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Thread: PARADOX (short student film)

  1. Default PARADOX (short student film)

    Hi guys this is my first short about the daily grind of an addict.
    would appreciate any feedback if possible.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dazRo1KX-M0&t=71s

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    Forgive me if I am being stupid but what are we seeing here?
    I'm sure in your mind it is obvious but I need some clues. Perhaps I missed something.
    If it helps, this is what I saw:

    Bloke leaves reception of some sort of facility (we are not given any clue as to what sort of facility) and lights up immediately outside.
    We then see him looking quite determined on a rather tedious walk. (Well cut, but too long. In particular the third shot - wide angle across car park went on forever.) You lose marks for spots on the camera lens.
    He then approaches a door where an anonymous hand is proffered and they shake. We see the whole of this in one shot from the door opening to the door closing. Nothing changes hands so presumably not a drugs deal.
    We then see him presumably doing his drug of choice.
    He then gets on a bus (there's a bit of an odd cut here as he gets on the buss and moves left to right down the bus an this cuts to a shot of him moving right to left up the stairs - hardly a disaster but not ideal)
    We then see him sitting on the bus. Again we have a cut from him facing left to the scenery passing right to left, slightly disorientating as it's like he's travelling backwards.
    Endless shots of passing scenery (at least they are consistent in direction)
    He's then in a building that looks a lot like a school (is it meant to be a school?)
    He shows a card through a window and is given a drink which he drinks and then looks like his gathering his thoughts.
    He leaves the same building as we saw in the opening shot (it's reasonable to assume this is the same building we've just seen him inside.
    He is with a girl in school uniform. It is reasonable to make the connection that the building is indeed a school.
    We see him give the girl his coat, take her bag and give her a high - clearly he wants to be kind to the girl who is quite comfortable with this and whom we assume is his daughter.

    So what have I missed? Where is the story or the journey or the message? And where in a school can you show a card and get given a drink? And why did he go on a long journey to shake hand with someone?

    That aside, I've already mentioned that I thought the cutting in some parts was good. I wasn't over happy with the handheld shots but appreciate it's de rigeur for some sorts of films as a means of indicating some sort of intimacy/immediacy with the character. Shots were well exposed - whilst the story ma have left me confused, I was never in any doubt as to who I was looking at. The character was believable. We had a variety of shots (well, sometimes - I presume the passing buildings from the buss were meant to convey a boredom or deprivation of the senses (although as previously stated this didn't need to go on for anything as long it did to get that message across).

    A good effort, lacking in one or two signposts.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 03-19-2017 at 10:20 PM.
    Tim

  3. Default

    Hi Tim,
    First thanks for the response exactly why I posted, Your absolutely thing may have been more obvious in my head. Before i begin i must state the parameters of the assignment. I had to convey a story without using dialogue, only visuals, sound effects/music.

    so that said, at the start the 'facility' at the beginning is a school, you see the overall story is about a 'functional' addict and his daily grind. the film starts with him leaving the school (i was hoping by the end it would be evident he had been dropping his daughter of to school). He then leaves to 'score', I left the raindrops on the lens because of the song 'dry the rain' by the beta band. Also the handshake is done like that because the guy is a real drug dealer and did not want to be on camera.

    Next our man is seen imbibing his drug, then he must get to his clinic for methadone on public transport. This is true to life as in reality methadone contains an opiate blocker so addicts must consume before their fix before they drink it. The passing shots (you;re right they do go on too long but there was also a minimum time on the assignment, five minutes) are supposed to mirror his inner decay, y'know the old hermetic saying, as above so below, as within so without.

    by the end we see him arriving back at the school in time to collect his daughter. This is also true to life, most addicts are not the chaotic users we are over;y familiar with rather they have some degree functionality.

    hope my answers are somewhat satisfactory.

  4. #4

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    why did you make this? is it a drug awareness thing??

    I liked the way you made me think I was watching something from the 80's lol and editing was good ie the time scale for each shot on the bus etc

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    Thanks GMWilly for clearing some of that up.
    First, I had intended in my first post (but forgot) to congratulate you on trying to tell a story purely visually. Well done.
    Fundamentally, what you describe is what I had inferred from the film. However I had deliberately left out any inference to make the point that it perhaps needs one or two more clues.

    The problem with the handshake is not the lack of a face (in fact that adds tremendously to the atmosphere of shady dealings) but that nothing changes hands. In fact it is shot in such a way that it is is shouting "Nothing is changing hands!" So that sends us down the wrong track.

    Some of the other stuff didn't work for me as it assumes a certain amount of knowledge on the part of the viewer about the subject.

    Having said that, I had assumed that the drink was some sort of medication.

    But there was a problem here: The place where he received the medication looked like the school (and I suspect it was).

    After he's taken the meds you say "we see him arriving back at the school in time to collect his daughter"

    This is precisely why in my first post I listed what we saw, without any embellishment as to how we might interpret it.

    You think you showed him arriving back at the school. But what you actually showed was him leaving the school. And this shot immediately followed him taking his methadone - which looks like he is in the school. In other words we see him taking a prescribed drink in abuilding which he then leaves with his daughter. See the problem?

    This is easily solved at a bare minimum by a shot of him entering the school between the taking the meds shot and the leaving the school with his daughter shot. Better would be a shot of a sign "Clinic" before he takes the methadone, and maybe a shot of him travelling back (just passing buildings again, but - important this - in the opposite direction- you don't even need the actor).

    So, to summarise, when you are telling the story that is in your head, make sure you give enough information so that the viewer who doesn't have access to your head can understand what is going on. List the shots/sequences as I did in my first post - no inferences, no whys, no wherefores, and the put yourself in the position of someone who is not in your head. Someone in the intended audience. Try to work out what they can reasonably be expected to infer.

    This is not easy, because you don't want to spoon feed your audience with every little detail. If they don't have to make some connections it will cease to interest them as much as if you don't give them enough information.

    I hope you'll post some more of your stuff here as you are clearly open to sensible discussion. (And please comment on other people's films if you get a chance, not just as a fellow film maker, but as a viewer)
    Tim

  6. Default

    Hi Tim,
    Very insightful responses. You're clearly a pro & I get the feeling if on my next post I can impress you, then i'll know I'm starting to get somewhere. Thanks for the food for thought & providing the drive to get my ass cracking on the next project ASAP!

    Cheers man for your input, you'd think it being the internet there'd be more people taking the time knock you down and build you back up again (constructively of course), ta for taking the time to view & post.

    Kind regards

    Andy

  7. Default

    Hi bry_man,
    haha thanks [I think ]. Nah man just a college assignment, were I thought I'd include where i'm from is-all.

    P.s Looks like you & the kid have great fun together, keep it up!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by grandmasterwilly View Post
    Hi bry_man,
    haha thanks [I think ]. Nah man just a college assignment, were I thought I'd include where i'm from is-all.

    P.s Looks like you & the kid have great fun together, keep it up!
    ahh well I hope you do well, im sure if you can answer our questions then im sure the teachers will be a breeze lmao....
    I shall and yes we do have fun, especially when I get to throw clothes at them lmao, feel free to comment on them to help me improve... every days a school day

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    Quote Originally Posted by grandmasterwilly View Post
    Hi Tim,
    Very insightful responses. You're clearly a pro
    LOL! Hardly. And if you'd seen any of my stuff you'd realise that. But I've spent 10 years plus watching lots of amateur video at festivals and competitions (and sometime judging it) and you get a feel for some things to look out for.

    However, I will stress that this is just one person's opinion. Others might and most probably will see the film in a very different light - and their views will be just as valid.
    Tim

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    Tim is being far too modest (as always) and his comments are always honest and accurate.

    Just remember the golden rule "If it isn't on the screen... it didn't happen".

    If you want my critique, then it would be the same as Tim's (just not as polite). Take the advice, embrace it, but take it positively and please carry on making films...

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