'Day Return' - Production Thread



  • AshleyWing
    AshleyWing Posts: 38
    edited December 2013
    Our latest short film 'Day Return' is now available publicly to view on Vimeo. Feedback mucho appreciated, and a 'like' on the Vimeo more so.
    If you're feeling extra supportive, please 'like' and 'share' on our Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/cottageIndustryFilms/posts/493561737424830?notif_t=like
    This would really go a long way in helping us get our next project financed. 
    Many thanks,
    Ash & Clay
  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    Wow.  I was shocked at the ending there.  I think you did a great job setting it up, without giving it away.  I enjoyed it.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    At last! Look forward to checking this out later.
  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Posts: 1,089 Staff
    Looking forward to watching this! Congratulations on all your success :)
  • Hey guys, thanks for the kind words thus far. Please let me know your thoughts once you've had time to view it. :) 
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    edited December 2013
    Finally got round to watching it! Thought I'd furnish you wish some feedback.....
    - Overall, good performances, technical aspects all very high quality. Close-ups of actors in particular looked lovely.
    - My primary criticism would be that for most of the film's duration (everything up to when the guy goes to the bathroom) it doesn't actually *need* to be a film. You could genuinely remove all the visuals and run it as an audio drama and it would work every bit as well. This means the actors did a good job and the dialogue tells a story well, but I didn't feel that the visual element contributed anything to the story.
    - I think this is due to two things: 1. The staging is very flat, with little interaction or movement of the actors. She gets up to leave at one point and he grabs her wrist, but this isn't followed up on. It actually feels a lot like a stage play at times, as you don't really make major use of the location (either terms of the cafe interior or the view out the window - talking of which, I didn't feel that the pier or the external geography was established early enough). All we really perceive are the table and chairs. 2. The dialogue is very descriptive. The story is told entirely through what they say, rather than what they do. This is partly because at the opening of the story they've already performed their main actions ('suicide attempt' and 'rescue'), and we find them at their most static.
    - Given two distressed and wet people presumably entered the cafe, it seems that there would have been more story opportunities to see other patrons and staff reacting to their presence. Other people reacting in a judgmental manner would have provided some interesting material for the two leads to react off. Even just the two leads reacting to different props on the table/in the room would have informed their characters in ways other than dialogue.
    A few more spoilery comments follow...
    - This changes with the bathroom scene, of course, but that's right down to the final few minutes. At this point everything becomes more cinematic. On the one hand perhaps the restraint was deliberate, waiting until the finale to unleash the visual side of the storytelling. But to me it didn't really feel like that, for the above reasons. During the cafe scene it feels like the camera is simply there to record the audio and show their faces a bit, rather than actively digging into the story and characters.
    - I REALLY liked the twist in the bathroom (sounds painful). Didn't see that coming at all (though I did think him visiting alone for his birthday was odd, so it was nice to have it explained in the twist) and it was a genuine emotional moment, especially in the way you only show glimpses of the letter. It also feeds back into his earlier dialogue about how the girl has her freedom etc - clearly something he no longer has. The whole bathroom scene is the most effective and powerful in the whole film, and I think that's specifically due to the storytelling being entirely visual, through tight editing and performances, rather than simply telling the audience through dialogue.
    - That said, the SECOND twist (that she is a murderer) I didn't really like at all. It felt like one twist too many and took the story into a melodramatic place that felt a little daft, rather than powerful or scary. Generally I like stories that shift genre unexpectedly (in this case, going from drama to horror/crime), but I found the second twist to rather undermine what had come before, rather than illuminate it. While narratively quite different it actually reminds me of Sunshine - the final act with the crazy guy from the other ship is an effective horror story (just as the girl being a murderer is an effective horror/crime story), but it's the not the one I wanted to see told at the end of the film. In Sunshine's case, the more 'straight' sci-fi aspects were good enough to not have to go off into silly horror territory, and in the case of Day Return the quiet drama was good enough (my other points notwithstanding) to not need to have that final twist.
    - Personally, a more effective ending would have been to have him emerge from the bathroom, find her gone, then have the explosion of energy as he runs along the pier, only to not find her at all. The end. That way you're not sure what's happened to her, you're not sure how he's going to react to the uncertainty, and it leaves the story in a tantalising but ultimately satisfying place.

    Right, hope that's useful! Sorry if it sounds a big negative - I did absolutely enjoy watching it, but feel that it could have been much more effective with more engaged cinematography and a more confident story that didn't jump the shark a bit at the end.
  • Hi Simon, 
    Absolutely valid points there. And thank you for being so constructive. We're always working towards a better end result.
    We have 2 more this year, will keep you posted :)