Author Topic: Reinhold's Short  (Read 2582 times)

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Reinhold

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Reinhold's Short
« on: April 26, 2010, 04:09:38 AM »
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https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0ASHgX-jIJhUPZGNtajM1cnhfM2NxNjVmMmhy&hl=en

draft 1. still untitled... this is it when i put it down the other night. i'll revise it in a few days with some distance from it.

Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

Pubrick

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 08:13:10 AM »
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is that the whole thing? there's not anything missing at the end?

firstly, i understand it's a draft, but your film is all over the place.

how old is the kid? make him older. toddlers are 12-18months. they're starting to talk but this one sounds like a robot when he doesn't act like a 3 year old. even a 2 year old makes more sense. does he have a name? i see at the end the dad starts calling him by name, this should happen sooner.

the drastic change in tone in the last part of the film needs to go. that entire section needs to change. the ending isn't there. what is this film about? is it a comedy? is it an excessively violent torture porn kind of deal? is it a cartoon cos that's the only way i'd believe that toddler's actions right now.

i've been reading the other thread and i assumed you had a cute little story and that was why you were concentrating so much on the technical and production side of it. all the talk of the technical side of things made the production ambitious but looking at this draft it looks like the ambition is actually in the story. you should fix the story before you take on any further planning on the budget.

here's a few key suggestions that i think might fix the major problems in the script:

1. make the kid older. this will make him a more active participant in the story by allowing him to have rudimentary motivation. as it stands right now the kid is just a puppet whose abilities range wildly according to the needs of the story. it just doesn't make sense. making him older would make the actions of his father register in a more real way.. you can keep that character, as his currently unrealistic dynamic could lead to a more believable scenario where an older kid could retain an emotional charge.

2. ditch the ending. fixing the above problem would actually fix this one, or at least give you new options to solve the lack of any ending whatsoever. giving the kid an actual will of his own might make his actions at the end of the story more believable if you chose to stick with the power-ballad sort of ending you've got going right now.

what is your inspiration for this? from reading the other thread i gather as far as you've admitted this is nothing but a calling card. if it's just to prove you are technically capable then clearly there is no reason for this thread at all. the story doesn't matter. yes you've said that you think this has potential to win awards.. i'm sorry but i don't see it. the positive side is i DO see potential for this to show off techincal stuff and to prove that you can get things done.

if you do care about story i strongly suggest that you follow the advice given by others that you do a bunch of little stories instead of one big one. if you do want to make a big one you put too much importance on getting it perfect. you leave yourself with two options neither of which have great outcomes,. you either wait to perfect the one story, further delaying the production and exhibition of your technical abilities (the whole point of the exercise). or you go ahead and make an imperfect story, which only wastes the talent you already have onboard and is a bad showcase for your technical ability (this kid is no writer but he's got a great eye for CAR LOGO SHOTS).

i don't think this deserves its own thread, it could have easily gone in the other one since you even posted the link there, but since they're both in dead zone forums i'm going to leave it.
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Pas

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 09:21:24 AM »
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Definitely needs a lot of work. First of all, you absolutely must make that child older and make his dialogue sound older too.

If you take a 1-2 year old to do this, impossible. You want him to say stuff at precise time, not gonna happen. You're gonna have to dub it and it'll look really stupid. So you'll end up taking a 3-4 year old and make him talk like a 1-2 year old, which will sound really false. Also, there is no way in hell that anyone below the age of 4 could shift a car so you know right there the suspension of disbelief is gone, you have to make it comedy from that point on.

About that comedy status, also, to me, this is not really funny enough to be one too. And it's not dramatic either because we sure as hell know the baby's gonna fuck up. So I don't know what it is, a gorish cartoon kinda thing maybe?

I think it would be funnier if the kid saved his life in a funny way instead of the bad ending you got there. But then again, I don't know.

Here's my best idea: the baby is played by the animated baby in Roger Rabbit!

pete

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 02:58:54 PM »
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I don't think the character have to be likable, but neither of them is believable.  the father seems cardboard to say the least and everyone has commented on the baby already.
the joke where the car runs him over again is an old one.
I think the conflict is good - trying to figure out how to get out from under a car with a small child as your only aid.  but you can't just stop at the premise.  for it to work you need to out-think the audience and see what witty things the father can do, and how those attempts are rewarded/ shot down.

how will you work to make it visually interesting?
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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socketlevel

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 03:20:48 PM »
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hey, you should spec out the script so you'll get an idea how long it is. get a program like final draft or movie magic screenwriting. general rule of thumb is a page a minute. save it as a PDF if you want to show people.

not to be the script Nazi but the first time you bring in a character you write their name in ALL CAPS and every subsequent time you write it with normal capitalization. it lets the reader know if a character has been introduced before.  doesn't matter too much for this script but in the future you'll find it beneficial when you got a lot more characters.

ya i agree make the kid older, get him to horse around doing older stuff, could even make him defiant to motivate it. like when the father wants the kid to open the car door he could not be doing it to fuck with him, making the father further annoyed.

also, another reason to change the age, first time out of the gate don't be directing toddlers lol. i can only imagine the nightmare ensuing.

generally speaking, you have a lot of dialog you don't really need. the characters are speaking their minds and leading the audience. try another draft trusting that people will get some things even without having characters say what you want to get across. for the father, besides the parts he's telling the kid what to do, people generally don't say what they are feeling so directly. like if someone is pissed off at another person it's not like "Hey buddy, when you do this it really pisses me off." instead they insult or try to bring down the person with other means. like a quick jab about them or find reasons to look down on them.  i get the feeling like the father is an internal dialog, which isn't real.

with all that said, good first effort my man. keep with it. don't get discouraged, and no matter what try and film it. you'll learn a ton!
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Reinhold

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 03:21:29 PM »
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thank you all, sincerely. not a lot new here in terms of of what i know needs to change but thanks for taking the time to say so.

Pas & co,  the kid does need to be older, but it's important to me that he's young enough to be overwhelmed easily and be persuaded to just make anything a game. as for the budgeting thing-- it's tied into the script cause i had been thinking i'd have to shoot the scary stuff and yelling around the toddler (i keep saying toddler, i think the old man in the script says two years old and i've been thinking a young-looking 4 or 3), and then composite the toddler back in (no problem if they're in different sides of a static angle, done it many times). because of this, the kid's timing can be lined up any way i want it.

i don't want it to be funny overall, but i want people to enjoy the playfulness of the kid and the peril of the father. it's a drama.

P, it's not actually the whole thing. I wrote an end bit that i deleted where the kid sees his father's phone on the floor of the car and texts his mom for help even though he didn't know that part makes phone calls. I deleted that cause i felt it's not as committed to what I had been trying to say, though it still leaves room for the father to die whether or not the kid does his part. i also thought about the other two ways to turn off the car once the push-button ignition is used: just accelerate or push the button again.

since you asked for my inspiration, (god, you're going to murder me but...) The inspiration for this is the situation with global warming, and how the problem is the youngest generation's problem to solve despite that generation being completely ill-equipped and unprepared for that kind of scenario.  the arc for the kid is: happy in car seat> fumbling a serious situation treated like a game> confused in the driver's seat of a huge machine > just realizing game is over and he has to try.  for the adult: happily oblivious> fucked out of impatience > fucked by his kid's actions, which mirror his own > realizing he fucked up and just waiting to either die or be OK (but no longer oblivious).  i've also always been interested by how much people underestimate their kids-- the kids themselves don't realize what they're capable of either.

--------

westchester, for those who don't live in the US, is a suburb of NYC and one of the wealthiest places in the world, where the streets were built in the 1800's and make everybody's enormous SUV's look even more ridiculous.

the tone is all over the damn place, i agree. that's why i'm not ready to show it to actors. 

edit: the delivery for the toddler until he starts getting upset at the end is always playful. his "uhoh" at the beginning is a happy one that kids repeat back to their parents when they fall down or something. he doesn't really know what it means.

second edit: the rest of my inspiration was cutting a short film that i really don't like for first-time director, and now he's headed to the cannes film market (not a big deal, but still, people are taking him seriously). i know i can make a better film than that guy and i became interested in proving it. then, at P's recommendation in another thread, i picked up the Cinema 16 DVD's of short films and aside from a few really wasn't very impressed. that is NOT to say i think my film will be better than those films without a lot of hard work, good intuition, and luck, but anyway that's what got me going on the idea of making this thing.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

socketlevel

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 03:25:50 PM »
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the kid would still be overwhelmed at nine or  ten
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Reinhold

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 03:49:46 PM »
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the kid would still be overwhelmed at nine or  ten

thanks, but that's too old for this piece i think. nine or ten is old enough to walk home or to some other house and articulate what's wrong to whoever answers the door. it's also old enough to figure out how to turn off the car immediately, old enough to know what both parts of the phone do, and old enough to not need a car seat. in other words, it would greatly help the man trapped under the car, but would make this film a very boring two minutes.

I don't think the character have to be likable, but neither of them is believable.  the father seems cardboard to say the least and everyone has commented on the baby already.


well, i won't make the mistake of saying "HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE CARDBOARD" and leaving it there. i'll work on it, but he still needs to be a carefree dimwit. he's introduced as a commercial character.

the joke where the car runs him over again is an old one. I think the conflict is good - trying to figure out how to get out from under a car with a small child as your only aid.  but you can't just stop at the premise.  for it to work you need to out-think the audience and see what witty things the father can do, and how those attempts are rewarded/ shot down.

i should have known when my first impulse was to write it with a murphy bed instead of a car. you're right about needing to have the father think more, though.

something that occurred to me just now is that if the child were as old as socket suggests, that's also old enough for the father and the kid each to commit (stupidly) to the idea that the kid can pull him out from under the car. the kid could jack up the car with a good deal of difficulty, too, and i'd have a lot more freedom to shoot.

how will you work to make it visually interesting?

i was just thinking some gratuitously shallow depth of field and having somebody smoke a cigarette, maybe opening it with a shot of a teddy bear.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

Pubrick

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 10:15:03 PM »
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i don't know if you're being sarcastic in your response to pete cos what you describe when taken at face value actually fits well with the tone you're going for in the film so far.



why are you skipping in age now from 12 months to 3 to 9? david after dentist is a good age basis for the kind of child a lot of ppl would be familiar with. they are still stupid (even when not hepped up on goofballs), they are still easily overwhelmed, they are still tiny. a 9yr old kid could be a superhero, a 9yr old is only a few years from wacking off.. seriously get the age right or the whole thing is doomed.

i think it's important that you say the whole thing is sposed to be like a commercial. so why not give yourself the challenge of telling it in the span of a commercial? or even like a series of commercials? one of the major problems with the script so far is it has no structure. those transitions you mention that are meant to parallel the meaning of the film just aren't there in the story. it feels like a series of increasingly unlikely events that ulimately go nowhere. the key to get around unbelievable things is exactly the way magicians do it, distract the viewer, embrace a comedic situation, embrace the truth of whatever the scene is about.

SPECIFICALLY, to do this, divide the story into significant events. what's the premise? can you establish the premise in 30-45 seconds using the conventions of commercials. the film already begins like this, you see the car, a series of logos, anyone watching it will think they hav been duped into watching a commercial -- what's wrong with that? i think that's actually a good gimmick that you should carry through to the rest of the film. let your mind go nuts with possibilities and keep in mind that every 30-45 seconds something must either have happened or about to happen.

use the conventions available to the genre of story you are telling. you have i guess a slapstick/baby's-day-out situation. you can't avoid that cos that's the premise you've set for yourself. i see that you're trying to twist it by making it somewhat realistic by the end, but you confuse realism with extreme imagery or extreme situations. NO ONE HAS TO DIE. i'll tell you right now this bit of advice is nothing new from me, my biggest peeves in amateur films is unnecessary gore, death, or extreme imagery/situations that ppl resort to because they can't think of how to carry a message in a more imaginative way.

don't kill the dad, instead end the film if you can at a point where the kids actions will determine his life and the film ends on that balance. think (one of your favourite movies of all time) Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.. that film did one thing right and that was have a perfect ending. mentioning this doesn't mean the whole feel of the film now has to reflect a glossy style, but that's already what you're going for so it can't hurt to hav it in the back of your mind. the other point to make regarding taking elements from things without making it take over the entire project is the idea that this could be a comedy. there is no reason to avoid comedic moments, especially as you are clearly trying to change the tone of the film to reflect the tone of the kid's instant coming of age towards the end.

that's one big problem. you've made an allegory first, story second. you think you have a complete message to communicate and that leaves nothing for you or the audience to discover during the film. you say one of your interests is the unknown strength of kids, without taking it literally and making the kid literally hoist the car up with his own hands or even with the jack as you are suggesting, why don't you look at other examples in cinema where this has been achieved cos i can assure you this is not a new message. off the top of my head i can say To Kill A Mockingbird, or Forbidden Games, but these are dramas -- VERY dramatic actually, even if they are fable-like.

so let me bring you back to David After Dentist, you have a kid in a car acting like an idiot going through a transitional moment. without making a parody use the image that has now being ingrained in the minds of ppl and show the kid asking "is this real life?".. do you see how this fits perfectly with your idea? make that the end of one segment.. it's funny, it's thematically relevant, and it furthers the story. that's just one thought. do some more research and be influenced. that will give you cheap and readily available elements of stories to infuse your own with some originality, it will expand the themes and make it more interesting. basically, if you can't beat them join them (if you can't make something truly original then steal from everyone).. that's acceptable because you are trying to make a COMMERCIAL.

keep it superficial not shallow. i think maybe your perception of what is realistic is not the same as others, certainly not the same as what i think, otherwise you would never have considered such a young age for the kid or been so keen to kill the dad at the end. make a commercial, that's all i can tell you, and cut out 90% of dialogue and superfluous action in this story. if something can't avoid being boring cos it's so unoriginal then make it quick and painless. shiny and amusing, don't aim for heavy-handed and message-addled.
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Reinhold

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 02:12:16 AM »
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thanks for a well thought out response, p. there was some (lighthearted) sarcasm in my response to Pete. the parts i intended to be sarcasm were the thing about the murphy bed and my ideas for making it visually interesting.

i agree with you that the script as it stands is searching for a tone and completely lacks structure. you're absolutely and obviously correct that i need to figure out the age thing or it's doomed. as for why i'm apparently jumping from 1 year (when was that?) to 3, to 9... that's because i'm still working it out. 3 was what i wanted to do originally but that's too young. the first thing i said to socket, though, was that 9 was too old for this script. when i said afterward that it occurred to me that 9ish old enough to try and physically move the dad, again that was just something that occurred to me then-- but not something i plan to run with. working through possible ways to revise the story, the kid has mostly been around 4 or 5 in my head.

"don't kill the dad, instead end the film if you can at a point where the kids actions will determine his life and the film ends on that balance. "

Um, isn't that how it ends right now? didn't you say that it has no ending? also, let me get it out of the way that the father doesn't die in this script, and how likely he is to die after it ends is up to the viewer. also, i'm sure you have a link to a post from 2004 refuting this, but i can assure lock/stock is definitely not one of my favorite films of all time.  

as for breaking it up into a few 60-second spots, i'd rather just shelve this story idea and make a few 60-second spots with a different premise, cause there's no way a body of spots could be taken seriously in the way that one unified film would. the reason i asked for help making this script better rather than scrapping it is because i don't want people to see it and think "this would be better if it were 30 seconds long."

i don't see this as a baby's day out thing, so much as an adult having to rely on a kid because there's nobody else there. there's humor in that, but i really don't think that slapstick is something i want to embrace for this. but let's say i drop the extremity of the father's mortal peril for now, and end it in some way where the father is definitely going to be fine. doesn't that leave me making some kind of hopeful statement? i am in no way optimistic about what inspired me to write this in the first place, though i like the idea that we're supposedly going to try and fix the issue.  i want the father to finally realize that he is entirely to blame for the situation he's in and to admire the kid for his efforts even though they might not be enough.

"that's one big problem. you've made an allegory first, story second. " ... i know. it's funny that you pick that out as a problem because i did that intentionally. it was advice that Paul Schrader gave when i saw him speak a couple years ago. his advice almost verbatim was to come up with a problem from life and an allegory for that problem, and then to write your story knowing what you've got to work with in terms of symbolism.  since i've never really written anything and he's so well respected, i intentionally did start with the allegory as you're criticizing me for doing.  in regard to the kid's strength-- i know it's not an original theme but i also really wasn't going for something like that. initially when i outlined the idea in my notebook, the guy bribed his son to turn off the car and the kid negotiated with him. what's more interesting to me is the father not knowing how to relate to the kid as a being with depth.

in regard to the rest of your post... i appreciate that you want me to just make what you think i can handle. that's not bad advice, aside from setting out to do that by steal things i like from the internet.  the thing is that i'm certain that you're underestimating me. i invite you to give it until the second draft to decide that it'd be better as something else entirely.


edit: it's only been a few minutes since i wrote that, but i'm already more comfortable with the idea of scrapping the notion of shooting it. thanks P. no sarcasm.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

Pas

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 07:37:49 AM »
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I think it's a good idea to drop it. If you're like me, I'm sure in two weeks you'll have pretty much forgot about it, too.

What sucks for you is that I seem to recall that you showed your script to people in New York in your line of work and they didn't give you the heads up at all. This happens to me all the time, too. Whatever crazy project I start, I barely ever hear the problems associated with my idea until I tell my dad about it.(I can name dozens of these occasions, from opening an irish pub to opening a french school in Costa Rica... name it) People always encourage you for no reason just because it's a hassle to burst someone's bubble. The only time people all discouraged me, my dad was the only one encouraging me (the condo thing) so I guess my point is that your dad knows best :yabbse-huh:

Alexandro

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Re: Reinhold's Short
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2010, 01:17:01 PM »
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well, I haven't read the script but my experience with "encouragement" is different from Pas Rap's. In fact one thing I always tell people who want to shoot something is that the moment you start showing it around you will hear an enormous majority of reasons of why NOT to do it. I don't think you should scrap anything but of course you should reconsider the plan, specially try to do it without you spending ALL your savings on it, even if in the long run you end up doing just that. About the screenplay, well, haven't read it, maybe it needs work, probably will always need more work, in that arena you can't trust anyone more than yourself. The thing is don't wait on too much because that money, you will spend it anyway, the time you would use for the film (or films) will pass too and if you want to learn and be a filmmaker you have to create your own opportunities to do so with projects like this. And the sooner the better.

 

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