Video Editor for The Weather Channel by day. Filmmaker without a crew by night.
Ladykillers > Cruelty > Burn After Reading
These are their bottom 3 for sure but I'll take Ladykillers every time over the mean-spirited, pandering Burn.
But honestly, they've made so many great films that speak to so many people in so many different ways that it's almost impossible to get a consensus on what their definitive top 10 or 5 are. How many filmmakers have that kind of refused? Even someone like Hitchcock, you know which five films almost everyone is going to put at the top.
Funny thing is I've had more Vimeo buffer problems on desktops/laptops in comparison to YouTube, but on mobile, it's the opposite.
It would be nice if they had tiered accounts that allowed 1080p uploads. Like maybe make the Plus what the Pro is now? Sure they'll never do it but it would be nice.
You know, I just found Mark Duplass' keynote on YouTube this past week. I think I'll take that challenge.
1. I think my psychological barriers (and maybe all of us) can be boiled down to one simple thing: fear of failure. I've wanted to be a filmmaker for as long as I can remember and I'm now in my 30s, and only feel like I'm shaking off the shackles of "my script has to be perfect after the first draft, I need the perfect actors, locations, camera, lenses," etc.
What never sunk in until recently is that failure is inevitable. Not perpetually, but it's part of the process. I blame Orson Welles. He came out of the gate making one of the greatest films of all time at 25 so everyone (certainly me) thinks they have to be that good as early as possible. But it's worth it to make a crap feature with friends just to make a feature.
So the thing I've learned is to embrace your freedom to fail. Because you'll learn more from failing to make future successes better.
The best bit of director wisdom I've read/seen/heard recently is Ava Duvernay saying something about shaking off desperation as an emerging filmmaker: "If you spend more time worrying about what you don't have than working with what you do have, you're acting in a desperate manner." That seriously changed my life.
2. My biggest technical challenge is having a hard time being my own DP. I find myself needing to be most of the time for now but I don't want to do it anymore. It's too much for me and detracts from my ability to work with actors… for now.
3. My biggest logistical challenge is being a producer in general. I'm very disorganized in the sense that I can't figure out how to run a production AND focus on the actors and camera. I'm working on that but I'm terrible at it. So overall, I think my biggest challenge is finding and letting other people do things they're good at to help me make a movie. I was in film school when Robert Rodriguez was setting the world on fire with El Mariachi and Desperado, so there's this thing in my head that I have to do everything, but I personally can't… for now.
4. I really enjoy the content (original and aggregated) on NFS but I'd love to see more in general from filmmakers talking about their own process, especially with shorts and microbudget features. NFS has really done a lot to make me realize how possible it is to make a film these days but I haven't really seen you guys go deep with the process from soup to nuts, script to finished edit to festivals, etc.
Correct me if I'm wrong and that you have done this already, but I'd love to see a guest filmmaker write a series of pieces on their journey from first idea to the first festival premiere.
Since I'm not exactly sure what your specific goals and intentions were for making the film, I'm going to judge it based solely on what it communicates to me, in terms of story and production.
Visually, I think it's well done overall. There are a couple of shots where maybe you're a little too wide on the man and it drew a little bit of attention to the infinite black behind him, but overall, the cinematography is nicely done given a perceived limited budget.
The short does a decent job of presenting a mystery and then explaining that mystery without using words. At the point that it might have become confusing, the reveal happens and everything is clear.
That said, I agree with Guy above, that you need to connect the two worlds somehow. I don't know if there were any limitations you were given beforehand but some sort of visual connections between places or clues early on would be make it a richer experience. I also agree with Guy that there's not enough for the man to do in the first part. His scribbling in the notebook seems arbitrary; instead of writing, "I can't get out," he might try more actively to get out. (Again, I don't know if you had any limitations on production or just wanted to play around with editing techniques.)
I think you should consider taking a deeper dive into color grading for your next projects. I personally read the blue grade in the hospital room as a sterile fluorescent light so that didn't bother me. However, in the infinite black, the color of the light on the man is a little flat. This is the place to make the colors more stylized. So dig into FCPX or Adobe Speedgrade or Resolve Lite (which is free) and just learn what you can do to your image with these tools and have fun with it.