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February 22, 2010 at 4:17 AM #45900
Hello! I’ve been working on this short for several months now. We debuted the short at the Capitol Theater in Olympia WA yesterday to a crowd of about 150 and rave reviews. We sold all the DVD’s we brought, and everyone had a great time.
The short has strong language – please be aware. I’d love for anyone to watch it and give any feedback you like. The good and the bad are just as crucial to help me grow as a filmmaker.
The Van Job was shot with a Panasonic HMC-150 and a Canon XH-A1. Mostly the Panasonic though…
Let me know what you think!!!
February 22, 2010 at 5:40 AM #189884AnonymousInactive
Nice short! I liked the opening sequence. I have been watching “Dollhouse” recently. It reminded me a little bit of that series, although the story is different here.
February 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM #189885
Thanks anindya49! I’ve never seen Dollhouse, but was a big fan of Whedon’s “Firefly,” so I take it as a compliment.
February 22, 2010 at 6:25 PM #189886Luis Maymi LopezParticipant
I enjoy watching your short. Never expected the ending, that the way I like movies. Excellent job.
February 22, 2010 at 6:39 PM #189887
Not bad at all. You did have a slight continuity error in the latter part of the fight scene when the dirty cop had the girl in a headlock. At the start, he had her in a ‘sleeper hold’ the next cut it was just a straight rear chokehold. Then in the next cut back to the sleeper. It was really quick but I caught it right off. Other than some minor timing for cuts and a few shots that could have been cut to keep the pace you setup, it wasn’t bad. Oh, and when you showed ‘Sanchez’ alive at the end with his BPV showing, a burn mark or something where the ‘bullet’ had hit would have been a nice touch.
Shooting wise, I thought you did a good job. The goal is to shoot, record sound and edit in such a fashion that doesn’t interfere with your audience’s suspension of belief. When they’re watching your film all they should be focused on is your story and not see anything that makes them realize ‘this is a movie’ like booms, camera gear or gross continuity errors.
February 23, 2010 at 1:13 AM #189888pseudosafariMember
Spoiler alert–don’t read my comments if you haven’t seen the film yet.
Mutually Assured Productions. That’s a good name.
The car scene was dark but the lighting was still really good, if that makes any sense. I could see it fine but it maintained its realism. The use of the lights in the parking garage were good, too.
I”m no acting critic but I thoughtthe acting in the interrogation scenewas a little unbelievable (the cops anyway0. The cops sounded like they were giving speeches, not acting. Again, I’m no pro–but that’s my two cents. The acting picked up greatly by the time they turned the woman over to her new captors. Seems like the can act on their feet, so to speak.
Cool soundtrack; kinda has a contemporary but 70’s cop show feel at the same time.
Cool ending, too! Glad to see ol’ Sanchez still around. The cigarette ending was a nice touch.
Having the end credits double as a booking scene was a nice idea, too.
Man, overall, it was great.
How’d you get something 18 minutes long on Youtube? I thought they limited at 10 mins.
February 23, 2010 at 5:31 AM #189889
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
@SargeHero – The surprise ending was part of our goal, a sudden shift of gears and the it becomes an action movie instead of suspense.
@Composite1 – aha! Good eyes you have! I fought long and hard with the decision on that continuity error. I decided to keep it because I really like the way the jump cut flows, even though it’s a blatant error. My logic was that most people wouldn’t even notice it. However, being as that we shoot and edit video for a living, we tend to notice things like that. The more you watch it, the more you see – In the back of the van in the very beginning you can see the shadow of a baseball capped head holding an HMC-150 D’OH!!!
@pseudosafari – The acting was a little bit wooden eh? I’m glad you dig the music. I’m pretty darn proud of the whole thing, mistakes and all. It was a learning experience, and a great one at that. For the youtube situation, you need a “Director’s” account at youtube to upload files longer than 10 minutes or larger than 10 gigs. It isn’t hard to get approved for it, so if you’re interested you should definitely look into it.
February 23, 2010 at 4:34 PM #189890
Ah continuity errors, a director/editor’s close companion. Yeah, sometimes you just have to ‘cut your way out’ of those things and try to make them as inconspicuous as possible. The best way around CE’s is coverage. You can still keep a low shooting ratio on a 1-2 camera shoot by just taking a couple of extra takes to get different angles. Those extra takes come in real handy when it comes to correcting CE’s.
I wasn’t too concerned with the ‘wooden acting’. It was obvious you weren’t using pro actors. Your shooting and production values were good enough to allow me to ‘watch the story’ without worrying about being too critical about their acting. With more time and shoots you’ll all get better.
As turnabout is fair play, you can see my first horror short. Like you, I pulled together a tiny crew in a really short amount of time and got it out on the festival circuit. I purposely used ‘ammy’ actors (we did have one pro) and we had a mix of pro and ammy crew. Go to:
There are some little ‘easter eggs’ if you really look for them, but we really went through the edit with a fine toothed comb to get rid of any CE’s. Right now as a Director, you’re proud of your baby as it is now out the door. Pretty soon, you’ll be sick of it and because you’ve gained experience since then, you’ll cringe at the very sight of it!
February 23, 2010 at 6:51 PM #189891
Composite, I completely understand what you mean about being sick of it. I still love the movie, and consider it one big learning experiment. By the time I was wrapping up the editing, I thought that I could go on forever, nitpicking the hell out of it. Truth is it won’t ever be perfect. Never. No matter how many more hours I devote to it, and I just didn’t want to edit it anymore. I’m done with it. Let it stand, as is, and move on to the next project. “Host” was certainly interesting. When did you shoot that? Were you the director, dp, and editor?
February 23, 2010 at 8:00 PM #189892
Though I wore a number of hats on “HOST”, I wasn’t the primary editor. I did do the ‘finishing’ stuff for it and found I like doing that more than I like editing. I did co-write, produced, and directed. Since I’m from a DP background I find it much easier to Direct and shoot. I’ve done a few projects where I just sat back like a traditional director and hated it. Not that I can’t work with other DP’s, but if I’m not behind the camera I don’t feel like I’m really working.
HOST got made in 2007. I was at NAB that year and shot my mouth off in one of the major gear manufacturer’s booths (you know, ‘hey you ought to lend me this for my next movie!) Well, they called me out on it and said okay. I called my writing partner 5 minutes later and said, “We’re shooting a movie this summer! So don’t be surprised when I get back!” At the time I was working strictly on corporate stuff and slowly branching off into narrative projects. I didn’t have anything ready to produce on such short notice so I told my writer to “drag out the darkest stuff he could think of and we’ll make a horror flick.” I had been wanting to make one (though I’m not fond of them) and we combined the two genres I hate the most ‘torture porn’ and ‘reality tv’ and made our twisted little game show.
You’re right though, once your project’s done let it go. It’s still nice to watch audiences watch HOST, but I’m so far off into other stuff I can’t look at it without cringing a little. What about you? How many hats did you wear making your film?
February 25, 2010 at 12:01 AM #189893
Yes, I wore many hats on “The Van Job.” Sometimes it felt like a bit too many. DP, director, editor, sound, etcetera. I know how you feel about directing and DPing. I don’t feel right if I’m not holding a camera, and I have trust issues when it comes to other people running them. I’m forcing myself to work on a couple of upcoming projects where I’m DP only, and NOT director – so that I can learn how to work under someone. It’s something I’m not very good at, so it might be a bit of a challenge for me, but it is something I need to learn.
February 25, 2010 at 1:48 AM #189894
The good things about wearing many hats on a project are:
- You get good experience learning how other positions must function in a timely manner
- You hopefully gain sympathy for those working in other positions
- You gain a fine ‘BS Detector’ for when people in other positions are slacking
- Most important particularly when you function primarily as Producer or Director, a perspective on how ‘the machine’ is supposed to function. I hate working with P’s or D’s that haven’t worked on the production or post side of things in a ‘hands on’ position. They are almost always a pain.
The bad thing about it is the tendency for becoming a ‘micro-manager’ or my favorite, “A Tin-Plated Dictator.” It’s good you’re “forcing yourself to work in other positions.” Even now that I’ve worked from Executive Producer to Audio Grip, if someone hires me for a gig as Field Audio Tech I don’t mind slappin’ on the headphones and doing the job. I do have to admit, when I see P’s and D’s doing questionable stuff it’s hard not to say anything, but long as they aren’t preventing me from doing my job properly I just let it ride.
The toughest thing I’ve found about this work is not getting an inflated ego. This business is based primarily on your reel and rep. The saying ‘you’re only good as your last job’ has a lot of meaning is this biz. If you’re having success be it moderate or huge, it’s not hard to wake up one morning with a swelled head you can’t even lift! What keeps my perspective is this isn’t Brain Surgery, we for the most part are not saving lives and humanity would continue on quite well without our work (though life would be a lot more boring!)
I’m mostly like you as I wasn’t so fond of working for others. You have to adopt a sort of ‘Mercenary Mindset’ in that long as they pay you for your work in full and in a timely manner, it doesn’t make sense to ‘sweat’ set politics. Before you know it, you’ll be done and onto the next job. One benefit that will come from that, is people will spread the word that you can be worked with. So when your P or D is trippin’ (because you know they will), just stay calm. More often than not, they don’t know what the hell they want. Your job is to help them figure it out and make them think they thought of it.
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