LOVER BOY, short film

Max
Max Website User Posts: 53
edited November 2011 in Practical Filmmaking
Hi,
I would like to share my latest short film with the growing hitfilm community. The film is called Lover Boy. It contains some unpleasant imagery and content and is not suitable for children.

If anybody has any thoughts or comments, I would love to hear them.
Max
password might or might not be lb
«1

Comments

  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    Am I the only one who is completely confused...
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53

    Am I the only one who is completely confused...
    Yes, everyone else knows exactly what is going.
    No, I'm sure you're not. What did you think of it otherwise?
    Max
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited October 2011
    Well the cinematography was great, in my opinion, of course I'm not really any sort of authority on that. I thought the editing was good, sound worked very well with it, the style was interesting, the acting was really good. It seemed very solid in all areas. I remember watching the trailer a while back and being very hesitant to watch this but I was very pleasantly surprised. The more I think about it the more I understand, but there are still quite a bit of things that confuse me. Not much really to say. I thought it was wonderful as a whole.
    EDIT: I also wanted to say that it kept my interest to the end. Although I was baffled by the end, I was still very interested.
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Website User Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    Eh...... I have no idea what I just watched.
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53

    Eh...... I have no idea what I just watched.
    Probably time for an eye test then.
  • F.C.Rabbath
    F.C.Rabbath Website User Posts: 50
    I think you did a good job with the cinematography and sound. They were really top notch. I really admire that you were trying something different. So 5/5 from me.
  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Website User Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    The editing was pretty solid as well as the sound design. Everything was there apart from the story, I just couldn't quite understand what was going on. I wouldn't try to deter anyone from trying anything experimental or different, however for me this didn't quite work. I thought the editing and sound were great though.
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53
    Thanks very much for the comments people, I appreciate it.
    I understand that the film won't work for everyone, especially on a story level. The whole film is an interpretation of a situation, and a mindset, and is not a story so much as a look into a mental state and the avenues that it could take you. So, the situations are metaphorical rather than literal, as are the characters, at least for me, and the idea was to make it like a fractured dream where nothing has any context other than what is immediately happening. It's a personal film for me, and for the lead actor, and it was something that I had to make which is perhaps another reason why it's quite oblique, because I know what the themes and inspirations are, and you don't. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses, I think that it could benefit from some more connective tissue here and there without a doubt.
    I'm really happy that people are liking the cinematography and editing etc, because that is so important to me and I put a lot of work into those areas.
    So, thanks for the comments, if anyone else has any it would be great to hear them, and hopefully I'll soon be able to share some information on my latest project, which will almost certainly be even more confusing but probably much more uplifting, although to me this film has the happiest conclusion that could be reached under the circumstances.
    Max
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Hey Max, great to see this on HitFilm.com. I've given you feedback elsewhere, but I wanted to reiterate how much I like the film - not on an enjoyment level, but from a respect towards the material and technique involved. It reminds me the most of some of Kubrick's work: in that there's very little interest in entertainment, but an incredible focus. As with Kubrick's work, whether you like it or not you at least know for certain that it's exactly what the director wanted it to be.
    Unique and exciting!
  • SpectrOdrake Corp.
    SpectrOdrake Corp. Website User Posts: 135
    great work ! the editing and sound are really good ! :)
    I really enjoy your video !

    ps: it's me,or Vimeo is really long to load videos ?
  • DanielGWood
    DanielGWood Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,021 Just Starting Out
    That was excellent. Really enjoyed the look, the sound, the acting, the story, everything. I remember seeing a trailer for this a while back, glad to see it lived up to that!
    Congratulations to you and your team!
  • Darren
    Darren Website User Posts: 164
    Just a small repeat of my comments back on FXHome... while not my cup of tea, it is a reflective style of your previous work and it fits the strangeness of it all. Technically, I really liked it.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Website User Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    Max,
    Once again you amaze and excite me with the allure-of-oddity you've brought to the screen. While this may not be as entertaining or resonant as, say, Mr. Fox- Lover Boy is certainly a very strong narrative feat, and clearly exudes a sense of style, technical precision, and storytelling that is genuine and unique.
    Did I like the film? No, not really. I actually found myself unnerved by much of it, unsettled. And yet, I kept my eyes affixed on what was happening, what was coming next. In the moments of stillness of stagnant shots, where many short films would seem dull and many viewers would likely skip through, you encapsulate your audience- and this is an impressive feat in it's own right.
    I was drawn, despite my disgust and confusion with much of the short, to the nail-biting stillness and pacing of Lover Boy. The acting. The atmosphere. The removed-feeling of the wide camera, and trailing editing between shots and character emotions.
    It all serves to progress a single theme, in my mind, and that is the sheer power of cinema. People get bogged down in narrative clarity with storytelling- in cohesion and simplicity. But in truth, if and when someone makes something such as this, visually-arresting, expertly-timed, and well-acted and produced- I have a very very difficult time doing anything but giving them praise.
    That's the joy of filmmaking in my mind. It's not the result of the story, but the impact of the entire film as a process and expression on the viewer. And while Lover Boy may have unsettled and confused me, and make no mistake it absolutely did, my overall impression was that I had seen something done with an exacting purpose and precision directorially, and I can appreciate this even solely on that.
    It'd be hard for me to give this super high marks overall, but I can solidly give it somewhere around a 6-7 out of 10 on my scale. Distinctly you. And I think that's all it could ever hope to be- which is meant as a great compliment, and isn't an easy goal given the excellence of your previous works.
    Good job, man. Can't wait to see more.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    In the moments of stillness of stagnant shots, where many short films would seem dull and many viewers would likely skip through, you encapsulate your audience- and this is an impressive feat in it's own right.
    Absolutely spot-on, Andrew. I've been trying to articulate exactly what it is about Lover Boy that I find so unique, and it is precisely this: it's ability to hold your attention when very little is happening, through sheer poise and charisma, even while it is digusting and revolting my sensibilities.
    [quote]It all serves to progress a single theme, in my mind, and that is the sheer power of cinema.[/quote]
    Agreed. Lover Boy makes me want to go out and make a movie - a completely different movie, absolutely nothing like Lover Boy - because it does just that: embraces the raw potential of the format. Lover Boy would have a very hard time existing as anything else - novel, comic, audio drama, etc.
    Something I'm intrigued to see in Max's future work is how he adapts to other atmospheres and tonalities - if he even wants to, that is. What would a Max Swinton comedy be like? What would a Max Swinton action movie be like? What would a Max Swinton sci-fi film be like?
  • mercianfilm
    mercianfilm Website User Posts: 161
    I think Andrew has put into words exactly how a lot of us feel about this film in a much clearer and articulate way than we could muster, certainly for me he has. I've PM'd Max over on Fxhome when you completed this about how technically and narratively impressive this is and i'd just like to reiterate it on these forums for people that haven't watched it yet, some who might give it a miss because it might not be a film they'd otherwise watch. Whilst the story might not be for everyone and isn't..enjoyable i suppose would be the word- it still captivates you like Andrew mentioned, it's an odd feeling to be repulsed and entranced at the same time- but an experience worth watching. In a basic form this is masterclass in film making for people who would want to develop their cinematography and actor orientated directing. Hard to watch at times, unnerving but completely riveting- 10/10 ! :D
    Sam
  • theclone56
    theclone56 Website User Posts: 16
    I'd been really looking forward to this since I saw the teaser, so I was quite excited to finally get to watch the full film. I really enjoyed it, it had a unique atmosphere. Quite unsettling. And as others have said great editing and cinematography. It makes everything feel very assured. You set up a good looking shot and you're not afraid to hold on it. The music and sound design really helped there, kind of helping break up the often static imagery, if you know what I mean. I usually find that my interest in a good-looking short film falls apart the second the actors begin speaking, but that wasn't the case here. They were well cast, and delivered their lines effectively. The manner of speech was somewhat stylized, but not obnoxious or distracting.
    So yeah, I liked this one a lot. I think it's easily the best of your stuff that I've seen.
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53
    Thanks very much for the comments everyone. Andrew basically summed up my thoughts and feelings on the film very well with some really good insight into it.
    I am glad that people here appreciate elements of the film, I know that it is not a fun film to watch, which is partly my problem with it. I am increasingly finding myself more and more uncertain about what I want to do with my film making, the sorts of film I want to make etc. Part of it is that I don't think you can judge how people will receive something, and I suppose you shouldn't try but it's made me step back and ask who I am making this stuff for, and why I am making it. This stems from the fact that this film took absolutely ages to make overall, far too long, and so far interest in it does not justify the time spent on it. That could be because it's a hard film to watch, almost willfully obtuse, and it doesn't appeal to many people. I definitely messed up on the promotional side of this one, because there was definitely interest in the trailer which there isn't for the actual film because of how we built momentum for the trailer that subsequently ground to a halt in the intervening months. I was going to submit this to a lot of film festivals but it got rejected from a couple and I lost enthusiasm for that route because it made me feel like the film was total sh*t, and by that point I had lost enthusiasm in it myself. I think that in the back of my mind I thought that this film would gain me and my work some interest, although I have no idea what I expected, and because that hasn't happened I realize now that I was looking at it too much from that perspective. So, it's good to see that people are enjoying it, and I can look back on it as a huge learning curve and an interesting experience and safely say that my approach from now on will be to make things for me, and then hope for the best.
    Right, that was a bit of a ramble, maybe doesn't make sense.
    Simon, as for wondering what different sorts of films by me would look I have no idea myself. I find that I can't get into something unless it means something to me, otherwise it's just weak and I lose interest very quickly. You should see the amount of footage and scripts on my hard drive for stuff that stopped as soon as it started.
    I do however want to make something that people want to watch, that means something, and is more uplifting than LB. I would also like to regain the sense of fun I had with mr fox etc, and make something like that again before moving into a longer project. At the end of the day, at this point it's for me and if I want to get anywhere with it I need to believe in it, rather than trying to make something that people will be really into. Tricky.
    OK, end of essay.
    Max
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I was going to submit this to a lot of film festivals but it got rejected from a couple and I lost enthusiasm for that route because it made me feel like the film was total sh*t, and by that point I had lost enthusiasm in it myself.
    So what actually happened with the festivals? I mean this was rock solid (imo) as far as quality and general technique. Why were the film festivals rejecting it?
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53

    So what actually happened with the festivals? I mean this was rock solid (imo) as far as quality and general technique. Why were the film festivals rejecting it?
    It's actually been accepted into a festival now, and to be fair I have only submitted it to three so far so that's a hit rate of one in three which isn't so bad. So I've had to make it private again, and now I'll keep submitting it. I think that I just really don't like the disconnect between finishing something and feeling enthusiastic about it and then not being able to show it to anyone for potentially years if you go the festival route, I think you should be allowed to have the film online regardless.
    Anyway, that's good news, thanks for all the comments everyone, now on to the next one.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    I think that I just really don't like the disconnect between finishing something and feeling enthusiastic about it and then not being able to show it to anyone for potentially years if you go the festival route, I think you should be allowed to have the film online regardless.
    Yes, I'm of the same mind. Festivals seem to be in an odd place now - go back 10+ years and festivals were pretty much the ONLY way to get your short film seen beyond your immediate family and friends. They had a definite purpose, even before you get to industry networking and selling your work etc.
    These days, festival exposure is likely to be tiny compared to getting your work online and doing some decent online promotion. So festivals that restrict distribution are really fighting against the tide.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Website User Posts: 379 Enthusiast

    Yes, I'm of the same mind. Festivals seem to be in an odd place now - go back 10+ years and festivals were pretty much the ONLY way to get your short film seen beyond your immediate family and friends.
    I totally agree with this, and it's even partly why I accept and am trying to push into the studio and industry system so hard with that route. Starting in the early 90s, the festival system became a great way for feature films to break into mass distribution. Not to negate online distribution, or even screenings in general, but nowadays it seems like it's the short-form format that gets seen online and blown up to a budgeted picture that give modern filmmakers the most exposure and success.
    The other thing is that I get really, really dismayed by movies that premiere what I time and time again consider unceremoniously. As great as prolonged viewership and exposure is, part of the issue even with online distribution- similar to the festival circuit- is that it disperses buzz and viewership of your work.
    I try to hype and present works I do, for instance, leading into a hard release date online- because it's true, there's just not as much enthusiasm, momentum, or satisfaction with releasing something to prolonged or faint praise/response.
    The way to do things is to coordinate hard premieres, hard screenings, and get it all out at once. Which is, in much of a sense, a 'mini-studio' way of doing things. Like a simultaneous international premiere of a huge movie, there's something really cool and validating to building things up to a release date.
    The Brocial Network, so instance, was really a fantastic project and accomplishment for Ben and I to do because we timed it to release images, the song, and eventually the parody all at one time. We screened it, we did press for it, and we watched it grow online. To this date, I found it to be our best-presented material, despite being more disposable, because I felt it got the audience and response it deserved at the moment it needed it for the sake of validating the work, crew, and cast of people that helped on it.
    Lover Boy I always felt would've benefited from a harder opening all at once- something timely and well-branded, which I know Max is more than capable of and that I can see on his website and in his posters. But yeah, it all just goes to dismiss the 90s-style festival system. Things are globalized, not 'traveling roadshow' localized anymore- and there really isn't, truthfully, a big enough plus to that way of presentation anymore.
    At least, in my opinion.
  • DanielGWood
    DanielGWood Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,021 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2011
    Totally agree, it seems mad to me that many festivals still want to impose that. I'm not sure what their thinking is here? I doubt all of the films being online will reduce festival attendance. And as you guys have pointed out, the audience viewing at a festival is nothing compared to what you can get online, the Atomic Bros proved that one.
    Another issue is saturation of course, I expect festivals receive far more films than they used to, and probably of greater quality given digital equipment. So as a filmmaker, they want you to sit on your hands for a year or two whilst you submit your film to a succession of festivals where hundreds of submissions battle for 20 slots. Hmmm.
    Edit: Andrew beat me to it! I agree with your points about online distribution there, it's something Lightmill is attempting to improve with every film we do. Bigger releases reaching more people, with a unified approach across platforms.
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53
    Yeah, this is a really interesting conversation. I completely agree with you Andrew, 100%. Right now, online is the way to go and the way to do it is definitely to treat your film like a studio treats it's film, promote it, publicize it, co-ordinate the release of material and information and hype in a steady flow until a set release date. That way you build an audience and you build interest and the film rides in on the momentum you've already created.
    Of course all this is easier said than done, and getting people interested is hard.
    You mention that LB could have benefited from a stronger release, you are correct. The trailer was released on the momentum of the old thread on fxhome, and people were interested in it and the film, a week after the trailer would have been the time to release the film. Instead, whatever momentum there was died with the festival submissions because that essentially took it offline for an indefinite period of time. The effect for me was that something I had worked hard on for far too long was then basically left to sit and do nothing, in limbo, while everyone who was interested in it based on the trailer forgot about it. I started to feel embarrassed by it, lost enthusiasm, had a crisis of confidence, and felt like absolutely nothing had been achieved and maybe I was even going backwards. With Mr Fox, I never submitted it to anything but it was screened around the UK pretty solidly for a year, people came to me about it. So, I suppose that I had hoped LB would be a similar affair and maybe it eventually will.
    The main issue is that I have a lot of ideas on how to build interest and how I would go about presenting my next project, and festivals don't fit in with that based on the rule that it has to stay offline to be considered.
    Anyway, it's a lesson learned and I know what I would do differently next time. Just got to make sure that next time is soon.
    Another thing to think about is that not every project is going to attract the same audience or viewer numbers, and I think that's it's potentially a very good idea to work, at least appear to anyway, within the structure of established genres. That way you have a better chance of reaching an already existing audience and then expanding on that. I don't know, I suppose I just don't want to make films that end up getting 300 views and then vanishing!
    I think this should have it's own thread, promotion, distribution, how to get your film seen etc.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    I started to feel embarrassed by it, lost enthusiasm, had a crisis of confidence, and felt like absolutely nothing had been achieved and maybe I was even going backwards.
    I just wanted to say that this most definitely is not the case. Hurry up and make more films, Max, I'm waiting! ;)
    [quote]I think this should have it's own thread, promotion, distribution, how to get your film seen etc.[/quote]
    Agreed. It'd definitely be valuable to exchange ideas and share experiences when it comes to promoting films.
    I had an interesting experience promoting Arms Race back in 2010. It was on a much smaller scale than Atomic stuff, but a combination of a decent blog/website, simple but effective posters, a physical premiere in Norwich and then decent exposure to steampunk websites really helped to give the film a big online boost.
    Andrew is absolutely spot on: while filmmaking isn't all about the viewer count, what it does do is validate the hard work put in by everybody on the project. Sure, I can maybe get satisfaction simply in knowing that the finished work is decent but others working on the project, who perhaps aren't filmmakers as such but still contributed valuable skills, can see validation primarily through lots of people watching, sharing and hopefully liking it.
  • FreshMentos
    FreshMentos Website User Posts: 5
    What a fantastic little film. It held my attention all the way until the end. Top notch shot composition, direction, editing, and mis-en-scene. Lengthwise, almost perfect, could have been trimmed a bit more. I loved how surreal and bizarre the story was. Most of it didn't make much sense, but it didn't need to as it's left open for interpretation.
    The film gave me a perspective of your creative mind. I think you have a unique style that you should hold on to. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!
  • HybridHalo
    HybridHalo Website User Posts: 56 Enthusiast
    Max, you remain my favourite film maker. Maybe not the unexpected barrage of weird that delighted me when I first watched Mr Fox, but totally held my attention throughout. Sorry for watching it so late!
    Can't wait to see more. Best of luck with the festivals!
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53
    edited December 2011
    Thanks very much chaps, really glad you liked it. Hopefully I will have some more stuff in the works very soon.
    Thanks for watching,
    Max
  • Max
    Max Website User Posts: 53
    edited January 2012
    Hello, just to say that Lover Boy is showing as part of the London Short Film Festival on Saturday the 7th of January at the Curzon, Soho, so if you are in London and available you should come along and have what will probably be one of the most magical experiences of your life.
    http://www.curzoncinemas.com/events/details/447/london-short-film-festival-fcked-up-love/
    Would be great to see some people there.
    Max
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Great news, Max! With a bit more early warning I might have been able to make that. Hope it goes down well - sounds like a fun and appropriate programme to be part of. Let us know how it goes!
  • AshleyWing
    AshleyWing Website User Posts: 38
    edited January 2012
    There isn't much I can add to this discussion other than echo what others have said. We've talked about 'Lover Boy' many times privately - and it leaves me tipping my hat and offering you a hearty congratulations.
    I personally think the film is excellent and one of the most interesting shorts doing the rounds. It isn't easily forgotten, which in today's saturated short film climate is a real compliment to you as a film maker. Always looking forward to your next - and that fact it could be anything but predictable, makes it all the more exciting. :)
    Kudos to you Max.
    Oh - how did the screening go?
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