Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Film Watching

Watching another low budget indie film.  It was shot here in Dallas a few years ago.  There's a couple of actors who are good (one really good).  Then there's the rest of the cast.  The story idea is very strong-- on paper, I can see why people rallied to this.  However, the writing's a bit on the nose, but that problem alone wouldn't sink it.

What does sink it is the horrible production value.  I don't know what the DP was thinking (rumor has it he didn't respect the director so he spent his time trying to co-direct the movie)-- but his work is awful.  You got color balance issues, horrible framing, poor or non-existent lighting.  And it was shot on standard def.  Now I know you've got to work with what you've got-- so we can forgive the lack of lighting instruments... but that doesn't excuse mixing tungsten and daylight or horrible framing.  Looking at this movie, the director shouldn't have respected the DP, not vice versa.

Then there's sound-- or at least the days they had a sound person.  I don't know.  There's a few scenes it honestly sounds like a camera mic at best.

Watching this movie, I get the feeling the filmmakers were other people pretending to be filmmakers.  If you don't have resources, that's fine.  Study, learn, research.  Find out everything you can about your craft.  Because storytelling without money can still be done effectively.  But you have to be professional about it.

Take this same project, with the same budget-- but have the scriptwriter read a few more books about writing on the subtext.  Have the DP focus only on his job.  Get an intern at least to hold a boom mic 100% of the time.  And sweat over the casting of every single role, to get the best possible actor (not just your friends)... and you might have a good little indie film.

But even so, it won't find any real distribution.  Because you need a recognizable name actor for that.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dan, great artistic acumen. More nuggets for us novices to gobble up.