New Short Film

Hey my friends and I have just come out with a new short thriller titled "Stranger With a Gun" we'd love some feedback and help getting the word out about it. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNNP6ANRhnc

Comments

  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Posts: 1,187 Staff
    Hey Bishal -
    OK, so I'm going to be watching this when I have a few spare seconds throughout the day as it's quite long. So firstly I apologise for the fragmented nature of the response and the fact that I can't offer an opinion as someone who's consumed it in one gulp. 
    Firstly, I LOVE that first scene of the field at about 0:15. That is absolutely beautiful and immediately captures my attention - great lighting. 
    Some of the audio on that first swing scene is a little hard to follow - especially at one point (around 1:25) there is really loud creaking from the swings and from the actress' jacket which obscures their voices. I wonder if it would be a better idea with outdoor scenes like those to record the audio in a studio and layer the outdoor audio afterwards? A major problem with this is that the audio it obscures is specifically the sentence where she explains why they're randomly driving to Florida. I missed this the first time and was very confused as to why they were driving out to a random spot and walking around a closed off house. 
    The driving scenes are really lovely and sweeping. I think with the radio insert though, you run the risk of it being a bit cheesy with the 'escaped convict' part. It just seemed a bit 'too obvious' - I think if it were me, I'd be padding it with other normal radio chatter so that it isn't just produced out of the blue. This way it'll seem more like the audience has spotted something amongst all the other incoherant babbling rather than WE NEED YOU TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE HAS ESCAPED :)
    The panning shots at 2:45 and 2:50 are quite confusing because it indicates you're in a car whereas it seems to be the view of the couple who are still walking? Although it looks nicer to pan across, here it seems out of place (unless the couple are floating along like those vampires from Buffy ;P)
    You definitely have those creepy detail shots down though - I really like all the attention you paid to the dilapidated house and its surroundings to give an eerie feeling. Really well done on that part. 
    The initial capture is a little unbelievable as they don't try to run or even seem surprised that the escaped convict is in the house. He doesn't seem particularly threatening but I like the way his character becomes a little more unpredictable and believable as a character. There is honestly no need for you to include '5 minutes later' - just put in a very short clip in between of something moving - the sun or perhaps another shot of the gate to show time has passed. Having text inserted like that breaks up the story in a way which makes it seem disjointed. 
    The acting of the main guy is confusing. He initially starts the film being very subdued and upset but then becomes cocky and arrogant once the gun is pointed in his face which just seemed wrong for his character to me. He almost spits out the 'I heard you on the radio' - I don't know if that was intentional but for me, it made me quite dislike his personality and kind of want him to get shot (in as passive-aggressive a way as possible). 
    However I did REALLY like how you ramped up the music and the intensity of the camera movements when the inmate was getting more and more agitated. It made you feel a little anxious too and like he was becoming really paranoid. I liked the way you ended that scene as well btw (no spoilers!) - it gave me a glimpse into the kind of really adrenalised short you could produce if the scenes were just cut down a bit.
    (8 minutes in) RIGHT, so I'm past the intense scene and you've gone back 27 hours.
    I'm a little confused as to why your female character is now saying she would like to start a family with the male character, despite the fact that she said at the start of the short that she didn't even know whether she loved him. Is this supposed to be an alternate story line? However you are providing context as to why they are going to Florida in this bit so that's good. 
    "Has her house FULL - of money". That bit made me laugh and I'm not sure I was supposed to :P
    Again, his character is changing drastically. There is a little to be desired with the acting - just for consistency so that you can really understand why he's doing what he's doing and how he turns from an innocent seeming teenager upset and in love to a pretty controlling, gun-wielding teenager who is prepared to rob a senile old woman to take his girlfriend to Florida. Just a big jump, is all :)
    Also, I could overlook the gun being out for all to see as he walked up to the house, but to have a really loud gunshot and then to run out with the gun in plain view and to sit in your clearly visible and number plated car for a little while afterwards is kind of asking to be caught ;) Any neighbour would have been able to see the criminal. 
    I really like the scene where he's hurriedly removing his clothes with the sound of the train in the background - it gives a sense of urgency and makes you wonder where they are. That was really well done. 
    The girl seems oddly unaffected by the murder of the old lady by her boyfriend - even smiling when they look at the cash. If her character was always to be so cold hearted, it would be good again to have some consistency and inkling towards the start of the short - perhaps her suggesting that he use a weapon or suggesting he shoot her and rob her, and him trying to convince her he can just scare her?
    At 15:00 - how did he untie his hands to try to shoot the inmate? 
    Again, this is some really good acting by the inmate, but I think you may have accidentally made your main characters a little too unlikeable for us to be upset that they've died. I actually felt more sorry for the inmate :P
    I think possibly this could have made more sense if the female character had been 'evil' all along. Stringing along her boyfriend and getting him to do the dirty work, knowing the convict was there and being in cahoots with him, getting her boyfriend shot and then shooting the convict herself, and making off with the money. Would have been unpredictable and perhaps a little more believable with her story. 
    She doesn't strike me as the kind who would *SPOILERS* off herself after the way she's been acting. 
    I really like the end - where the other random person goes off with the money - and the music made me smile (in a good way). I really like how you kind of turned it into black humour. Great music :)
    I've written a lot here but I think that's because it's so long there's a lot to comment on - not many people would watch a short which was 20 minutes long (it's a long time!) and I guess that's one of the reasons why you don't have many responses here on this thread. I reckon with some brutal editing you could squeeze this short down to less than 10 minutes and still retain all of the story and the contextual scenery shots, making it that little more exciting.
    It's a good plot and the cinematography really is excellent - you found some lovely places to shoot.
    I've just been mind-vomiting onto this response so please don't think I'm trying to pick apart everything. Things can only get better with a little feedback and for a film you just made with friends, it is very well put together.
    How long did it take? Congrats on finishing a short - not many people can say that! :)
  • Cstein15
    Cstein15 Posts: 4
    Hey Bishal -
    OK, so I'm going to be watching this when I have a few spare seconds throughout the day as it's quite long. So firstly I apologise for the fragmented nature of the response and the fact that I can't offer an opinion as someone who's consumed it in one gulp. 
    Firstly, I LOVE that first scene of the field at about 0:15. That is absolutely beautiful and immediately captures my attention - great lighting. 
    Some of the audio on that first swing scene is a little hard to follow - especially at one point (around 1:25) there is really loud creaking from the swings and from the actress' jacket which obscures their voices. I wonder if it would be a better idea with outdoor scenes like those to record the audio in a studio and layer the outdoor audio afterwards? A major problem with this is that the audio it obscures is specifically the sentence where she explains why they're randomly driving to Florida. I missed this the first time and was very confused as to why they were driving out to a random spot and walking around a closed off house. 
    The driving scenes are really lovely and sweeping. I think with the radio insert though, you run the risk of it being a bit cheesy with the 'escaped convict' part. It just seemed a bit 'too obvious' - I think if it were me, I'd be padding it with other normal radio chatter so that it isn't just produced out of the blue. This way it'll seem more like the audience has spotted something amongst all the other incoherant babbling rather than WE NEED YOU TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE HAS ESCAPED :)
    The panning shots at 2:45 and 2:50 are quite confusing because it indicates you're in a car whereas it seems to be the view of the couple who are still walking? Although it looks nicer to pan across, here it seems out of place (unless the couple are floating along like those vampires from Buffy ;P)
    You definitely have those creepy detail shots down though - I really like all the attention you paid to the dilapidated house and its surroundings to give an eerie feeling. Really well done on that part. 
    The initial capture is a little unbelievable as they don't try to run or even seem surprised that the escaped convict is in the house. He doesn't seem particularly threatening but I like the way his character becomes a little more unpredictable and believable as a character. There is honestly no need for you to include '5 minutes later' - just put in a very short clip in between of something moving - the sun or perhaps another shot of the gate to show time has passed. Having text inserted like that breaks up the story in a way which makes it seem disjointed. 
    The acting of the main guy is confusing. He initially starts the film being very subdued and upset but then becomes cocky and arrogant once the gun is pointed in his face which just seemed wrong for his character to me. He almost spits out the 'I heard you on the radio' - I don't know if that was intentional but for me, it made me quite dislike his personality and kind of want him to get shot (in as passive-aggressive a way as possible). 
    However I did REALLY like how you ramped up the music and the intensity of the camera movements when the inmate was getting more and more agitated. It made you feel a little anxious too and like he was becoming really paranoid. I liked the way you ended that scene as well btw (no spoilers!) - it gave me a glimpse into the kind of really adrenalised short you could produce if the scenes were just cut down a bit.
    (8 minutes in) RIGHT, so I'm past the intense scene and you've gone back 27 hours.
    I'm a little confused as to why your female character is now saying she would like to start a family with the male character, despite the fact that she said at the start of the short that she didn't even know whether she loved him. Is this supposed to be an alternate story line? However you are providing context as to why they are going to Florida in this bit so that's good. 
    "Has her house FULL - of money". That bit made me laugh and I'm not sure I was supposed to :P
    Again, his character is changing drastically. There is a little to be desired with the acting - just for consistency so that you can really understand why he's doing what he's doing and how he turns from an innocent seeming teenager upset and in love to a pretty controlling, gun-wielding teenager who is prepared to rob a senile old woman to take his girlfriend to Florida. Just a big jump, is all :)
    Also, I could overlook the gun being out for all to see as he walked up to the house, but to have a really loud gunshot and then to run out with the gun in plain view and to sit in your clearly visible and number plated car for a little while afterwards is kind of asking to be caught ;) Any neighbour would have been able to see the criminal. 
    I really like the scene where he's hurriedly removing his clothes with the sound of the train in the background - it gives a sense of urgency and makes you wonder where they are. That was really well done. 
    The girl seems oddly unaffected by the murder of the old lady by her boyfriend - even smiling when they look at the cash. If her character was always to be so cold hearted, it would be good again to have some consistency and inkling towards the start of the short - perhaps her suggesting that he use a weapon or suggesting he shoot her and rob her, and him trying to convince her he can just scare her?
    At 15:00 - how did he untie his hands to try to shoot the inmate? 
    Again, this is some really good acting by the inmate, but I think you may have accidentally made your main characters a little too unlikeable for us to be upset that they've died. I actually felt more sorry for the inmate :P
    I think possibly this could have made more sense if the female character had been 'evil' all along. Stringing along her boyfriend and getting him to do the dirty work, knowing the convict was there and being in cahoots with him, getting her boyfriend shot and then shooting the convict herself, and making off with the money. Would have been unpredictable and perhaps a little more believable with her story. 
    She doesn't strike me as the kind who would *SPOILERS* off herself after the way she's been acting. 
    I really like the end - where the other random person goes off with the money - and the music made me smile (in a good way). I really like how you kind of turned it into black humour. Great music :)
    I've written a lot here but I think that's because it's so long there's a lot to comment on - not many people would watch a short which was 20 minutes long (it's a long time!) and I guess that's one of the reasons why you don't have many responses here on this thread. I reckon with some brutal editing you could squeeze this short down to less than 10 minutes and still retain all of the story and the contextual scenery shots, making it that little more exciting.
    It's a good plot and the cinematography really is excellent - you found some lovely places to shoot.
    I've just been mind-vomiting onto this response so please don't think I'm trying to pick apart everything. Things can only get better with a little feedback and for a film you just made with friends, it is very well put together.
    How long did it take? Congrats on finishing a short - not many people can say that! :)


    Wow!! Everyone who worked on the film would like to sincerely thank you for such a well thought out and constructive review.  Everything mentioned here will go into making our next production better.  We can't wait to get out and start on an even better project that we hope to share with the community. 

  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Posts: 1,187 Staff
    Glad you thought it helped :) Good luck on your next production! 
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited July 2014
    Wow! Those people really got stranger with a gun! ;) 
    Great job, Cstein15. I like the style, the acting's not overly done and an ending that was a bit of a surprise, although I did think she would kill someone else or someone else would kill her.
    I do have one question about the sound. In the scene on the swings, were there added 'swing' sounds dubbed in or was it recorded at the time of filming and enhanced or increased in volume in post? They seemed a bit too loud but I admit my last experience on a swing-set in a park is well over 35 years ago. The sound also struck me as being slighly off from the video and made a couple lines difficult to hear. I did jump back at the time of viewing to catch the line again but I wouldn't have that opportunity in a theater situation. I actually could see no sound from the swings at all seeing as how they really didn't move around all that much. Just an observation.
    Nice borderline creepy soundtrack. Just enough to give you a chill. Good choices!
    It also held my attention and kept me wondering what was going to happen next.
    I'll give it three thumbs up.
    Keep up the great work and hope to see another venture soon. :) 
  • Cstein15
    Cstein15 Posts: 4
    Wow Thank you for your response, It means a lot, and I did not edit the scene with the swings so I'm unsure if the sounds were added, however everyone has come to the consensus that the sound was somewhat of a weak point throughout the film.  We're currently getting ready to shoot a new short and are putting a lot of attention into sound so hopefully we can have our sound be more professional.  Thank you again for the critique and be sure to share it around with friends if you feel so inlined.