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Carrot Cake Soup [also FILMMAKING thread]

QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Artist's Corner
Hello all. So if you don't know, me and DrIanMalcolm are aspiring (twin) filmmakers and last year I asked Khoo if we could adapt Jerry's carrot cake soup story. He said yes and we set that aside for a while until this year when we finally were able to make it.

Here it is. (I don't think I can embed vimeo videos here)

If you guys have any comments/crits, let me know!


Since there isn't any kind of dedicated filmmaking thread or resource around here. I'd like to put together something that can help out anybody interested. Right now I'll just post links and little descriptions.

Websites

General:
The Anonymous Production Assistant's Blog. If you want to get into the industry, chances are you're going to be a PA at some point, and this gives you a little heads up on what it's like.

Studio Daily blog. Lots of tech related industry news.

FilmSound.org. Everything you could want in Sound Design.

My Film Project '09. This guy chronicled his process of making an independent feature film and includes lots of materials including his proposal and screenplay.

Truly Free Film. Blog which breaks down film-festival advice to its most essential elements and delves into hardcore topics such as copyrights and branding.

Screenwriters:

Celtx. If you don't have Final Draft or any kind of screenwriting software. Celtx is free and is pretty good from what I've heard.

Wordplayer. This was started by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, the guys who wrote the Pirates movies and lots of other things. The most useful thing for me are the columns which give lots of advice for writers as well as general industry advice.

John August's blog. More helpful advice and tips.

Hollywood University: or How to Get a Job in Hollywood. Started by a girl from Kansas who wanted to move to LA to work in TV. Lots of tips as well as general advice to newbies wanting to move to LA or just enter the industry. She also just started the HU Scriptwriter's Network which is like the facebook for screenwriters. If you're looking for work, roommates, or whatever it's really helpful.

Books

For me, the first book to read is Sydney Lumet's Making Movies. It is as Roger Ebert states on the cover, probably the best text anybody could read about the art of making motion pictures. Through thirteen chapters Lumet (the director of by my count 45 films, including 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and Network) discusses almost every facet of filmmaking there is. It is a brilliant account by a director who is both insanely prolific yet exceptionally consistent. The book successfully communicates all the arduousness that can go into making a film, something which is difficult to explain simply to those unfamiliar with filmmaking.

He also gives one of the best inspirational filmmaking quotes on page 10.
“For anyone who wants to direct but hasn’t made a first movie yet, there is no decision to make. Whatever the movie, whatever the auspices, whatever the problems, if there’s a chance to direct, take it! Period. Exclamation point! The first movie is its own justification, because it’s the first movie.”

For cinematography, this book is required reading at USC. It's a good technical book to have and is relatively up to date. If you want to learn the old techniques, John Alton's Painting with Light is excellent. It was printed in the 40's so there are bits that are outdated, but the techniques are incredibly useful.

Editing-wise, I've gone on a Walter Murch binge and there are some great books out there that really can help editors out. In the Blink of an Eye was written by Murch and goes into his basic techniques. Behind the Seen is about Murch being the first person to use Final Cut on a big studio feature. VERY good book that delves into his whole process for a film. Finally, there's The Conversations which is half about his techniques and half about his philosophy and interests. Read this one if you're still interested after the other two.

Screenwriting: There are a lot [url=http://www.amazon.com/Screenplay-Foundations-Screenwriting-Syd-Field/dp/0385339038/ref=pd_sim_b_1[/url]of[/url] books on actual screenwriting, but really you need to just read a lot of scripts to get an idea of the form. For basic formatting, The Hollywood Standard is a good book to just have at your side when you have questions. Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman is probably my favorite screenwriting book as it's less about the writing and more about what it's like to be a screenwriter in Hollywood and everything that entails.

QuestionMarkMan on

Posts

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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Post saved for more info

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    DrIanMalcolmDrIanMalcolm Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Yeah feel free to rip our film apart!

    DrIanMalcolm on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Clear and crisp video +
    Clear and crisp sound +
    Good use of color and cinematography +
    Good title & art visuals +

    Something you need to work on is camera direction and use of angles. You sacrificed information a couple times. I'll list a couple I see.

    -The blood scene. You got way to close and then his hand was covering the action (his bloody face). [Actually I'll take that back. Being close is good but the hand covered everything]
    -The car scene. I know it is easier to do from the back but you really want to show the action so really you need a shot from the windshield.
    -The checkout scene. You have a nice jittery camera effect that pans from the actor near the freezer to the girl and other actor at the cash register. Then you cut right back to the other actor near the freezer. This is a tad bit confusing to the viewer not to mention the 180 line is destroyed.

    There may be a couple more things but you get the idea.

    Invest in a proper dolly, or make your own. Whatever you were using for the dolly shots was shaky. Also try to use the tripod more. I'm not sure if it was a directorial choice to do hand held but it wasn't necessary in a lot of shots and drew away from the picture.

    The acting was average, as well was the narration. A little flat and overplayed sometimes.



    TAKE NOTE, this is just me being really harsh. I think everyone deserves to have the truth, so there you have it.

    Jimpy on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Also can I ask what camera you were using?

    Jimpy on
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    DrIanMalcolmDrIanMalcolm Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I agree with everything you said except for the car scene because there wasn't really any action that we didn't see (mustache maybe). I thought it worked fine.

    Also absolutely agree with you about the dolly. The two in the apartment could've definitely used it, but the ones at the university were all rented that week so we made use of a table with wheels. With the one in the grocery store we looked everywhere for a dolly that would accommodate the camera and an actor moving with it, but we couldn't find any. Ultimately we used a shopping cart, but yeah it could've been less shaky.

    All good comments, thanks!

    Oh and the camera we're using is a Panasonic HVX200

    DrIanMalcolm on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I agree with everything you said except for the car scene because there wasn't really any action that we didn't see (mustache maybe). I thought it worked fine.

    True. It's just a good idea to stay away from profile shots.

    Also look in to making a homemade dolly using PVC pipes. If you make them correctly they can be extremely smooth and portable.

    Jimpy on
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    DrIanMalcolmDrIanMalcolm Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    We'll get onto it after we finish making our steadicam

    DrIanMalcolm on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Jimpy wrote: »
    It's just a good idea to stay away from profile shots.
    Can you explain this?

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Jimpy wrote: »
    It's just a good idea to stay away from profile shots.
    Can you explain this?

    The audience wants to see actors faces. When you do a profile shot you sacrifice 50% of the information the audience takes in. Grant you the car scene isn't emotional or anything intensive, but there is no shot of their full face so if there was the audience would get annoyed.

    Examples of car scenes:
    PULP FICTION
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krotvejfBvQ

    Notice Tarentino never breaks away from the actor's faces until the gun shot. He does a profile shot of Samuel but he makes up for it by adding in Travolta as well. When he goes to the single of Samuel it's to capture Travolta's view, which would be a profile shot.

    BTW profile's happen, otherwise it would look fake. Not saying they are all bad.
    KINGPIN
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4tppxhh9aA

    This is closer to going to profile but never quite does. The actors move their faces so that they at least have a little bit of full-face time, and if you notice when they do move their face it is almost perfectly in line with the camera. The angle however is not a complete profile shot and is very close to what the actor not in the picture is seeing without breaking the 180.
    The Long Kiss Goodnight
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx-Ui_Ontqg

    Another example of a car scene. Once again there are some profiles but it is never a full profile shot. The only shot taken from the back here is a view from Brian Cox's perspective (actually I think that is the girl's perspective).


    To make it short, it is never 'just' a profile shot. You want to capture as much of the actor's face as possible because they are what the audience follows.

    Jimpy on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Noted

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    Agent ColemanAgent Coleman Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Maybe it's just me, but I didn't like how the narrator would say the dialogue right before the actor says it. I'd say either do one or the other, but not both.

    Also be careful with your titles. Red text on black backgrounds are terrible because they bleed a lot. I'm not too sure about orange, but it's pretty close to red...

    Agent Coleman on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Maybe it's just me, but I didn't like how the narrator would say the dialogue right before the actor says it. I'd say either do one or the other, but not both.
    You're the first one to comment on this. We did it on purpose but we'll take it under advisement.

    And cheers for the title comment.

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This board needs more film makers.

    Jimpy on
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    2 Marcus 2 Ravens2 Marcus 2 Ravens CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I'm in school for television production, which is surprisingly different, but I try and make time for personal film making. Anyway, if anyone is interested in television production, I have a lot of sources I use.

    As for the video, I really liked it! All around solid production values. Jimpy pointed out some legitimate flaws, and they should certainly be avoided, but I don't feel like any of them in this would really affect a viewer who's not looking for the mistakes. Even the 180 break wasn't particularly jarring or anything. It's a problem, but I don't think it would warrant a re-shoot or anything in this case.

    I'm not sure what I think of the orange tinge that's going on though. It looks intentional, but I don't dig it.

    All around solid stuff!

    2 Marcus 2 Ravens on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Got a new video for you guys to look at. We went to Maui for spring break and we shot a lot of footage. Didn't have any kind of end result in mind but I think this works well enough.

    HERE SHE BE

    I'm not too happy with the compression so I'm going to re-export it again later, but it's good enough for now.

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    JimpyJimpy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Wow very nice. Very MTV.

    Jimpy on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I'd submit the shit out of it but I'm too poor to license the rights

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    Agent ColemanAgent Coleman Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The only problem I can see with the escapades video is that it's either
    A) Too long
    B) Not varied enough.

    I mean, at 1:36 I lost interest, just because I knew I was going to see either time lapse clouds, guys boarding, or cars driving. That being said, it looked great, don't get me wrong, But if you had some other things shot it'd make it even better.

    Agent Coleman on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Yeah I was worried about that too, and I did cut the music up at first because I thought it'd be too long.

    I'll see how I feel about it in a couple of days.

    QuestionMarkMan on
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    Dr SanchezDr Sanchez Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Carrot Cake film:

    Lighting and exposure are generally solid. Camerawork seems to regularly switch between tripod and handheld, the transition between the two styles is very jarring (static shots in the beginning especially). Some of the shots of close ups look a little soft focus wise, but generally it is framed well (except for the car scene, already mentioned). Music is good, the way it flares up when the idea' hits them' and taking the cake to the counter is very well suited, the sound is also well recorded. Music works best when you don't know it's there and it is very fitting here. The editing was also well paced.

    As for the content, wasn't my sense of humour but the jokes felt weak and sorry to say it, but the hate you to death joke and 'then it hit us' really didn't work (the comic timing feels way off, which will only get better with feedback, experimenting and practice). As mentioned, the performances are a tad dull. The film comes off as something you and your friends will find funny. The mustache gag showed promise, but didn't they do something similar in the American Office?

    You clearly have strong technical skills, as demonstrated in the 2nd film. Which also as mentioned is repetitive and overstays it's welcome, I also shut off after we came back to the road for the second time.

    So what's the deal here '[Filmmaking thread]', do other people post their films here too?

    Dr Sanchez on
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    QuestionMarkManQuestionMarkMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Thanks for the notes.
    Dr Sanchez wrote: »
    Camerawork seems to regularly switch between tripod and handheld, the transition between the two styles is very jarring (static shots in the beginning especially).
    The beginning shots I regret but I'm fine with the rest.
    Music is good, the way it flares up when the idea' hits them' and taking the cake to the counter is very well suited, the sound is also well recorded. Music works best when you don't know it's there and it is very fitting here.
    Our composer wants to re-record the score with his band friends, but I'll let him know that people enjoy his temp.
    As for the content, wasn't my sense of humour but the jokes felt weak and sorry to say it, but the hate you to death joke and 'then it hit us' really didn't work (the comic timing feels way off, which will only get better with feedback, experimenting and practice).
    Noted
    As mentioned, the performances are a tad dull. It looks like you're acting in this yourselves,
    We're not, but ok.
    The mustache gag showed promise, but didn't they do something similar in the American Office?
    No idea.
    So what's the deal here '[Filmmaking thread]', do other people post their films here too?
    I originally intended this thread to show off our work and also to be a repository for filmmaking resources/help, but go ahead.

    QuestionMarkMan on
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