November 22, 2015 at 12:56PM, Edited November 22, 1:01PM

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Please critique my film

Hi everyone,

I am posting my second film on here and I want AS MUCH ADVICE AS POSSIBLE. I have thick skin so hit me hard with any and all comments, this is my second film but I only plan on getting better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj0ojaOhuqU&feature=youtu.be

Thanks and don't be shy.

Nathan

8 Comments

Let's break this down.

The Good:
Very interesting lens choices at times. I rarely see fisheye used properly these days. Some of those shots are very interesting. The audio is also mixed very well at time, especially the announcer voice, he processing on which is scrapes at my ears like a megaphoned voice should. The tones in the announcer segments and sometimes in the B&W segments are very nice as well. It's all got this great lo-fi aesthetic that I'm totally digging.
On the story side, it's an interesting base idea, I'll give you that, the framing device of the presentation really works to keep us involved and to keep blunt exposition to a minimal. At the end, the adjusted aspect ratio felt wonderfully constraining. Perfect for a finale moment.

The Bad:
Note that I said interesting lens choices "at times". Other than some of the fisheye shots and some effective close ups, your lens choices and framing feel dissonant to the mood. For instance, jumping between the distortion of the fisheye to the normal wide angle felt wrong on a gut level, as did many of the shots in the middle, many of which feel pedestrian at best, far from the exaggerated, warped visuals and angles that proceed it.

You visual style is all over the place, and therein lies many of my criticisms. The saturated segments really feel out of place, not sharing even close to the same tonal and color palette as the other two segments. They're probably the weakest part of the film, demanding to be shot more traditionally to the point of making the uses of fisheye and odd angles there feels just off and pointless. But when they are shot more traditionally, they feel even more out of place with the film. It's a Catch-22 that could be resolved perhaps with more attention to color.

Despite the great root idea for a plot, I was never really drawn in. I feel like there might be a more personal way of telling it, because while I was interested in the main character, I didn't understand or care about her because I wasn't given a reason to.

The Ugly:
The hardest thing about writing this whole thing is that I see something done perfectly, and then something similar, but just done all wrong. It's contradictory in a way. The first of these was the sound. I love the announcer's processing and mixing, I love the music and sfx choices. It feels trippy, gritty, and uncomfortable in a great way. However, then you get to the middle, saturated segments and the audio becomes quiet and mediocre. The music and stuff is still great, just everything else, especially the dialogue, just sounds blech. I guarantee there's a whole story behind it, but for the audience it's what ends up in the final draft that matters, not the story behind why something failed.

The other thing that sticks in my craw is the aspect ratio. Seeing the final scene in that cramped, 4:3 (?) ratio felt perfect for this film, with that fisheye wide angle making it feel like the environment and character were constantly bumping against a wall, trying to get out, which worked well for your story. But the rest of it is in 2.4:1, which just doesn't feel right for this film. It's too spacious, and I think that's part of the reason it didn't fully sell the plot to me. I didn't fully believe this world.

And, as final quibble, maybe you should have shown her fire the gun and fall over and cut when the screaming starts. Cutting to black with a gunshot feels very film-schooly and it's been done to death.

Conclusion:
I hope I don't seem to rough here. I always appreciate it when people are real with me, rather than BSing me to save my feelings. You need a good Crit to get better at art.

Don't get down about this though. Take the flaws to heart, and build on it's successes, cause there's quite a damn few. I was expecting to just watch the first minute, yawn, and click away like I do with many short films that make it onto these boards, but I genuinely saw hard work, talent, and someone crafting a unique visual style, so I stayed. Keep it up, you've got some interesting stuff in that head, I can feel it.

November 23, 2015 at 9:06AM

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Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer
1236

You have no idea how helpful that was. I struggled with some of this consciously, and other things like giving audience a reason to root for the character I have not yet considered and now I feel that missing in an intense way and hope to remedy it. As for the colors, I am color blind and new to color grading so I now know not to trust my gut on this, I'll have to rely on my girlfriend's eye a little more. Anyway, I'm not down about anything, I'm going to correct as many of your suggestions as I can and consider it in my future writings. I really appreciate the time you put into this post, none of it will go to waste. Stick around for some corrections, I'm going to mess around with some more structured changes and hopefully remedy some of the issues you presented. Mostly I will take it to the next film since most of my resources for shooting this are gone with the wind.

Thanks again, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my future work.

Nathan

November 23, 2015 at 10:00AM

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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
220

No problem, glad it helped! I'm excited to see more.

November 23, 2015 at 7:26PM

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Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer
1236

I give tons of credit to anyone who creates anything, so congrats on that. Most seem to sit around and just talk about what they're going to do. But having said that, First, cut it down to 3 minutes or so. It was actually hard to keep watching. Very slow moving. I didn't find the visuals very compelling or consistent either. ANd the sound isn't great. I think the writing could be improved too as some of the wording in his speech made it hard to believe he was a scientist.

November 24, 2015 at 9:10AM, Edited November 24, 9:10AM

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//first I must say, I have never critique anything, I have very little experience in directing, and editing, so my analysis will be seen less on the technical side, and more through the eyes of an audience.//

The short film's title is "SUBJECT 001 FINAL VERSION mp4"; this looks unprofessional, and an individual is not going to want to watch a short film with this title.
We know its the final version; why else would you have uploaded it, and no one needs to know its a mp4. Most short films(on youtube) go by "title(year) (short film)", you don't have to do the generic title(year) and the words short film, but anything is better than "SUBJECT 001 FINAL VERSION mp4".

The first thing that was a little hard to go through was the audio, Especially the speakers voice, his voice is going to be heard through out the film and if its too loud or only being heard through one ear, no one will like it. The beginning of a film is the most important, its suppose to hook the audience in, if they cant get through the first 2 minutes then you will lose their attention. Christopher Nolan used a technique in "following" where he made sure the audio(and lighting) were "good" at the beginning of his film so the audience wouldn't notice how poorly produce the rest of the film was because by then they would already be captured by the story.

The story was interesting but also confusing at times, I think you relied to much on dialogue, I understand that you need to use dialogue to further the story or explain back story, but it felt like you just used almost all video as background for the narrator, which you can use but don't abuse.
The use of black and white was also weird, you were using both for events in the past and for events in the present. I thought the way you used it was cool, It made it feel like subject 001 was living in a corrupted place, but it also confused me.

Lighting is also important, shooting outside is good because the natural light can be helpful, but some of your shots were over exposed.
Lighting inside was okay, if you are limited on light then its best if you shot near windows .
one thing that really bugged me was when you were switching aspect ratios, if you're gonna switch ratios then make sure that who ever's watching can't notice. I noticed, and it was distracting, I don't know if it was done intentionally or by mistake, but aspect ratios can be used to signify different things if used properly.

The story was emotionally lacking, I didn't really know our main protagonist "001", I knew her name but i didn't know who she was. The story needed more character development, I didn't see the speaker as really a antagonist, and I didn't really care if our protagonist died or not. I didn't feel any emotions towards her, and i didn't really feel any emotions for the antagonist; if their was one. It was difficult to know what the conflict even was, the story is the most important part of any film.

// I'm sorry if I wasn't helpful, or if I was too hard, Making films takes practice and patience, you can only get better. I hoped i helped you.//

November 24, 2015 at 3:51PM

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Ariel Collazo
Director/ Writer/ Editor
81

It's not interesting to show human face for 1-2min without cuts with static camera. Especially on the beginning of the movie. I also think that camera should be closer at the guy who was speaking at the beginning. The beginning of the movie should always be dynamic & the most interesting part of the movie, because if u lose the audience in first 1min, they won't watch the rest. Don't make B&W movies if it doesn't serve the story. It's much harder to get a good looking, interesting B&W than movie in color, so if ur visuals are not stunning B&W looks just underwhelming. I also recommend to make movies shorter, you could have told that story in 3-5min without losing anything & even gained more audience.

November 25, 2015 at 2:22AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1322

This is how I responded to this film : I watched the first one and a half minutes then scroll down to the end. The issue is that I didn't catch with the story, or understand if there was a story at all. I am not moved or even interested, so after one and a half minutes, as there is still nothing that makes me want to know what's coming next, I stop watching.
Sorry for this very personal critic, I don't pretend to understand art or what you meant but this is how I experienced your work. Remember that it's just one man opinion and it doesn't represent everyone else's.
For the technical part, please put the main speech in the center, it is painful to hear it only on one side, and by the way it is also asked by broadcaster. Be careful with the color grading and the noise. We see ugly artifact moving on the readers jacket and in the window behind him.
As a chief video editor I couldn't allow it to be broadcast on the tv channel I work for with those issue.

November 26, 2015 at 4:37AM, Edited November 26, 4:40AM

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AvdS
1191

I liked the short. I really like the use of your switching between b/w to color as if she coming out of Plato's cave of shadows into the rest of the light spectrum. I'm guessing she shot herself at the end because she walked out of one cave right into the next one which was not what I expected. I'd like to think she was enlightened rather than ruined. I'm not sure what the moral of this was now lol. But nonetheless, it was outside of the box and very creative. I liked the use of scrathy audio as well.

On technical note, its art so

November 27, 2015 at 12:11AM

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AJ
93

Yeah. Beautifully put, enlightened, not ruined. And for everyone else, thank you all so much for the comments, I'm still new to this and I'm going 100mph all the way to the top so I appreciate any critique I can get, ultimately I need an audience for my art and I want to make my audience happy. Having seen everyone's comments I'm thinking about putting more effort into a new short ASAP rather than change this too much as many of the problems are from shooting and audio and unfortunately I can't get that crew back together, except for my beautiful girlfriend, Subject-001.

Thanks everyone.

November 27, 2015 at 10:30AM

0
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Nathan Karimi
Writer/ Director
220

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