with you. I'd love o see you put these skills to use with a script that engaged me a bit more. Whilst not a particular fan of the genre, I don't mind post apocalyptic stuff, I'd just like to see a protagonist that I can root for who is someone other than just a robot - someone who shows emotions beyond "the cause" and preferably has a weakness that is exploited by the antagonist and perhaps a love interest or a baby girl back home or .... you know the clichés, just something a bit more personal.

    Overall, you're getting very good at painting these post apocalyptic scenes. I'm sure the Finnish Tourist Board aren't begging you to make their latest promo
    Tim

  6. #6

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    lots of variation with camera angles to keep me interested which was needed as like Tim i wasn't always sure what was going on. unfortunately, the use of lots of camera angles meant audio was not always consistent and i found the variation in background ambient noise particularly in the first couple of minuets distracting. if over dubbing the actors lines in post is not an option i would suggest getting in closer with the mics and recording separate ambient noise at source and running that in the mix at a constant balanced level.
    The FX were very well done and not over the top for what they were. i dont understand the language but it seemed well acted.

    Interesting locations what are/were they ?
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

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    Thanks everyone, very detailed feedback.

    Tim, you mentioned the same thing about the credits repeating the same names before. You understood the idea, showing which this-or-that was whos job. I do agree that it's hardly interesting for most people and that is exactly why the "character introduction" credits are before the more boring ones. I'm fine with people closing the film mid-credits, I just tried to make it visually interesting enough with bloopers & stills for most people to watch the first part of the credits. I guess it boils down to personal preference, do the rest of you share Tims opinion on it seeming like ego trip or trying to make the crew seem bigger?

    The plot was something that I knew was going to divide people - it's not very traditional storytelling wise. The film kind of starts in middle (of perhaps the end?) of the story, so instead of proper character & world building we left much room for viewer speculation. Some may call it lazy, but it's surprisingly common in films like this. I do get all your points about having a protagonist to root for, Tim, but we aimed for different idea. It is all about the question "who were the bad guys?". After watching the film most people would propably point towards the humans who barged in with guns blazing, but the three main "protagonists" are not exactly hero or even anti-hero material. Strikers line "this war was supposed to end the violence - that's why we started it" gives a hint that they were the ones responsible for the war. Another hint is kind of lost in translation, since we couldn't think of deragotary term for "ordinary". The word that Vanisher yells before the grenade is "tavikset", which is finnish word for "ordinary folk" that carries kind of negative feel with it. Elitist, some may call it. The Endlings may call it self defence, but for minority to aim towards killing of the majority based on their "regularity" sounds racist and unethical enough for me.

    I don't think there was much to "get" about Muuri turning into grey and somewhat indestructible - it was his power just as Vanishers was teleportation and Strikers was electokinesis. It was just a little visual point to have him be "ordinary" looking most of the time and only activate his thick skin in times of need.

    About the characters being emotionless: it's part that and part of it is that they were written to be Finns. Specifically stereotypical Kaurismäki -style depressing and silent Finns. It's something that doesn't seem weird for Finnish audience, but we thought it might make scenes seem awkward for other audiences. To explain it better, here is traditional Finnish joke about the subject:

    One day two friends, Jukka and Pekka, meet after a long time apart and they go to a sauna in the woods. They drink vodka in silence for a couple of hours. Then Jukka asks:
    “So Pekka, how have you been doing?” Pekka says nothing, and they continue drinking for another couple of hours.
    Eventually Jukka asks: “How's the family?”. At that point, Pekka stands up and shouts: “Did we come here to talk, or did we come here to drink?”


    Enc, you're right about the background audio being inconsistent, especially during the dialog. I didn't notice it myself when watching the final version on my own computer, but seeing it from friends TV made the sound quality stand out more. It's not terrible, but it's something I would have liked to fix if it was noticed earlier.

    The main location is abandoned gasplant (been empty for ~10 years). The tunnel in the beginning is a bit more interesting piece of history. It is part of 100 year old fortifications made when Finland was under Russian rule. They were built and mined by chinese workers with WW1 in mind, but were never used. There are tunnels and trenches like that to be found here and there in Helsinki.

    Since you thought the music worked well, here is link to the soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4YnIvgFNT8 It makes for good background music.

    Thanks again for very detailed feedback

  8. #8

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    Not a lot of constructive advice to make that hasn't already been said. I liked that you did attempt to make some character development. Nice touched like the young lady smoking a pipe makes her more memorable. At the script stage it might be worth thinking about character development so you can establish who we should be routing for. ie Man saves a kitten from up a tree is obviously our hero, man steels lolly pop from baby our baddy. Woman naked in shower our MB's treat.

    By working out these things at the writing stage it will be easier at the production stage.

    This film was shot well although I did notice a lot of over exposure which was especially for something which ended up dark in post. This is another thing you need to work out before the production stage. How do you want the film to look ? Then work out how to shoot it so it looks that way so you don't have to so much in post production to "get the look" you want. That will give you a better more "professional" looking film.

    So work much more on your post production and you'll get a better film that will be easier to make.

    Hope these pointers help.

    I liked the music score, the new guy did a good job.

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    Over exposure was something that was hard to avoid when filming near the dark tunnel. My camera is old toaster and really has hard time in lighting like that. All the locations we filmed in were places we couldn't really take any external lights with us, so it's just natural lighting and this "futuristic red" color correction I cooked up for flashbacks of my previous film.

    The pipe smoking girl appears to be sort of fan favorite. The role is small mostly because the actress spent more time behind the camera than infront of it. For the "mass" scenes we wanted to have as many real people infront of the camera as possible. She happens to be one of our more experienced camera operators and all our male actors happen to be military trained, so taking few falls in ridiculous gears is more in their alley. Not all of those falls went too well, though... One actor was actually knocked unconcius for couple of seconds (can be seen on the film), one got big shard of class up his knee and third got smaller piece of glass near his elbow. I only got few scratches in my knees for taking a dive in the rubble. Lets just make bold claim that is was all made to pursue realism, not at all because of lacking safety measures...

    Thanks for the feedback, Midnight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSCinema View Post
    Tim, you mentioned the same thing about the credits repeating the same names before.
    Yeah, sorry. I'm like a broken record (how long will it be before no-one understands the derivation of that phrase?). Thanks for taking the time to explain various points in such detail - I'd figured these were your thoughts but it's good to have it confirmed. the one thing i find odd (perhaps more with myself than with the film) is that I was quite happy to suspend disbelief with one character vanishing from one place and appearing again in another, but not with a guy becoming indestructible! I wonder why?

    I understand our concept of rather than having an obvious protagonist, asking the question "who are the good guys and who are the bad?" and I didn't miss the "war to end violence" line. I'm not sure that the question of who is good is resolved - is it left intentionally unresolved (nothing wrong with that) or have I missed something?

    But, rather more basically, I couldn't work out who was on whose side. I suspect that this is a very common problem in action films which is why directors often do something to make the two sides immediately identifiable (be these obviously different races, different uniforms or types of clothing, just an armbands or a badge - just something so the audience can identify the "side".

    I enjoyed the joke. It does give an insight into the Finnish I knew a Finnish girls a few years back - she definitely had a different outlook on life to us Brits!
    Tim

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