Made this short for film school. Would really appreciate some feedback on it.
I liked the music and I thought it was pretty but the framing device of the people on the train (inside the musician’s instrument?) didn’t give me enough information or emotional aspect to really create any relationship or dynamic with the musician. The best I can imagine is that the couple is what the musician is thinking about as he plays, with perhaps the young man being his former self.
I am not one who believes movies need to be as literal, I’m just not getting much out of the young couple whereas I find the musician to be much more interesting.
Thanks for watching! I tried to play the scenes out in a poetic-visual sense that relies more on atmosphere than it does on meaning, trying to emphasize form rather than content. Of course, I’m still a student and still playing around with my style, but my friend and I (who I wrote this with) prefer to make these open-ended stories which lend themselves to be interpreted/experienced differently by anyone watching it. I don’t know, maybe it’s a bit pretentious, but I think fixed-interpretation is just a bit too boring, at least for the projects I’m working on now. And I completely agree with what you said about the lack of dynamic in the couple’s segment. I tried to cover it up by inter-cutting between the two scenes, but I wish had more film stock to have shot that scene in a more elaborate way like I did for the saxophonist’s scene.
I would think about how you want to link the two sides visually (besides the entering of the instrument reveal and black and white). Some theme or visual rhyme that pulls the two parts together. As I said, it doesn’t have to be literal but there should still be some sort of structural or visual glue that ties the two together and makes them feel like one part of the same experience.
in a poetic-visual sense
Maybe what we’re looking for is structure in the form of cohesiveness.
I don’t get the dirge-like music and the sax, or the shaky cam on the train.
I think I want the sax to be diegetic maybe that is the single internal logic and the rest floats around it.
I know the shaky cam is unavoidable, but the train movement and shaky cam together make it too ‘real’.
I’m thinking the poetic-visual is not shot, but edited. If I made a film, I would shoot it literally, linearly and then edit it visually. Polaris: think about how you want to link the two sides visually
….but I wish had more film stock to have shot…
Is the lack of film stock controlling what you want to say – the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’ ?:trying to emphasize form rather than content.
I’m suggesting the ‘what’ is content and the ‘how’ is form, which is almost impossible to separate.
If I can’t get enough content recorded to edit, does the form matter?
Is what you have centripetal or centrifugal?
How would adding footage make it more centrifugal?
I’m not saying that the lack of film is controlling what I want to say, but rather more film stock would have given me liberty to experiment with shooting more shots that may or may not have made it to the final cut. This additive film stock would have supplemented me with less stress in capturing any definitive moments essential in the script, and rather shoot several different versions of the same concept I was trying to arise at with the first scene.
And also, though I agree that the two parts should be connected visually, I believe that the contrast from one scene to the other is as important of a connection as cohesiveness.
And yes, your point makes sense. However, I feel that a combination of the two has to be made when considering form. The visual aspect cannot just come in post, it has to come in every aspect of production. Not just one. It’s written visually, shot visually and edited with visual emphasis.
I’m not exactly sure how the terms ‘centrifugal’ and ‘centripetal’ come into play within a filmmaking standpoint?
From what you wrote above:
centrifugal:poetic-visual …. relies more on atmosphere…. than …..meaning ….form rather than content….. open-ended stories…… interpreted/experienced differently
In a centrifugal work things are expanding from the center rather than collapsing toward the center as in a
It is obvious what your intent is, but let me ask you, which type do you have visually?
And the follow up question – how? is it the contrast from one scene to the other?
See what I’m getting at? You have two unrelated, unconnected centers.
The viewer is forced to fix on one of them, at which point the work is centripetal.
Polaris was looking for a structure – centrifugal or centripetal are uh, ….types of structure.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure which type I have visually. Either because I don’t like labelling my filmmaking style or maybe because I don’t have one yet and wouldn’t want to limit myself to a specific style so early in the game.
But I understand where you’re getting at. I admit I didn’t succeed in establishing a connection which would lend itself to more of a centrifugal atmosphere that would require varied interpretations from each viewer. I mostly like making one-scene films, so this divergence just means I have to keep trying to work on the transitions a bit more. Once I can visually connect scenes such as these, even by contrast or cohesiveness, I’ll be a bit more satisfied with the work.
Thanks for the feedback, man. I really appreciate it.
Good luck and fwiw, I thought the scenes themselves were well done.
Was the application of music that was clearly not a saxophone over the scenes of the saxophonist intended to be taken as humorous? Was it intended to evoke anything (even if not anything specific)? I did feel a burgeoning amusement at this aspect.
I was actually more interested in the couple than the musician, and, rather than viewing the player as a narrator of sorts (either reminiscing about personal events, or playing a song which shares the emotion of the couple’s scene), I viewed the couple as the more concrete element. Certainly this is partly based on the setting and lighting of either (with the train being more realistic and the spotlit emptiness being more ethereal), but it also has to do with the title, which I was more easily able to connect to the shots of the couple, particularly their physical closeness, but general lack of intimacy. The musician to me, seemed more representative of some feeling that, to be honest, I don’t think was clearly communicated through the film, though perhaps that was something on my end.
That last shot, though, was pretty cool.
Well, the mismatch in music was not intended in being humorous, but I certainly wouldn’t mind for it to be taken that way as any interpretation is welcome. Originally, we wanted to play with the idea of the expectations that a person wants to hear, and what they actually hear and how that affects the visuals. Besides that, we hired an actor who actually isn’t a saxophonist.
I’m glad you found the couple’s segment more interesting. Though the visuals lend themselves more to the musician’s scene (he is spotlighted afterall) we tried to create an atmosphere between the two actors that attempted in telling a story just within their facial expressions and the tension they held between themselves.
“but I wish had more film stock to have shot…”
Yeah, one thing you were probably correct to do is immediately frame this movie as a 16mm piece as under current cognitive associations that changes our approach to viewing it. Film stock is expensive and limiting, and thus makes whatever you do turn out with feel a little more ‘precious’ than if you had shot and edited the same piece on cheap and reusable tape or digital card. Choices and accidents alike in 16mm filmmaking are a hell of a lot more permanent and take a lot more time to make.
In that regard, I empathize with your argument because I received the ‘you should have shot more, you should try this or this, you should change it like this and this’ argument from the 16mm class I took, and with each statement my mental accounting ledger would ding out a few more hundred dollars and days, literal days, of work.
However, that to me seems like the larger lesson you’re learning with this video (and also the reason why film students should still take film production courses), is that you can learn discipline in your conceiving and shooting of precious footage that you simply do not have the ability to manipulate as well as non-film moving pictures. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have the full professional storyboard, budget, et al, and you can still do spur-of-the-moment ad hoc or ad lib filmmaking and let the permanence of 16mm change the qualities of the Moment or Now as one sort of structure or process, but these are still decisions you must learn to make.
Peabody’s ‘centrifugal’ and ‘centripedal’ structures are but two. When you say
“Honestly, I’m not quite sure which type I have visually. Either because I don’t like labelling my filmmaking style or maybe because I don’t have one yet and wouldn’t want to limit myself to a specific style so early in the game.”
Understand that style is not decided upon, it is found by thinking through intentions and comparing to results (since what ends up on screen is never what one initially conceives, no matter how perfectionist you attempt to be). So I guess the question we need answered right now is, what was the intended relationship between these two set-ups, the musician and the couple? I know that you’re trying to avoid tying yourself down, but we the audience cannot make the movie mean something for you.
Yes, I’m trying to avoid tying myself down from labelling specific styles to this film. At the same time, style is not correlated to meaning. Style is a way in which meaning may be portrayed. While I do not label my style, that does not signify that I don’t know what this film means to me. The intended relationship between these two set-ups has a variety of meanings to a variety of people. The reason why I don’t like giving my own interpretation of my work is because I’ve found that when viewers find out the intentions of the filmmaker, they usually always shift their own to the writer’s perception. The writer of a piece does not hold the sole interpretation of a work, but rather sets his film free to be perceived differently by the audiences.
what was the intended relationship between these two set-ups, the musician and the couple:
the contrast from one scene to the other is as important of a connection as cohesiveness
@ Omar intentions of the filmmaker, they usually always shift their own to the writer’s perception
Yes, this is completely true, but for the sake of discussion …..
The benefit here is that whatever you say, we are probably going to disagree which is the kind of feedback that is most useful, imo – if we can alternatively explain our reaction.
I’m not quite sure I understand the reference with that last clip?
:the mismatch in music….we wanted to play with the idea of the expectations that a person wants to hear, and what they actually hear and how that affects the visuals
That clip is a music mismatch, no?
It was for me – I had no idea the initial viewing what Lumet was doing/saying/meaning.
Ah, all right. Yes, I suppose it is in a more subtle way though. I’ve never seen the film prior to this viewing so I had a tough time digesting those 6 minutes.
It is the last 4 minutes were one gets the dissonant sensation.
The guy has psychic anguish and then physical pain.
The music is overly up beat, which just blew my mind.
It took me right out of the film – totally out.
It was like Lumet was saying:
for you this was only a film, life goes on for you but not for Rod Steiger – he can’t get on with life.
Phkg brilliant ending, imo.
In that case, I don’t mean to compare the two films in any way, shape or form. But what type of reaction did you get from the dissonant sensation in my film as opposed to in Lumet’s? What do you think was lacking in ‘When The Epitaph Arrives’ that could have caused you to react differently?
It is difficult, because Lumet’s film has an entire 112 minutes behind those last four.
The music in When The Epitaph Arrives is fine when we are with the couple – it somehow fits their inexpressive demeanor. The sax player, even in slow motion, is expressing something. We can’t hear the sax, but we can guess feelings-wise, because the music cues us.The music is overriding what we see (expressive effort) and know (the sound of a saxophone). The music in When The Epitaph Arrives is almost denying us something.
That denial carries with it a meaning.
The dissonant music in the last four minutes of the The Pawnbroker is switching us out of the immediate past into the present, as the music takes us up beat and we move up with the camera angle where we see
the street stretch toward a horizon. The meaning comes from the counter intuitiveness of that music and movement/scene.
I enjoyed your film. Don’t apologise for your technical limitations, embrace them. I thought there were some great ideas throughout the film. I liked the cut from the man in the suit, following his crotch then you cut almost so seamlessly. I liked the shot of going into the saxophone and the man coming out of the darkness into the light. Felt Lynchian. It was better than any of my year 1 films.
Robert W Peabody III – I agree that that the music is denying the audience something they feel should be expressed through the saxophonist, but do you think that denial correlates to ineffectiveness, or just another means to express the intentions of the scene? I’m not going to say I had every intention of the film planned out beforehand, but the more I study the film the more I realize things I never knew could be expressed or analyzed in relation to the film. I guess that’s the beauty of making films as a student, you make as many mistakes as you can. Without mistakes, this medium wouldn’t exist. Which takes me to what Derek Gereg said.
Derek Gereg – I really appreciate the feedback, man. I do embrace the technical limitations to a certain extent, but it’s hard not to get frustrated every now and then when I think back to what I could’ve done with maybe a bit more rolls of film. But regardless, I embrace the mistakes and the limitations, because maybe they can teach me something later on in other projects.
@ Omar denial correlates to ineffectiveness, or just another means to express the intentions of the scene?
On one viewing: ineffectiveness
Two or more viewings: express the intentions of the scene i.e. carries the meaning