Zach Moore and I would be interested in reading your thoughts on our recently completed short film, Mirriam. Positive feedback as well as constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
Careful with sound trasitions. That aspect definitely needs work. Some shots are alright handheld (by the way, it looks pretty nice- what camera are you using?) but others need a tripod, or at least a good steady-cam and operator. I mean they’re just begging for it. Shaky cam isn’t always so adorable. In general though, the photography is very nicely composed and well-executed (although a high-speed camera would have been nice at certain moments and preferable to some of the effects in post… or maybe I’m just seeing slow motion where there isn’t any?). The sound was well captured, generally. The acting is decent most of the time. Plot is very good, screenwriting is good as well.
Also, I’m not sure about the title..
Thanks, Anonymouse. I am grateful to you for taking the time to really consider the film and I appreciate the compliments on my shot composition/execution and our screenplay. Thanks for the feedback on what you thought the film’s shortcomings were, as well. I completely agree on the fact that a few of the shots needed a tripod, and I can probably name the exact ones you speak of; these were moments that did not necessitate the same visual unbalance required during other instances in the narrative and I only realized this once we wrapped shooting. Now, if you don’t mind me asking, I was hoping you could elaborate on just a couple of your other points.
I am curious to learn which particular sound transition(s) you think need(s) work and whether you are referring to instances of subpar audio mixing or use of music. I’m also interested in where you would have liked to see a high frame rate because I had actually considered employing it in one particular scene and am wondering if it’s one of the same “moments.” And third, we had our share of doubt about the title and also have our reasons for keeping it. Out of curiosity, though, what might you have named it?
p.s. This was shot on a Canon XL2. I used an XL1S 16x manual servo lens for the majority of the shots.
“I am curious to learn which particular sound transition(s) you think need(s) work and whether you are referring to instances of subpar audio mixing or use of music.”
No, the music and audio was surprisingly good. In general, I thought it was very well captured and mixed. What I meant was that in a few places, the actual transitions were quite awkward. For example from the first to the second shot. In the first shot there is obviously no audio, then in the second we start hearing a background “hum.” It’s pretty unavoidable to get that “hum” when you’re recording on-set audio but you can hide the “shock” of the transition from no “hum” to “hum,” for example by adding birds chirping to the first shot or by shooting the second shot longer and running the audio track over the first shot (with or without dialogue). It requires a lot of planning and forethought, though.
“I’m also interested in where you would have liked to see a high frame rate because I had actually considered employing it in one particular scene and am wondering if it’s one of the same “moments.””
Two spots, maybe a few others. First, in the scene around 6m00 and again in the final shot. Those were the ones that sort of jumped out at me, in any case.
“Out of curiosity, though, what might you have named it?”
That, I really don’t know. Coming up with a title is pretty delicate and I’m definitely not qualified to comment.
In all though, I thought it was a very good film. It’s definitely a good step or two above most.
Don’t let someone strip your tripod socket with a home-made steadi-cam half-way through your shooting (not to mention it’ll cost you $360 to fix, and that’s not even including shipping which is another $60) it’ll really mess up your good day. And for the love of God if it does strip, don’t trust any Joe you meet on a horse farm who says they’re a mechanic, they’ll probably strip the threads even more (I made this mistake as well).
Also, @ Anonymouse’s suggestion, the title.
What about I Call Out to You…it’s a translation of a Bach’s “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” w/Mr. Jesus Christ omitted of course. The song was used in Tarkovsky’s Solaris, I perused your profile and saw that you liked the guy, so I figure you might have heard it.
Music for Jesus (Happy Easter in Seven Days)!
“In all though, I thought it was a very good film. It’s definitely a step or two above most.”
I really appreciate the kind words. And thanks again for the thoughtful feedback. I will definitely seek your opinion on the next project.
“…any Joe on a horse farm…”
I think that guy’s name really was “Joe,” too. That’s awesome.
“Don’t let someone strip your tripod socket with a home-made steadi-cam half-way through your shooting…”
I know, right? I’ve done that before, or rather I stripped my own tripod socket…
What about I Call Out to You…
That’s not bad, actually. I’ll have to leave the final choice up the film maker(s) though.
I’m bumping this thread in the hope of eliciting more feedback on my film. First, I want to acknowledge the obvious fact that I’m aware that the co-creator of the film had one of his posts deleted on here yesterday on the basis that it was too incendiary. While I know that it seems like this was a ploy to get more people to watch our film, I want you to know that this wasn’t his intention. In his own way, he wanted to encourage people to engage in the art/craft, as well as critique it. We both believe it’s important in judging something to view it from both sides of this proverbial table. For what it’s worth, Zach has many strong opinions, but he’s not a troll.
I also realize that his thread (about non-filmmakers not being able to justifiably critique a film) seems to contradict my asking for feedback from the MUBI community and also potentially opens up a flood gate of negative criticism of our own film. If people feel that is the appropriate response, then so be it. I hope, though, that instead his message and my own message now will open up a positive discourse about our film and others from amateur filmmakers on this website. I would appreciate knowing what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you felt could be improved upon in our film, “Mirriam.” I believe that it’s through these conversations between “amateurs” (viewers and makers) and not professionals or acclaimed auteurs that we will all continue to grow and progress in whatever it is we do.
p.s. Also, I encourage more people to check out user Uli Cain’s short film, “Spinning.” It was truly great work and I applaud him/her.
I thought there were some very nice, especially the dolly shot when she was a at the piano and you had a nice, clean image. My biggest quibble is that it may be over edited.
Some of the acting was better than others, but that’s to be expected. Overall, a nice piece.
Thanks for watching and for your comments, Uli Cain. I imagine that you meant “some very nice [shots]”, and if so, thank you. You’re absolutely right about the acting. As I’m sure you noticed, we had one professional actress and it was the lead. Even she was kind of swimming in new territory, though, coming from a long background in theater to what was one of her first performaces on screen.
Two questions for you and for others…
What did you think of the concept and of the screenwriting? As you can see above, Anonymouse thought fairly highly of this aspect of the work, but I’d like to get more opinions.
How about the direction? There are some techniques and ideas I’ve thought of now that I wished I would have utilized then; however, I’m fairly happy with the film in this regard. Curious to hear what you think?
Also, is there a particular scene(s) that you think could have been helped by less editing? You might have a valid point here, unless you’re referring to the first day dream in her living room, when, in my opinions, the cuts are essential.
I really enjoyed your guys’ short, especially the ending. Powerful stuff there. :)
Thanks so much, Charles Deckert. I appreciate you taking the time to watch it and am grateful for the compliment, especially given the fact that it appears we admire many of the same filmmakers/films.
I’d be thankful if you would be so kind as to tell others to watch and leave their thoughts on it, as well. : )
@ Uli Cain
Why the ellipsis?
I just figured out that it was intended to “bump” the thread. Evidently, I’m still getting used to the etiquette around here…Anyway, thanks!
Okay, last bump of this before I reach out to people individually. Any further comments on our film?
Keith, fellow Cincian…
This was a very good film, I thought. I do agree that some of the sound work was awkward, but that’s easily forgiven by the fact that you have an insane understanding of the visual aspects of the piece. And the lead actress’ performance is absolutely touching as can be! Very, very good job. :)
Thanks so much for comment, Douglas. As you are well aware, it’s difficult getting people around here to give feedback on “amateur” work. Anyway, I’m grateful for the compliment on the visuals and the lead’s performance. I agree with you about the sound; I’m intent on improving this in the next project. Gathering a bed of room tone will definitely help in this regard ; )
Yeah, not many are really into the kind of work like this. When I screened my film “Cleaners” at the University of Dayton (not really Cinci, but still close to the same… lmfao) – all I received were comments telling me how bad the production value of the sound was instead of really giving any kind of flattering comment anywhere. Thankfully, showing the film online (where it gets positive reviews constantly) has helped keep my spirits up.
Have anything new planned, Keith? Or Zach? I’m itching to know if you are or not. :)
And I forgot to mention how much I LOVED the final scene. The silence and fading to red is downright chilling.
Criticism can be a tough pill to swallow, for sure. The best you can hope for is to have someone who understands the craft and art of filmmaking well enough to recognize what is good or at least has potential in your work and to encourage you to continue doing it, while also giving honest but respectful suggestions for how to improve. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
There was a great deal of discussion surrounding how to go about that final scene. Overall, I’m happy with the creative decisions we made for the final scene and I’m glad you liked it.
As far as other work, here’s a video I finished directing a couple of months ago. Just made a post about it today, if you’re interested:
Zach and I are currently developing two short narrative scripts. I plan on beginning to explore casting options as early as next week. More on that soon : )
“Mirriam” was recently selected by a small online showcase named the Once a Week Film Festival. The film is playing on the festival’s homepage and youtube channel. Feedback is still welcome, of course.
Thanks for allowing us to show ‘Mirriam’ Keith!
Thanks for selecting it and giving me another opportunity to exhibit it.