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 "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made. 
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Happy Halloween! Given that the new "Halloween" released and I feel it touches on too similar of content, coupled with my lack of luck getting this bad boy into more serious festivals, I've decided to release my short film online. I know some of you have already given it a watch but why not give it a whirl once more and those of you who haven't seen it at all, I'd appreciate you taking the time to squeeze this one into your Halloween views.

https://youtu.be/rYZMm0eG-1M

Have a great Halloween, peeps!


Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:31 am
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Really fun to see it again. I've gone back to the trailer quite a few times.

This time really liked the shot of the two of them on the opposite sides of the wall, but
she is the one who disappears when the camera pans, which is a nice foreshadowing of her control in the situation
.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:40 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Really fun to see it again. I've gone back to the trailer quite a few times.

This time really liked the shot of the two of them on the opposite sides of the wall, but
she is the one who disappears when the camera pans, which is a nice foreshadowing of her control in the situation
.


Thanks for watching, Tak!

That is probably my favorite shot in the thing. . That and the tracking jog shot with him by the fence I tried to gradually shift the way I filmed her to the language reserved for slashers and that's the shot I hoped would end up as an "ooooh".


Have you seen the newest Halloween yet?


Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:44 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

Thanks for watching, Tak!

That is probably my favorite shot in the thing. . That and the tracking jog shot with him by the fence I tried to gradually shift the way I filmed her to the language reserved for slashers and that's the shot I hoped would end up as an "ooooh".


Have you seen the newest Halloween yet?


Not yet. I'm pretty busy and seeing a movie in the theater isn't in the cards right now.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:46 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

Not yet. I'm pretty busy and seeing a movie in the theater isn't in the cards right now.


Ah. When you do, please keep this short in mind. I'm curious as to how certain overlaps are noticeable to others and not just in my head.

Thanks for watching again! A rewatch is one of the highest compliments!


Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:50 am
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My friend's 13 year old dressed as a plague doctor today (I'm so proud). Is "Wake Up" still online somewhere?

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:51 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
My friend's 13 year old dressed as a plague doctor today (I'm so proud). Is "Wake Up" still online somewhere?


Pow! https://youtu.be/Un16R_-08HE

Same channel. I need to upload a better copy. This one had to be too compressed for competition purposes.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:54 am
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:fresh:

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:56 am
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Rock wrote:
:fresh:

Are you planning on pelting me with tomatoes again??? Sometimes... It's the only way I can feel.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:17 pm
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Not bad and a good watch. My only fault is that it needs more tits.

:fresh:


Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:37 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

Pow! https://youtu.be/Un16R_-08HE

Same channel. I need to upload a better copy. This one had to be too compressed for competition purposes.

:up: As good as I remembered.

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:15 pm
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I've seen it already, but it's still really good. It's a creative twist on the slasher genre. Good job!

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:51 pm
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John Dumbear wrote:
Not bad and a good watch. My only fault is that it needs more tits.

:fresh:

There was actually a fairly substantial debate on whether or not the lead would wear a bra in the film or not. Initial arguments for lack of bra were that if she was going to sleep, she'd be without bra, plus the familiarity of sexualizing the vulnerable girl would further disarm audiences and evoke other horror films, namely the climax of Alien, which was a very formative film for my appreciation of film and horror. A dash of sex appeal with some narrative/realism justification without being overly exploitative.

The counter argument, provided by the actress was...

If she's expecting him to come that night and she's prepping for battle, she wouldn't take the bra off as to prevent her from being fully mobile and comfortable. That coupled with it being her breasts that would be mildly exposed held more weight and we couldn't argue against the character's preparedness and foresight.


So here we are!


Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:53 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I've seen it already, but it's still really good. It's a creative twist on the slasher genre. Good job!


Thanks, Popcorn. Rewatches mean the world.

Have you watched the new Halloween yet?

Captain Terror, did you watch this one yet? Glad you dig Wake Up. I still think narratively, mine was better than the winner of that competition. I'm currently working on another 1 min short film that's a riff on Nosferatu.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:55 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
There was actually a fairly substantial debate on whether or not the lead would wear a bra in the film or not. Initial arguments for lack of bra were that if she was going to sleep, she'd be without bra, plus the familiarity of sexualizing the vulnerable girl would further disarm audiences and evoke other horror films, namely the climax of Alien, which was a very formative film for my appreciation of film and horror. A dash of sex appeal with some narrative/realism justification without being overly exploitative.

The counter argument, provided by the actress was...

If she's expecting him to come that night and she's prepping for battle, she wouldn't take the bra off as to prevent her from being fully mobile and comfortable. That coupled with it being her breasts that would be mildly exposed held more weight and we couldn't argue against the character's preparedness and foresight.


So here we are!


Well thought out response, that wasn't expected, to my juvenile post.
:oops:


Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:07 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

Thanks, Popcorn. Rewatches mean the world.

Have you watched the new Halloween yet?

Captain Terror, did you watch this one yet? Glad you dig Wake Up. I still think narratively, mine was better than the winner of that competition. I'm currently working on another 1 min short film that's a riff on Nosferatu.

I haven't gotten around to it yet, but It's definitely on my to-see list for this year. I heard that it's the best sequel made in years from numerous people.

In addition, did your second short film ever receive any awards (second place, third place, etc.) from that competition? Also, do you have a link to the short which did win?

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:12 am
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John Dumbear wrote:

Well thought out response, that wasn't expected, to my juvenile post.
:oops:


I take my slasher nudity VERY seriously!

Popcorn- https://youtu.be/oA9H2NDAJ4A

That's the winner. I have no delusions that their film is more polished (to a questionable degree) and sleek. It looks far more professional than my own but according to the rating scale, that was a rather small part of how it was rated. The majority was supposed to be for creativity and if it could sustain a feature, which are areas I feel mine is better because... Well, there's at least SOME substance. The winner frustrates me a lot when I think about what it's doing but it is probably just competitive bias.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:28 am
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I thought that one was really good as well, but I felt your short lingered with me a bit more as it made me more interested in learning more about the antagonist of your short as opposed to this one. Both had equally creative kills though in my opinion.

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:58 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I thought that one was really good as well, but I felt your short lingered with me a bit more as it made me more interested in learning more about the antagonist of your short as opposed to this one. Both had equally creative kills though in my opinion.

The Nurse bugged me because so much of it's premise is hooked to the little girl having bandages on her eyes but it does nothing to the function of the short , beyond the punchline at the end. When I think of a character being blind, or vision obscured, the scares should be auditory. Not reliant upon shadowy figures only the audience could see. The function of the scares would make more sense if she had no bandage. Then, there was nothing unique about the Nurse, aside from the costume. No gimmick or hook to make her stand out beyond her just being a creepy ghoul. I didn't see how she got points for creativity and sustaining a feature.

It did have excellent production value though. The thing looks top notch and professional. I just wish they'd been upfront about how much that area mattered.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:18 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Captain Terror, did you watch this one yet?

Yes, I watched that a couple of times when you first released it. WAY better than Blood Rage. :)

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Glad you dig Wake Up. I still think narratively, mine was better than the winner of that competition.

Those of us who aren't fans of the Wan-verse would say that not winning was, in fact, a form of winning. I remembered nothing about the winning entry until you posted it today. It is indeed very well-made and looks great but is about as empty as the Wan films that inspired the competition. Yours was smarter.

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I'm currently working on another 1 min short film that's a riff on Nosferatu.

You have my attention...

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:06 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
There was actually a fairly substantial debate on whether or not the lead would wear a bra in the film or not. Initial arguments for lack of bra were that if she was going to sleep, she'd be without bra, plus the familiarity of sexualizing the vulnerable girl would further disarm audiences and evoke other horror films, namely the climax of Alien, which was a very formative film for my appreciation of film and horror. A dash of sex appeal with some narrative/realism justification without being overly exploitative.

The counter argument, provided by the actress was...

If she's expecting him to come that night and she's prepping for battle, she wouldn't take the bra off as to prevent her from being fully mobile and comfortable. That coupled with it being her breasts that would be mildly exposed held more weight and we couldn't argue against the character's preparedness and foresight.


So here we are!


Frankly the fact that she was wearing the bra is something I noticed immediately and I think that it adds to the
entire structure of the film in the sense that on the outside she looks vulnerable (housesitting on her own in a big house, dressed for bed), but she is in fact prepared (hidden weapons, active-wear underneath pajamas).

Also, and this is just me speaking from personal experience, in times that I have felt threatened or had experiences where I didn't like the way I was touched or whatever, I always feel better when I'm wearing more layers. There's just something that feels more secure and "protected" about wearing more levels of clothing. If I knew (or suspected) that someone might come and attack me, I wouldn't want the only thing standing in the way of being naked to be a thin t-shirt.

And finally, this film didn't need to objectify its heroine, because, you know, that's what rapists and sociopaths do! One of the strengths of this film, in my opinion, is that the victimization of the lead takes up very little of the running time (just enough for us to understand how horrible and traumatizing it would have been), and the entire rest of it is about her dealing with the aftermath of what happened. Sexualizing her in that context just wouldn't have made much sense thematically.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:30 am
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Just gonna reiterate that I love the final beat in "Wake Up."

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:55 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Yes, I watched that a couple of times when you first released it. WAY better than Blood Rage. :)


Those of us who aren't fans of the Wan-verse would say that not winning was, in fact, a form of winning. I remembered nothing about the winning entry until you posted it today. It is indeed very well-made and looks great but is about as empty as the Wan films that inspired the competition. Yours was smarter.


You have my attention...


Let's not get crazy. I didn't have a "that's not cranberry sauce" moment.

I'm a fan of the Wan-verse. I don't really love any of them but enjoy them as well crafted, unpretentious, pure genre spookhouses. It was fun studying what made them work and trying my best to do my own spin on it. I liked the gimmicky nature of the creature in Lights Out and wanted something similar and figured it would set me apart. I thought about remaking it now that I have time and better equipment but that contest was such a debacle of legalese that I figure my effort is better spent on new projects.

The Nosferatu short is for another online competition. Basically just taking the climactic moment from a script I wrote back in high school and transplanting it to a 19th century Spanish forest where the lead from this is playing a woman fleeing a vampire. It will have a neat turn relating to period accurate firearm handling. Don't wanna say too much as the punchline will either make or break the thing.

Tak- Excellently put and exactly why it won't out. It was a conversation that was necessary and it's an angle that is hard to come up with on my own as bra issues are so outside my straight, male perspective, so collaboration like that was important in what are relatively small details (but can add up to so much). She and I are actually co-authoring a romantic comedy short at the moment so that should be an interesting change of pace.

DaMU- thank you, sir! It's certainly the best ending I've put together so far. Now I'm back to debating on remaking it...


Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:27 am
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This is really good, man. Loved it. Really liked the way you frame your shots and the overall mise-en-scene: the insects crawling around the machete in the opening scene, the slight focus on the painting with the couple dancing, how the guy leaves blood on the wall tile when he's taking the knife; little details that work. You also mentioned two shots that I thought were great: the pan when the girl was jogging, and the pan when she and the killer are against the wall. I was also very impressed with the use of sound. Very, very effective. Do you mind if I share it on Twitter? I have a decent amount of followers, most of which are cinephiles and film buffs.

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:33 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tak- Excellently put and exactly why it won't out. It was a conversation that was necessary and it's an angle that is hard to come up with on my own as bra issues are so outside my straight, male perspective, so collaboration like that was important in what are relatively small details (but can add up to so much). She and I are actually co-authoring a romantic comedy short at the moment so that should be an interesting change of pace.


Well, even outside of the argument about female representation/sexuality in films, I really like details in movies that make characters feel more real to me. When characters speak or act in ways that don't make sense, it creates a little rift. In Dog Soldiers it immediately struck me as weird that the main (well, only) female character was out running around and driving in rugged terrain in a thin shirt with no bra. And then later in the director's commentary, Marshall admits that it doesn't make sense, but he was pressured by his producers to not let her wear a bra. I mean, come on.

Like a similar example occurs to me from All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Overall I didn't actually like the film. But there was one minor part that really stood out to me, which is when the girls are making fun of the one girl for having too much pubic hair and then you see that girl in the bathroom with a pair of scissors. It's just such a human moment. Everyone has had a time where they suddenly realized something with their appearance/body wasn't what they wanted, and then had that panicked "Maybe I can fix this!" moment.

I'm a big fan of minor details that make characters feel like real people. Especially within genres that are already pushing a lot more suspension of disbelief.

Also, on like a basic level of human decency, I'm glad that you didn't pressure someone into being nude/underdressed on film when that wasn't something she wanted.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:51 am
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Thief wrote:
This is really good, man. Loved it. Really liked the way you frame your shots and the overall mise-en-scene: the insects crawling around the machete in the opening scene, the slight focus on the painting with the couple dancing, how the guy leaves blood on the wall tile when he's taking the knife; little details that work. You also mentioned two shots that I thought were great: the pan when the girl was jogging, and the pan when she and the killer are against the wall. I was also very impressed with the use of sound. Very, very effective. Do you mind if I share it on Twitter? I have a decent amount of followers, most of which are cinephiles and film buffs.


I would love for you to share it! I'm terrible about getting my stuff "out there" beyond posting it here and to my FB.

I like that both you and Tak brought up little details. Those are just about my favorite things to write and film. I try to imagine as many as possible but then I like to find things within the moment to breathe life into the frame. I didn't write about the ants or dead birds but once I saw them on location, I made sure they were in frame. I did write the blood smear on the wall because it was just an image I couldn't get out of my head. Glad they stuck out!

Tak- I'll keep an eye out for that when I rewatch DS. First saw it as a kid so I didn't notice then and have subsequently watched on autopilot.

I definitely take comfort of the actors into account. They're there to help me and I would be remiss to force them into a situation that made them uncomfortable. Several scenes took some gentle coaching and a good amount of humor to get through, like the opening choke sequence. We're all close, but we're not "straddle and choke each other" close but everything went off well with no traumas other than the floors of the house we filmed in having sticky floors for about two months. Cleaned it about 20 times too. Still feel guilty about that.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:46 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I would love for you to share it! I'm terrible about getting my stuff "out there" beyond posting it here and to my FB.


Do you have a Twitter account you'd like for me to @ on my tweet?

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:54 am
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Thief wrote:

Do you have a Twitter account you'd like for me to @ on my tweet?

I do. It's @afilmaddicted. I'm terrible using it but I created it to link with this YouTube channel.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:09 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I do. It's @afilmaddicted. I'm terrible using it but I created it to link with this YouTube channel.


Done.

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:13 pm
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Thief wrote:

Done.

Thanks a bunch. Is it conceited to heart that? I don't know Twitter etiquette but I hearted the heck out of that!


Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:15 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thanks a bunch. Is it conceited to heart that? I don't know Twitter etiquette but I hearted the heck out of that!


LOL, I don't think so. Just don't "heart" your own tweets :D

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:18 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Are you planning on pelting me with tomatoes again??? Sometimes... It's the only way I can feel.

:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:08 pm
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Rock wrote:
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh:

When is this joint going to give me my eggplant emoji so I can finally express myself fully?


Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:00 am
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Nice soundtrack. Great artificial tinnitus. I hope those ants were union.

Is this the same house as your zombie series? You've improved tremendously in your interior lighting skills. Or maybee your camera is just that much better.

As for the bra, I'll add that I have known girls who are comfortable sleeping in sports bras (and adds some midrif).

Can't add too much, so I'll nit-pick something not really worth taking too seriously:
When she's slashed in the face, it's the only weak sound effect in the film. I'd prefer something with a more visceral shock to it.


Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:10 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Nice soundtrack. Great artificial tinnitus. I hope those ants were union.

Is this the same house as your zombie series? You've improved tremendously in your interior lighting skills. Or maybee your camera is just that much better.

As for the bra, I'll add that I have known girls who are comfortable sleeping in sports bras (and adds some midrif).

Can't add too much, so I'll nit-pick something not really worth taking too seriously:
When she's slashed in the face, it's the only weak sound effect in the film. I'd prefer something with a more visceral shock to it.


Thanks! I worked with two musician friends on the music to try and get it just how I wanted. It was neat because we had the short playing and just kept messing with adding and removing layers. One of the moments I felt legitimate and not like a hobbyist.

It is a different house. The Undead was filmed in a much more claustrophobic one story. Had this house been available then, I definitely would have used it. This one looks better because my lighting skills and equipment greatly improved (I had essentially none, while working on the Undead. It was close to Dogme 95 style in that respect) and got a much better camera. My new projects have professional lighting, color gels, reflecting umbrellas, better lenses and a jib mounted on a dolly so the test footage we've made has blown this short out of the water. Hoping to keep improving on these aspects as I feel production quality has been the main thing holding me back.

That sound effect (along with the later neck hit) were the hardest sounds to make. I kept trying to find a balance between cinematic effectiveness and realism. It's three layered sounds, a hit against flesh with my hand, a machete sliding across carpet, and a wet snack of a knife hitting a ripe melon. My appreciation for foley work grew tremendously because I learned that if a sound is shifted by just a decibel, it goes from realistic to cartoonish and breaks the scene. It's an area I'm still trying to grow in. The aforementioned project I'm writing with the lead actress is about someone with misophonia, so it will give me a ton of opportunity to push my sound editing, mixing and recording stills to new limits and probably necessitate an equipment upgrade.


Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:31 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
That sound effect (along with the later neck hit) were the hardest sounds to make. I kept trying to find a balance between cinematic effectiveness and realism. It's three layered sounds, a hit against flesh with my hand, a machete sliding across carpet, and a wet snack of a knife hitting a ripe melon. My appreciation for foley work grew tremendously because I learned that if a sound is shifted by just a decibel, it goes from realistic to cartoonish and breaks the scene. It's an area I'm still trying to grow in. The aforementioned project I'm writing with the lead actress is about someone with misophonia, so it will give me a ton of opportunity to push my sound editing, mixing and recording stills to new limits and probably necessitate an equipment upgrade.

I was thinking of the lateer neck hit as a comparison, although I think the latter may have been enhanced by having that bit of blood splatter. That may be thee kind of "visceral" thing I was thinking of.

But as I said, it's a negligible nit-pick. Foley work has always fascinated me as being as crucial as it is frequently unappreciated.


Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:17 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
I was thinking of the lateer neck hit as a comparison, although I think the latter may have been enhanced by having that bit of blood splatter. That may be thee kind of "visceral" thing I was thinking of.

But as I said, it's a negligible nit-pick. Foley work has always fascinated me as being as crucial as it is frequently unappreciated.


I love foley work. My first real knowledge of it came when I was a young teen watching special features for Troy and King Kong. I knew of sound effects but I couldn’t believe how much was done after, including ADR dialogue, and it intrigued me ever since.

I’d done foley work on other projects but I wanted an emphasis on sound in this one so there’s TONS of foley. Almost everything you hear in the short, like her falling to the floor and crawling away to footsteps to spraying blood is me up late or in a homemade soundproof box slamming myself into the ground, swinging drumsticks through the air and hacking melons. So little of the audio when recording was usable that I just had to recreate the short by myself and act it out. It was one of the more ridiculous but fun experiences on the project.

Anywho, just finished some test footage for the Nosferatu style short and I’m positively jazzed about it. Those of you that have tracked me down on Facebook or instagram can see it but I’m trying to find out how to share the file on here without changing my privacy settings.


Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:05 am
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Have you seen the movie All is Normal? It's a low-budget horror that I thought had some interesting ideas.

Anyway, there's a stand-out scene that takes place when a character is in the bathtub with some excellent sound work. And in the credits, you see that one person was responsible for that sequence and was specially credited with the sound design for the scene. I think it's one of my favorite uses of sound in a film, even if the rest of the movie doesn't quite live up to the power of that one scene.


Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:04 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Have you seen the movie All is Normal? It's a low-budget horror that I thought had some interesting ideas.

Anyway, there's a stand-out scene that takes place when a character is in the bathtub with some excellent sound work. And in the credits, you see that one person was responsible for that sequence and was specially credited with the sound design for the scene. I think it's one of my favorite uses of sound in a film, even if the rest of the movie doesn't quite live up to the power of that one scene.

I have not and after glancing around, I’m not even sure where or how to find it. I’m keen to watch things with elaborate sound given the short I’m working on (same with any vampire films with a more Nosferatu orientation). I was rewatching chunks of Stoker recently and I just love how sound is conveyed and her hyper sensitivity to it, without them explicitly stating anything about her hearing. Park is a mad man stylist.


Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:12 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I have not and after glancing around, I’m not even sure where or how to find it. I’m keen to watch things with elaborate sound given the short I’m working on (same with any vampire films with a more Nosferatu orientation). I was rewatching chunks of Stoker recently and I just love how sound is conveyed and her hyper sensitivity to it, without them explicitly stating anything about her hearing. Park is a mad man stylist.


All is Normal used to be on either Amazon or Hulu. I watched it a few years ago. What I loved about the scene was just how masterfully it played with sound and silence, and also with noises that were ambiguous but also evocative--a woman is in the bathtub and there are general sounds of drips and the groan of the pipes, but then there's this other sound that begins to intrude and maybe it's footsteps outside? Or maybe it's just the house shifting? Or the echo of the drips? It was so effective at generating tension and the more the character held still to listen, the more I found myself straining to hear and discern what the noise was.

I assume you've seen Clean, Shaven? That's another film that uses sound in amazing ways, and specifically to convey a character's mental imbalance.


Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:11 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

Takoma1 wrote:
I assume you've seen Clean, Shaven? That's another film that uses sound in amazing ways, and specifically to convey a character's mental imbalance.

I'm a huge fan of that one.

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Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:42 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

So All is Normal is on IndieFlix, for those interested.


Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:27 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

Takoma1 wrote:
So All is Normal is on IndieFlix, for those interested.


Indieflix... yes.... I know what that is...


I have also not seen Clean, Shaven yet. Criterion sale is on so I may change that.

On a project note, here’s a link to some of that ttest footage if anyone wants to take a gander. https://drive.google.com/file/d/18SM-aSw9DJcTof-OhIBavIiBGgRx5xUm/view?usp=drivesdk

I’ll leave it up till I get paranoid.

Finished scripting and storyboarding it today too.


Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:20 pm
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OK, so we have camo jacket, a burlap sack mask with duct tape, and a confederate flag. Why? Do these details matter?

Wide shots are good, but why do the subtle "wobble" when you go wide? Why not just put the camera on a tripod? When (in the real world) we're that far away from what we're looking at we don't feel like we're in a boat at sea--the world is very fixed, stable, and objective. The slightly bouncy cam actually punctures the subjectivity of such a perspective. The further away it is, the more stable the image should be.

Johnny can't whistle to save his life. Maybe that is why he is dead? Is he whistling Dixie because he's racist?

I love that tracking shot where she is scrolling like she is in a video game.

I like that we cut to her looking back at where "the shape" was and then getting into a towel out of the shower. This is interesting visually (the implicit framing has gone from portrait to landscape) and implies her vulnerability, but I would hold onto that shot of her getting into the towel for another second or two to match the pacing of the prior shot (nice and slow).

Is there a rule that says that a camera that follows a woman MUST have her ass in the center of the frame at some point (4:14)?

The jump-scare stuffed animal should not have have a cut and a pan, IMO. When we see it coming at us and then also from the side the scare is deflated. We have too much time visually process what is happening. At the point that I recognize what it is, the immediacy of our protagonist pulling the trigger is deflated. You need to be nastier to your viewer. Don't give us a chance to connect the dots. Have that fucking thing lunge at us and don't let us guess what it is before the gun is fired.

She didn't give it to the stuffed animal with both barrels so why is she replacing two shells?

I like that you give a nod to there being consequences to firing a gun indoors. The little ringing sound was nice, but I would drop the rest of the sound out entirely after the shot for a few seconds and raise the BANG of the shotgun in the mix to emphasize the loudness.

I like that you leave us in the dark as she goes room to room. Good for you. Don't be nice to us. Make us experience the darkness.

Good God. How many guns does this woman have stashed around the house? We've gone from the boom-stick (shop smart, shop S-Mart) to an old revolver to cheap semi-auto? Well, if she wasn't deaf before, she is now. By the time she is in a shooting fight and has moved on to her third gat, the trigger discipline (finger off the trigger) is contextually inappropriate. At that point, she's in a fire fight, so the finger should be on the trigger.

It seems that some stuff is over-explained and other stuff is under-explained. Why don't the cops show up? Because of the fireworks (we hear the bangs and are shown the explosions). But why wouldn't she call the cops? She has all these guns laying around, but she doesn't have any phones? She deals with the inescapable feeling that he is coming back, how? By shooting up her crib? Is it all in her head? If so, why does she still have blood on her cheek when we revisit the exiting the shower shot?


Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:26 pm
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

ThatDarnMKS wrote:

Indieflix... yes.... I know what that is...


I have also not seen Clean, Shaven yet. Criterion sale is on so I may change that.

On a project note, here’s a link to some of that ttest footage if anyone wants to take a gander. https://drive.google.com/file/d/18SM-aSw9DJcTof-OhIBavIiBGgRx5xUm/view?usp=drivesdk

I’ll leave it up till I get paranoid.

Finished scripting and storyboarding it today too.


I think that everyone should see Clean, Shaven, period. But it's also a film that makes great use and "character" out of its sound.

I like the test footage. Starting with the reflection in the eyes is very evocative of when I go outside at night and there's an animal at the edge of the woods but I have no idea what it is.


Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:14 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
OK, so we have camo jacket, a burlap sack mask with duct tape, and a confederate flag. Why? Do these details matter?

Wide shots are good, but why do the subtle "wobble" when you go wide? Why not just put the camera on a tripod? When (in the real world) we're that far away from what we're looking at we don't feel like we're in a boat at sea--the world is very fixed, stable, and objective. The slightly bouncy cam actually punctures the subjectivity of such a perspective. The further away it is, the more stable the image should be.

Johnny can't whistle to save his life. Maybe that is why he is dead? Is he whistling Dixie because he's racist?

I love that tracking shot where she is scrolling like she is in a video game.

I like that we cut to her looking back at where "the shape" was and then getting into a towel out of the shower. This is interesting visually (the implicit framing has gone from portrait to landscape) and implies her vulnerability, but I would hold onto that shot of her getting into the towel for another second or two to match the pacing of the prior shot (nice and slow).

Is there a rule that says that a camera that follows a woman MUST have her ass in the center of the frame at some point (4:14)?

The jump-scare stuffed animal should not have have a cut and a pan, IMO. When we see it coming at us and then also from the side the scare is deflated. We have too much time visually process what is happening. At the point that I recognize what it is, the immediacy of our protagonist pulling the trigger is deflated. You need to be nastier to your viewer. Don't give us a chance to connect the dots. Have that fucking thing lunge at us and don't let us guess what it is before the gun is fired.

She didn't give it to the stuffed animal with both barrels so why is she replacing two shells?

I like that you give a nod to there being consequences to firing a gun indoors. The little ringing sound was nice, but I would drop the rest of the sound out entirely after the shot for a few seconds and raise the BANG of the shotgun in the mix to emphasize the loudness.

I like that you leave us in the dark as she goes room to room. Good for you. Don't be nice to us. Make us experience the darkness.

Good God. How many guns does this woman have stashed around the house? We've gone from the boom-stick (shop smart, shop S-Mart) to an old revolver to cheap semi-auto? Well, if she wasn't deaf before, she is now. By the time she is in a shooting fight and has moved on to her third gat, the trigger discipline (finger off the trigger) is contextually inappropriate. At that point, she's in a fire fight, so the finger should be on the trigger.

It seems that some stuff is over-explained and other stuff is under-explained. Why don't the cops show up? Because of the fireworks (we hear the bangs and are shown the explosions). But why wouldn't she call the cops? She has all these guns laying around, but she doesn't have any phones? She deals with the inescapable feeling that he is coming back, how? By shooting up her crib? Is it all in her head? If so, why does she still have blood on her cheek when we revisit the exiting the shower shot?


I’ll attempt to address these in order:

1. They’re as important as whistling dixie and the names Charlotte and Marat in that they’re short hand in creating subtext and character background/ethos through implication.

2. The film is a mix of handheld and smooth takes. An attempt at balance has to be made so that the handheld doesn’t feel like a short coming but rather a stylistic choice. Easiest way is to do a shot handheld that could be done otherwise.

3. He’s whistling Dixie, has a confederate flag, wears camo and stalks a Mexican woman.

4. Thanks! I love that shot too. Did you notice him by the fence?

5. Thanks again! The ending required the most tightening and it seemed to drag. I triaged certain moments in order to maintain the build up and suspense scenes rather than the coda. It was hard keeping it under 20 mins.

6. While her ass is in the shot, it’s more following the bear so I don’t feel it’s particularly male gaze-y.

7. Fair enough.

8. She fired both barrels.

9. The gunshot was raised as loud as it could go in the mix and was well into the ill-advised range of "clipping."

10. Thanks. It also aloud me to hide ghost edits.

11. Trigger discipline if for the safety of the shooter and those outside of the house. She intends to shoot one person and one person alone.

12. She didn't call the cops for the same reason she has guns stashed everywhere, locks the door, lures him to the garage and ultimately dismembers him. She's not shooting up her own crib. She's house sitting. As for it being in her head, it's left somewhat ambiguous because the greater point about her psychology stands whether it's all real, partially or imagined.

What's over-explained?

Tak- I'll keep an eye out for it. That's exactly the effect we are going for with the eyes. It's something I've always found ominous and under-utilized in horror.


Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:35 am
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1. They’re as important as whistling dixie and the names Charlotte and Marat in that they’re short hand in creating subtext and character background/ethos through implication.

Get Out was great because it was a "deep dive" into the casual racism of the American psyche. Just tacking on these elements, however, feels like a cheap way to be topical. The situation of our protagonist is not that of the cultural ethnic fear of immigrants, but that of the fear of women in relation to sexual violence. Your premise is not really framed as an entry point into the psychology of this particular fear.

2. The film is a mix of handheld and smooth takes. An attempt at balance has to be made so that the handheld doesn’t feel like a short coming but rather a stylistic choice. Easiest way is to do a shot handheld that could be done otherwise.

We've been devolving into the steadicamifaction of cinema for many decades now. Don't be afraid to have an occasional Kubrick shot which is perfectly centered and perfectly static, especially on a wide shot.

I think it might be a good exercise for filmmakers to ask how much can I get done in a shot without moving a camera and without a cut (how much can I be the opposite of that shot where Liam Neeson hops a fence in Taken 3?).

4. Thanks! I love that shot too. Did you notice him by the fence?

I did, I am am glad that it was almost subliminal.

6. While her ass is in the shot, it’s more following the bear so I don’t feel it’s particularly male gaze-y.

It just seems like it is an obligatory shot. If I am watching a movie and a woman is jogging and she gets ahead of the camera (and she will), it is a guarantee that her ass WILL be in the center of frame at some point. It just doesn't seem to have a point in that scene accept to do the obligatory "here's dat booty" shot. If the shot strongly implied that we were watching her through the eyes of the villain, on the other hand, then it would make sense for there to be a little bit of leering. As it is, I just feel like I am playing Tomb Raider with my camera following Lara Croft's posterior.

It might be nice to do a project the plays more explicitly with the subjectivity implied by the camera. That is, start of "polite" and "objective," but then as the threat element in the story pushes in to have the camera partake more and more in the malevolence of the threat. By the time we get to the end of the story, we are basically viewing the story through the eyes of the killer.

Or not,

but it is interesting to note how often the camera emphasizes a threat from a gratuitous perspective that seems to emphasize the appetites of the threat (which in turns makes us feel vulnerable, knowing that we might be "seen" that way)--I think of the old Wes Craven shot of the "girl in the tub" with the threat rising from a gratuitous shot at the foot of the tub between the legs of the person being threatened.

9. The gunshot was raised as loud as it could go in the mix and was well into the ill-advised range of "clipping."

In that case, maybe drop the sound down to zero before the gunblast to accentuate the BOOM--maybe go with a different sound effect that has a little more bass or rumble to it.

10. Thanks. It also aloud me to hide ghost edits.

I say if you're doing horror, then be mean to us. Make us uncomfortable. Less is more, the lesson of JAWS, right?


Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:30 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
1. They’re as important as whistling dixie and the names Charlotte and Marat in that they’re short hand in creating subtext and character background/ethos through implication.

Get Out was great because it was a "deep dive" into the casual racism of the American psyche. Just tacking on these elements, however, feels like a cheap way to be topical. The situation of our protagonist is not that of the cultural ethnic fear of immigrants, but that of the fear of women in relation to sexual violence. Your premise is not really framed as an entry point into the psychology of this particular fear.

2. The film is a mix of handheld and smooth takes. An attempt at balance has to be made so that the handheld doesn’t feel like a short coming but rather a stylistic choice. Easiest way is to do a shot handheld that could be done otherwise.

We've been devolving into the steadicamifaction of cinema for many decades now. Don't be afraid to have an occasional Kubrick shot which is perfectly centered and perfectly static, especially on a wide shot.

I think it might be a good exercise for filmmakers to ask how much can I get done in a shot without moving a camera and without a cut (how much can I be the opposite of that shot where Liam Neeson hops a fence in Taken 3?).

4. Thanks! I love that shot too. Did you notice him by the fence?

I did, I am am glad that it was almost subliminal.

6. While her ass is in the shot, it’s more following the bear so I don’t feel it’s particularly male gaze-y.

It just seems like it is an obligatory shot. If I am watching a movie and a woman is jogging and she gets ahead of the camera (and she will), it is a guarantee that her ass WILL be in the center of frame at some point. It just doesn't seem to have a point in that scene accept to do the obligatory "here's dat booty" shot. If the shot strongly implied that we were watching her through the eyes of the villain, on the other hand, then it would make sense for there to be a little bit of leering. As it is, I just feel like I am playing Tomb Raider with my camera following Lara Croft's posterior.

It might be nice to do a project the plays more explicitly with the subjectivity implied by the camera. That is, start of "polite" and "objective," but then as the threat element in the story pushes in to have the camera partake more and more in the malevolence of the threat. By the time we get to the end of the story, we are basically viewing the story through the eyes of the killer.

Or not,

but it is interesting to note how often the camera emphasizes a threat from a gratuitous perspective that seems to emphasize the appetites of the threat (which in turns makes us feel vulnerable, knowing that we might be "seen" that way)--I think of the old Wes Craven shot of the "girl in the tub" with the threat rising from a gratuitous shot at the foot of the tub between the legs of the person being threatened.

9. The gunshot was raised as loud as it could go in the mix and was well into the ill-advised range of "clipping."

In that case, maybe drop the sound down to zero before the gunblast to accentuate the BOOM--maybe go with a different sound effect that has a little more bass or rumble to it.

10. Thanks. It also aloud me to hide ghost edits.

I say if you're doing horror, then be mean to us. Make us uncomfortable. Less is more, the lesson of JAWS, right?


1. So I didn't go as deep into it as Get Out in a 20 min slasher short? That's fine I guess, but doesn't really say much about what is there. Sexual violence is not divorced from racial violence and I do believe you're being rather pithy towards how these elements manifest cyclically in the short.

2. There are plenty of static shots. There are plenty of handheld shots. Most of the action is filmed through long takes or longer takes than the majority of horror films, so comparisons to Taken 3 are fairly unfounded and condescending.

4. Excellent!

6. It didn't follow her ass when she jogged. It followed the bear which she held at her hip.

9. What audio set up do you have for this? I've noticed the mix on the phone lacks appropriate oomph but there's a fairly ridiculous amount of subwoofer rattling bass on those gunshots, especially the shotgun. I also did audio drops before every shot so the sound would occupy the entire sound space.

10. I dont believe I was particularly nice to the audience nor do I think I failed to understand that less is more. I would offer that I used audio for an extended sequence of build up and the means in which I cut away immediately after revealing the killer in the bathroom during the upstairs sequence. I also didn't "Mickey mouse" the audio and punctuate every scare with a cheap jolt. I don't think Jaws is a particularly fitting cinematic parallel as the goals are very different. Cinematically, it has more in common with Torso, Stage fright and a multitude of other slasher giallos. It's a different cinematic language that needs to be understood and applied beyond platitudes of cinematic touchstones.


Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:20 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

1. So I didn't go as deep into it as Get Out in a 20 min slasher short? That's fine I guess, but doesn't really say much about what is there. Sexual violence is not divorced from racial violence and I do believe you're being rather pithy towards how these elements manifest cyclically in the short.

What can I say, everyone thinks they're a critic these days. I am no exception.

2. There are plenty of static shots. There are plenty of handheld shots. Most of the action is filmed through long takes or longer takes than the majority of horror films, so comparisons to Taken 3 are fairly unfounded and condescending.

I am not comparing YOU to that film. Gads! NO! My apologies if that was even implied. Rather, I am pointing out that that film is an example of how we've headed in the wrong direction in terms of editing and that I would encourage you to move into the other direction.

6. It didn't follow her ass when she jogged. It followed the bear which she held at her hip.

Fair enough. That move is so cliche these days that that is how it "read" to me.

9. What audio set up do you have for this? I've noticed the mix on the phone lacks appropriate oomph but there's a fairly ridiculous amount of subwoofer rattling bass on those gunshots, especially the shotgun. I also did audio drops before every shot so the sound would occupy the entire sound space.

I just listened to it again with headphones. I think that the report is a little snappy (high pitched) and that the bass in the report doesn't really read unless you've got better speakers. Maybe move to he mid-range a little more. Sound-mixing is a bear because you're trying to find something that will "read" on good speaker, but also on crappy cell-phone speakers. With headphones the shot sounds fine.

I think part of what is going on is that I am looking for/expecting a brighter visual (i.e., bigger muzzle flash) to accompany the boom - especially if she is giving it to him with both barrels! That should be a bright flash with heavy recoil (her body should be pushed back by two 12 gauge shells being fired at the same time). Part of how I hear it is how I see it and vice versa. That is, if the flash were brighter I think it would also "sound" louder to me as well.

10. I dont believe I was particularly nice to the audience nor do I think I failed to understand that less is more.

In some places, I think you're awesome in being "mean" to us (e.g., leaving us in the dark, literally), but in other places I think you're showing us too much and slowing down the action too much.

1. The door handle turns (close up shot). Tension mounts. Music plays. Tension mounts even more.

2. Shot switches - we are now looking down both barrels.

3. Shot switches again - We are now behind and over her shoulder and the door opens. But we don't get to the jump scare yet. Instead, we turn back to her.

4. Cut to another shot - we do a quick zoom into her holding the gun (homage to Army of Darkness?).

5. Shot switches again. Now we are a few feet ahead of her and looking into the door for a quick cut - something lunges at the screen. We should stop here. Gunshot NOW!. But we don't stop, because we're being nice. We're visually explaining the action to our viewer.

6. We cut again. Now we're in the room and panning to the left. We can clearly see that it is a stuffed animal - this is comforting in that we understand the action - we know what is happening in the scene, but we've also just deflated the threat (it is after all, just a stuffed animal). It is not until the camera pans all the way to the left that we get the shot gun blast.

These six steps are edited together rapidly but the result is a sort of mini-anti-climax and I think that the reason is that you're being too nice - making sure that we understand everything that's happening. I think you could drop #2, #4, and #6 and tighten up the action and just punch us in the face.

I would offer that I used audio for an extended sequence of build up and the means in which I cut away immediately after revealing the killer in the bathroom during the upstairs sequence. I also didn't "Mickey mouse" the audio and punctuate every scare with a cheap jolt.

Sure.

I don't think Jaws is a particularly fitting cinematic parallel as the goals are very different. Cinematically, it has more in common with Torso, Stage fright and a multitude of other slasher giallos. It's a different cinematic language that needs to be understood and applied beyond platitudes of cinematic touchstones.

I suppose that you have a greater command of the vocabulary. If I deploy a looser vocabulary, that may just be the poverty of my vocabulary, and I would, therefore, ask for charity in considering the point.


Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:43 am
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Post Re: "A Girl Alone In A House" short film I made.

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
1. So I didn't go as deep into it as Get Out in a 20 min slasher short? That's fine I guess, but doesn't really say much about what is there. Sexual violence is not divorced from racial violence and I do believe you're being rather pithy towards how these elements manifest cyclically in the short.

What can I say, everyone thinks they're a critic these days. I am no exception.

2. There are plenty of static shots. There are plenty of handheld shots. Most of the action is filmed through long takes or longer takes than the majority of horror films, so comparisons to Taken 3 are fairly unfounded and condescending.

I am not comparing YOU to that film. Gads! NO! My apologies if that was even implied. Rather, I am pointing out that that film is an example of how we've headed in the wrong direction in terms of editing and that I would encourage you to move into the other direction.

6. It didn't follow her ass when she jogged. It followed the bear which she held at her hip.

Fair enough. That move is so cliche these days that that is how it "read" to me.

9. What audio set up do you have for this? I've noticed the mix on the phone lacks appropriate oomph but there's a fairly ridiculous amount of subwoofer rattling bass on those gunshots, especially the shotgun. I also did audio drops before every shot so the sound would occupy the entire sound space.

I just listened to it again with headphones. I think that the report is a little snappy (high pitched) and that the bass in the report doesn't really read unless you've got better speakers. Maybe move to he mid-range a little more. Sound-mixing is a bear because you're trying to find something that will "read" on good speaker, but also on crappy cell-phone speakers. With headphones the shot sounds fine.

I think part of what is going on is that I am looking for/expecting a brighter visual (i.e., bigger muzzle flash) to accompany the boom - especially if she is giving it to him with both barrels! That should be a bright flash with heavy recoil (her body should be pushed back by two 12 gauge shells being fired at the same time). Part of how I hear it is how I see it and vice versa. That is, if the flash were brighter I think it would also "sound" louder to me as well.

10. I dont believe I was particularly nice to the audience nor do I think I failed to understand that less is more.

In some places, I think you're awesome in being "mean" to us (e.g., leaving us in the dark, literally), but in other places I think you're showing us too much and slowing down the action too much.

1. The door handle turns (close up shot). Tension mounts. Music plays. Tension mounts even more.

2. Shot switches - we are now looking down both barrels.

3. Shot switches again - We are now behind and over her shoulder and the door opens. But we don't get to the jump scare yet. Instead, we turn back to her.

4. Cut to another shot - we do a quick zoom into her holding the gun (homage to Army of Darkness?).

5. Shot switches again. Now we are a few feet ahead of her and looking into the door for a quick cut - something lunges at the screen. We should stop here. Gunshot NOW!. But we don't stop, because we're being nice. We're visually explaining the action to our viewer.

6. We cut again. Now we're in the room and panning to the left. We can clearly see that it is a stuffed animal - this is comforting in that we understand the action - we know what is happening in the scene, but we've also just deflated the threat (it is after all, just a stuffed animal). It is not until the camera pans all the way to the left that we get the shot gun blast.

These six steps are edited together rapidly but the result is a sort of mini-anti-climax and I think that the reason is that you're being too nice - making sure that we understand everything that's happening. I think you could drop #2, #4, and #6 and tighten up the action and just punch us in the face.

I would offer that I used audio for an extended sequence of build up and the means in which I cut away immediately after revealing the killer in the bathroom during the upstairs sequence. I also didn't "Mickey mouse" the audio and punctuate every scare with a cheap jolt.

Sure.

I don't think Jaws is a particularly fitting cinematic parallel as the goals are very different. Cinematically, it has more in common with Torso, Stage fright and a multitude of other slasher giallos. It's a different cinematic language that needs to be understood and applied beyond platitudes of cinematic touchstones.

I suppose that you have a greater command of the vocabulary. If I deploy a looser vocabulary, that may just be the poverty of my vocabulary, and I would, therefore, ask for charity in considering the point.

2. Well, I'm glad you're not comparing me to Megaton, as he's among my most reviled directors. I just don't see how it was a particularly relevant point given the relative sparseness of edits and the penchant for longer takes that is fairly uniform throughout, including scenes like downstairs hallway fight, which uses two shots where most films of this genre and style would use at least a half dozen.

9. I figured that if the shot worked right for surround sound and headphones, that it was the proper audio mix as long as it was audible on something like phone speakers. The shootout in Heat is unimpressive on a phone. Some.audio outputs can't be saved.

10. I didn't particularly intend for the bear to be a particularly strong scare. It's a play on the cheap gag of something benign jumping at the camera but it's there to emphasize that Marat both tricked her, which hopefully created a different type of horror when she does pull both triggers, and setting the stage for them using elements in the house to bait and lure each other, just as she does with the garage door, the backyard door and he does with his blood. It perhaps would have worked better as 3 shots, the toss, the shot, then the bear on the floor, but as you've recommended and I argue I did, I kept my shots and edits minimal, favoring camera movement to reveal new information that cuts.

You are correct in the Raimi influence. I find his visual language infectious and inspiring. It's also present in the revolver reload scene.

Films like Torso and Stage Fright operate on a different style of horror than Jaws, which despite being a shark, operates largely as a fear of the unknown (until the chium scene, which then shifts closer to what I'm going to describe). These films are a known horror and focus on the tension of being found. The whereabouts of the killer are relatively known, he is THERE, and we're vicarious vessels trying to outsmart and outmaneuver them. I am actually far more withholding on my killer than they are due to creative decisions, time constraints and budget in equal parts) but often revealed him to the audience and not the protagonist in order to perpetuate that tension. In that regard, it's the inverse of Jaws style horror, and it's necessary to do that for the subversion to work. To reveal that all his appearances are actually him falling for her various traps, herself being the most perilous one to him.

But maybe I just watched it too many times while editing and rendering it and imagine myself more successful than I am. Either way, thanks for watching and taking the time to offer such robust commentary.


Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:10 pm
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