June 5, 2017

Do You Have What it Takes to Complete 'The Boring Room Challenge?'

Here's a filmmaking exercise that could really help you make anything exciting.

We've seen a lot of viral challenges spread their philanthropic, mettle-testing, or otherwise ridiculous tentacles throughout the darkest corners of the internet over the years, but there aren't too many that are tailor-made for filmmakers. Filmmaker Brandon Li specializes in travel videos, but in the sparse moments where he's not taking in breathtaking scenery, he has found a way to ensure that every second of his time on the road can be used to master his craft. Hence the birth of "The Boring Room Challenge."

The premise for the challenge is extremely simple. In Li's words, it's “where you take a boring room and try and make a somewhat interesting watchable short film in the room that doesn’t break any obscenity laws.” The only limitations are your creativity. “I thought of doing this exercise to try and jog my own creative juices when I'm in a place that is not creatively inspiring, so all the inspiration has to come from within.”

[Editor's Note: Video Removed Due to Hotel Management]

The short he provides as an example may not be the most narratively fulfilling piece of work, but the value of this exercise is undeniable. This is about as barebones as you can get. All he needed to complete the exercise was a few lenses, a micro four thirds camera, and whatever lighting could be found from within the room. There isn't a much clearer example out there of how rules and limitations can help spark creativity within your work. 

After the short, we get a look at all the tactics Brandon was able to employ to turn his boring ass room into something more. We know you have access to a boring ass room somewhere. This is something you could do in only a couple of hours, so if you have some spare time and feel up to it, get to work. If you do, please share your videos with us in the comments section below!      

Your Comment

16 Comments

Woww.. Awesome...!!
We can get this talent by constant practice (at-least I hope so)

June 5, 2017 at 2:45PM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
864

Why not use any lighting though. This is the real challenge here in my opinion.

June 5, 2017 at 2:53PM

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Nico Schrenk
Filmmaker - Director, Cinematographer, VFX-Artist
32

He did use, but I guess only the available ones as he might be travelling and not carrying LED panels here and there.

June 6, 2017 at 12:01AM

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Great POV!

June 5, 2017 at 3:38PM

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this is really weird, that room has a color scheme, great view out of the window, huge window, non white wall, wall indents to add dimension, it looks pretty inspiring to me, textured blinds. Definitely feels like a perfect location for a business traveler with relationship issues, or a house of cards sub plot. Lots of narrative value in that hotel room.

June 5, 2017 at 4:01PM, Edited June 5, 4:01PM

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Indie Guy
681

That's an interesting point but I get the impression this guy lives in hotel rooms basically and is probably bored to tears by sky scraper hotel rooms, which means the practice would still be effective for him. It's probably really hard to feel inspired in a cookie cutter hotel room when you've been on the road so much

June 5, 2017 at 9:03PM, Edited June 5, 9:04PM

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Thats totally fine that he might be tired of hotel rooms, but that doesn't make it a bad location. Its actually a good one, thats why the the little sequence he did works decently.

The real conversation should be about what makes a good location and a bad one.

June 6, 2017 at 12:30PM

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Indie Guy
681

I do think you have a point, but I watched the video fodidong on the story and I think Li is pretty good in telling them. I guess he souls still do a similar job in £20/night hotel room. Maybe his approach would be slightly different but still a great story (in my opinion).

June 6, 2017 at 12:07AM

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The price of the hotel doesn't matter, a dump can have more cinematic value then a 10 million dollar mansion, is there depth, do the walls have texture, can you shoot in layers of foreground mid-ground background, are the walls a muted color with a middle gray luminance, is there already a color scheme that will create a good color contrast, are the windows the right size for the quality of light you want for your key. Is it south facing, are there practicals. That is what matters,

There is a difference between dull and non-cinematic, you can have a room that feels dull and very cinematic.

June 6, 2017 at 12:40PM

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Indie Guy
681

That was fun... and I always say, the less you have to work with the more creativity you will find you have! I have to agree with Indy Guy.... that was hardly a boring hotel room!

June 5, 2017 at 5:09PM, Edited June 5, 5:09PM

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Since no has mentioned this yet, I will. The truly interesting visual things that Mr. Li was able to pull out of that room and the actor's performance were -greatly- enhanced by a very compelling soundtrack.

June 6, 2017 at 12:55AM, Edited June 6, 1:00AM

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why do you change from 30p to 24p between the diffrent shots?

June 6, 2017 at 4:38AM

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Hi, I had to remove the video because someone reported it to the hotel management today. The hotel's manager locked me out of my hotel room until I agreed to remove the video. It was a bizarre situation and I apologize for leaving you with a dead link. But thanks nonetheless to NFS for finding my video and posting it!

June 6, 2017 at 7:32AM, Edited June 6, 7:32AM

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Brandon Li
Nomad Filmmaker
14

Damn, that's crazy! Sorry to hear that, man.

June 6, 2017 at 10:36AM, Edited June 6, 10:36AM

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Jon Fusco
Producer/Editor
Actor/Writer/Director

Sorry! But, at least, you already know what to do next after leaving the hotel:
Do not book in again. They don't even know what free publicity is.
Tell to everybody what hotel is and what kind of hotel it is.
Publish your video again. It is a very good video.

Good luck

June 6, 2017 at 5:17PM

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I guess they were bothered by 'the boring room' label.

June 7, 2017 at 9:35AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
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