Author Topic: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)  (Read 28571 times)

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JG

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #135 on: January 19, 2006, 01:02:06 PM »
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SPOILERS
Sixteen--the age where your old enough to start having your own opinions but not yet old enough to form them. 
You answered it for me.You remind me of ebeaman....whatever happend to him.  sorry in advance for the thread hijack

i am sixteen (and a half), but just so u know that quote was in reference to the squid and the whale, not me.  unless u just feel that that quote applies to me as well. 

Anyways...Matt, did u ever post poof! on here?   what's it all about?

hedwig

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #136 on: January 19, 2006, 01:12:50 PM »
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SPOILERS
Sixteen--the age where your old enough to start having your own opinions but not yet old enough to form them. 
You answered it for me.You remind me of ebeaman....whatever happend to him.  sorry in advance for the thread hijack

i am sixteen (and a half), but just so u know that quote was in reference to the squid and the whale, not me.  unless u just feel that that quote applies to me as well. 

Anyways...Matt, did u ever post poof! on here?   what's it all about?

Poof! thread

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JG

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #137 on: January 19, 2006, 01:17:58 PM »
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i was kinda just trying to this thread back on topic and talking about matt's work.   the links don't work either. 

hedwig

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #138 on: January 19, 2006, 01:27:02 PM »
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i was kinda just trying to this thread back on topic and talking about matt's work.  
forgiven, but only because of your avatar.

Reinhold

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #139 on: March 10, 2006, 08:05:50 AM »
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gmail quote of the day:

"What you are will show in what you do."
-Thomas A. Edison
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.

matt35mm

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #140 on: March 10, 2006, 12:38:18 PM »
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I've decided that a DVD isn't necessarily warranted in this case.  I can't come up with enough extra features to make it worth more than the shipping, so I plan to just post it up here.

A DVD will be available for those who would prefer to own it and willing to pay something like 7 bucks for it.

There's a few things that I have to do before I can post it, so it will be a couple of weeks, probably, but stay tuned.

matt35mm

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Re: My Next Movie: Thomas Edison
« Reply #141 on: March 23, 2006, 11:21:30 PM »
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There's a million things I could say, so that makes for a million things that I won't say.

Have at it.

Thomas Edison (82 MB) (Requires Quicktime 7)  You can right-click to download or just watch it on there (it's a little faster to just watch in there, because you can watch it as it loads).  It's 23 minutes long, total running time.

Soon, I'll put up the joke alternate ending that goes along with it, too.

If there's demand for it, I'll put up a higher-resolution version.  Also, if anybody really wants a DVD of it (there aren't really any features other than the alt-ending)... we may be able to work something out.

Enjoy!

w/o horse

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Re: Thomas Edison (A Short Film)
« Reply #142 on: March 24, 2006, 12:49:15 PM »
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The cuts are compelling.  They reminded me of Ozu, but not in a derivative way, and faster, like Ozu late to work and drinking a Dr. Pepper.  And what'd you shoot it in, beause it looks really nice.  Extra lighting, or a bunch of guys standing around holding white boards?  The line 'I never meant for it' came off exceptionally well.

Fuck I gotta go.  I'll finish it later.
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matt35mm

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Re: Thomas Edison (A Short Film)
« Reply #143 on: March 30, 2006, 07:23:44 AM »
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what'd you shoot it in, beause it looks really nice.  Extra lighting, or a bunch of guys standing around holding white boards?
Thanks.

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ono

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #144 on: March 30, 2006, 04:53:43 PM »
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Finally got to watch this.  Nicely done.  For a first film, one could definitely do worse.

I gotta admit: when I read the script, I was in the minority and didn't like it too much.  But it seems as if you've ironed out a lot of the things I thought would be problems.

My first impressions as I watch the film: Kelly is a good actress.  Wade on the other hand is not.  I wanted to laugh when he threw a rock into the trees.  When he stumbled away and collapsed to the ground, it seemed so robotic and plotted.

Pacing.  I want to say, maybe, there's a little bit too much silence/contemplation/crying/whatever.  More talk needed.  But maybe there's a reason for this, for the pacing you have established.

I thought you should've used a tripod more.  There were certain handheld shots that shouldn't have been, though that's just my personal aesthetic preference.  Also, zooms.  Generally a no-no.  Just another personal preference, though.

The conversation seems to go in circles a bit.  Maybe that's part of the point, too.  But still, some cutting could've been done.  The film was ~22 minutes.  Maybe it could've been 15.  As with the silence, I would have liked things to take off faster.  With short films, that's the idea.  Pack in as much as you can as soon/fast as you can.

And here's a challenge for a director: shot/reverse-shot is fine to an extent.  But the more I think about it, the more I can't imagine them having this argument standing in one spot.  They should be pacing, frantic.  Now, I know this is hard for coverage/blocking's sake, but it should be considered.  Think of that for next time.

When all was said and done, you created a really admirable film, all things considered.  The last scene, and especially the last shot, were chilling.

I don't understand why you got the rights for a song if you weren't going to use it for more effect, though.  Just a few guitar strums, then the vocals don't kick in until the credits roll.  Just my take on it, but I'm not familiar with the song anyway.

Congrats.  You got it done.

matt35mm

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #145 on: March 31, 2006, 12:18:39 AM »
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Finally got to watch this.  Nicely done.  For a first film, one could definitely do worse.

I gotta admit: when I read the script, I was in the minority and didn't like it too much.  But it seems as if you've ironed out a lot of the things I thought would be problems.

My first impressions as I watch the film: Kelly is a good actress.  Wade on the other hand is not.  I wanted to laugh when he threw a rock into the trees.  When he stumbled away and collapsed to the ground, it seemed so robotic and plotted.

Pacing.  I want to say, maybe, there's a little bit too much silence/contemplation/crying/whatever.  More talk needed.  But maybe there's a reason for this, for the pacing you have established.

I thought you should've used a tripod more.  There were certain handheld shots that shouldn't have been, though that's just my personal aesthetic preference.  Also, zooms.  Generally a no-no.  Just another personal preference, though.

The conversation seems to go in circles a bit.  Maybe that's part of the point, too.  But still, some cutting could've been done.  The film was ~22 minutes.  Maybe it could've been 15.  As with the silence, I would have liked things to take off faster.  With short films, that's the idea.  Pack in as much as you can as soon/fast as you can.

And here's a challenge for a director: shot/reverse-shot is fine to an extent.  But the more I think about it, the more I can't imagine them having this argument standing in one spot.  They should be pacing, frantic.  Now, I know this is hard for coverage/blocking's sake, but it should be considered.  Think of that for next time.

When all was said and done, you created a really admirable film, all things considered.  The last scene, and especially the last shot, were chilling.

I don't understand why you got the rights for a song if you weren't going to use it for more effect, though.  Just a few guitar strums, then the vocals don't kick in until the credits roll.  Just my take on it, but I'm not familiar with the song anyway.

Congrats.  You got it done.
Thanks.

It's my second film, actually.

Did you read an earlier draft or the final draft?  I've posted several drafts in the thread.

I'm going to give away my analysis of my own direction, which is probably a mistake.  I SHOULD let the film speak for itself... but will analyze certain parts to communicate what I've learned, and also so that everybody knows where to put the blame for what they didn't like.  (On me)

It's been interesting to hear people's reactions on the acting.  Regarding that, let me say this: blame me, not them.  Kelly is more skilled and experienced than Wade, but both performances were equally hollow.  Again, to be clear, this is my fault.  They were fantastic, and put their trust in me fully.  No one could ask for more from them in that respect.

The reason that the performances were hollow was because I overdirected, and directed on-the-surface things.  Every inflection, beat, etc. was dictated by me, but I gave them nothing to hang anything truthful on.  IF they were very well trained, they would know simply to ignore half of my directions and work on the characters' inner lives in private.  The parts that feel "robotic and plotted" feel that way because they are.

The film should be as long as it is, I believe.  Otherwise, the final scene wouldn't have had the correct effect--we needed to spend a little more time than we wanted with the characters to get that feeling of "it's been a long day," which is a major element in that last scene.  The reason it feels so long and dragged out is due to my blocking and camerawork, as well as my direction for the actors.  Because I allowed them no truth--no genuine attachment to the words I wrote--that whole middle section come off as dead.  Time-wise, the pauses and silences should have been as they are, but because there's nothing real going on underneath the words, it feels dead.  The dead space is what makes it feel dragged out, not the actual length of the scene.  I'm come to see that pacing has a lot less to do with actual timing than it seems.  Certain minutes fly by, and certain minutes drag--but each minute is exactly 60 seconds.

Since shooting Edison, I've studied a lot about acting and directing actors, and have developed my process much more.  Even before directing another film, I can tell you that I am 3 times the director that I was, because you learn and grow by doing, and I've learned and grown a lot from Edison.

My feeling on the film is that the beginning and end are successful, and the middle is not, due entirely to my direction.  That's my summary.  Yes, the beginning could have been better, because I could have helped the actors to make it more real--I just think I happened to do a fantastic job of cheating through editing and camerawork.  From now on, though, I'm a lot less interested in cheating.  The end is definitely the best, and came out just as I wanted it to.  My direction for the actors was simple (i.e. "it's been a long day"), and thus, it was the best directed moment of the film.  So I'm not surprised that most people are telling me that it's the strongest scene in the movie (and I'm glad it ends on the strongest moment).  I am definitely proud of that last scene--I think I did that all right.

As far as the comments on style go, I'm fine with the choices I made, except for a few moments.  I suppose zooms must go under personal preference, as you said, since I disagree with the idea of "generally a no-no."  It implies some rule that I didn't follow.  But if you say that you didn't feel that they worked in this particular movie, then I can accept that criticism more.  I'm happy with how I used them in the film, though.  I'm also happy with the handheld work, except for a very un-smooth transition from a stationary camera to handheld that's jarring for me every time I see it.  That said, I could have designed the camerawork a lot better, especially in the middle (we had to do it quickly because of the sun and shadows from the trees above, but that's not a good excuse to not plan it better).

I'm fine with analyzing my choices and discussing this film in detail, actually.  It probably ruins the movie a little by not letting it stand on its own, but I know that I love reading and listening to everything that directors have to say about their own work.  But I won't be talking about the next film at all.

Thanks again for the comments.  I hope most of you are enjoying the film.  If there are any technical problems with playing it, let me know.

Pubrick

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #146 on: March 31, 2006, 12:35:18 AM »
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The film was ~22 minutes.  Maybe it could've been 15. 
definitely.

i don't think it's a fair excuse to say silence and nothing happening for long periods of time is intentional and therefore OK. something has to engage the audience first to make us sit there through the endless silence and nothing happening. it felt like it took 10 minutes to learn anything about the characters beyond one of them being injured.

as a rule, i think death or killing or any of that crap in short films is itself harder to get away with than murder. and this is no exception. that's my personal preference though. it remains a stock plot device in countless student films so someone, somewhere must like it.

congrats on making it.

EDIT: this was written while matt posted just before me. so i don't know if he covered any points i made.
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matt35mm

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #147 on: March 31, 2006, 12:52:22 AM »
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The film was ~22 minutes.  Maybe it could've been 15. 
definitely.

i don't think it's a fair excuse to say silence and nothing happening for long periods of time is intentional and therefore OK. something has to engage the audience first to make us sit there through the endless silence and nothing happening. it felt like it took 10 minutes to learn anything about the characters beyond one of them being injured.

as a rule, i think death or killing or any of that crap in short films is itself harder to get away with than murder. and this is no exception. that's my personal preference though. it remains a stock plot device in countless student films so someone, somewhere must like it.

congrats on making it.

EDIT: this was written while matt posted just before me. so i don't know if he covered any points i made.
I pretty much agree with you on every point.  I sort of covered the length issue in my previous post.  Basically, I agree that something has to engage the audience.  I wouldn't have changed the length, I simply should have made the silence more engaging.  IF I had succeeded in a genuine sense of what just happened in the two characters, the fact that they don't speak that much for the first 7 minutes wouldn't have been an issue.  After months of watching the film over and over and analyzing my work on it, my official opinion is that it shouldn't have been shorter, it just should have been a better 23 minutes.

And I agree that the whole killing thing is difficult to do, and pretty much shouldn't be done.  I cheated and used the impression of it to spark certain ideas, but it doesn't really make a difference until the end, does it?  Even before I wrote the script, I felt that killing and stuff was overdone in short films as well.  So I'm not the someone, somewhere who likes it.  I was a little surprised that I wrote out the situation, too.  I kept with it because I was trying to do something different with that "stock plot device."  I promise I was trying to make something different.  Whether or not I made a valiant (even if not all that successful) attempt at that is up to you.

Thanks for watching it, though.

atticus jones

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #148 on: March 31, 2006, 03:20:39 PM »
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It's been interesting to hear people's reactions on the acting. 

The reason that the performances were hollow was because I overdirected, and directed on-the-surface things.  Every inflection, beat, etc. was dictated by me, but I gave them nothing to hang anything truthful on.  IF they were very well trained, they would know simply to ignore half of my directions and work on the characters' inner lives in private.  The parts that feel "robotic and plotted" feel that way because they are.


I think someone earlier in the thread suggested casting experienced actors out of Los Angeles...

I looked for you in Berkeley and had a tough time trying to figure out which one of the fan boys wuss you...enjoyable evening ntl
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matt35mm

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Re: Thomas Edison (Short Film Available for Viewing)
« Reply #149 on: March 31, 2006, 10:35:40 PM »
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It's been interesting to hear people's reactions on the acting. 

The reason that the performances were hollow was because I overdirected, and directed on-the-surface things.  Every inflection, beat, etc. was dictated by me, but I gave them nothing to hang anything truthful on.  IF they were very well trained, they would know simply to ignore half of my directions and work on the characters' inner lives in private.  The parts that feel "robotic and plotted" feel that way because they are.


I think someone earlier in the thread suggested casting experienced actors out of Los Angeles...

I looked for you in Berkeley and had a tough time trying to figure out which one of the fan boys wuss you...enjoyable evening ntl


While experienced actors would have been able to do better due to ignoring half my directions, they still would have suffered due to the other half of my directions.  I gave not only too many directions, but bad directions as well.  This is something that I'm working very hard on rectifying right now.

As for Berkeley:  I considered painting "matt35mm" on my chest, but later decided against it.  I was this smug short guy on the left:


 

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