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Max Hall

SNAPPED - A Video Call Short Film (criticism needed)

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Here's a short film I wrote/shot/directed. I'm primarily a writer/director, and I'm doing cinematography on my films out of necessity. Next step for me will be working with a cinematographer!

But I'd love some general thoughts on this film, so I can take the feedback with me on my next project. The film takes place within a Skype video call window, and I'd call it a mystery/thriller.

Let me know what you think!

 

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Posted (edited)

Isn't it something how the gals do their eyebrows nowadays!

I didn't like the middle, too drawn out, getting boring. But it may be me. I'll ask a gal once, and not pester her, so that was an issue with me. Also I'm not much for long dialogue, I got ADD, so that always taints my reviews. But the long dialogue did add some tenseness to the film. I guess it needs balance for your target audience. 

The end was very good...riveting. Liked the sound effects at the end. I was thinking lighting was kinda flat throughout the screen chats, but it was better than you would normally get in a computer chat. So can't complain. I don't know whether it is better to make things realistic (low quality) or unrealistic (better quality)

Make more films...Good Luck!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Great feedback! Thanks for taking the time.

Yeah, this is a dialogue heavy film and I hear you about the middle section. Good to know. You make more films too!

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The male talent felt very out of his element. Also I understand they're supposed to be in 2 separate rooms, but the soundscape for the guy's webcam was mic'd too close without any reverb, ADR was very blatant.

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3 hours ago, Max Field said:

The male talent felt very out of his element. Also I understand they're supposed to be in 2 separate rooms, but the soundscape for the guy's webcam was mic'd too close without any reverb, ADR was very blatant.

What do you mean by out of his element?

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25 minutes ago, Max Hall said:

What do you mean by out of his element?

He's trying to be this flirtatious guy but it just comes off as acting. It probably has more to do with casting than anything, the voice throws it off.

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6 minutes ago, Max Field said:

He's trying to be this flirtatious guy but it just comes off as acting. It probably has more to do with casting than anything, the voice throws it off.

Yeah, and it may have had to do with the situation the character was in. He literally had a gun to his head, so he actually was acting in order to get the alarm code. But to your point, I don’t know if I made that story point quite clear enough to warrant the performance choice. Thanks for taking the time! Good feedback!

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I really like dialogue driven stories so I found this to be quite interesting. I especially liked the dialogue from Izzy. The actress did a good job sounding natural. I did not like Ethan's cadence. It made him sound like a creep which made me wonder why Izzy entertained him. The explanation could be that he spoke that way due to his predicament. But then the question becomes: wouldn't Izzy realize he's acting strange?

Ethan and Izzy's relationship is somewhat unclear. At first it seems like he's friendzoned but then he reveals that he has compromising photos of her which implies there is a sexual history between them. Of course, the situation could be that they did have a sexual past that Ethan is still hung up on, but it didn't feel like the dialogue showed that. Perhaps including that they fooled around once in the past during the conversation would make the photos Ethan has appear less to come out of left field.

A lot is left unanswered in this short (which is fine) but the first question I asked myself upon seen the twist ending was: These guys broke into Ethan's house (who also has an alarm), so that they can break into Izzy's house without tripping her alarm? There are a hundred different explanations for why they would do this, but I figured you'd like to know what reaction you're getting to the big reveal.

It was shot well for the found footage/webcam format. Unfortunately, you're limited to what the webcam sees so there isn't an opportunity for anything visually striking. 

Hope to see more of your work down the line!

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That's helpful feedback. Thanks for taking the time to watch and write about it!

Good suggestions about the dialogue, and thanks for elaborating about the Ethan character - the consensus seems to be that something feels a little off about the performance and/or dialogue choices with him. 

And interesting to know how you responded to the end reveal. Your interpretation is similar to mine, except for a couple details. 

Thanks again!

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2019 at 7:20 AM, Max Hall said:

Great feedback! Thanks for taking the time.

Yeah, this is a dialogue heavy film and I hear you about the middle section. Good to know. You make more films too!

I like shooting people, but I don't like dealing with / talking with people. So that limits me with people vids. I do lots of candid work with still photos, but that is about it. Maybe I can get into candid video work. I'd like to try that M43 Pocket cam someday. 

There was a homeless guy on 5th Ave eating dirt with a spoon from a tree that was growing there. That would have made some interesting filming, but you have to be prepared and I wasn't. 

I've taken to making videos off of Instagram. It is a dream for the social documentarian. You can get into the lives of all sort of people. OK, it is not as good as getting into their homes and life. But they wont let me in anyway and I don't know em in the first place.

I wanted to make a video on a IG account called 'House of Fatties,' but looks like they banned them. I have a few vids I'm working on for acne and stretch marks on IG.  I can get the idea and shoot the video in 5 - 10 minutes. It is my fault I waited 2 weeks to do the fatties. But lost track and boom they are gone. Those are the type of vids I like to make....fast!

I could never do traditional video or film work. You have to be very anal and patient for film work. I was at the Santa Monica Pier one time watching em make a movie. I waited about 15 - 20 minutes and they did absolutely nothing. That was my ADD limit, and forced at that, so I moved on. Also have to be a good technician, again anal. I am pretty good at tech, for candid street work, but when it comes to studio work, I'm not that anal. A good cinematographer is akin to the large format still photogs with 8 x 10 view cams. Both are cut from the same cloth.

Do you have any ideas for your next vid?

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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On 5/5/2019 at 8:55 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I like shooting people, but I don't like dealing with / talking with people. So that limits me with people vids. I do lots of candid work with still photos, but that is about it. Maybe I can get into candid video work. I'd like to try that M43 Pocket cam someday. 

Ha, nice! Understandable. It can be tough to constantly communicate when you’re doing this stuff. I only do narrative films as of right now, so my next video will be a short film from one of the scripts I’ve written.

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